Daily Archives: July 21, 2009

The Bishop of Atlanta on General Convention 2009

Human sexuality – Several dozen resolutions on some aspect of human sexuality were submitted to the Convention by dioceses, parishes, and individuals across the church. The Convention, working through its legislative committees on World Mission and Prayer Book and Liturgy, combined most of these resolutions into two.

The first of these — Resolution D-025 — has been widely reported in the press. The press coverage has essentially said that the Episcopal Church has approved the ordination of gay and lesbian persons. Well, no, this Convention took no such action. What this resolution did was simply to reaffirm our own Canons. Back in 1994, the General Convention created a Canon that opened access to the ordination processes of the church — for all holy orders — to all baptized persons. This has been our canonical position for fifteen years and it is consistent with the baptismal theology of the Book of Common Prayer. Discernment for holy orders is serious business and should be. In the Episcopal Church we take such discernment with the utmost of seriousness. There is no “right” to ordination for anyone. Our Canons are clear that all baptized persons are to have access to discernment processes. Whether any persons actually gets ordained is a much more complicated set of questions. To summarize: the principal thing this resolution does is simply to affirm that when our church makes decisions on who can and cannot be ordained, we will discern those decisions in accordance with our Canons. The Canons on these matters have not changed since 1994.

Some will ask, does this ignore the request of the Windsor Report for a moratorium on the election and consent to gay or lesbian partnered priests to the episcopate? Some would say so; I don’t think so. I don’t find the moratorium concept at all helpful, but unless and until a diocese of the church elects a gay partnered person to the episcopate, and the church gives its consent, there is, practically speaking, a moratorium in effect. And again, the only thing this Convention has said is that when any such decision comes before the church, the decision will be made according to our own Canons. The Convention simply clarified that “state of the question” to those who have been asking. The Convention changed nothing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

St. Matthew’s (Richmond, Va.) Clergy Statement in Response to General Convention 2009

Over the last 10 days the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church met in Anaheim, California. With the departure from the Episcopal Church of a major portion of the conservative and orthodox voices over the past year, this convention was predicted to be characterized by a lack of theological balance. During the past few days, this prediction has been proven to be overly optimistic.

In a matter of days, the General Convention has absolutely denied the role of the Church as the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), our position as a “constituent member of the Anglican Communion” (Constitution) and the sufficiency of Scripture as containing “all things necessary to Salvation” (Article VI of the Articles of Religion and the signed statement required for all ordinations, deacon, priest and bishop). Although the effect of these actions is immensely painful, at least now there is perfect clarity as to where our venerable denomination stands in the history of the Church.

Being in the line of the witnesses of the early Church and the reformation leaders Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, as your clergy we see this clouding of the Gospel light as an opportunity to shine even brighter for Jesus Christ. As Mordecai merely continued to be “the Jew” under the persecution of Haman and God prevailed (Esther) and as Latimer encouraged Ridley at the stake in Oxford with the exclamation of the power of proclamation provided by their martyrdom, your clergy will continue to stand firm for the Gospel in the context of the Episcopal Church until our voice is eliminated by God or the Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

William Murchison: The Gospel, Anyone?

…[General Convention], a triennial occasion, met in mid-July in Anaheim, Calif. Just around the corner lay Fantasyland. Good choice of locations. The deputies and bishops engaged almost daily in the fantasy of editing Christian theology to suit their newfound aspirations. These center on accommodating demands from the gay lobby to 1) allow the blessing in churches of same-sex relationships and 2) renew the commitment, earlier put on hold at the request of overseas Anglicans, to remove homosexuality and lesbianism as barriers to church leadership.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

In New England and elsewhere, The Episcopal Church ponders next step on same sex vows

Episcopal bishops in New England and Iowa, the only parts of the nation where same-sex marriage is legal, are preparing for a wave of requests to allow priests to oversee the ceremonies as the result of a decision last week by the Episcopal Church that opens the door to church weddings for gay couples.

In interviews yesterday, none of several bishops interviewed said they were immediately prepared to allow priests to officiate at same-sex weddings, which remain prohibited by the canons of the Episcopal Church.

But, citing the denomination’s decision Friday to allow bishops in states where same-sex marriage is legal to “provide generous pastoral response’’ to same-sex couples, the bishops indicated that they are looking for ways to allow priests to at least celebrate, if not perform, gay nuptials in church.

“The problem is the prayer book says that marriage must conform to the laws of the state and the canons of the church, but if we respond to the laws of the state, we are in violation of the canons of the church,’’ said Bishop Stephen T. Lane of Maine, where the situation is further complicated by a possible referendum to overturn same-sex marriage. “We’re trying to respond pastorally, but not to get so far beyond the bounds of what the church understands that our clergy are just sort of hanging out there.’’

Now everyone follow along. What is the article talking about? Same sex “nuptials”. Where are they taking place? In “church.” And those Episcopal Bishops in a particular region who will offer these liturgies are seeking a common practice (makes pastoral sense). Offering liturgies? Yes, the very liturgies encouraged and approved by General Convention 2009. That’s what liturgies are, correct, things like “nuptials” in a “church?” But we still have bishops trying to tell the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion that the Episcopal church didn’t approve liturgies for same gender unions at the recently concluded General Convention. What utter nonsense. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Anglican TV Interviews South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence about General Convention 2009

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Notable and Quotable (Again)

It’s true that the election of a practising gay person as a bishop in the US in 2003 was the trigger for much of the present conflict. It is doubtless also true that a lot of extra heat is generated in the conflict by ingrained and ignorant prejudice in some quarters; and that for many others, in and out of the Church, the issue seems to be a clear one about human rights and dignity.But the debate in the Anglican Communion is not essentially a debate about the human rights of homosexual people. It is possible – indeed, it is imperative – to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation, and still to believe that this doesn’t settle the question of whether the Christian Church has the freedom, on the basis of the Bible, and its historic teachings, to bless homosexual partnerships as a clear expression of God’s will. That is disputed among Christians, and, as a bare matter of fact, only a small minority would answer yes to the question….

Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching. And, to make clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about ‘inclusion’, this is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against – and so it is a question about how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures.

Rowan Williams: The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today (27 June 2006)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Ted Gulick saying General Convention 2009 did Not do what in Fact They did

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Epting Says General Convention did not Do what in Fact They did

3. Did not repeal B033 (last Convention’s resolution which asks bishops and standing committees to exercize “restraint” in consenting to the election of any bishop whose “manner of life” would cause additional strains on the Anglican Communion.)…

5. Authorized the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to work on designing rites for the blessing of same gender unions which would need to be brought back to the next General Convention for possible authorization in “trial use.”

6. Did not authorize any “public rites” for such blessings at the present time. The point of working on these for the future is so that we can get our theology right on these to know what we are actually doing as a church. This is crucial because the society is moving so quickly toward “gay marriage” and the church needs to be clear about what we think we are going when, and if, we bless such civil unions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention