Daily Archives: October 14, 2007
As Episcopalians and Anglicans wait to see if their fractious global fellowship will splinter or hold together in a long-running conflict over homosexuality and the Bible, other denominations are watching nervously.
The same or related issues are roiling many denominations, especially such mainline Protestant churches as Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists. And many church leaders and scholars predict that the way these questions play out in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion will hold lessons for them all.
“The struggle going on inside the Anglican Communion. . . is not peculiar to Anglicanism,” Sister Joan Chittister, a Roman Catholic nun, wrote in a recent column in the National Catholic Reporter newspaper. “The issue is in the air we breathe. The Anglicans simply got there earlier than most.”
Conservative Judaism has debated the issue as well, but the conflict is especially pronounced among Protestant churches. Said John C. Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: “They know it’s going to happen to them too.”
Across faith groups, the controversies revolve broadly around homosexuality: whether to allow openly gay and lesbian clergy or bishops and whether to provide official recognition to the unions of same-sex couples. But fundamentally, the debate involves questions of scriptural interpretation and whether the Bible’s teachings are to be seen as unchanging or in cultural and historical context.
The issues are not new. In many American Protestant denominations, the dispute has been simmering for about 30 years, longer than the same groups’ now largely resolved disagreements over ordination for women.
But in recent years, vocal minorities on both ends of the theological spectrum — religious traditionalists on one side, gay religious groups and supporters on the other — have become less inclined to search for middle ground.
Gay and gay-friendly pastors have been tried in church courts, and breakaway parishes and parent churches have fought legal battles over property. The national conventions of several denominations have taken up the topic again and again.
“On both sides of the question, there’s really no willingness at this point to compromise,” said the Rev. Jay Johnson, professor of theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and senior research director at its Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry. “This isn’t something that’s negotiable.”
Why does it matter so much to African Anglicans what the Episcopal Church thinks and does about homosexuality?
I think it is wrong to say it is between Americans and Africans, or the West and the Southern hemisphere. It is between two groups of people who understand the authority of Scripture differently. You see, for me as a Christian from Nigeria, my parents are Christians. My grandparents had practiced traditional religion before they became Christian. Now, in African traditional religion, if I had an attraction to a male person, that is considered as an abnormal thing, a spiritual problem. …
Now, when my grandparents met the English, who introduced us to the Christian faith, they read the Bible to my grandparents, and said, look, this thing you’re talking about, the Bible agrees that it’s sinful. So for us, the Bible supports our pre-Christian theology. We accepted it. We became Christian. And that is why in Africa, generally, if you have an abnormal sexual orientation, you don’t brag about it. …
That’s why we feel we are deceived, we have been cheated by the people the Lord Jesus Christ used to introduce us to the Scriptures, to bring us to a new faith in the Lord Jesus. They are telling us that it’s not wrong after all, that it’s a natural way. But we say: You are wrong; the Bible is right. So it’s not just a question of human sexuality. It’s about the authority of Scripture. For us, Scripture judges every culture. What I hear in the Western world is that culture judges Scripture. That’s the basic difference. It’s not a question of sex or no sex.
It’s the same thing with the unique nature of Jesus Christ and the finality of his sacrifice. …Today you will hear leaders of the Episcopal Church say that Jesus Christ is not the only way, and I say: “So why are you even in the church? You should resign.”
For the 110 Episcopalians who shared their stories at “The Abundance of God’s Love” retreat at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, Virginia, October 7-8, their tales were not entirely unique.
Unhappy with the actions of the Episcopal Church at General Convention in 2003 and 2006, their congregations’ leadership decided to reconsider their membership in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia.
Parishioners noticed a shift in the climate of their congregations: Episcopal flags were removed, or rectors focused their preaching primarily on “the issues.” They entered into “40 Days of Discernment” — in hindsight, with a sense of naivetÃ©, said some participants. And they all entered into a journey categorized by confusion, frustration and, for some, hopelessness.
“It’s like the stages of grief,” said Suzanne Fichter, parishioner of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, Herndon. “Denial, anger, acceptance.”
In the Diocese of Virginia, the majority of 15 congregations would vote to quit the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia. In several places loyal members of the Episcopal Church remained. In four of them — St. Stephen’s, Heathsville; St. Margaret’s, Woodbridge; The Falls Church, Falls Church; and Church of the Epiphany, Herndon — those loyalists reorganized. They called congregational meetings and elected new vestries and new delegates to diocesan council. They have returned to weekly Episcopal worship, albeit in exile from their church properties, and returned to mission and ministry in their communities.
