Saturday, July 25, 2009

Andrew Carey: Waiting on the Archbishop ...

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, one of the few leaders of real stature left in The Episcopal Church of the USA, plays his cards close to his chest in a recent interview with Anglican TV . After General Convention’s decisions to rescind the so-called moratoria and press ahead with same-sex blessings he indicates that his diocese will be looking in the coming months at how they are going to strategically place themselves both in The Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion.

What this really means is that conservative Episcopalians who remain in the American Church will need to find some way of distancing themselves from their own Church without placing themselves in the sort of anomalous position in which the recently formed breakaway Anglican Church in North America finds itself. The point for Bishop Mark Lawrence is that dioceses like his need to be part of the solution as far as Anglican renewal and reformation is concerned rather than outsiders to the discussion. He acknowledges though that this is going to take a long time to clear up with the Anglican Instruments of Unity meeting so infrequently. He says, “I suppose what many people are waiting for is the Archbishop of Canterbury to weigh in. Waiting ... waiting ...

--This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, July 24, 2009, edition, on page 15 (emphasis mine)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

TitusOneNine - July 23 Status - Back Online at Normal Address

Yippee!! The elves are rejoicing this morning. Greg G. and our great tech support folks have sorted out all the database issues that had kept T19 offline for the past week to 10 days.

You should be able to find Kendall at his normal address:

You may need to clear your browser cache in order to see the blog. Also, some ISPs will register the change more quickly than others, so you may need to be patient for a few hours longer.

Finally, in the process of fixing the tech problems, there has been a much greater degree of separation between TitusOneNine and Stand Firm. We still share hosting service, but the database of registered users will now be separate. Stay tuned for further details. Currently registered users should be able to use their normal login information for both blogs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Bishop of Dallas Writes His Clergy about General Convention 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Diocese of Dallas,

I write to you in response to the actions of the recent General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Anaheim, California. Some in the diocese will be pleased with much that happened, while others will view with alarm some of the resolutions passed.

I feel compelled to speak a word to the Diocese of Dallas concerning three actions in particular. The first two gathered the most press attention and later comment. Members of our Diocese as well as Anglicans throughout the Communion are particularly concerned about these actions, which took the form of resolutions.

The Communion at large has been looking for a clear word from The Episcopal Church as to whether we will continue to honor the moratoria on developing rites for the blessing of same sex unions and consenting to the election to the episcopate of a person living in a same sex relationship. These moratoria were first suggested in the Windsor Report of October 2004 and were occasioned by the consecration of a bishop in The Episcopal Church living in a non-celibate same-sex relationship. A pledge, known as B033, to “exercise restraint” in giving further consents to such persons was adopted by the Convention of 2006. And while the 2006 Convention did not declare a moratorium on blessing rites for same-sex unions, it nevertheless turned away several resolutions calling for development of such rites. The Primates of the Anglican Communion took note of these actions with gratitude at their meeting in 2007 (Dar es Salaam), but requested greater clarity. That clarity would come in 2009.

It is clear from the resolutions passed, as well as from the floor debate in both Houses, that it is the intention of the leadership of The Episcopal Church that the moratoria requested by the Communion are no longer binding. Although a number of commentators, among them bishops, have maintained that the moratoria themselves were not specifically addressed, it is clear that both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops view their previous pledge as cancelled. It was the stated desire of both Bishops and Deputies that this General Convention speak clearly to the Communion concerning “the reality of where this church is.”

Resolution D025 reads (in part): “That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call [gay and lesbian persons in lifelong committed relationships], to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church” and further declares that it is competent to deal with these calls in its own “discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.”

Resolution C056 reads (in part): “That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th General Convention”.

While it is true that neither of these resolutions deal explicitly with repudiations of either previous actions of the Convention or of specific requests made of our Church, it is also quite true that their intent is plain. The 2006 resolution had called for restraint on giving consent to the consecration of any bishop “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.” That concern is now completely absent in D025, and the only criteria in making such decisions are entirely internal. As for C056, the operative word is “develop.” The plain sense here is to “create,” “produce,” or “promote.”

C056 also resolves that bishops “may provide generous pastoral response” to meet the needs of same-sex couples, and this, before providing any theological support for the rites themselves. This appears to give a “green light” to local, unilateral action, and is already being so interpreted by a number of bishops.

Taken together, this is de facto a repudiation of the repeated requests directed to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Communion, and the Anglican Consultative Council. It is also, I would argue, a repudiation of a previous actions of our own General Convention, in 1991, which mandated a “pan-Anglican” and ecumenical consultation on these matters, because “these potentially divisive issues which should not be resolved by the Episcopal Church on its own.” (1991-B020)

Although these resolutions deal specifically with matters concerning same-sex relationships and persons living within them, I want to remind you of the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his paper following our 2006 General Convention (“The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today”):

“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.”

There are many gay and lesbian members of our congregations. Some long for the day when the Church will recognize and bless their relationships. Others among them do not. Add to these a number of people who are considering whether they can even remain in The Episcopal Church any longer. Ministry in these circumstances can be agonizing indeed. The churches of the Diocese of Dallas will, I trust, continue to be a place where all are welcome. We all kneel on level ground before the cross of Christ.

But the larger question is what it means for “the Church” to make these decisions: is it right or good, or even possible, for a congregation, a diocese, or even a province of the Universal Church to make its own way and claim to give “the Church’s blessing” – or God’s? Discerning the mind of Christ surely must mean doing this together. The Christian faith is something we receive, not legislate. Our own Book of Common Prayer recognizes that “the bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. And Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people.” (BCP, p. 423)

In the meantime, we need to be clear about where “we are” as a Diocese:

  • The Diocese of Dallas will continue to hold up and proclaim the apostles’ teaching that is the ground of Christian fellowship, and the foundational promise of our Baptismal vows.
  • We will continue to stand with the larger Church in affirming the primacy of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage and the call to holiness of life.
  • We will not consent to the election of a bishop living in a same-sex relationship, and we will not allow the blessings of same-sex relationships in this diocese.
  • We will continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, engage in mission at home and abroad, plant new congregations and make disciples of our Lord.

These commitments are in keeping with the historic teaching of the Holy Scriptures as held by the vast majority of the Anglican Communion, and, for that matter, the Church throughout the centuries.

I mentioned earlier a third significant resolution passed by the General Convention. Resolution D020 “invites” the dioceses and congregations of the Episcopal Church to study the proposed Anglican Covenant and “to consider the Anglican Covenant proposed draft as a document to inform their understanding of and commitment to our common life in the Anglican Communion.” I commend this study to our churches and I intend to give a prominent place at our Diocesan Convention in October to such a consideration.

Bishop Lambert and I will be conferring with the Standing Committee and the Clergy of this Diocese on these matters. In the meantime, please know that we will continue to stand with the larger Communion and the historic Church in upholding the apostolic faith and fellowship.

It is imperative that we as a Diocese commit ourselves to one another and work together for the building up of God’s kingdom. At no time in the life of this Church has it been so critical for the community to stand together to carry the message of the Good News of Christ to a broken world. We cannot live in isolation from one another but must find ways to work with and support one another in our common mission and ministry. Now is not the time to “run for cover” but to step out in the name of Jesus Christ and continue to worship, work and witness for the glory of God.


The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton
Bishop of Dallas

Kendall Harmon and Jeff Walton interviewed About General Convention 2009

Church Times: Noncelibate Gay bishops more likely after US passes ‘nuanced’ motion

THE General Convention of the US Episcopal Church this week appeared to signal an end to its moratorium on the consecration of people in same-sex relationships.

Read it all.

TitusOneNine Status Update July 22

All, at some point soon, Greg G. is going to be doing quite a bit of work to resolve some of the technical issues that have been affecting TitusOneNine for the past week to 10 days. The goal will be to get Kendall's blog back to its normal address:

The temporary normal version of T19 seems to still be available:

But Kendall has refrained from posting new entries there since last night, perhaps in anticipation of the server move and database reorganization. I'm guessing this backup site will be the most current and complete version of TitusOneNine for the next 24-48 hours, so please bookmark it:

We will let you all know as soon as we get the All Clear from Greg and crew and when the normal version of T19 is back online and running smoothly. Thanks for your patience.

--the elves

There are 10 New Posts Below from last night and this morning. Keep reading!

Religious Intelligence: American dioceses allowed to create same-sex blessing rites

An amendment was proposed seeking to restrict the “generous pastoral provision” clause to dioceses located only in those states that had adopted gay marriage laws. However, objections were raised, with the Bishop of San Diego arguing “pastoral generosity is not related to geography.”

The Bishop of Western Kansas asked Bishop [Wayne] Smith if pastoral generosity included liturgical blessings. Bishop Smith replied the Committee had considered adding a specific provision for liturgies, but believed it best not to enumerate the forms pastoral generosity might take.

“Liturgies could be included” within the meaning of the resolution, but would not be named, he said.

The “reality of marriage of same gender couples is coming to you soon,” Bishop Robinson argued, adding that he was uncomfortable with the conditional language of the resolution, believing all bishops must allow the blessings. The word ‘may’, “implies a bishop might not do so,” he said, adding that “I would argue that all of us are about providing generous pastoral responses.”

Read it all.

Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans: A church divided by belief

Several African archbishops have severed ties with the American church over issues of sexuality, and more may follow. In the United States, many conservatives have defected. Some have formed a theologically conservative group called the Anglican Church in North America, which does not allow women bishops or sexually active gay clergy.

Resoundingly rejecting calls for restraint by global church leaders - including Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury - American church leaders voted to end a moratorium on consecrating openly gay bishops. (The church allowed the consecration of its first such bishop in 2003.) The General Convention also authorized a commission to develop rites for blessing same-sex couples.

The move to further liberalize the American church seemed strangely defiant, especially amid membership and budgetary troubles. It may now be more difficult for President Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori to defend her opposition to the Anglican Church in North America's bid for full-fledged membership in the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Robert Duncan Writes an Open Letter to Anglican Communion

Two Cities: One Choice

An Open Letter to the Anglican Communion

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There are times in the history of God’s people when the prevailing values and behaviors of those then in control of rival cities symbolizes a choice to be made by all of God’s people. For Anglicans such a moment has certainly arrived. The cities symbolizing the present choice are Bedford, Texas, and Anaheim, California. In the last month, the contrasting behaviors and values of the religious leaders who met in these two small cities made each a symbol of Anglicanism’s inescapable choice.

Jerusalem and Babylon come to mind as the Scriptural cities which are enduring symbols of choices to be made by God’s people, and of what can happen when God’s people make a choice for something other than God’s Way, God’s Truth, God’s Life, as set out in God’s Covenant, whether Old or New.

Charles Dickens contrasts London and Paris in the last quarter of the 18th Century in his Tale of Two Cities. Both cities are in crisis, but one operates from received values and behaviors, while the other attempts to re-make the world to its own revolutionary tastes.

St. Augustine of Hippo in his De Civitate Dei contrasts the City of God and the City of the World, explaining the fate of Rome in terms of the favor that comes from conforming to the behaviors and values of the Heavenly City as over against the Earthly City.

The Anglican Church in North America, whose leaders met at Bedford, Texas, from June 20th to June 25th, embraced the values and behaviors familiar to Christians in every age: daily repenting of human sin in disobeying the one Lord, embracing the need (both personal and corporate) of a divine Savior, and recommitting to the proclamation in word and deed of the gospel of transforming love. The unity at Bedford, despite very real differences, was palpable.

The Episcopal Church, whose leaders met at Anaheim, California, from July 8th to 17th, blessed the values and behaviors of a re-defined Christianity: enabling a revisionist anthropology, budgeting litigation rather than evangelism, and confusing received understandings of Scriptural truth, not least concerning the necessity of individual salvation in Christ Jesus. At Anaheim, there were those who valiantly stood against the revolutionary majority, and their pain and grief at what was happening was heartbreaking for all who saw it, not least for their brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church in North America.

The North American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by. That has made all the difference." For Anglican Christians, for the Instruments of Unity (Communion), for interdependent Provinces, for ordinary believers, there is a choice to be made. The choice is between two religions, two roads, two cities, two sets of conflicting values and behaviors. In Deuteronomy, chapter 30, Moses sets the choice as between blessing and curse, life and death. For contemporary Anglicanism the present choice is this stark.

I write this humbly and as a sinner. I also write it as one whose hope is in Christ alone, and with deepest love for all for whom He died and rose again.

The letter is signed this way:

Faithfully and Obediently,

The Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, D.D.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America
Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh

The Bishop of Mississippi Writes About General Convention 2009

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury

We do not concur with any action taken that would be interpreted by the larger Communion as divisive, dismissive of our larger Anglican Communion or schismatic. The outgrowth of the decisions of the General Convention has yet to be ultimately determined as to its impact on our common bonds of affection that we should all share, and honor, as part of the worldwide Anglican family.

Some will clearly share the assessment of His Grace, Bishop N.T. Wright that The Episcopal Church has, by its most recent actions, chosen to “walk apart.” It would be our hope that if you share that assessment, that you would also share Bishop’s Wright’s counsel to “…not forget the ‘Communion Partner’ bishops, who doggedly loyal to their church, and to the Windsor Report as expressing the mind of the wider Communion, voted against the current resolution. Nor should we forget the many parishes within revisionist dioceses (and, for that matter, worshippers within revisionists parishes) who take the same stance,” (The Times, 15 July, 2009). Again, let us categorically state, that we believe our ties to both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion must remain solid and unfettered by any action, resolution or statement that would in any way further tear the very fragile fabric that is now our Anglican family; and therefore would not support any such action, resolution or statement.

Lastly, we reaffirm our pledge of support for the unfolding Covenant process and it is our hope that Part IV of the Ridley Draft will soon be revisited and approved as a pathway for not simply Provinces, but Bishops, Dioceses and individual parishes to renew their commitment not only to the Anglican Communion, but to those vital pillars that in the end, draw us all together, rather than cause further division.

Read it all.

A Transcript of Bishop Mark Lawrence's Anglican TV Interview

As we’ve spread the Anglican understanding of Christianity around the world we’ve been slow to put into place structures that sufficiently govern the spread of Anglicanism. With the spread of the Internet and intercontinental travel, we find ourselves playing catch-up with the “flat world” and as we’re playing catch-up there’s those who want to hold on to old methodologies of government that just are not sufficient for the 21st century. My contention is that what we are in the midst of right now – what is at stake – is not just Anglicanism in North America; it is Anglicanism throughout the world.

