Category : General Convention

(Covenant) Jordan Hylden+Keith Voets–Is Christ-centered comprehension possible on marriage in TEC?

The bishop-elect of Dallas, George Sumner, observes that comprehensiveness, while often a point of pride for Anglicans, is in fact a difficult achievement, not to be taken for granted (“After Comprehensiveness,” Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2004). He writes:

We see that Episcopalians are fighting over same-sex relationships, and we assume that Anglicanism is comprehensive, and so we ask, what is the intellectual superstructure that allows us now to remain comprehensive? This is surely a mistake; we assume what needs to be shown. Comprehensiveness assumes that common and more central doctrines form a framework, an encompassing context into which lesser disagreements may be placed and so relativized. Such larger, often tacit, agreements keep a tradition in contention from descending into sheer incoherence. Anglicanism shows comprehensiveness when it achieves these goals of showing the more basic agreement, and so of putting disputes in context. Only pride would assume that such success is the essential quality of our tradition.

If what we mean by comprehension is some kind of embrace of a “larger truth” on this issue, Sumner writes, that is the kind of muddled nonsense we must avoid.

Even for Anglicans up is not down, and black is not white; we too should make our yes a yes. We are not exempt from the law of noncontradiction. Either same-sex relationships are a blessing from God, or they are contrary to God’s will. While our tradition may prove comprehensive in many respects, if there is such a disagreement we cannot be comprehensive with respect to it. To deny this is to make of comprehensiveness a kind of transitional object by which we lull ourselves to sleep.Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A look back to 2012–Bp Mark Lawrence’s address Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellwshp

The Presiding Bishop hired an attorney in the Diocese of South Carolina, who presented himself as ”˜Counsel for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina’. I said, wait a minute, according to our polity we are The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. I am the only one that has juridical or jurisdictional authority here. She has not spoken to me. She has not asked for my permission, and there is no constitutional or canonical authority that the Presiding Bishop has to hire an attorney to investigate me and the Diocese or South Carolina. We called a Special Convention; told the Presiding Bishop to remove the attorney. I have never received any notice from her ”“ it is four years later.

That brought us into a cold war with the national church, and in a cold war the difficulty is everything you do to protect yourself in a cold war, can be interpreted by the person on the opposite side of the cold war as an act of aggression. That goes for me towards them and them towards me and so we have lived with that for three years now.

I need to conclude because our time is all but up, mine is already past. In the Fall of last year, I was informed that there were 12 allegations brought against me that I had abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. And after 2 or 3 months, the Disciplinary Board for Bishops came back and said, there is not enough evidence – I think that is the simplest way to put it ”“ that I have abandoned the communion and so I will not be brought up on charges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Robert Munday–A Dearth (Death?) of Anglican News

Having monitored the Anglican news scene for so long, I am noticing a sea change. Some Anglican news outlets seem to be having trouble finding stories to report. There have been slow seasons in Anglican news before, and the period following the Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention (which we are now in) is often one of those seasons.

But this time it is different, and I find myself questioning whether the Anglican news scene will ever be the same again. In July, I wrote a piece entitled, “Probably My Last Post about General Convention–Ever.” I felt safe in entitling it that because, not only has the Episcopal Church moved beyond my ability to care, it has moved beyond the ability to surprise. For something to be newsworthy, there has to be a certain “Man Bites Dog” element to it; and, frankly, we will never see that kind of newsworthiness from the Episcopal Church ever again.

Gay bishops–done that. Gay marriage–done that. Transgendered clergy–done that. Panentheist theology–now so much a part of the landscape that orthodoxy is virtually extinct. Episcopal Church tries to co-opt African churches with its money–entirely predictable. What is left to surprise us? Polyamory? Rewriting the Prayer Book for a gender-neutral or feminine God? These are just the next stops on the train ride

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Religion & Culture, Theology

(GR) This piece on Episcopal Bishop William Love of Albany contains a big, big, big hole

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Marriage & Family, Media, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Mass. Live) A Profile Article of TEC Bishop of Western Mass. Douglas Fisher

In the Episcopal Church we believe in the continuing revelation of God. The Holy Spirit did not retire to Florida after the Bible was written or the Creeds promulgated. The Holy Spirit continues to teach us. I believe that the Holy Spirit has been expanding our consciousness about the dignity and equality of our gay brothers and sisters. That consciousness might well have been developed in society before it was developed in the Church, and now the Church is catching up to the Holy Spirit. The Church is catching up to the broader society.