But Mr. Perrotta said he purposely did not take what he called the Tom Wolfe immersion approach to researching the novel. Instead he wanted to learn just enough to make the novel plausible. At one point he heard about a woman in New York who had, like Ruth, been disciplined for remarks she made in a sex-education class.
Mr. Perrotta called the woman, but when she never returned the call, he was actually relieved. “I was happy with what I’d written,” he said. “Once I’d even heard that the story I was telling sounded familiar and possible, that was enough for me.”
He said he had no idea how an evangelical Christian audience would respond to the book. One character in particular, the aggressively pious Pastor Dennis, seems in some respects to fit a typical liberal perception of an evangelical preacher. But Mr. Perrotta said he actually admired the character’s integrity and authentic caring for Tim. Above all Pastor Dennis is not a hypocrite, Mr. Perrotta said. “Like a lot of secular Americans after that first wave of evangelical televangelists crashed and burned, like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye, there was this sense of, ”˜I know who those people are, they’re just a bunch of hypocrites,’” he said. “It took me a long time to understand that a lot of them were completely genuine.
After the abstinence rally in Wayne, Jason Burtt, the national director of Silver Ring Thing, the organization that mounted the event, approached Mr. Perrotta in the lobby and started chatting with him about the novel. When Mr. Perrotta explained the plot, Mr. Burtt said he didn’t believe in coercing teachers. “It is so unconvincing when someone in school is forced to teach abstinence if they don’t believe it,” Mr. Burtt said.
As he prepared to drive back to his mother’s house, Mr. Perrotta said he was struck by how courteous and nonconfrontational Mr. Burtt had been. Over all, he said, evangelical Christian culture seems mostly polite, as well as extremely un-ironic. In response, “a certain kind of collegiate irony is like a reflex,” Mr. Perrotta said. “And it’s a reflex of superiority and condescension. It just wells up. But when I write, I try to quiet it down.”
Imagine that, a lot of them being completely genuine. And their culture polite, too. My oh my. Read it all–KSH.
The Vatican has suspended a senior priest in the Holy See who acknowledged homosexual relations in a supposedly anonymous television interview, but was identified by superiors from background shots of his office.
In a major embarrassment for the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Saturday the monsignor, whose name was not released, was suspended from duty pending an internal investigation.
Local media identified him as a senior figure in a Vatican department which oversees matters relating to priesthood and said he also made regular appearances on Vatican television.
The synod of the diocese of Ottawa, by an overwhelming vote of 177 to 97, today approved a motion requesting its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize rites for such blessings.
But despite what he called a “strong majority” (65 per cent in favour) and “a clear directive,” the diocesan bishop, John Chapman, cautioned that the approved motion was only “a recommendation and is not binding on the diocese or bishop.”
Nonetheless, he said, it gave him an indication of the feeling of the diocese on the issue. He said that while there was a sense that “it’s not helpful for us to walk alone,” the vote also indicated that, “we’re not afraid to walk alone.” (Opponents of same-sex blessings warn that churches and dioceses who move forward with the issue would cut themselves off from the Anglican Communion.)
After the vote, Bishop Chapman told a news conference he could not say when he would announce his decision on the motion, adding that he would take the matter to the House of Bishops, which meets later this month. He added that there would be more consultations with the diocese, and other Anglicans both at the national and international level. “I really don’t know when I’ll make a decision. I just want to see the ground settle,” he said, adding that his immediate concern was “for those who voted in opposition to the motion; I want to make sure that they’re okay.”
Here is the main portion of one of the three resolutions proposed for the Diocese of Fond Du Lac Convention this coming weekend. You can read all the resolutions here.
Resolution 2007-03 “Anglican Pastoral Scheme”
Submitted by the Rev. Dean Einerson, the Rev. Paul Feider, the Rev. Jim Fosdick, the Rev. Malcolm
Hughes, the Rev. Tom McAlpine, the Rev. Ian Montgomery, the Rev. Ken Okkerse, the Rev. Wilson
Roane, the Rev. Ray Ryerson, the Rev. Ed Smith, the Scott Thompson
Whereas, the Primates of the Anglican Communion sought to give temporary relief to the minority in
the Episcopal Church, who dissent from the decisions of recent General Conventions, and
Whereas, the House of Bishops in March 2007 rejected that pastoral scheme, and
Whereas, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church in June of 2007 similarly rejected such a
scheme and sought to make General Convention 2009 the sole body able to make an appropriate
Whereas, there are several lawsuits to which the National Church is a party, which is expressly
addressed by the Dare es Salaam CommuniquÃ©, with the request that these cease,
1 Be it resolved, by the 133rd Annual Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, that
The Diocese of Fond du Lac, expresses its regret that the leadership of the Episcopal Church has rejected this pastoral scheme, and
The Diocese of Fond du Lac, asks the leadership of the Episcopal Church to provide meaningful pastoral support and oversight to the dissenting minority, having involved persons from that 6 dissenting minority in discussion, and
The Diocese of Fond du Lac, asks the leadership of the Episcopal Church to accede to the requests of the Dar es Salaam CommuniquÃ©.
