NZ Archbishops to form new gay marriage study panel

The archbishops have called for a new consultants’ panel to accompany their Motion 29 working group.

The archbishops’ Motion 29 working group on church structures will now work with a consultants’ panel of key stakeholders, as it develops proposals for General Synod/Te Hīnota Whānui 2018.

The Motion 29 working group, whose brief is to find a structure that safeguards this Church’s two integrities on blessing same gender relationships, was to be named on September 1.

This week, however, the archbishops have called for a new panel of consultants to accompany the working group in their task. Since May, say the archbishops, so many Anglican groups have requested a voice on the working group that it had begun to look too weighty to get off the ground.

“It is clear that while there are two broad integrities on these matters, within these two broad integrities are a range of positions and views which cannot be adequately represented in a working group.” say the archbishops in their letter to the bishops on 30 August.

“We have carefully committed all of these representations, discussions and suggestions to our own discussion, prayer and discernment, seeking the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit.”

“This has led us to a view that we need a two tier approach.”

Now the working group will become a 3 – 6 member three-Tikanga body, which will foster dialogue on proposed structures, collect critical feedback and stay in touch with a consultants’ panel as they investigate options.

Consultants’ panel members will be asked to contribute suggestions and constructive criticism as the working group considers potential models. They will also be invited to bring feedback from their constituencies.

Alongside hui amorangi and diocesan voices, the yet-to-be formed consultants’ panel will be invited to liaise with key groups (for example): Affirm, FCANZ, Anglican young adults and youth, ‘Changing Attitudes’, and LGBTI Anglicans, as well as with legal advisers.

The working group’s goal remains to present a mechanism for retaining unity in the light of same gender blessings that works for Anglicans of both integrities. They will also ensure that their proposal(s) to Te Hīnota Whānui/General Synod  2018 comply with Te Pouhere, this Church’s constitution, and are in keeping with Anglican ecclesiology.

In their August 30 letter, the archbishops have asked bishops to offer names for the consultants’ panel that span the range of theological convictions Anglicans hold on this issue.

Until October 1, proposed structures for the working group’s consideration can be sent to the General Secretary, Michael Hughes at gensecm@anglicanchurch.org.nz.

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