John Davis and Rob Whalley will not be leaving the Anglican church because they are gay - no matter what the Archbishop of Sydney says.
Archbishop Glenn Davies made waves this week when he used his presidential address to the Sydney Anglican diocese synod to criticise Wangaratta's vote in August, to allow same-sex marriages to be blessed, with a message for the synod: "please leave us".
"My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views, but do not ruin the Anglican church by abandoning the plain teaching of scripture," he said.
Fathers Davis and Whalley, both priests in Wangaratta, were set to be the first same-sex couple blessed by the Anglican church, before the decision was referred to the appellate tribunal.
"What (Archbishop Davies) is basically saying is people who disagree with him cannot breathe the same institutional air as they do - these are the demands of a fundamentalist sect," Father Davis said.
"They are really asking for a complete bust up, they want it, but they want other people to leave - not themselves."
He said the debate needed perspective because while the archbishop had been critical of same-sex relationships, he was silent on the Ugandan Anglicans' support for a move to introduce the death penalty for gay sex.
"The statements from the Archbishop of Sydney are not unexpected, but they are without doubt the most extreme that he has so far made. It's deeply offensive stuff," he said.
Wangaratta's beautiful response to @abpdavies: We affirm our belief in a God who includes & not excludes, a God who reaches out to others & does not chase them away, a God who blesses & does not curse, a God who welcomes .. & prepares a feast.. #LoveOneAnotherpic.twitter.com/Z94PAc237Q— Deborah Bird (@revdebbird) October 16, 2019
The Wangaratta couple was supported by Father Peter MacLeod-Miller from St Matthew's Anglican Church, who said Archbishop Davies was "out of touch with inevitable change".
"The attack on dioceses and bishops for even suggesting gay couples could be blessed, not even married, draws some of the fire that gay individuals experience everyday," he said.
"Prejudice against diversity belongs more to old Sydney town than contemporary Sydney or national values the warning's on the packet and it's on the way out and that is good news for Australia and good news for the church."
Father MacLeod-Miller said it was actually encouraging that Archbishop Davies was upset, because it showed views within the church were changing out of his control.
"Why doesn't he leave?" he said.