The Diocese of Fond du Lac, asks that the National Church cease its participation in the litigation that is at present before the courts and any future such litigation.
The Liturgical Covenanting, Blessing, and Sending Forth of Couples in Committed
RESOLVED, that this 158th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California
commend to the Bishop of California the lectionary, rubric entitled “Concerning the
Service,” and three rites endorsed by the Commission on Marriage and Blessing, and
urge the Bishop to approve the trial use of these forms as resources in the Diocese of
California for formalizing the blessing of same-gender unions.
The Commission on Marriage and Blessing, in response to a resolution passed at the
156th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California, has adapted three extant rites
for use in the liturgical blessing of same-gender unions in this diocese. The rites are
”¢ The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (as well as The Blessing of a Civil
Marriage and An Order for Marriage) in The Book of Common Prayer
”¢ A Rite for the Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Covenants, commonly referred to
as The New Westminster Rite, from the Diocese of New Westminster in the
Anglican Church of Canada
”¢ Marriage Liturgy, Second Form, in A New Zealand Prayer Book
In endorsing these rites/resources, the Commission celebrates the intention of the
Episcopal Diocese of California to support and bless both same-gender and ”˜straight’
couples in godly relationships, while hoping for the day when ”˜marriage equality’ will be
the reality in our Church and State.
The Commission calls particular attention to the part of the rubric ”˜Concerning the
Service’ which sets forth, in addition to the familiar material adapted from the Book of
Common Prayer, the expectation that the use of liturgies of blessing for marriage and
union occur in the context of Christian community and with the community’s
understanding of its role in fostering godly relationships.
The rites and other materials referred to in the Resolution may be found in the
Commission’s Report to the 158th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of California and
on the Commission’s website (http://marriageandblessing.org) along with other
materials such as a bibliography for use in pre-marital/pre-union counseling and
examples of particular rites drafted or used over the years which are offered, without
endorsement, for informational purposes.
Commission on Marriage and Blessing
From here. Page 3-4. Note, the report is dated October 2007. It would be interesting to know exactly when this resolution was drafted. Pre or Post New Orleans?
From this blurb on page 6, we assume this resolution was drafted PRE New Orleans:
2007 and Beyond
The various CMB subgroups have been meeting during the first part of 2007,
including a working CMB retreat on March 31. We anticipate having a website up and
running by early summer, with sections on rites, resources, and matters of church and
state. (www.marriageandblessing.org) We plan on reporting to Diocesan Convention in
October, commending a list of Commission On Marriage and Blessing Endorsed Rites
and Resources for consideration by Convention, the Diocese, and Bishop Marc.
Having completed the initial phase of our work on rites, our primary tasks in 2008
will include continued development of resources for couples, clergy, and congregations
(per the second of the three resolutions cited above) and work on matters of church and
state, especially the issue of whether clergy should act as functionaries of the State in
marriage/civil union, etc.
Will New Orleans make any difference to the folks in the diocese of California? We’ll know next week.
“If I died right this minute, I would be able to say, ‘God, what a ride! What a ride!'”
“If I were to die today, I would be nervous about what people would say at my funeral. I would be happy if they said things like ‘He was a nice guy’ or ‘He was occasionally decent’ or ‘Mike wasn’t as bad as a lot of people.’ Unfortunately, eulogies are delivered by people who know the deceased. I know what the consensus would be. ‘Mike was a mess.'”
— Michael Yaconelli (1942-2003), whom we sorely miss
Here’s an excerpt from Bp. Paul Marshall’s convention address to the Diocese of Bethlehem this weekend:
Comment is needed in the aftermath of the late meeting of House of Bishops. I need to say something different from what other bishops may be saying in their conventions because the Bethlehem deputation in 2006 did not vote for the General Convention Resolution that the bishops were seeking to “clarify” for the primates. Something we were not favor of in the first place has been intensified.
Every single news report I have read about that meeting does not resemble the meeting I attended. Let me just say that I remain perplexed by the action and more perplexed by the process in New Orleans, but as always, I think God is providing a spiritual opportunity for me.
