The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews has resigned from the “Way Forward” study group
The Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, has resigned from the “Way Forward” study group created by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to implement a resolution regularizing same-sex blessings. In an 20 March 2015 email to her diocesan clergy, Bishop Matthews wrote she had informed the chairman of the commission Bruce Gray QC and Archbishop Philip Richardson “I am aware that this matter in the Diocese of Christchurch is causing a high level of angst on all sides. I decided I would be unable to minister effectively in this Diocese and also have membership on the Way Forward Working Group as time progressed. My resignation was a matter of maintaining my integrity and is in no way a judgment on the work that the Way Forward Working Group is attempting to achieve for the next General Synod.” Motion 30 adopted by the 2014 meeting of General Synod asked the Way Forward group to formulate a way to change the church’s doctrinal and ecclesial understanding of marriage to allow same-sex marriages — while also protecting the conscience of clergy who believed same-sex marriage to be contrary to Scripture, natural law, and church teaching. The motion seeks to change the dynamic within the church by changing the default position to endorsement of gay marriage while tolerating dissent, from its current toleration of those who dissent to the traditional view of church marriage.