I have not been and we in South Carolina do not see ourselves as somehow or another reforming the Episcopal Church. The landscape of Anglicanism is shifting all the time and this General Convention will shift it once again. What is at issue now is the survival of the Communion, and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform people’s lives rather than the gospel of inclusivity that is also aggressively being spread. And so as I look at our role in the Diocese of South Carolina, we are to work for the shaping of Anglicanism in the 21st century, and we need to find and remain and stay in that place that will give us the most leverage in doing that.

In the domestic landscape you have two entities. You have TEC [The Episcopal Church] and the Anglican Church in Canada, which from my perspective is promulgating the gospel of inclusivity that would displace the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what we know of as the core doctrine of the Christian faith. That entity would export, or would like to export this uncatholic teaching about Christ and His Church. Then you have in ACNA, a confederation of people that (speaking for myself), I do not see a fullness of catholic ecclesiology there. There seem to be some groups that are so wedded to their personal identity (even though their personal identity may have only been around five or ten years) that there is a hesitancy to surrender that identity. So what we have almost is a codified (and I hate to use the word) schism that looks of prenuptial agreements: “I’ll enter into this but I’m not going to surrender myself fully to one another.” Thomas Brown described [them] centuries ago: Those who schism with others who lightly bond among themselves. What those in ACNA have to get over is that unwillingness for mutual accountability, surrender and responsibility.

Read it all.

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: 2009 Episcopal General Convention Report

ARCHBISHOP ROWAN WILLIAMS: Along with many in the Communion, I hope and pray that there won’t be decisions in the coming days that could push us further apart.

[KIM] LAWTON: Much of this week’s debate centered on balancing Communion concerns with a desire to move forward.

BISHOP GENE ROBINSON: I believe with my whole heart that we all know where this is going to wind up. It is going to wind up with the full inclusion of all of God’s children in God’s church.

BISHOP PETER BECKWITH: I would concede that if indeed that it is the right thing to do, we should do it now. I do not believe it is the right thing to do.

BISHOP NATHAN BAXTER: While I am very, very much concerned about our covenant with the Communion and our mission, I am also concerned about our covenant with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

BISHOP SHANNON JOHNSTON: The Communion, for me, is too much to lose. There is too much at stake with mission and our ability to apprehend larger, wider truths that go way beyond our own small church and setting in the Western world.

Read it all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

America: The Episcopal Rift

The problem, however, is not homosexual clergy. The problem is ecclesiology. The much vaunted "via media" that Anglicans pride themselves on has hit a fork in the road. If it had not been the issue of homosexuality it would have been another issue. They need to make a decision that is binding on the whole church, but they have no mechanism for doing so. They need a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as it were, but they very idea seems so un-British. Or, they need to decide that the Baptists and Congregationalists were right all these years, that the local church alone should guide its own destiny and that thoughts of a universal communion are delusional.

The statements coming from the Episcopal Church’s General Convention were purposely not inflammatory, but they did pass a resolution that dug in on their position. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the other Primates of the Anglican Communion, assuring them that the new resolution affirming gays was no news at all. But for conservatives the Rubicon was already crossed. They want a guarantee of orthodoxy and the Anglican church, as a whole, cannot provide it.

Read it all

Bishop Shannon Johnston of Virginia on what Resolution D025 Means

ACI: Resolutions and the Windsor Moratoria

C056 quite obviously is a repudiation of the New Orleans undertaking as understood by the Joint Standing Committee and is the “determined movement” by the whole church the WCG did not find earlier this year. C056 made no effort to discourage the long-acknowledged and ongoing public blessings, and no one suggested for a minute that they were not what was being encouraged as a “generous pastoral response.”

Whatever one makes of the resolutions of the last two General Conventions, it is clear that TEC has now charted its own course and no longer considers itself bound by previous undertakings and Communion moratoria.

Read it all

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.

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.

Read it all.

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.

In New England, 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, they 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 gener unions at the recently concluded General Convention. What utter nonsense. Read it all--KSH.

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

Notable and Quotable

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)

Christianity Today: The New Remnant: Evangelical Episcopalians

So, the big question for conservatives is this: What is holding this remnant together?

The Left sees only conservative condemnations and what conservative evangelicals are against as the glue that can only hold the Right together for so long.

The Right, however, puts high hopes on the Anglican Convenant, evangelism, natural church growth, and liberal over-reach as elements that will give them the edge in the long haul.

Read it all.

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

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.

Read it all.

Bank 'walkaways' from foreclosed homes are a growing, troubling trend

Bank 'walkaways' from foreclosed homes are a growing, troubling trend

Renetta Atterberry thought she had lost her East 102nd Street house. So she was shocked to learn in January -- five years after her mortgage company filed for foreclosure -- that it was still in her name.

Worse, the long-vacant rental home had been vandalized and she faced a raft of housing code violations. Since then, she has been saddled with debts of about $12,000 to pay for demolition and back taxes.

"I thought I had nothing else to do with that home," said Atterberry. "I was so embarrassed and humiliated by this."

Read it all.

Still More from the Bishop of Alabama on General Convention 2009

The Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent on General Convention 2009

Though I deeply sympathize with those who are wrestling with issues of human sexuality, and though we are all without exception equally sinful before God and our church will continue to welcome all people with loving and opened arms, I stand in solidarity with the teachings of the universal church that the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman as defined in the Bible is the standard set forth by God and that the ordained ministry should be confined to those who submit and adhere to this standard.

To be honest, I am neither shocked nor surprised by the events of General Convention 2009. Things have been working up to this for a long time. But now the die has been cast. No longer is The Episcopal Church "limping with two different opinions" (1 Kings 18:21). I would question the clear-mindedness of anyone who doesn’t see where the denomination is headed. The Episcopal Church continues, with increasing momentum, to depart from the teachings of the universal church and to "tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level."

Read it all.

The Bishop of Texas on General Convention 2009

Both resolutions (DO25 and CO56) will, I am most certain, place strain on the Anglican Communion. Reactions I've received support this belief. However, we need to give the communion time to respond, and we need to listen to our Archbishop as he speaks to us about his thoughts and reflections on the events of General Convention.

My [no] votes represent where I believe the majority of our diocese is right now; though I know it does not reflect the totality of who we are as a community. Press releases, news stories, and magazine articles can never carry the fullness of that reality, nor can they capture my desire to be shepherd to all my sheep in the diocese.

We remain part of the Episcopal Church. That’s my stance. I also intend to maintain the same balance as Don Wimberly, that we also remain active, constituent, members of the Anglican Communion.

I am committed to the Windsor Report recommendations and process which include a moratoria on blessings and elections of partnered gay clergy to the office of bishop.

I am committed to the Covenant and a process.

Read it all.

The Bishop of Northern Indiana on General Convention 2009

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for the many expression of encouragement and prayer over the past two weeks. General Convention is a long, exhausting, and “stretching” experience, and your support has been both a blessing and a source of strength. The Latin term is sine qua non (without which not). In other words, I couldn’t do it without you and your prayers.

Your General Convention deputies - the Rev. Ben Jones, the Rev. Richard Lightsey, the Rev. Dan Martins, the Rev. Henry Randolph, the Rev. Carolyn Jones (who, as an alternate, replaced Fr. Richard during the last two days of Convention), Pam Harris, Charlotte Strowhorn, Christopher Wells, and Scott Wright - were a superb and prayerful team. It was a joy and a privilege for me to serve with them.