I find that as just a few years ago I had to learn to be a gracious “winner,” if such a term is ever appropriate, when the church was moving my way, now I must learn to be a gracious “loser,” if such a term is ever appropriate, when that course is reversed or halted. For some of you those poles are reversed, and it is your turn to be a gracious winner. Some of you may well feel keen disappointment and even rejection as a result of my colleagues’ clarifications. As those of you who accepted the invitation to meet with me two weeks ago know, I believe that your pain is deep and proportionate. I will not presume to say that I can feel anyone else’s pain, but I certainly recognize and grieve its existence, as do many, many people in this diocese.
Beyond that, I must also say that I believe we have held together as a diocesan community during a turbulent three decades not because our range of opinion and conviction is narrower than that found elsewhere in the Episcopal Church. We have held together because of discipline, the tough discipline we practice of keeping our focus on Christ rather than ourselves, the tough discipline of genuinely honoring the conscience of every member of this diocese and welcoming the gifts the Holy Spirit bestows on the Church through each of the baptized. In previous years in this room I have had to reassure those who might be considered conservative of this fundamental principle of our life. I find myself today needing to reassure those who might be considered liberal or progressive of the same thing, that the only disciples of Jesus excluded in this diocese are those who exclude themselves.
I do not know how to predict if what the Archbishop of Canterbury and our domestic leadership wanted of and got from the majority bishops of this church will be effective or productive, and having no power in the matter have chosen to cease from worrying about the behavior or witness of any bishop other than myself.
So here is where I am. My understanding of my relationship with Christ means that I am not personally able to sacrifice individual lives or the dignity of any follower of Jesus to even the most benign dreams of world-wide ecclesiastical empire, but will do my utmost to stay in real and effective communion with Anglicans in every place on the globe.
As the designated chief sinner of the diocese, I will continue to try to honor each of you as God’s works in progress, living stones built into a marvelous temple for the praise of God the Father. As Habbakuk was taught in last Sunday’s first lesson, we do not know how things will turn out but we do know that the future belongs to God and we are to keep busy letting people know that there is a vision. We need to do that communicating, the prophet was told, in letters
so big that joggers may read them. Translation: it must be unmistakable in our words and deeds that we trust the God who made each of us and that we are moving ahead in that trust.
In saying that I do not mean to say that we should pretend that our varying understandings do not exist. On the contrary, I meant something active and powerful and traditionally Anglican ”“ that is, in honoring and exploring our differences, we may generate the way through them to a place nobody would have imagined.
Let me dwell on this for just a minute. I just spoke of 400 years of Anglicanism in Virginia, now let me go back a mere 40 years, to a non-Anglican in California. In 1967, Dr. Ralph Greenson, “psychiatrist to the stars” and medical professor in Los Angeles, wrote about the tendency of his colleagues not to communicate with each about their disagreements in theories or practice. Remember, these are psychiatrists who weren’t communicating. Listen to his observations from 1967. Where you hear the language of his vocation, insert the language of our life as disciples. Ask whether Greenson’s words do not speak to our situation:
Those who wish to suggest innovations or modifications of technique do not usually confer with others who are more traditional in their viewpoint. They tend to form cliques and to work underground, or at least segregated from the mainstream… As a consequence the innovators are apt to lose contact with those groups”¦ that might help validate, clarify, and amend their new ideas. The secluded innovators are prone to becomes “wild analysts,” while the conservatives, due to their own insularity, tend to become rigid with orthodoxy. Instead of influencing one another constructively they each go their separate ways as adversaries, blind to whatever benefits each might have gained from an opening and continuing discussion. (The Technique and Practice of Psychoanalysis I, p. 2)
To put his observation in spiritual terms, we grow when we risk exploring each other’s perceptions and applications of biblical truth to test and strengthen our own grasp of God’s will for us. I would say that it is quite one thing to think that one possesses truth and quite another thing to experience oneself as being possessed by truth. Whether it is an old truth or a new truth, they who believe they own the truth will become rigid and defensive. They who believe they are possessed by truth, new or old, find themselves in joyful service to the truth, and willingly engage others so that all members of the conversation can be productive and balanced. Rigidity and disconnection are the enemies of spiritual growth in conservatives and liberals alike.
The value of the worldwide Communion, when it is working well, is that those who see something new and those who cherish something old, are in a position to grow in a conversation that is truly catholic. At the moment, at least, that possibility still exists and, like many, I hope that the long-promised conversation may actually get started.
We are deeply saddened by today’s decision of the Ottawa diocesan synod. Unfortunately, the synod has chosen to reject the pleas of the global Anglican Communion, and ”˜walk apart’ from the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.
