Saturday, 2 June 2007

Bishop of Niagara wants 'local option' on same-sex marriage

[...] by allowing birth control, the church recognized that between consenting s is about more than making babies. "Once you open that door a little bit, you can begin to discuss all kinds of aspects of uality," Spence says.

Since then, the church has been tossed into turmoil over such issues as remarrying divorced men and women, abortion, female clergy and common-law couples. Each time, says Spence, who was ordained in 1968, conservatives have threatened to leave the church.

"I remember ministers standing up and saying, `There will never be a divorced person at my altar,'" he says. "Now, 40 years later, we say, `Did people really say that?'"

He expects that people will ask the same question about same-sex marriage in 40 years.

Patterson, whose job is to help the church attract new members, says the Bible needs to be seen more as a living document, to be interpreted within the context of modern life, than a series of strict rules governing what it means to be a good Christian.

"Judgments and absolutes have never been how we have interpreted scripture," he says.

Spence describes himself as a "theological conservative and a pastoral liberal." He wants the door of the church held open to all who would enter.

"The Jesus that I see in the gospels reached out to everybody." Read more

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