In my first report, written just before the opening gavel, I predicted that human sexuality would dominate General Convention’s deliberations. That turned out to be the case. Two questions were particularly pressing: Should we in some fashion overturn a resolution from the last Convention (B033) which asked for restraint in ordaining persons as bishops whose manner of life would pose a challenge to the unity of the Anglican Communion? And should we authorize liturgies for the blessing of same sex unions? These questions did not exist in isolation. The Anglican Communion itself - through the four Instruments of Communion (the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lambeth Conference; the Anglican Consultative Council; and the Primates’ Meeting) - has asked the Episcopal Church to effect a moratorium in these areas until a new Anglican consensus emerges.The debate surrounding these questions was both intense and respectful. Bishops and deputies listened carefully to one another as we struggled with painful and sometimes divisive issues in which no obvious middle way seemed possible. In the end, General Convention passed two resolutions regarding the questions before us.

Resolution D025 deals with the matter of ordination. While it does not directly repeal B033 from 2006, D025 clearly implies that the church has moved to a new place: “Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships [committed same-sex partnerships] have responded to God’s call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church." “Any ordained ministry” would include, of course, the ministry of bishops. I believe that this resolution in essence rejects one of the moratoria requested of us by the Anglican Communion. I do not believe that any other interpretation is possible from the plain sense of its words.

On the matter of the blessing of same-sex unions, General Convention also moved away from a Communion-requested moratorium on authorizing liturgies. Resolution C056 asks the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to “collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for such blessings and “report to the 77th General Convention” in 2012. The resolution goes to say that “bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church.” In other words, as a kind of interim step until liturgies have been formally approved by General Convention, bishops may go ahead and authorize liturgical forms for the blessing of same-sex unions. Again, this resolution clearly steps away from a Communion-requested moratorium.

Both resolutions passed with overwhelming majorities (D025, with a margin of 99-45, with two abstentions; and C056, 104-30, also with two abstentions). In both cases, I voted with the minority. I did so with sadness. Gay and lesbian Christians are beloved members of our diocese, and I am grateful to be their chief pastor. I’m profoundly aware that my vote may be painful to many of them. And so, in explaining the reason for my vote, I must also - and rightly - reaffirm my love and care for them.

The Windsor Report, a 2004 document produced by the Lambeth Commission appointed at the request of the Primates, ends with these sober words: “There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together” (Sec. 157). I am deeply concerned that the actions of the 76th General Convention may represent a significant step in that tragic direction. The Episcopal Church, at its highest decision-making level, has turned its back on the pleas of the Anglican Communion and has pressed forward when the Communion urges restraint.

Yet I write these sober words with a sense of hope. After the vote on C056, a group of bishops, about twelve of them, gathered to write a statement in which we could together affirm our dual commitment: to remain loyal members of the Episcopal Church, obedient to its constitution and canons; and to remain at the same time loyal members of the Anglican Communion, in communion with the historic See of Canterbury. Together we drafted the Anaheim Statement, and one of our number - Bishop Gary Lillibridge of West Texas - read it to the whole House of Bishops on behalf of all of us. Our statement was received by our colleagues, particularly those who had voted in favor of D025 and C056, with respect and appreciation. So far, about 34 bishops have joined us in signing the statement. I’ve appended it to the conclusion of this report.

Many bishops told me how grateful they are that those who oppose General Convention’s actions are willing to remain engaged and to make their convictions known. Perhaps the clarity achieved at this convention, as painful as it is for those on the minority side, will help us to speak with honesty and integrity to one another, and help us as well to find a way to honor the conscience of all. I am also hopeful that a way can be found, for those dioceses of the Episcopal Church which agree to the Communion’s requests, to remain in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Rowan himself, in a letter written to Bishop John Howe in 2007, said: "Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of unity with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such." The Diocese of Northern Indiana is on record as embracing the Windsor Report and the moratoria requested of us by the Instruments of Communion. Our commitment is to say Yes to the Episcopal Church and to sharing in its life and ministry - and Yes to the Anglican Communion and a Catholic vision of worldwide, interdependent life.

Clearly, General Convention did much more than deal with human sexuality and Anglican Communion issues. Among other things, we passed a canonical change that will inaugurate a churchwide health insurance plan. Up until now, each diocese has been left on its own to negotiate health insurance for clergy and lay employees. Because the pool of employees is thus small, costs have been staggering. By making the entire Episcopal Church a single unit, we hope to bring down the cost. This will not happen overnight; but the convention’s action is the first step to reversing a difficult trend.

Second, General Convention approved a sweeping revision of Title IV in the canons, the section dealing with clergy discipline. In essence, the new section provides a disciplinary process that has greater possibility of a pastoral (rather than simply a legal) response when, most painfully, discipline is required.

Third, General Convention passed a resolution calling for extensive outreach to our Spanish-speaking neighbors - outreach that would include both church planting and the strengthening of existing Hispanic congregations. Our own experience with St. Thomas', Plymouth (la Iglesia de Santo Tomas) shows us that Episcopalians can indeed do fruitful evangelistic work among Hispanics, and I am excited that the the church on a national level will be making this an important priority.

Fourth, General Convention wrestled with a significant shortfall in the Episcopal Church’s budget for the next triennium - about $23,000,000 less than what was received in the previous three years. Programs have been drastically cut, many positions eliminated at the Episcopal Church Center in New York, and a general belt-tightening is required at all levels. The Joint Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance did heroic work throughout convention in dealing with these difficult realities.

During August and early September, your General Convention deputies and I will be holding a series of regional meetings around the diocese, to give you a chance to hear from us and to ask questions. As soon as the details of those meetings have been worked out, we’ll place the information on this website. Meanwhile, please join with me in praying for the church:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP, p. 528)

--The Rt. Rev. Edward Little is Bishop of Northern Indiana

Stephen Noll Responds to Bishop of Durham Tom Wright's article in the (London) Times

As for Bp. Wright’s concern about Anglican Church in North America, I am sure, knowing the Anglican Communion hierarchy, that there will be no rush to enfranchise ACNA or disenfranchise the Communion Partners remaining in TEC. But is it too much to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to reaffirm the Primates’ call at Dar es Salaam for the cessation on lawsuits for all orthodox in TEC and ACNA on threat of immediately withdrawing his recognition?

The big question for the days ahead is whether the two streams of the orthodox movement – which had coalesced in the Anglican Communion Network in North America and the Global South coalition – will begin to come together again. I believe their reunion, not at first political but spiritual and practical, is devoutly to be wished.

Let me point out two positive indicators for why this can happen....

Read it all.

The Rector of Christ Church Sant Antonio Writes His Parish

The 76th General Convention meeting in Anaheim, CA has just ended. If you have followed the actions of this Convention on our diocesan website or on other sites you know that The Episcopal Church (TEC) has traveled much farther down the road of theological innovation. In a move at the end of the Convention to save some hope, Bishop Lillibridge and others presented to the bishops the “Anaheim Statement” that attempts to hold those dioceses to some Anglican Communion norms (link below). But what Bishop MacNaughton wrote in 1995 has proven to be prophetic: within TEC there are two churches: one determined to remain faithful to mainstream biblical Christianity, the other determined to follow new theologies and understandings. Churches like Christ Church are now a distinct minority as evidenced in some of the big stories of this General Convention:

Presiding Bishop Schori in her opening sermon remarkably blamed the current crises on “the great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.” She went on to say, “That individualist focus is a form of idolatry.”

In spite of a passionate plea against its passage from the Archbishop of Canterbury, a resolution was passed with overwhelming support of lay, clergy and bishops that effectively ends the 2006 General Convention’s moratorium on non-celibate gay bishops in the church. Our bishops both voted against this resolution. Bishop Lillibridge said on the diocesan website that Resolution D025 “accurately reflects where we are as a Church. If it is descriptive, I am in favor of it. But if it is proscriptive, telling me what I can and cannot do as a bishop, that’s an entirely different thing for me.” This resolution makes official what is already the practice in the church, that every bishop and diocese will do whatever they choose in these matters. After the vote, English Bishop Tom Wright (Durham) said, “The Americans know this will end in schism” (link below).The House of Deputies voted to accept the recommendation of the Evangelism Committee to “discharge” (i.e. kill) Resolution C069 that affirms the uniqueness of Jesus Christ in a multi-faith world. The same resolution proposed and passed in the Church of England’s Synod earlier this year.

The church cannot discriminate against persons who seek ordination in TEC because they are transgender, transsexual or transvestite, according to Resolution C001.
Episcopalians must now work against “Defense of Marriage” statutes or constitutional amendments that come before their states, according to Resolution C023.

TEC will now collect and develop rites for same-sex blessings before the next General Convention in 2011, and in the meantime each bishop will decide whether or not same-sex blessings will be sanctioned in their diocese (Resolution C056). It is one thing to look the other way while renegade bishops allow same-sex blessings and an altogether new thing when the church officially allows them. To sanction this in our prayers is to endorse this as official theology. 104 bishops voted “yes,” 30 voted “no.” Our bishops both voted against this resolution.

The House of Deputies declined to concur with the House of Bishops on a resolution sponsored by the Diocese of West Texas (C067) asking the National Office to disclose the amount of money spent by their office suing churches and dioceses who have left TEC. Last count TEC has recently initiated 57 law suits and it is anyone’s guess how much has been spent on legal costs.

The two churches within TEC were very evident at General Convention with conservatives outnumbered 2 to 1. Even in our own diocesan delegation several deputies commented about how there was not always unity on the issues. For example, while our bishop expressed sadness over the battles fought and lost, our Diocesan Chancellor and alternate deputy to Convention, Drew Cauthorn, blogging on our diocesan website about his experience in Anaheim, is elated with the experience of General Convention. He wrote, “I am encouraged by the passage of D025 and hope the House of Deputies will concur with the House of Bishops in the passage of C056, which move The Episcopal Church closer to the inclusion of all persons to full participation in all aspects of ministry and closer to the blessing of committed relationships of enduring love, mutuality and fidelity.”

Several months ago I asked Bishop Lillibridge to come to our August vestry meeting to report and to answer questions. He has graciously agreed to come Tuesday, August 18, 5:00 PM in the Parish Hall. All meetings of the vestry are open to anyone interested in attending, and I hope you will come if you are interested in hearing from our bishop.

Here are several questions that I hope he will answer:

Is there room in the Diocese of West Texas for a rector (church) that does not support the enactments of General Convention or the Presiding Bishop?

Is there room in the Diocese of West Texas for a rector (church) who cannot call good what the Bible calls sin – who will offer partnered gays and lesbians what he offers all sinners, all parishioners: nonjudgmental love, friendship, encouragement in Christ, AND the gospel of repentance, forgiveness, amendment of life, and God’s healing?

We have declared ourselves a Windsor diocese, and the Windsor Report calls us to adhere to traditional sexual morals (Lambeth 1.10) and calls for a moratorium on ordinations of non-celibate homosexuals and the practice of blessing same-sex couples. This obviously puts us at odds with the majority of Episcopalians, and in complete agreement with those in other Anglican jurisdictions in the United States. Will Christ Church be allowed to work in mission and ministry with Windsor-compliant churches from other Anglican provinces, including being able to call clergy who currently serve in those provinces?

I love the breadth and generosity of our heritage, but I don’t love how TEC has lost its salt and connection to historic Anglicanism. The wider Anglican Communion accepts the Bible as uniquely inspired by God and is our primary authority, while encouraging each member to wrestle with Holy Scriptures for themselves – I love that! It proclaims that we are justified by faith by God’s grace, but allows for diversity and wideness in God’s mercy – I love that! It respects other religions while holding fast to the belief that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and no one comes to the Father except through him – I love it! Where gays and lesbians are welcome as everyone is welcome – I love that! That treats sin seriously as a pastoral matter, not as a bludgeon – I particularly love that! This is the fabric of our life together at Christ Church and the core values that attracted me to join you in ministry eight years ago. These commitments continue to make Christ Church an extraordinary church and will into the future. I can’t help but wonder, though, will there ever be a day when we can focus on reaching more people for Jesus Christ, and worshipping in the beauty of holiness, and growing in our love for one another, without the weight of a deviant denomination on our shoulder?

--The Rev. Chuck Collins is rector, Christ Church, San Antonio, Texas

Anglican TV Interviews Albany Bishop Bill Love

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Health Care Cost, access plague South Carolina Residents

Adrienne Sellers thought she made the right choice when she quit her job in Charleston and moved to Atlanta temporarily to help raise her grandchildren after her daughter was in a bad car accident. What Sellers didn't anticipate was the way her own medical problem would devastate her life.

In December 2008, Sellers was just settling back into life on the peninsula after eight months away when a doctor told her the unbearable pain she felt was from a prolapsed uterus and a subsequent infection — and she'd better get surgery quick.

Sellers had a solid work history, but her health care coverage had lapsed while she was caring for her family and she didn't have the money to pay for the expensive operation.

She is one of the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians without health care coverage, a number that grows by 670 people each week. Depending on the estimate, roughly one out of every six South Carolinians does not have insurance.

Read it all.

Alabama bishop defends Episcopal Church statement in support of ordaining homosexuals

Many observers, both conservative and liberal, say the 2006 moratorium has been essentially overturned by the new resolution.

[Henry] Parsley disagrees.

"My view is that it doesn't overturn the resolution from three years ago," Parsley said. "It reminds the larger church where we are in terms of valuing the gifts of all our members.

"This does not repeal the moratorium; it says we're open to all people. It affirms our relationships with the Anglican Communion and acknowledges that there are many who don't agree. It's very respectful. We continue to seek the mind of Christ."

Read it all.

Utah Episcopalians back push for noncelibate gay clergy

Utah's Episcopal representatives joined the majority at this week's Episcopal General Convention in backing a measure to allow individual dioceses the option of choosing a gay or lesbian bishop.

"We want everything in our church to be open to all people," Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish said in a phone interview from Anaheim, Calif., where she was attending the church's once-every-three-years legislative assembly. "Our diocese has always been progressive on social issues, mainly because the state is so conservative."

Read it all.

Local Paper (2): A Profile of Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston

In a long interview about the status of the church, Harmon said the tension between gospel truth and Catholic order is ever increasing, and some, such as the conservative Anglican Church in North America, are sacrificing ecclesiastic tradition for the sake of evangelical truth.

"They've chosen truth over order in the short term because there was no other option." On the other side, those advocating order and church unity have not done enough to distance themselves from recent "errors," [Kendall] Harmon said.