We are grateful that Bishop Chapman has not made a hasty decision to endorse this action and pray that he will see the wisdom of listening to the Primates’ call. The Primates have asked the Canadian and US Churches for an unambiguous endorsement of traditional Church teaching on sexuality and an end to same-sex blessings.
“At a minimum, we hope the Bishop will provide a period of time to allow parishes and clergy to discuss their futures without fear of reprisal and with the confidence that the Bishop will honour the need for such reasonable and legitimate discussion,” says the Right Reverend Donald Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada. “There must be care for people who uphold Biblical teaching and are Communion minded. We need a charitable way forward.”
Should the Bishop agree to this request, the diocese will abandon historic Anglican teaching and signal that it does not value walking with the global Anglican Communion. This would only widen the split and fuel the crisis in the Communion.
This crisis is fundamentally a theological dispute about core Christian and historic Anglican teaching. It is about how we understand the nature, authority and truth of the Scripture. The question for the church is: are we going to view the culture through the lens of Scripture or will we view the Scripture through the lens of our culture. These are irreconcilable views of the Scripture that have led us to the brink of schism in the Anglican Communion. The Ottawa diocesan decision shows that the Anglican Church of Canada has a de facto “local option” policy for same sex blessings which is the opposite of what the Primates of the Anglican Communion requested in their Dar es Salaam CommuniquÃ©. This will also violate the conscience of many biblically faithful Anglicans in Canada.
The Network supports biblically-faithful, Communion-committed Canadian Anglicans. We are committed to remaining true to historic Anglican orthodoxy as articulated in the founding principles of Anglicanism in Canada, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ CommuniquÃ©s. We stand firm in the mainstream of Anglican tradition and Christian teaching ”“ together with the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.
The recent turmoil in the loosely affiliated churches that are described as “The Anglican Communion”, has produced or thrown into prominence several new committees and quasi executive bodies. Among them is a group that is called, somewhat quaintly, “The Primates’ Meeting”. These meetings began after the Lambeth Conference of 1978, but only recently have they seemed to mimic some of the organs of the much more tightly hierarchical Roman Catholic Church. Thus, at a fairly recent meeting in Tanzania, they requested (though, directed would seem more accurate) the Bishops of ECUSA, to “make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex (they mean, I assume, same-gender) unions in their diocese or through General Convention”. The Primates go on to insist that anyone living in a same-sex (sic) union should not be approved for Episcopal orders. I am not clear whether this means that such a life-style is permissible for deaconal or presbyteral orders.
Human beings are specialists in not seeing things. Most of the time, we screen out a vast amount of our world, a vast amount of what comes to us through our senses, especially through our eyes. Part of this is simply practical: no-one can manage to respond to all the promptings and signals that are actually coming at us, and one aspect of ordinary growing-up is simply acquiring the skills to select what is most useful.
But this is always in danger of slipping over into something else. Too easily, we learn to screen out what makes us uncomfortable, what challenges our sense of being in control. It’s not just that we select what matters and what is useful to us in finding our way around in the world; we select what reinforces our security and we treat everything else as if it didn’t matter.
And among the things we often prefer not to bring to mind is the fact that our ”˜ordinary’ secure and fairly comfortable lives depend on a great deal of invisible work by others. It’s true at the most routine level. But today we think specially of those who have chosen to put their own lives at risk for the rest of us. Some of them are asked to exercise the greatest heroism; some are called to that less spectacular but still real heroism which is to hold themselves in readiness of mind and body for whatever may come. When we recognize our debt to them, it is not only to those who have served and struggled heroically but also to those whose daily work and faithful support make it possible for heroism to happen. When we say our thank you’s to them, it is to all of them.
We’ve finished this as best we can for next weekend’s conventions. We need info from readers for Quincy, Rio Grande, Western Kansas, in particular
Reminder: Our Convention links spreadsheet is here.
Next Weekend’s Conventions (Oct. 19 – Oct 21)
Arizona: The Convention page is here. The most interesting thing we found so far was the list of breakout groups, including this one:
2] State of the Anglican Communion – The Rev. Jan Nunley, Deputy for Communications for The Episcopal Church, and The Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Dean of Trinity Cathedral and Chair of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Communications
California: The convention page is here.
Archbishop Ndungane, Primate of the Province of Southern Africa will be the featured guest:
The 158th Convention of the Diocese of California will provide a notable change from conventions of the recent past, and events throughout the week preceding convention promise to inspire and enliven members of the diocese while calling all into a deeper sense of community.
