“For the sake of tradition” – Queer Anglican minister reflects on same-gender marriage vote

Minister feels ‘hamstrung’ by group of people intent on preserving the traditional view of marriage

Sitting down in front of her bishop, Reverend Andrea Brennan drew an analogy.

“Marriage equality, from the perspective of a queer clergy person – for the longest time, we were staring at a blank wall. You can’t come in. Then someone put a door in the wall, but it was a storm door and we couldn’t see though, but we could hear. Then the storm door was replaced by a screen door, and we could see through, but were not yet allowed to come through, and we were told:

“You can do all of the things in the church; you can be a layperson, you can be a clergy person, you can be a bishop in the church and be gay, that’s totally okay. You can receive the sacrament of communion, you can be confirmed, you can baptized, you can do all of these wonderful things. But we won’t allow you to marry the person you love,” she said.

If she fell in love with a man in the church, Brennan could marry without issue. If she fell in love with a woman and wanted to marry in the church, she couldn’t.

“I said, we’re making steps forward, and every time we start to get frustrated and say, what about us, do we not count? We’re told; just be patient,” said Brennan.

“That’s fine and good when you’re not the person being asked to wait.”

The Anglican Church of Canada voted down the marriage canon amendment on July 12, preventing the policy from being added to national laws. The amendment was rejected by a narrow margin at the church’s General Synod, a meeting held every three years.

Brennan admitted that she may not be what everyone would consider a ‘perfect’ christian. But, she explained, that doesn’t make her any less in God’s eyes.

“For someone to say, ‘you’ve committed ‘sin’, so you’re not worthy to receive God’s love’; that’s not any human being’s responsibility. That’s God’s responsibility. I wouldn’t want that job. That’s way too much responsibility for me,” said Brennan.

(In Brennan’s home, a pride flag hangs beside her Alb. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press)

Andrea Brennan stood in front of the Christ Church Anglican Fernie congregation on Sunday, July 21 and announced that despite the failure to amend the marriage canon nationally, the Anglican Diocese of the Kootenay would be allowing same-gender marriages.

The night before announcing this to the church, the reverend sat in her home before a table full of documents and tried to explain how she was feeling, one week after returning from the General Synod in Vancouver.

She spoke to many of the positive changes that came out of the Synod (For more on this see story on pages A1 and A4), but addressed a controversial issue: the failure to amend the marriage canon.

In reflection of this decision by the bishops to vote down the marriage canon, Brennan said she feels hamstrung by a group of people intent on preserving the traditional view of marriage, no matter what; no matter who gets hurt.

Scrolling through a comment section online, Brennan saw the comments from many who share this traditional view.

“I’m reading these and I’m thinking, how many of these people actually know someone who’s queer? Because I’m pretty sure if they did, they wouldn’t have quite so hard a line. Now maybe they would, but I would hope not,” she said.

Marriage equality, she explained, has been in affect in Canada since 2002.

“We’ve had people come from the United States to Canada for years, for decades, because they can get married here.

“A number of people that I know would come for vacation to Montreal, get married, honeymoon and go home. And then find out later that their marriage wasn’t recognized by that state. It is now because they have marriage equality in the states,” explained Brennan.

“But imagine being with someone whom you love more than you’ve ever loved another person, and you want to spend your life with them, you want to get married, you want to make that commitment to be with that person for the rest of your life.

“And then someone says nah, no you can’t. Sorry.”

Brennan has very much enjoyed working with their new Kootenay bishop, Lynne McNaughton, a person whom Brennan sees as progressive, strong, kind-hearted, approachable; real.

One week after witnessing General Synod through live stream, McNaughton announced that, with the approval of the Anglican Church of Canada, diocese in the Kootenay region would be able to choose for themselves whether or not they would allow same-gender marriages.

Read more: Kootenay Anglican bishop voices favour for same-gender marriages

In March 2019, Brennan and several other members of the church worked tirelessly to complete the necessary processes in order to become an affirming congregation (in favour of gender equality).

“As far as she (McNaughton) is concerned, Kootenay will have marriage equality as of the 1st of August,” said Brennan.

Brennan doesn’t anticipate that come August 1st they will have same-gender couples pounding on the doors to become married, but she said it goes a long way for them to be able to say that they are an inclusive and welcoming congregation.

On Tuesday night, the Christ Church committee was set to meet to decide if they would apply to the bishop for marriage equality.



editor@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Reverend Andrea Brennan stood in front of the Christ Church Anglican Fernie congregation on Sunday, July 21 and announced that despite the failure to amend the marriage canon nationally, the Anglican Diocese of the Kootenay would be allowing same-gender marriages. Brennan reflected on the vote from her perspective as a queer clergy person. Turn to page A3 to read her story. Phil Mclachlan/The Free Press

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

PLACE NAMES: Warfield neighbourhoods

Beaver Bend took its name from a CBC Radio series

Woman stabbed in downtown Nelson

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Kootenay-Columbia incumbent MP responds to Trudeau brownface scandal

Stetski proud of NDP leader Singh’s reaction, which focused on people not power

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read