"And South Carolina is in no-man's land, somewhere in the middle," a theologically conservative diocese that nevertheless doesn't want to break away entirely, he said. For now, the diocese sees its role as a standard-bearer of orthodoxy.

Harmon compared the diocese's relationship with the national church to a married couple made unhappy by adultery but not yet determined to divorce.

"If you stay in the house, you have no choice but to distance yourself from your spouse," he said. You sleep in a different bedroom and argue vociferously over dinner.

The leadership at Holy Communion is acutely aware of the strain.

Read it all.

Local Paper (1): Episcopal Church lifts ban on gays, lesbians

Opponents, including many in the Diocese of South Carolina, argued that the Episcopal Church was sacrificing the authority of Scripture and ecclesiastic tradition for multiculturalism and political correctness.

The Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, canon theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina, said the result of the vote "will be disastrous."

"There are now some participants in the 76th General Convention who are trying to pretend that a 'yes' to (the new resolution) is not a 'no' to (the moratorium)," Harmon said in a statement. "These types of attempted obfuscations are utterly unconvincing."

Harmon said he agreed with those who characterized the vote as a defacto repudiation of the moratorium.

Read it all.

NY Times: Pared-Down Episcopal Church Is Looking to Grow Through ‘Inclusivity’

“I’m sure we will attract people who are saying maybe we are doing it right,” Mr. Hay said as he came off the convention floor for lunch one day with his mother. “For me it seems right because I was raised in a household where we were always taught to accept everyone, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual identity.”

Whether Episcopalians really can regenerate a church based on youth and “inclusivity” remains to be seen.

So far, they have paid a price for their actions. Four bishops, the majority of their dioceses and numerous parishes around the country jumped ship in the last few years to form a new, theologically conservative entity called the Anglican Church in North America. That group will not consecrate women, not to mention gay men and lesbians, as bishops. It has about 100,000 members, while the Episcopal Church has about two million.

But a church study shows that membership declined about 6 percent from 2003 to 2007.

Read it all.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bishop Mark Lawrence Writes to the Clergy of the Diocese Regarding General Convention 2009

I will be meeting with the Standing Committee, Deans and others after my return late Wednesday evening. I will be clarifying my thoughts and seeking greater clarity from the Lord in the intervening days. Please keep me in your prayers as you will be in mine. God has prepared us as a diocese to address this hour in the life of our Church—of that I am confident. It is not a time for alarm. It is a time for thoughtful and steady resolve. We face significant challenges. They are no longer the challenges of tomorrow they are the challenges of today. This cannot be brushed aside as if it is of little consequence.

There is an increasingly aggressive displacement within this Church of the gospel of Jesus Christ’s transforming power by the “new” gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity which seeks to subsume all in its wake. It is marked by an increased evangelistic zeal and mission that hints at imperialistic plans to spread throughout the Communion. This calls for a bold response. It is of the utmost importance that we find more than just a place to stand. Indeed, it is imperative that we find a place to thrive; a place that is faithful, relational and structural—and so we shall!

Read it all.

How the “Anaheim Statement” Bishops Voted

Posted by Elfgirl

This may cross over into editorializing which we elves try not to do. But posting the roll call tables below, we couldn't help but be struck by something.

We have extracted the voting information for the 27 bishops who are known to have signed the "Anaheim Statement," from the larger table with all the roll call votes which is posted in the entry below. It seems very strange to us elves that a full one-third of these signatories claim to "reaffirm their commitment" to uphold the Windsor Process moratoria, while they voted FOR one or both resolutions (D025 and C056) that indicate TEC's intention to breach those moratoria.

Remember, as per all our caveats in the entry below, the vote tallies here are unofficial. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, but the C056 data in particular is still off by two votes (among the full 136 bishops who voted).

(Click on the image to get a larger easier-to-read view)

You can read the full text of the Anaheim Statement here

It includes the line:
* We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.

Re-read D025 and C056 for yourselves, and please explain to this feeble-minded elf how one can have voted YES for D025 and C056 and signed this reaffirmation. We're clueless.


UNOFFICIAL Tallies of Bishops’ Roll Call Votes at GC09, and Anaheim Statement Signatories

-- posted by elfgirl

Thanks to the work of a number of T19 readers, led by Karen B., here is an unofficial tally of all the Bishops' roll call votes from GC09.

It includes the roll call votes for:

-- Resolution D025 (basically overturning B033 which urged restraint on consecration of further non-celibate homosexual bishops, etc.)

-- Rowe Amendment to discharge, (i.e. "kill without voting") Resolution C056

-- Resolution C056 (allowing development of SSB liturgies and "generous pastoral response")

-- Also, the currently known signatories to the "Anaheim Statement" are noted.

The listing is based on vote by vote review of the audio files of the roll calls for D025 and C056, and also draws heavily on the Rev. George Conger's report for the Living Church. (however the tally does not exactly match Conger's tally. There are 3 or 4 differences based either on what was heard on audio, or other published reports of how a bishop voted.) There are detailed notes and links to sources at the bottom of the table.

Note: the totals for D025 match the published totals. However the totals for the Rowe Amendment and C056 are slightly off by 2-3 votes. There are several votes which are impossible to hear clearly in the audio files. So these tallies should be used with caution, although they are believed to be 99% accurate.

Please send Kendall or us elves any corrections. We will of course post the official tallies from TEC once they are released.

You can download/view the PDF version of the roll call tallies table here

We're going to try to post the full table here on the blog, but that may be difficult. Check back in a little while.

Reuters: Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions

The U.S. Episcopal Church gave its clergy the go-ahead on Friday to bless some same-sex unions, such as civil partnerships in states that legally recognize them, setting the stage for further conflict with the wider Anglican world.

The resolution, passed on the final day of the church's triennial national convention, also directs church leaders to develop official rites, or liturgies, for the blessing of same-sex unions -- a move that could see the church eventually change its definition of marriage.

Read it all.

LA Times: Episcopal leaders affirm new policy on same-sex blessings

Capping a 10-day convention in Anaheim, leaders of the Episcopal Church agreed Friday to consider marriage liturgies for same-sex unions and to give bishops greater latitude in meeting the spiritual needs of gay and lesbian couples.

The new policy marked a second victory for liberals after the church gave final approval Tuesday to a measure ending a de facto ban on the ordination of gay bishops.

Read it all.

The Bishop of Arkansas Saying General Convention did not do what In Fact They did

The Bishop of Arkansas Speaking in Favor of D025

From here:

One thing of which I stand in awe is how the early church was able to put into words God’s revelation of the Trinity and develop a creedal language 1600 years ago that has lasted down to the current age.

The revelation and the creedal language tell us of a Trinity that is mysteriously and intimately intertwined, with an unbounded reciprocal love. We do not understand its complexity, but we do see the results of that love; it is an outpouring of love for all of creation, especially an outpouring of love toward humanity, a love whose ultimate expression is in the love of Christ for humankind.

Likewise, the love of one human being for another, as creatures created in the image of God, is a complex and mysterious thing. Such love can take the form of friendship, or of what the New Testament calls agape, or of sexual love, to name but a few examples. Just as with the reciprocal love of the Trinity, we rarely understand human love, and sometimes are even frightened by it, as in the case of sexual love, because it is so personal, indeed, so intimate.

But we do see the results of such human love, as when the love of two people for one another causes them to reach out in love and concern for others. By saying that we will limit that love and concern for one another and, by extension, to others, simply on the basis of chromosomal make-up is fearful at best, and at worst a human obfuscation of the very mystery of the outpouring love of the Trinity.

I contend that we already have a theological rationale for moving forward in areas of human sexuality. In fact, we have had it for 1600 years, but only in this generation have the scales begun falling from our eyes. In ways that we frequently do not understand, we have a tangible glimpse of the divine love of the Trinity.

We need to witness to this generation, bringing good news now.

Proclaiming the good news is never a future event; it is always a present honor and responsibility. If we as bishops always want to wait for a more opportune time, I fear that we are forgetful of our ordination vow to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience of our people.

GC 2009: Anglican Report 2 with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger

Charles Honey: on the "Decision to accept homosexuality" by the Episcopal Church

But while traditionalists feel they're being steamrolled, these votes simply acknowledge the reality of what already is happening in many Episcopal churches -- including those in West Michigan.

"We have gay clergy functioning in the diocese," said the Rev. William Spaid, an assistant to Bishop Robert Gepert of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. "It's just not a big issue here."

Some area clergy conduct same-sex blessing ceremonies as well, Spaid said. He didn't expect the decisions will create a mass exodus of members or churches, adding, "People that wanted to leave left six years ago."

Time will tell on that one. But certainly the church will suffer further losses -- part of the price of moving forward.

Read it all.

ACI on the Presiding Bishop's Letter to Anglican Leaders

This is a categorical repudiation of the communion-wide moratorium on the election to the episcopate of anyone living in a same sex partnership. Bishops and dioceses are neither asked nor expected to observe such a moratorium. They are encouraged instead to observe “standards” recognizing same-sex partnerships as reflecting “holy love.” As conceded by today’s letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, some bishops and dioceses will respect the moratorium; others will not. And those that do respect the Communion teaching will do so only because they reject the “guidance” provided by General Convention “standards.”

This explicit recognition that some bishops and dioceses will conform to Communion teaching while others will not requires that the Communion now look to individual dioceses and parishes for communion commitments. The General Convention has decided it cannot speak with one voice in committing to the Communion’s moratoria. The Communion has no choice but to acknowledge those who are ready, willing and able to make these commitments.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Washington Post: Episcopal Church to Allow Bishops to Bless Same-Sex Unions

Episcopal Church officials voted on Friday to allow bishops [and those who so desire in their dioceses] the latitude to bless same-sex unions -- the second vote this week in favor of gay rights and one that may further divide the worldwide Anglican community.

On the last day of the church's trienniel national convention in Anaheim, officials stopped short of creating liturgical rites to bless same-sex unions, but approved a compromise measure that allows bishops, especially in states where same-sex unions are legal, to bless the relationships. The key portion of the legislation says bishops "may provide generous pastoral response" for such unions.

The vote came three days after the church passed a resolution allowing for the ordination of gay bishops. Both moves have prompted strong reactions among the larger worldwide Anglican Church, of which the Episcopal Church is a part.

Read it all.

Integrity USA Achieves Its Goals At General Convention 2009

The Episcopal Church turned an important corner at this General Convention and Integrity applauds the hard, faithful work of the bishops and deputies who brought us closer to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments. We came to this convention committed to moving the church beyond B033 and forward on equality for the blessing of same-sex unions--and we are beyond gratified that we have realized both of those goals.

Thirty three years after promising a "full and equal claim" to the gay and lesbian baptized, the Episcopal Church has affirmed equal access to ordination processes for all orders of ministry for all the baptized, has approved a broad local option for the blessings of our relationships, and has called the church to work together toward common liturgical expressions of those blessings.

It is a great day for the church and a greater day for the witness to God’s inclusive love.

Read it all.

The Bishop of Olympia on Resolution D025

From here:

[Greg] Rickel, in a blog on Wednesday, anticipated that the latest General Convention actions will cause some pain. "It does not go back to B033, but instead looks forward," he said of the resolution adopted.

"Several things are important to me here. First, I think it is time for this Church to be honest about where it finds itself now. Second, it must acknowledge that not everyone is in that same place, in fact there are many and varied places people find themselves in this debate.

"Third, this resolution does, in fact, open up access once again to gay and lesbian people, to the discernment process for the episcopate. To interpret this any other way would be dishonest."

Very Important: Fulcrum Response to TEC General Convention 2009 Resolution C056

In response to the Primates’ request for clarification, the JSC generously (and erroneously given the reality on the ground in many dioceses) concluded that the New Orleans HoB commitment meant that the use of any rites or liturgies which includes a blessing on a same-sex union would not have the bishop’s authority “until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action”.

The passing of C056 is General Convention’s further action. It clearly gives the use of such rites the authority of the House of Bishops and of General Convention. It thus represents a determined rejection of the moratorium repeatedly called for by all the Instruments of Communion.

As outlined above, the rest of the Communion has – in faithfulness to Christ’s call to seek reconciliation - walked patiently with our brothers and sisters in TEC for many years, constantly inviting them to turn around in freedom and relocate themselves within the story of God that we collectively tell as a Communion, a story in which mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ, synodality, and mutual interdependence play key roles. At every stage attempts have been made to interpret TEC responses to requests as generously as possible. Now, however, TEC has spoken resoundingly and clearly through its supreme governing body of General Convention and addressed the question it avoided addressing in 2003. Sadly, through C056, we hear their firm and unequivocal answer to the Windsor Report and to the pattern of life set out in the affirmations and commitments agreed by ACC in the Covenant. An answer already made evident in the passing of D025: “No! We choose autonomy over mutual interdependence. We will now, in freedom, believing ourselves to be led by the Spirit, continue our prophetic witness and walk apart”.

Read it all.

C056 passes by more than 2/3

Philip Jenkins: Their Separate Ways

For a decade now, the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) has been bitterly divided over the issue of ordaining openly gay clergy. The matter reached a new intensity this past week when the church's triennial convention ended the ban on gay candidates serving in ordained ministry. After years of protesting ECUSA's liberal policies and doctrines, seceding conservatives have now organized a rival church -- the Anglican Church in North America, or ACNA -- which claims 100,000 believers, compared with two million in ECUSA. This week's dramatic decision is sure to widen the rift even further, causing what church historians might officially label a "schism."

The presiding bishop of the mainstream Episcopal grouping, Katherine Jefferts Schori, predictably condemns ACNA, protesting that "schism is not a Christian act." But it is not wholly clear who is seceding from whom. In approving gay bishops, ECUSA is defying the global Anglican Communion, which had begged Americans not to take a move that could provoke believers in other parts of the world. The Anglican Communion, though noticeably "progressive" in its American and British forms, is a world-wide church of 80 million. Indeed, the majority of Anglicans today live in African and Asian countries where progressive views are not so eagerly embraced. For American conservatives, it is Bishop Jefferts Schori's church that has seceded from global Anglicanism.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this particular case, it is anything but rare.

Read it all.

Tim Fountain Already Lost a Vestry member--and others as well

ENS--Presiding officers' letter to Canterbury presents context for convention actions

Resolution D025 was passed on July 14 by the 76th General Convention meeting in Anaheim, California. In addition to underscoring the Episcopal Church's support of and participation in the Anglican Communion, the resolution affirms "that God has called and may call" gay and lesbian people "to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church."

