The congregation at Christ Church Cathedral has voted more than 90 per cent in favour of blessing married homosexual couples.
On Sunday, at the annual general meeting of the parish, members voted 148 to 14 in a secret ballot to seek permission to bless the unions.
Rev. Logan McMenamie, dean of the cathedral, said he was pleased with the result of the vote and proud of the way the cathedral’s parishioners came to the decision.
“Although it was a secret ballot for us, it was done with dignity given to everybody’s stance,” McMenamie said.
The vote follows a Jan. 3 Anglican Church announcement by Bishop James Cowan of the Diocese of British Columbia that gay and lesbian married couples could be blessed if certain guidelines are followed. A majority of parishioners must approve and make a formal request to the bishop. The parish priest must also make the same request.
The blessing will only be conferred on couples who have already made, and registered, their marriage vows in a civil ceremony, and at least one member of the couple must be baptized.
Cowan also provided a specific rite to use in the blessings.
The issue of same-sex unions has been a difficult one for the Anglican Church. Congregations from four parishes on Vancouver Island split from the church over the issue in recent years
Even now, the church hierarchy is careful to say it will bless the union or commitment of a gay or lesbian couple, but will not formally acknowledge the marriage. Nor will it perform a same-sex marriage. It won’t use the term “marriage,” sticking to “same-sex unions.”
The Diocese of British Columbia is a historical name and includes only Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. About 10,000 members meet at 45 parishes in the diocese.
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