What does it mean that we are LGBT Inclusive?
LGBT stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered”. It could also be extended to include “Queer” and “Intersex” to read LGBTQI.
The short answer is that we at St. Hilda`s are open and welcoming to all members of the LGBTQI community and we desire to create an environment that is supportive of LGBTQI people and their relationships, respectful of all people, treat all people equally, and are non-judgmental. We do not judge people on their sexual orientation or their gender identity, but rather, we seek to affirm them in their self-identity.
We believe that this is part of the Gospel imperative to love one another as God loves us. While there are a few passages in the Bible that do not support homosexual acts, these texts were culturally conditioned and were in the context of Jewish ritual purity for sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple. As Christians we do not accept these requirements anymore than we require circumcision, animal sacrifices, or particular diets. Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, and he did not condemn it.
As a parish we are supportive of the Blessing of Same Sex Relationships and are one of eight parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster which made the decision to offer blessings of same-gender unions. A couple who are in a same-sex relation and have been married by a marriage commissioner may come to the clergy of the parish to receive a blessing on their union in a service designed specifically for this.
At this time the rules of the Anglican Church of Canada around the marriage of same-sex couples according to the rites of the church are changing. An amendment to the Marriage Canon of the Anglican Church of Canada was considered in July 2016 by the General Synod (the national legislative body of the national church); this amendment passed First Reading and will require Second Reading in 2019 to formally become part of our rules. The amendment does not refer to same-sex relations as such, but replaces gender-specific language with gender neutral terms like “parties to the marriage”. (1)