Ottawa bishop appoints committee for same-sex blessing decision

After more than a year of deliberation, Bishop John Chapman has taken another small step in deciding whether the Ottawa Diocese of the Anglican Church will perform blessings of same-sex marriages. Chapman has appointed a doctrine and worship committee headed by Rev. Kevin Flynn, a professor at St. Paul University to determine the next step for the diocese in the long-standing controversy.

While some news media have reported that the diocese has decided to perform the blessings, Archdeacon Ross Moulton of the Ottawa diocese says this is not the case.

Only if the committee recommends the diocese move forward with the practice of blessing same-sex unions will Chapman give the green light to St. John the Evangelist in on Elgin Street to experiment with the practice, says Moulton.

He said the committee has to come up with the protocols for the practice of blessing same-sex unions before the diocese can make a decision.

Moulton said the protocol for traditional marriages in the church includes a marriage preparation course. He says the protocols for the practice of blessing same-sex unions could include a similar process.

Rev. Dana Fisher of St. John the Evangelist was unavailable for comment, but the assistant priest, Rev. Naomi Kabuki, says the appointment of the committee has come after what has already been “a very long process.” She would not comment on the published media reports.

The controversy over same-sex unions has been one of the most divisive in the history of the Anglican church, creating a schism between parishes in Ottawa.

Moulton says “it will take as long as it takes,” for the committee to reach a decision and make their recommendation.