Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Australian Anglican church set to bless first gay marriage

The first official same-sex blessing of a civilly-married couple will occur within two weeks in an Australian Anglican church.

This follows the passing of a new regulation to allow holding a same-sex blessings by the Wangaratta Synod (regional council) of the Anglican Church of Australia on the weekend. The vote was 67 for, 18 against, with one abstention.

“The first same-sex service is likely to occur in two weeks’ time,” Muriel Porter reports in the Melbourne Anglican. “The retired Diocesan Archdeacon, the Revd Dr John Davis, and his partner of 20 years, the Rev’d Robert Whalley, are planning a [non-church] marriage, to be blessed in a service in the small church at Milawa on 14 September.” Both men are in their seventies.


Describing the future blessing in ‘a packed country church,’ Davis says his Bishop will be there.

“I clearly declare my own position. Fr Rob Whalley my partner of twenty years and I will shortly marry under the law of the land,” Davis has Facebooked. “Following on after that, we hope to be asking the God we honour and those who care for us, to continue to bless us in our ongoing life together. In that ‘packed country church’”.

Wangaratta’s Bishop John Parkes, a strong supporter of the move is set to retire later this year, possibly after marrying Davis and Whalley.

The new regulation “provides for ‘persons married according to the Marriage Act 1961’, the Commonwealth Marriage Act amended in 2017 to allow same-sex marriages,” according to Porter. “The Wangaratta regulation includes a prescribed liturgy for the blessing service.” The Anglican Church does not permit same sex weddings which is why a blessing ceremony is planned.

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