The Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Rt Rev Dr Kelvin Wright, has recently returned from a synod that moved to instigate changes to rules on same-sex relationships and ordination. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin's Anglican bishop says he agrees with those who
believe ordination cannot be withheld from gay members, as
church leaders move on an issue that threatened to ''tear the
The Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Rt Rev Dr Kelvin Wright
returned late last week from a general synod in Waitangi that
appointed a working group to develop a way to allow same-sex
relationships to be blessed.
But the new rules would also allow those who were against the
idea not to perform such a blessing.
A report from the working group, to be presented in 2016,
will also consider the theology of ordination and marriage.
The synod noted the church had been complicit in homophobic
thinking and ''failed to speak out against hatred and
violence against those with same-gender attraction''.
Its moves have been described as ''tentative'' by a gay
Dunedin priest, but Dr Wright said the church was dealing
with an issue that had seen it ''completely divided''. Dr
Wright said there were two broad positions in the church.
One had a traditional view of the Bible and its passages
The second took an ''evolutionary'' approach, saw an
''unfolding of God's love and grace'' and had an
understanding ordination of gay people could not be withheld.
''I would be in the second camp,'' he said.
Dealing with the issue by arguing the two positions was
fruitless, as the sides were irreconcilable.
The synod's decision allowed both sides to live together with
If one side or another had been chosen, some would have left.
''The Anglican church [in the South] is too small for that.''
Gay Dunedin Anglican priest the Rev Juan Kinnear, whose
ordination at St Paul's Cathedral in 2006 sparked
controversy, said he welcomed the move.
Mr Kinnear said his personal view was he welcomed the
resolution as ''a tentative step towards breaking the
deadlock between Anglicans who take opposing views on the
status and nature of same-sex relationships''.
''Much work must be done over the next four years and there
are no guarantees that we will ultimately be able to strike
an acceptable balance, allowing sustained fellowship across
the Anglican theological spectrum.''
Mr Kinnear said to those who thought the resolution had gone
too far, or not far enough, ''we owe it to ourselves and
those who will follow to commit ourselves to this process and
find a way in which we may respectfully differ, while