The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, has invited his friend the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Province of Southern Africa, to be present with the diocese during the week leading up to convention, and to preach the homily at the convention’s opening Eucharist to be held on Friday night, October 19, at 7:00 p.m. The entire week leading up to the convention’s day of business on Saturday, October 20, will feature regional appearances by Ndungane, with opportunities to engage him on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the continuing scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and his perspective on the Anglican Communion.
The convention booklet is here. (108 page PDF document). The Resolutions are found on page 61 and following. They include:
1. Proposed Appointment of an Assistant Bishop
2. Sudan Divestment
3. Protection for Immigrants and their Families
4. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
5. The Five-Year Strategic Plan for Ethnic and Multicultural Ministries
6. The Liturgical Covenanting, Blessing, and Sending Forth of Couples in Committed Same-Gender Relationships (We’ll have a separate post on this, maybe tomorrow.)
7. Building the Beloved Community in the spirit of Transparency, Communication and Mission
Note: there seem to be a lot of proposed canon & constitution changes too. See above link for convention booklet, pages 76-89. Perhaps someone familiar with canon law can review these and let us know if there’s anything notable?
Connecticut: Convention page
A list of workshops. Given the Diocese of Bethlehem resolution about inclusion of all the baptized which we’ve posted below this evening, this workshop and it’s description caught our eye:
Are You Living Up to Your Baptismal Covenant?
Leader (s): A. Bates Lyons
How many times have you participated in a baptism and read the Covenant? Have you really paid attention to what you are promising to do-with God’s help? This workshop will call attention to this promise in light of institutional racism within our church. You will leave the workshop with a new outlook on your covenant and determine if you ”˜Are Living Up to Your Baptismal Covenant.’ You will also experience one exercise on exclusion during the workshop.
Dallas: The diocesan home page has tons of convention info and links.
The proposed changes to Constitution & Canons are here
The Convention page is here. I can’t find any resolutions.
Of interest: a four-week study guide to help parishes prepare for diocesan convention.
Fond du Lac: Here’s the convention page.
All three proposed resolutions are interesting. We’ll probably be posting them separately in the next day or two:
2007-01 “Pledge to National Church”
2007-02 “Proposed Anglican Covenant”
2007-03 “Anglican Pastoral Scheme”
Quincy:. Kendall posted an article about the upcoming Quincy convention a few weeks ago, but I’m not sure I’ve seen any specific proposals or Constitutional changes.
We’d welcome info from readers!
Rio Grande: The pre-convention issue of the Diocesan Newspaper is here with all the nominees. But I’ve not seen any resolutions.
Spokane: The convention page is here.
The Pre-convention booklet (93 page PDF) is here. This includes the Report of the Task force on Same Sex Marriage (pp. 31-61), and Resolutions (pp. 67-77). Actually pp. 67-76 are Constitution and Canon amendments. p. 77 has the sole resolution re: the UN Declaration of the Rights of Children.
Western Kansas: No info found!
*** end ***
Delegates to the 136th Convention of the Diocese of Bethlehem unanimously approved this resolution on the Participation of all Baptized Members in the Life of the Church
Be it resolved, that in support of the House of Bishops as stated in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 25, 2007, “”¦ we [c]all for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.” and be it further
Resolved, that as all baptize Christians are ministers of Christ, they are invited to fully participate in the life of the church. and be it further
Resolved, that we continue the “Listening Process” throughout the Diocese.
The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 25, 2007, stated the following in “A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners.” In the summary of their statement, the eighth point reads: “We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.”
The Book of Common prayer, in the catechism, states the following: “The Church is described as the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head and of which all baptized persons are members.” (p. 854) ”¦ and “The ministers of the church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons.” (p. 855).
Mr. Robert Barker
The Rev. T. Scott Allen
The Rev. Canon Jane B. Teter
Ok, that’s all the news on COMPLETED conventions that we’ve been able to find tonight. So this post is now final.
Dioceses we still need more news from include: Alaska, North Dakota, Northern Michigan.
Here’s the link for the latest version of our convention links spreadsheet. All Diocesan Convention blog entries are here.
More links coming, and a separate post, if we find resolutions of interest, for upcoming conventions.
We’re finally getting back to working on diocesan convention news and links after first posting on that topic a week and a half ago. We’ll focus this post on dioceses that have already held their convention in the past few weeks. We’ll do a separate post for links and news, resolutions etc. for upcoming conventions.
Alaska: The Living Church has an article posted here re: resolutions regarding election of a new diocesan bishop as well as a suffragan.
The Diocesan Blog has a helpful post with news and lots of links re: the convention this weekend. Five resolutions were approved:
*NOTEABLE* resolution_on_participation_of_all_baptized_members This is posted as a separate blog entry above, you can comment on this there
Bishop Marshall’s address is here.
