Ottawa Anglican church offers same-sex blessing

OTTAWA, ON—Same-sex couples in Ottawa can now receive an Anglican church blessing on their union.

The Church of St. John the Evangelist has recently been granted permission by the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa to bless couples who have been civilly married.

No new rite has been developed and at least one member of the couple must be baptized.

Bishop John Chapman says the move is part of the diocese's ongoing "discernment process" into the issue of same sex marriage.

Chapman says that in 2007 Ottawa's diocesan synod voted with a clear majority to proceed with blessings of same sex couples. He adds that while this left the diocese with an 'obligation' to move forward, the decision was made to start by limiting it to just one church.

Chapman urges that all sides continue to dialogue on the issue.

"Voices still need to be heard," he says. He added the move will provide a "different context for the conversation," enabling people to gain a better understanding of the implications of allowing same-sex blessings in the diocese.

"Up to this point the conversation has been purely academic," Chapman adds. "We need to know what it feels like before we can come to any more decisions or clarity of mind.

"But we're not proceeding aggressively. We are proceeding with caution and a listening posture, mindful of the diverse voices that exist in the diocese."

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