New Zealand church: General Synod have had long enough to discuss same-sex marriage

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A New Zealand church has urged for a decision to be made about the Anglican approach to same-sex marriage in the country.

Helen Jacobi, the new vicar at the influential Auckland St Matthew-in-the-City church, called on the General Synod to move ahead with plans to allow blessings for same-sex marriages, and to permit gay clergy.

The General Synod, which is meeting this month, is yet to react to the introduction of same-sex marriage in New Zealand, over a year since the country’s Marriage Amendment Bill was first passed.

Two years ago the church established a Commission on Same-Gender Relationships, Ordination and Blessing, which aimed to gage the opinion of members of the church and the public on the issue.

Jacobi said: “[The Synod] have a clear choice in front of them – they can and try and keep the church locked in the 1950s or the 1850s, thinking they can stop the movement for justice and inclusion of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers which our hearts yearn to see.

“Or they can come out from behind their fears and prejudices and welcome all equally behind the altar, in the pulpit, and at the altar to be married.”

“We here at St Matthew’s have long had the doors open wide and we are richer for it.

“We call today on our leaders to step up, to be without fear and to allow the voice of the Shepherd to call them forward. The time of waiting is over, we will wait no longer.”

Tash Vitali and Melissa Ray were the first couple to marry in the country last August, after winning an all expenses paid ceremony in a radio competition.