As to the election of Michael Curry as Presiding Bishop, he was chosen (the first time anyone has been elected on the first ballot) not because he is African-American but because in an outstanding field of four candidates, he is the best person to lead us now. Michael is an inspired preacher and brilliant organizer who passionately invites all to join the “Jesus Movement” – to change the nightmare this world so often is for so many into the dream God has for it.

Although he was not chosen because he is African-American, I do find it holy and good that an African-American was chosen at this time of tremendous racial tension in our country. Our country has a history of racism embedded within it that we have never really faced. Could this be the time to have an honest discussion about that history and move forward as a New Creation?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(The Spectrum) Same sex marriages allowed in Episcopal churches

“I think this is something that has been in the works for more than a year,” said Lee Montgomery, vicar for St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Cedar City.

Because of that, Montgomery said he was “not at all surprised” by the decision, but he has mixed feelings about the reaction of some of his congregants.

“Personally, as I interpret the Bible and from our religious perspective, I applaud the Supreme Court decision that finally grants the right to marry to a group that I think has been deprived of that right,” Lee said. “At the same time, I feel extreme sadness because I know there are people who disapprove of the Supreme Court ruling.”

Some within the Episcopal Church view the decision to perform such marriages in the church as being in opposition to their religious beliefs, said Lee. “I feel sympathy for those people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Munday–Probably my last post about General Convention–ever!

I say the distinctions are questionable: The New Testament makes no such distinction between false teaching and heresy. When the Apostle Paul tells his disciple Timothy and the various churches to which he wrote not to tolerate false teachers, he did not make a distinction as to whether their false teaching concerned a matter that would someday be included in the Nicene Creed. In fact, the admonition was often to separate from false teachers who promoted immorality (1 Corinthians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 10:8, 2 Corinthians 6:17, Ephesians 5:3). The same is true for other apostles (2 Peter 2:1-10, Jude 3-7).

Heresy has also been defined as any departure from the faith of the Catholic Church, which Vincent of Lerins identified as that which has been believed by the whole church throughout the world, from the beginning, and by all (universality, antiquity, and the consensus of the faithful). Who can disagree that the Episcopal Church has seriously departed from the received faith of the universal and ancient church–and on a matter of ultimate importance: God’s stated will for humankind in the matter of sexual relations and God’s ordained sacrament of Holy Matrimony?

And as to remaining in communion, the New Testament makes no such stipulation. The Apostle Paul does not say, if the body with which you are associated continues in false teaching for a generation, then you (or, more likely, your children) are obliged to separate from it. No, the admonition is that those who are serious about following the way of Christ are either to expel or to separate from false teachers immediately.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(The Advocate) Very few Episcopal Churches in Louisiana indicate they will allow same-sex weddings

The Episcopal Church earlier this month took a leap forward in its evolving approach to gay rights, voting to allow priests to marry same-sex couples. But that won’t mean a rush to the altar at Louisiana churches.

No churches in the state have permission to marry gay couples until Nov. 29, the first Sunday of the Advent season. That’s when two new marriage rites using gender-neutral language become available for church services.

Meanwhile, priests who are opposed to same-sex marriage can, as a matter of conscience, refuse to officiate at such ceremonies. In Louisiana, that’s the norm.

Only a handful of the 97 Episcopal churches in the state have indicated they are planning to start holding same-sex weddings when the new rites take effect. These also are the only Louisiana churches that have presided over same-sex unions through a special “blessing” the Episcopal Church approved in 2012.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

TEC Bishop of Oklahoma discusses General Convention Same-Sex Marriage Vote

[Bishop Ed] Konieczky said he voted against a related measure that calls for a change in the the denomination’s canonical definition of marriage as a “union of a man and a woman.”

He said the resolution, which was eventually approved, calls for altering the current canon language to “gender-neutral language,” replacing “a man and a woman” with “both parties.”

In his letter to the Oklahoma diocese on the Sunday after the denomination’s vote on gay marriage, Konieczky said he voted against this language alteration because it places the denomination’s canon in conflict with language used in their Book of Common Prayer and the denomination’s constitution….

Konieczky said he did not think the denomination had done the necessary theological work to make the switch to gender-neutral language.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

George Clifford–Did TEC General Convention Same-Sex Marriage Decision Further promote Division?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Wash Post) TEC approves religious weddings for same-sex couples after controversial debate

The bishops agreed to allow clergy to begin offering same-sex marriages using the new rites after Nov. 1. However, no clergy could be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage, and a bishop had the authority to forbid his clergy from celebrating gay marriages.

The former bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, explained to the bishops in Salt Lake City the accommodation meant that a conservative priest in a liberal diocese would incur no penalty if he refused to perform a same-sex marriage. The priest would, however, have to pass a couple seeking to be married on to another church or priest to perform the ceremony.

