Frank Limehouse is the Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama
A Response to “Communion Matters”
by The Very Rev. Frank F. Limehouse, III
July 12, 2007
From the Preface of “Communion Matters: A Study Document for the Episcopal Church”:
“The Theology Committee of the House of Bishops has been asked to prepare this study document as a resource for the bishops, dioceses, and the people of the Episcopal Church in considering the communiquÃ© of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion.
“As most Episcopalians know, issues of human sexuality recently have threatened to impair our relations with other Anglicans. To seek godly wisdom and prevent further damage to our bonds of fellowship, we have been engaged in global conversation involving back-and-forth position papers and dialogue that are both prayerful theology and ecclesial diplomacy.
“This most recent statement in this ongoing process is the CommuniquÃ© of the Primates’ Meeting of the Anglican Communion issued in February 2007 from Tanzania. The CommuniquÃ© addresses our 2006 General Convention response to the requests of the Windsor Report on Communion, and makes additional requests of our House of Bishops. It asks for a response by September 30, 2007”¦
“This study document”¦ poses questions for our (Episcopal church) corporate reflection to assist the bishops as they prepare for the fall meeting of the House of Bishops.”
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The clergy of the Diocese of Alabama have been encouraged to make “Communion Matters: A Study Document for the Episcopal Church” available to the people. It is meant to engage the people of the church and ask, “What do you think?” As Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, and at the encouragement of the vestry, I am taking this opportunity to briefly respond with my own thoughts. On July 24 at 6:30 pm, the people in this part of the diocese will have the opportunity to meet with Bishop Parsley at All Saints’ Church, 110 West Hawthorne Road, in Homewood.
The clergy of the diocese have already met (June 19) for the purpose of this discussion. Let me say first of all that I appreciate our bishop’s kind tolerance and patience in allowing a guy like me to express my honest feelings toward the document. This is especially so considering the fact that he himself chairs the Theology Committee that put it together. Had he been a one-man committee, I suspect we would have a better document!
In the second paragraph of the preface of Communion Matters, it is written, “As most Episcopalians know, the issues of human sexuality recently have threatened to impair our relations with other Anglicans.” While this is true, the fact of the matter is human sexuality is only the presenting issue. The underlying issue is the authority of our Scriptures. Be that as it may, I think this document is written from a revisionist-minded perspective. It indoctrinates, rather than seeks opinion. It feels like a kind of set-up. It seeks to dignify the direction of the Episcopal Church; it begs for self-justification for all of the recent actions of the Episcopal Church.