Liberal Anglican priest Dr Helen Jacobi says she is ashamed of her Church after its General Synod voted today to postpone any "blessings" for gay marriages for at least two years.
The synod, meeting in Napier, decided not to adopt a new liturgy for blessing same-sex unions that was developed over the past two years by a working group led by Auckland lawyer Bruce Gray QC.
Instead it voted to send the issue back to another working group to report back to the next synod in 2018.
"The synod has allowed the views of 'conservatives' to rule, rather than working for the just inclusion of all faithful people in the life of the church," said Dr Jacobi, the minister at Auckland's gay-friendly church St-Matthew-in-the-City.
"In my 24 years as a priest I have always been proud of my church. Today I hang my head in shame.
"We have chosen rules over love, and doctrine over gospel. We have imperilled the mission of the church.
"At St Matthew-in-the-City we will continue to welcome our LGBTI community and assure them of their place in our church and in the heart of God. We will not abandon them and will continue to work for justice. To them today we express our deep sorrow and seek their forgiveness."
Church spokesman Rev Jayson Rhodes said the synod decided that "it needs more work and time to create a structure that can allow for blessing of committed life-long monogamous same-sex relationships".
"The synod has asked for a working group to ensure there is a structure that can safeguard different views concerning the blessing of same-gender relationships, and that will be considered in two years' time at the next General Synod," he said.
The motion to take the extra time was moved jointly by Bishop Andrew Hedge of the Napier-based Waiapu Diocese, which supports blessing same-sex relationships, and theologian Andrew Burgess from the Nelson Diocese, which has been opposed.