Priests in dioceses where the bishop forbid same-sex marriages may not solemnize gay marriages. A priest who did so would be liable for punishment for disobeying the bishop. A diocese that does not perform gay marriages must pass the couple on to another part of the church that permits gay marriage.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AI) TEC Bishops narrowly reject call to study question of Communion of the unbaptized

The House of Bishops has rejected the call to revisit the issue of allowing the non-baptized to receive Holy Communion. By a vote of 79 to 77 the bishops rejected Resolution C010 “Invite All to Holy Communion” which called for the creation and funding of a task force to study…[communion of the unbaptized].

During the afternoon session of the 7th legislative day on 30 June 2015 at the 78th General Convention meeting in Salt Lake City the House of Bishops took up three resolutions submitted for consideration by the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music.

Without debate the bishops endorsed Resolution A067 “Revise Book of Common Prayer for Revised Common Lectionary”, which calls for the church to use the lectionary found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and not the Revised Common Lectionary for services during Holy Week.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

A.S. Haley–TEC Bishops Bless Blasphemy at General Convention

One hundred and twenty-nine of the bishops in the Episcopal Church (USA) House of Bishops voted yesterday to embrace blasphemy as a “trial rite” for same-sex marriages in the Church. The blasphemy begins in the rite at the point where the celebrant says to the congregation (see p. 98 of these materials; my bold emphasis added):

Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of N. and N. in Holy Matrimony. The joining of two people in a life of mutual fidelity signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and so it is worthy of being honored among all people.

As I wrote in an earlier post, critiquing the rite when it was first proposed, the bold language evinces a category mistake of the worst sort, by equating the union of two people of the same gender to the holy union between Christ and His Church. (How can they be equated? In the former, which of the two men — or two women — signifies Christ, and which the Church?)

The bishops approved three other rites for trial use, as well, but they are just as blasphemous in invoking the blessing of the triune God on the union/marriage of a same-sex pair.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bp Dan Martins reports on the TEC HOB Marriage Decision

Resolution A036 is another matter. It alters the canon governing marriage to make the language gender-neutral. My handful of allies and I felt this is where we needed to make our stand. We immediately moved a minority report that emerged from the Special Committee on Marriage as a substitute for the resolution. This report was simply a document affirming the traditional understanding of marriage, and was not an alternate canonical change. We had cleared it in advance with the parliamentarian, who deemed it in order. But one of the bishops fairly quickly challenged the Presiding Bishop’s ruling that the substitute was in order, and called for a vote on the matter, which is allowed in Roberts Rules. A majority of the bishops voted to overturn the Presiding Bishop’s ruling, so our substitute was taken out of play. The parliamentarian was, of course, correct, so this was simply the names exercise of raw power. The mood of this convention is “spike the ball.”

Debate proceeded, and there were a couple of amendments and amendments to amendments moved, but none carried. My allies and I did successfully request a roll-call vote, however, which tends to annoy people. Nonetheless, we felt it important for us to be on the record for the benefit of worldwide consumption, particularly among our Global South friends, who are always under pressure to cast us aside in favor of an exclusive relationship with the ACNA. There was some 150 or so bishops still around (down quite a bit from Saturday’s PB election). There were 26 No votes and five abstentions. We got our heads handed to us.

One could argue that there are some details still in play before it’s possible to conclusively say, “Done deal.” And the House of Deputies still has to act, though the conclusion there is more foregone than with the Bishops. Nonetheless, the Episcopal Church has, today, effectively redefined marriage–a universal and timeless human social institution that Christians have believed is, in fact, not merely a human social institution, but a gift from God that is literally prehistoric, participating in the order of creation. We have done so, moreover, without even a pretense of consultation with the other provinces of the Anglican Communion, to say nothing of the rest of the Christian world. It is an act of breathtaking hubris, an abuse of common sense truly worthy of the descriptor Orwellian.

Is it heresy?

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

A Living Church report on General Convention–TEC Bishops Redefine Marriage

The Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely, Bishop of Vermont, reported the work of the special legislative committee on marriage. Five of the bishops on the committee recommended that a liturgy for blessing covenant relationships and “three liturgies of marriage be authorized for trial use in accordance with Article X.” The designation of the liturgies as being for “trial use” sets into motion the process of amending the Book of Common Prayer. Bishop Ely described this move as “the approach most faithful to our polity.”

He then described A054 as “a more practical ordering of Canon 18.” He noted, however, that the resolution had been amended in committee to include “a more robust declaration of intent” in line with the prayer book. He stated his belief that the proposed canon in A054 does not conflict with the prayer book, thus avoiding “a constitutional crisis.”

Read it all and there is more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons