ORILLIA — A pastor from Orillia is offering reassuring words to her congregation after the Anglican Church of Canada took a stance against same-sex marriage on Friday.
At the General Synod in Vancouver, a motion to amend the church’s marriage canon to include same-sex marriage failed. It would have required a two-thirds majority to pass. While that majority was reached by the laity as well as the clergy, only 62 per cent of bishops voted in favour, and the motion was defeated.
“I purposely didn’t watch the streaming because I could not bear to be dragged through the comments and discussion,” said Rev. Lori Pilatzke, of St. David Anglican-Lutheran Church in Orillia. “When I heard (about the results), my heart sank and I was very, very saddened, but what gave me hope is there are pockets of places where Jesus still walks with us.”
The motion’s failure to pass means Anglican churches do not have to perform same-sex marriage, but they can still do so if they’re given permission from their respective bishops. That’s what happened at the Orillia church. At its last annual general meeting, the St. David congregation voted to allow Pilatzke to request permission from Bishop Andrew Asbil, of the Diocese of Toronto, to perform and recognize same-sex marriage.
It sent a positive message to the local flock, Pilatzke said, noting three young members of the congregation have since come out to her as being part of the LGBT community.
It wasn’t as if they didn’t already know they would be accepted by Pilatzke, though. She moved to town five years ago with her wife, Jen Macklin. However, the position taken by the Anglican Church of Canada on Friday could leave some people feeling disenfranchised, Pilatzke acknowledged, and she has a message for them.
“Grow ye not weary. Let us be patient, trusting where God is calling us to be,” she said. “We are all created in the creator’s image and imagination. Why would our creator set us up to detest one another?”
The stance taken at the General Synod shows the church still has a long way to go, Pilatzke said, noting the same can be said for its involvement in residential schools. The church issued an apology for that on Friday.
“How are we still living like this? How are we still treating humanity like this?” Pilatzke wondered aloud.
In a message to all members of the Diocese of Toronto, Asbil also expressed his disappointment about Friday’s vote.
“I know that this is devastating news to our LGBTQ+ community, families and friends. I share in that sense of devastation, knowing that this decision comes after decades of ongoing discussion, prayer and the courageous sharing of experience from the LGBTQ+ community,” he wrote. “I had hoped that our Church was in a different place and would arrive at a different decision. I assure all of our LGBTQ+ siblings — beloved children of God — of my love and support. I know that it is tempting in this hour to lose heart. And yet let us take comfort in the words of Paul: ‘So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.’ — Galatians 6:9.”