Episcopal Autonomy in Discernment for Ordination
The Diocese of Waiapu strongly believes that sexual orientation should present no barrier to ordination. As a diocese, like others, we have experienced first-hand the ministry of gay and lesbian clergy, some of whom have been in faithful, loving, committed same-gender relationships, and believe them to have enriched the life of our Church. We are therefore grateful that successive bishops have discerned within the lives of these people a call to ordination, and acknowledge that this work of discernment is a serious and significant aspect of episcopal ministry.
We have become concerned in recent years that bishops of this and other dioceses appear to have come under pressure to withhold discernment for ordination because of a person’s sexual orientation and their living out of that orientation within a loving, faithful relationship. As a diocese we believe such pressure runs contrary to the traditional understanding that the responsibility for discerning and acting upon the call of the Holy Spirit on an individual to a life within the holy order of priests or deacons rests firmly in the hands of the bishop of the diocese / hui amorangi.
We therefore ask that:
This General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui affirms the long tradition and practice of Episcopal autonomy, within canonical limits, in the discernment of a person’s call to ordination.