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Civil Unions in Auckland Diocese? [Anglican Communion]
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 4/27/2005 | Malcolm Falloon Warden

Posted on 04/27/2005 11:39:12 AM PDT by sionnsar

​​​​Will two Anglican priests within the Auckland Diocese be amongst the first to conduct civil unions come April 26? There are implications here not only for the Auckland Diocese, but also for the rest of the province and even for the whole Anglican Communion. How so? Because one of the priests has announced his intentions in the most public of fashions - national TV (read my blog on the issue). The other Priest holds a position of provincial responsibility at St John's College (the main training college of the province). And the Bishop of Auckland happens to be the chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council.

April 26 marks the first day on which couples (same-sex and mixed-sex) can apply to have their relationship registered as a Civil Union under New Zealand law. The Civil Union legislation simply mirrors the requirements that exist for tradition marriage and is little different, in effect, to 'gay marriage'. See my discussion of the issue in Civil Unions and the Church.

As far as Latimer knows, there are only two Anglican Priests within the Auckland Diocese who have registered as official Civil Union celebrants and are listed on the government's website. This is clearly in open defiance of their Bishop, John Paterson, who in last year's charge to the Auckland synod declared "I ... wish to make it clear that a licence from me does not authorise clergy to be involved at such ceremonies."

One of the priests, Hugh Kempster, went on national TV to declaring his intention to be among the first to conduct a same-sex Civil Union and further claimed that he had his Bishop's consent to do so as long as it was in a private capacity and away from church buildings. Latimer understands that Kempster is incorrect in his claim to have the Bishop's approval.

The other is Philip Culbertson, who is a lecturer at St John's College Auckland, the main training institution for clergy in the New Zealand Province.

There is a third person, Keith King who claims to be an Anglican Priest within the Waikato Diocese, but Latimer understands that he does not in fact hold a bishop's licence.

These events are of more than a local interest for three reasons. Firstly, Hugh Kempster claimed publicly in his TV interview that he did indeed have his bishop's approval - albeit in a restricted private capacity. While Latimer has received assurances that this is not in fact the case, no public statement has been released from the Bishop's office. There is a strange dichotomy happening here: Kempster has 'publicly' stated his 'private' intentions, to which the Bishop seems to want to deal with 'privately' away from 'public' gaze (and who can blame him?). But will it be a sufficient response to what is a deliberately public act? The mere fact that Kempster is now listed as an official celebrant would indicate that it is not.

Secondly, what does Philip Culbertson think he's doing taking such schismatic action while holding an important position of trust at St John's College? I would have thought that, despite his radical liberalism, he would have seen his role within the wider church as precluding him becoming a Civil Union celebrant!

Let's be quite clear on this issue. It's the fact that Kempster and Culbertson are registered at all that causes such great offence to the orthodox members of our church. Whether they then go on to perform a civil union or not, or whether orthodox groupings such as Latimer get to hear of such ceremonies, is largely immaterial. They should not be listed in the first place - that is the actual breach of the church's discipline! It's a matter of public record now and the church must act if its well-being and integrity is to be maintained.

The third reason why this event is of more than local issue is because it affects the international Anglican Communion. For, Bishop John Paterson exercises an important role as chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). The Council is meeting later this year to consider further the controversy caused by the North American Anglican churches over homosexuality, and among the many issues, that of same-sex blessings. I'm not sure whether many in the Global South would accept any subtle distinctions between same-sex civil unions and 'gay marriage' (nor should they).

The whole affair places Bishop John in a simply impossible position. How can he be expected to successfully chair the ACC in its highly charged discussion of same-sex blessings, while at the same time struggling to contain two renegade priests within his own diocese - priests who will be seen as taking the even more controversial step of celebrating 'gay marriage'.

What is to be done in this matter? While no one wants to give these two schismatics the satisfaction of becoming martyrs for their cause, they do need to be accountable for their actions. They must chose between being a registered civil union celebrant (and nb, it makes no different whether it involves same-sex or mixed-sex couples) and holding a bishop's licence. For, as Bishop John stated in his synod address, "Our Church has not officially accepted any theological or doctrinal or biblical scholarship that would support Anglican priests being involved in the provision of priestly ministry at civil union ceremonies." The choice is theirs - it's a free country - but Bishop John should equally be free to choose to withdraw his own licence, once it is clear that Kempster and Culbertson have chosen to 'walk apart'.

From Latimer House Website

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: angpost6; homosexualagenda; zealand

1 posted on 04/27/2005 11:39:16 AM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; GatorGirl; KateatRFM; Alkhin; Peanut Gallery; tellw; nanetteclaret; Saint Reagan; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 04/27/2005 12:25:41 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?)
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To: sionnsar

I do have some different, unorthodox interpretations of scripture, but thus far I have failed in my effort to find any scripture that is even mildly tolerant of homosexuality. It is an abomination, and that is said over and over, in many ways and in many books. How could any church possibly justify this?

3 posted on 04/27/2005 1:45:56 PM PDT by followerofchrist
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To: sionnsar

The NZ Anglican church's Auckland diocese is liberal - the pastors that I personal know are not but I think John Paterson is very liberal and there are some wacky pastors around. If what the article says is true - that there are pastors even more extreme than Paterson then I imagine they are openly apostate.

It seems to me the Maori diocese is ironically the most morally biblical one (though not wholly theologically orthodox).

4 posted on 04/27/2005 1:50:34 PM PDT by NZerFromHK ("US libs...hypocritical, naive, pompous...if US falls it will be because of these" - Tao Kit (HK))
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