Colorado: Bishop O’Neill’s address is here. Here’s an interesting excerpt on the challenges to go “deeper”:
[blockquote] But like the gospel we heard tonight, there is that twist””that midpoint in the story in which Jesus calls those who would follow him to go even deeper.
What might that mean for us?
For Peter, it was about entering into deeper and deeper relationship with Jesus, and as a consequence being called to enter into deeper and deeper relationship with others. With each successive step in following Jesus, Peter was called out of himself to cross the lines of division and separation that so characterized his culture and society. He was challenged, by Jesus, to sit at table and break bread with those whom others would exclude. He was invited, by God, to embrace those who were radically different from him. He did so not without his own very real inner struggle and conflict. But he did so. He did so faithfully. He did so in obedience to Jesus. And in so doing, he gave the world a glimpse of the restored humanity that God desires for all humankind. For Peter, “the deep” was about giving of himself more generously than he ever thought possible. It was about learning increasingly to surrender himself, to abandon himself, to give himself up
completely, even to point of death, which is, if you think about it, the ultimate act of generosity.
There it is, the deep water””the challenge to live out of a posture of deep generosity, freely giving of ourselves in love to Love; and, as a consequence, the
challenge to enter ever more deeply into relationship with those around us whoever they may be. Here in Colorado the call to live generously has some very real challenges both practically and relationally.
Tomorrow, you will be presented with an operating budget””funding that you all set aside from your own congregational operating funds to support one another, to support the wider mission of the Church, through the Office of the Bishop. You will see that that proposed budget reflects the key mission initiatives that we have set before us, and you will see too that that budget is balanced. That would seem to be good and well. But I have to tell you it really isn’t. The funding for redeveloping the lives of our congregations is minimal. The resources to plant new congregations are extraordinarily limited. We have again reduced staffing in the Office of the Bishop. The money budgeted to support the summer camp program that has grown significantly over the past two summers will not cover the actual costs for this summer’s program. Funding set aside for the College and Young Adult Committee, which began its work in August, has been removed. Planned increases in funding to support children’s ministries in the diocese (training events, resources, resource development, and so on), is just not there. This
balanced budget is fiscally responsible, but it is, at the same time, missionally inadequate.[/blockquote]
There were no resolutions. ENS has an article about the Colorado Convention, here.
Milwaukee: We’ve added links to the spreadsheet for the convention page, the 1 resolution (on clergy compensation) and the budget.
The Pre-Convention journal has one resolution on the MDGs
South Dakota: There is this comment by Bp. Creighton Robertson on the Diocesan Information Exchange. There is no way to link it, so we post it in full:
Yesterday at 03:10 PM
Greetings in the name of our Lord:
Well, the Diocesan Convention is over for another year, and we will meet again in Chamberlain in 2008. I think the folks in the Black Hills Deanery deserve a special round of “thank you” for hosting this convention. Also, the people of the Mni Sose cluster in Chamberlain, Lower Brule, and Ft. Thompson deserve a special “thank you” for their help hosting with the Friday evening service and providing lunch afterward. It was good to see so many folks gathering to participate in this year’s convention.
The Banquet on Saturday evening was a little different, with a buffet dinner. Fr. Bunker Hill did a great job in locating the entertainer for the evening following the banquet. Great job Bunker!!
Some of the clergy, some lay folks as well, were upset that a letter had been mailed out from a group of folks at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Sioux Falls, asking folks to leave the Episcopal Church and join their Anglican group. The usual reasons were cited for their leaving, the issue of human sexuality, same sex union blessings, our failure to interpret scripture as narrowly as they do, and they ask all of us to consider leaving the Episcopal Church and join their splinter group. I spoke about some of their concerns in my convention address.
I believe that the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has addressed the HOB statement and finds that it has met the conditions set forth in the Windsor Report, which is the document being touted by these splinter groups as the standard for belonging to the Anglican Communion. Whether or not the Primates will follow the ACC’s lead is questionable. But as I said at the convention, it doesn’t matter, since the Primates do not have the authority to either ask or remove someone from being a part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church in South Dakota will continue to be the Anglican expression of faith here in South Dakota. I suppose that some folks will be unhappy with that and will likely leave us. They can do that if they wish, and they can go with my Blessing. We, the Diocese of South Dakota, will use whatever resources we have to ensure that folks at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church will be able to worship in the Episcopal/Anglican tradition as they have since that church was started.
As I said at the convention, this whole splinter conversation is not about being the church, it is about power, authority, biblical interpretation or rather the holding of everyone to one interpretation, and it is about control. It is about dishonesty and it’s about holding one group accountable to one standard and another accountable to a different standard.
