The Anglican Church cannot stop talking about same-sex marriage. The more words that are spoken, the less that is said, an endless stream of fustian vacuities circling the certain knowledge that the outcome is inevitable; a gathering of CoGS clergy weaving an elaborate pretence of impartial objectivity, willing puppets, eyes blinkered and strings pulled by the spirit of our age.
It’s not unlike a description from Anthony Powell’s masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time:
The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure, stepping slowly, methodically sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.
Here is a more prosaic account from the Journal:
Despite hopes expressed by some members that the Council of General Synod (CoGS) will be able to shift its focus away from same-sex marriage during the next triennium, this did not happen just yet.
The Council spent much of the second day of its fall meeting brainstorming how it can ensure that productive discussions of the motion to amend the marriage canon will happen on the provincial and diocesan level over the next three years.
The motion passed its first reading at the July meeting of General Synod, but because same-sex marriage is a matter of doctrine, it requires a two-thirds majority vote at two consecutive General Synods. In preparation for the next General Synod in 2019, dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces have been asked to continue to study the motion in preparation for the second and final vote. CoGS has been mandated to support this work.
As several members noted over the course of the day, it might not be a straightforward task.
The church remains deeply divided on the issue. There are those who believe same-sex marriage has been put off for far too long already, those who insist that homosexuality is a serious sin and those who believe some accommodation for gay and lesbian Anglicans is necessary, but aren’t yet ready for marriage.
Some CoGS members, among them, the Rev. Lynne McNaughton, of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon, said their dioceses have already held meetings to discuss the next three years. Others, like John Rye of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, compared debates over same-sex marriage to the film Groundhog Day, in which the protagonist re-lives the same day over and over again.
The Rev. Vincent Solomon, of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, said people need to learn how to listen to each other if healthy discussions are to be had—a point that the Rev. David Burrows, a CoGS member from the ecclesiastical province of Canada, agreed with.