Saskatoon priest resigns over same-sex issue

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Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck, an Anglican priest in the diocese of Saskatoon who recently declared that he intends to marry gay couples if asked and who was asked by his bishop to reconsider his position by March 31 or risk losing his license to minister, has resigned his position. “To my knowledge, the Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck has not presided at a same-sex blessing or a same-sex marriage. Accordingly, I issued Shawn a short-term licence effective April 1, 2007. Shawn has chosen not to accept licensing and has returned the licence to me,” said Bishop Rodney Andrews in a statement. “He has subsequently resigned his position with the Saskatoon Native Ministry.” In the absence of a licence from the bishop, Mr. Sanford Beck is now considered “On leave without permission to officiate,” said Bishop Andrews. Earlier, Bishop Andrews said that Mr. Sanford Beck’s declaration that he was prepared to marry gay couples was a departure from the guidelines and requirements of the Anglican Church of Canada. In an open letter, Mr. Sanford Beck said the church’s ban on same-sex marriages and blessings “is theologically problematic and fundamentally unjust.”Meanwhile, Bishop Andrews expressed the hope that the decisions on sexuality that will be made at the coming General Synod in June “will not become a church dividing issue, and that we will rise to a new level of acceptance and tolerance.”

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