I trust that you will see it for what it is worth, an attempt to force on the good people of this diocese, a way of life in the church which is at odds with the Anglican/Episcopal tradition as they have been expressed and handed down to us in this Diocese over time. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.
I am preparing a letter to be sent to all congregations in this Diocese concerning the House of Bishops statement at the New Orleans meeting in September. It can be made available but not read from the pulpit.
Note to the clergy: There will be a Diocesan Clergy Retreat at Blue Cloud Abbey on January 28-31, 2008, Monday through Thursday. The Reverend James Lemler will be our retreat leader, and he will build on the information presented at the clergy conference in Chamberlain. Please put this on your kalendars.
Thank you all who attended the convention last week; it was great to see all of you. It was a wonderful time.
Western Louisiana: Virtually nothing on the diocesan website so far. But of course, Brad Drell made up for that lack. You can find the links here.
Wyoming: We’ve added the link for the Wyoming Bishops Address. The focus was church vitality:
This is what a vital church looks like to me.
1. The unique perspective and contribution of every member is valued.
2. Members participate in ongoing engagement with the Gospel.
3. Members display the hard work of learning, discerning and healing.
4. Members engage in broad based, collaborative decision making.
5. There is full local engagement in determining strategies for mission and ministry
supported by diocesan staff.
6. All members share the Gospel in word and deed seeking to bring others into
relationship with Christ.
7. Should this congregation disappear from it’s community, it would be truly missed.
Vital churches bring Christ to the world and the world to Christ
Over the next decade we will pursue vitality. Vita (latin for life). We will become fully
alive, animated, vigorous, gospel sharing, bodies of Christ.
There don’t appear to have been any resolutions.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, criticized popular atheist writers such as Richard Dawkins on Saturday, saying they misunderstand religious beliefs and unfairly portray faith in God as “an eccentric survival strategy.”
“There are specific areas of mismatch between what Richard Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing,” Williams said in a speech at the Taliesin Arts Center in Swansea, a port city in southwestern England. “There are few things more annoying than people saying ‘I know what you mean.”‘
Williams described Dawkins, a British expert in evolutionary biology and author of the best-selling book “The God Delusion,” as a “wonderfully lively and attractive writer,” but criticized the way he has attacked belief in God as irrational.
“Don’t distract us from the real arguments by assuming that religion is an eccentric survival strategy or irrational form of explanation,” Williams said in a lecture to about 1,000 people in the fully packed auditorium or listening via speakers in nearby rooms.
Recently, militant, atheist writers such as Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the author of “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” have been making an all-out assault on religious faith and the influence of religion in the world among nonbelievers.
Williams said many Christians would not recognize their religion as it is described by such critics.
“When believers pick up Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, we may feel as we turn the pages: ‘This is not it. Whatever the religion being attacked here, it’s not actually what I believe in,”‘ the archbishop said.
If we hadn’t been offline most of yesterday and today, we would have noted earlier that Brad Drell was liveblogging the Western Louisiana diocesan convention.
Brad’s blog is here (There are 5 or 6 convention entries)
Perhaps of greatest interest are a resolution that was presented, and Bishop MacPherson’s address.
Here’s the resolution:
In accordance with the Lord’s High Priestly prayer that we be one, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the wider Anglican Communion which is a sign of the fulfillment of the High Priestly Prayer, and in working toward reconciliation of all people with God and each other, we propose the following resolution:
Whereas the Diocese of Western Louisiana is committed to following the recommendations of the Windsor Report; and
Whereas we support Bishop MacPherson’s resolution to the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans expressly calling for the establishment of a Pastoral Scheme as outlined in the Dar es Salaam Communique;
Be it resolved that the Diocese of Western Louisiana calls upon our Bishop, Standing Committee, and General Convention Deputation to initiate plans and to take all possible action toward the creation and implementation of the Pastoral Scheme proposed in the Dar es Salaam Communique; and to take all possible action to ensure that the Diocese of Western Louisiana remains fully in communion with the wider Anglican Communion.
Grace Church, Monroe
St. Michael & All Angels, Lake Charles
St. Paul’s, Shreveport
The Rev. Errol Montgomery, Christ Church, Bastrop
St. Thomas Monroe Delegation Members, Vicki LaMarca, Tony LaMarca, and David Furr
Judge Dee Drell, Individually, St. James, Alexandria
According to a later entry by Brad, the resolution was approved by laity but rejected by clergy: Lay: 70-53 in favor; Clergy 24nay to 19 yea.
Brad liveblogged Bp. MacPherson’s address here. We’ll post the official link/text when it becomes available.