Anglican Diocese of Wellington
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Bishops' Pastoral Letters

From time to time the Bishop of Wellington issues guidelines to the clergy of the Diocese to assist them in exercising pastoral responsibilities. 

The following have been revised and were reissued by Bishop Tom Brown as guidelines for the clergy and licensed lay ministers of the Wellington Diocese.

The Pastoral Letters are under section G of the Administration Handbook

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013

July 2013

You will be aware that the Government recently passed this Act which allows same sex couples to enter into a marriage relationship. This is a significant step and has been the source of much debate in the community. It brings great rejoicing to some and is the source of great concern to others. 

I have also received the following notification from the Registrar General in relation to the changes that will be made as a result of The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 which will come into force on Monday 19 August 2013.

It is important for us to remind clergy who are Marriage Celebrants of our situation.

Anglican clergy (Priests) receive the legal power to conduct weddings by being placed on the Registrar General's Marriage Celebrants' List by virtue of our denominational affiliation. We are not Independent Marriage Celebrants. Thus we must work within two sets of parameters: those established by law by the Marriage Act, and those established through our Church's Canons and Formularies. The latter defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. There is not provision for Anglican clergy to conduct same sex marriages in spite of the change in civil law. There are no authorised services for doing so. 

At the same time we wish to reassert the welcome which we seek to extend to all people in our churches, including those in the gay and lesbian community, as we seek to establish our best pastoral response to them. 

Let us continue to show Grace to one another in the midst of our differing aspirations about this matter.


Bishop of Wellington 

Some Helpful Links

Questions and Answers (these will be updated as required over the next 4 months):
Marriage Amendment Act - Questions and Answers

Media statements issued to date:
• 16 April 2013 'Bride' and 'bridegroom' choices expected to remain on marriage forms
• 17 April 2013 Marriage Amendment Act changes set for August
• 22 April 2013 Marriage Amendment Act in effect by 19 August

No reira waiho ko te aroha o Te Matua Kaha Rawa hei korowai mou.
May the love of Almighty God enfold you!