Reuters: U.S. Episcopal church faces another showdown on gays

At the top of the agenda is a “request” issued by the presiding Anglican bishops meeting in Africa earlier this year that the 2.4-million-member U.S. church, by September 30, clearly renounce the blessing of same-sex marriages and make it clear it will not allow more non-celibate gays to become bishops.

The U.S. church in 2003 consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history.

That not only caused dissension and defection within the U.S. church but riled defenders of traditional Christianity in African, Asian and Latin American congregations that now account for half of the world’s Anglican followers.

And it left Williams with an increasingly difficult task of keeping the loose federation of Anglicans under one tent without alienating the U.S. church whose wealth gives it power far beyond its numbers in Anglican operations worldwide.

The Episcopalians have never issued a pronouncement for or against the blessing of gay unions, although the practice is common in some congregations. At its general convention in 2006, the U.S. church adopted a resolution urging congregations to “exercise restraint” in elevating anyone to bishop whose “manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.”

Read it all. Many leaders and some dioceses consider resolution C051from the 2003 General Convention to be an approval for same sex blessings, which is why more dioceses are engaging in it since 2003. The key as I have said earlier in response to Bishop Henry Parsley’s misrepresentation is that “local pastoral provision” for blessings is to cease. As for resolution B033, it did not do what the Windsor Report asked. Be sure to factcheck all articles and blog entries this week and seek to read from a variety of points of view–KSH.

Update: My minority report on C051 available here is an important document to reread, especially this section:

3. On point five, we wish to state in the strongest possible terms that, far from being consonant with the Primate’s Pastoral Letter, this is a denial of it. We quote from that letter, “The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same-sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorization of such rites.”
Thus, the Primate’s letter, in the strongest language and with a clear intent, implored this church not to develop such rites. This resolution is a complete and arrogant repudiation of the clear intention of the leaders of our church.
4. On point five, we ask the question, “What does it mean ”˜to experience’ such liturgies?” A simple reading of this language flies in the face of the intention of the Primate’s letter as it raises the question of how one can “experience” a liturgy without actually performing such a liturgy. Thus, this resolution has the effect of authorizing the performing of (quoting the resolution) “celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

8 comments on “Reuters: U.S. Episcopal church faces another showdown on gays

  1. Br. Michael says:

    For me the sort of game playing is all the proof I need that what is going on is not of the Holy Spirit. It also reflects a church that is contemptious of authority at it’s highest level. To say that we not authorized same sex blessings because there is no official liturgy and then winking at bishops who allow them “as a pastoral provision” is simply dishonest and the cynical creation of what government calls “plausable deniability” where you can deny that you are doing what you are doing.

  2. edistobeachwalker says:


    1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
    2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
    3. to darken.

  3. Brien says:

    I took seriously Bishop Schofield’s call to prayer (posted a few days ago); I don’t know what God is doing for the bishops in response to the prayer being offered. But, what I am seeing more clearly day by day is that we have truly fallen into the hands of the “corrupt tribunal” of the BCP Psalter.

    The frenzy of protestations all focusing on polity, and what we did or did not do (or what we can or cannot do–for example the new fiction that only the General Convention can speak for “the Church”) become pathetic and laughable. Just consider the writing of the “Bishop Lawyers” (or is that “Lawyer Bishops?).

    The place where the fruit of the Spirit is found, in contrast to the sound and fury of the HOB, is in the quiet and peaceful resolve of the GS pastoral initiatives. I feel as lifted up and encouraged as Noah must have when he saw the bird with the branch coming back across the flood. I don’t know where the dry land is or what it will look like, but I know it is coming.

    I am continuing my daily prayer, especially for Bishop Jenkins, my own bishop and friend for more than thirty years. I hope everyone else is as well.

  4. Bill Matz says:

    It is important to remember that proponents of C-051 (like D-039 in 2000 GC) assured us that C-051 was NOT an authorization for same sex blessings. Yet the ink was barely dry before some began to say it WAS authority for SSB. It is that lack of honesty and integrity in our church that I find so sad

  5. usma87 says:

    I apologize for the cross post. There was an interesting intro to the AP story on the HOB meeting in my local paper. It read:
    “[b]Anglican leader in U.S. over gay bishop[/b]
    By ROBERT BARR , Associated Press Writer
    last updated: September 15, 2007 11:09:00 AM

    Episcopal Church
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    LONDON —
    It wasn’t just a friendly invitation.

    U.S. Episcopal bishops, fed up with Anglican criticism of their support for gay priests, implored the Anglican spiritual leader to hear their side of the story – in person.

    Starting Thursday, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will be in New Orleans for that private talk, hoping he can hold together the increasingly fractured world Anglican family.”
    The link is here:

    I love the spin.

  6. Biff says:

    Reflect on the headline for a moment – “… a Showdown on Gays…”
    hard to believe, isn’t it?

  7. cssadmirer says:

    Usma87 in #5, I saw that article earlier on this blog.

    Interestingly, when I just went to search for it I found there were no comments.

  8. usma87 says:

    i posted my original on Stand Firm