The presiding officers emphasized that D025 has "not repealed" Resolution B033 that was passed by the 75th General Convention in 2006. B033 urged restraint in consenting to the consecration of bishops whose "manner of life" might present challenges for the rest of the Anglican Communion. That challenge was widely understood to refer to gay bishops in partnered unions. The full text of the letter to Williams is available here.

In a separate letter, Jefferts Schori wrote to the primates of the Anglican Communion -- including a copy of the letter to Williams -- acknowledging that "with so much misinformation circulating through the press and other sources, it is crucial to me that I provide the Archbishop and all of you with accurate information." Thirteen primates were present in Anaheim, the largest number ever to attend a General Convention.

Read it all.

Statement of South Carolina in response to the passage of Resolution C056

Steve Wood was waiting to say this but was not called on by the chair:

South Carolina stands before you with broken hearts. By passing Resolution D025 and C056 this General Convention has overturned the clear and consistent teaching of Holy Scripture and the Christian Church. We will have repudiated the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. The Communion's patience and generosity toward the Episcopal Church makes our persistent refusal to heed their requests to us to honor the two called for moratoria all the more devastating.

Many of us us here this morning, and in Dioceses, parishes, and pews throughout the Episcopal Church, disavow this General Convention's actions. We will now prayerfully seek ways to be faithful to the Anglican Communion and to the mutual responsibility and interdependence to which we are called, no matter what the cost.

House of Deputies about to get to C056

Living Church: Dissenting Bishops Issue 'Anaheim Statement'

Twenty-nine bishops have endorsed affirming their desire to remain part of the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church while being faithful to the calls for restraint made by the wider church.

Styled as the "Anaheim Statement," the letter of dissent to the actions of the 76th General Convention pledged the bishops’ fealty to the requests made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the primates' meetings and ACC-14 to observe a moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.

In the hours after its release, the statement drew support from 23 diocesan bishops, four suffragan and assistant bishops, and two retired bishops and included bishops who voted on both sides of D025 and C056 -- resolutions that rescinded the ban on two of the three Windsor Report moratoria.

Read it all.

A reminder of the alternate address for T19 (normal format)

All, just a reminder of the temporary URL where you can see T19 in its normal format:

We don't know when KendallHarmon.Net will be back online. Sorry.

Everything Kendall is posting there is duplicated here, but this elf may have some files and tables to post which may not work well here on the backup site. If I can't post them here, I'll post a link pointing to the posts at the T19 temporary URL.


ENS: West Texas bishop drafts 'Anaheim Statement,' reaffirms moratoria commitment

Bishop Edward J. Konieczny of Oklahoma told a convention news briefing that "when the statement was read, it was clear to everyone in the house that this was not a statement of division."

Rather, "it was a statement of unity and acknowledging and recognizing that we have listened to one another intently and we've done that with open hearts and mind, and that there was a thankfulness for that on the part of all. That particular statement was not intended to be anything other than them sharing with the wider communion that we are working together on this difficult issue," he added.

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego agreed, adding that Lillibridge's statement "was offered in a loving and appreciative way of the conversation we had."

It included "clarity of where they are, but also in appreciation for the listening [that went on] in earlier conversations in the last few days."

Read it all.

The Bishop of Newark Offers some Reflections on General Convention 2009

We are coming into the home stretch of this General Convention. We finish late Friday afternoon. Today a balanced budget for The Episcopal Church was passed in both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. There were no amendments to the budget, although some were proposed in the House of Deputies. There was virtually no discussion on the budget in the House of Bishops. It was a moment of legislative whiplash which, I suppose, reflected the feeling of futility that nothing could be changed. The lack of debate also honored the extraordinary work of the Program, Budget and Finance Committee that had the onerous task of balancing the budget that at one point was $24 million dollars in deficit. Many cuts were made, which means that lots of departments across the church have been reduced; and many staff jobs have been eliminated. There is a lot of hurt and loss to all of this -- and I don't think any of us really know the implication and impact of this yet.

"Mission" is our Presiding Bishop's echoing metaphor. She describes mission as the heartbeat of the church. She invited -- no, she challenged, us to hear the mission heartbeat in our bodies and souls. It will be more imperative than ever to respond to this challenge with deeper commitment -- given that there are fewer financial resources to carry it out. Thus the Episcopal Church mirrors the experience of the dioceses -- which is, to be sure, also the experience of congregations.

Yesterday, the House of Bishops passed a resolution that said a whole array of things -- but mainly was focused on same-gender blessings and offering generous pastoral sensitivity for dioceses which perform them. The original amendment was almost brought to a vote the day before, but several bishops who were in the minority of the two-to-one vote the day before that (on affirming GLBT people for all levels of ministry) stood up to say that they felt marginalized and vulnerable. The legislative process was abandoned for the rest of the day -- and a group of self organized bishops agreed to meet informally in order to try and move things forward.

This was the hardest moment of Convention for me. It turned out that it was the hardest moment of Convention for the 26 bishops who met that night and early the next morning -- and for 26 different reasons. I felt that there was a movement afoot to scrub the decision of full inclusion; others said that the church was moving too fast for them. We expressed our thoughts and feelings in an Indaba-like atmosphere (which we had learned at the Lambeth Conference a year before). As the discussion progressed, we decided to move beyond creating a process of winners and losers, and instead to intentionally come up with a statement that included the ideas and feelings of as many as possible. We wanted to build a tent that was high and wide enough for as many as possible to gather underneath.

The resulting resolution (which five of us wrote) reflected the diversity of perspectives. When presented on the floor of the House of Bishops, there were more amendments -- and amendments to the amendments; but they were, for the most part, attempts to better articulate what we were about rather than efforts to discredit or distort.

The final resolution passed by a three to one margin. It recognized our diversity. Instead of trying to restrict dioceses -- the intent of the resolution was to trust the integrity and practice of bishops in their respective jurisdictions.

I think it was an important step forward.

Your deputation will be coming home tomorrow -- and over the weekend. Many of us from General Convention will be present next Thursday, July 23 -- from 10am-12 noon, and 7pm to 9pm, at St. Agnes Church, 65 Union Avenue, Little Falls, to tell our stories of Convention and to entertain your questions and hear your concerns. Each session will essentially be the same -- and anyone who wishes to is invited to come.


--(The Rt. Rev.) Mark M. Beckwith is Bishop of Newark

The New York Times Interviews Gene Robinson

A: The most significant thing that happened was on Tuesday, after the House of Bishops stopped the debate on same-sex blessings and decided to have a smaller group of bishops meet to discuss it further. They said anyone could come, and it turned out it wasn’t a small group at all. There were 25 to 30 of us, and it turned out to be the most significant interaction I’ve had with the bishops since I’ve been elected.

It was profound and it was inspiring. People stood up and spoke their own truth, both the pain and the joy. Everyone spoke honestly about what they needed to go home with, what they could live with and what they couldn’t.

Q: So how do you explain the vote counts? The bishops passed both of these measures resoundingly, and we are starting to hear of many moderate-to-conservative bishops who voted “yes” on both ordinations and gay blessings.

A: Everyone acknowledges they know where this is going, that gay marriage is becoming a reality. But we’re trying to bring our people along. One bishop said to me he voted “no” so he could go home and do this work, as he explained it, “so I can bring my people along.” He used the Nixon in China analogy. This was a bishop who voted “no” on my consent in 2003.

Read it all.

Living Church: Retired Bishops Keep Their Vote

The House of Bishops has rejected the second reading of a constitutional amendment that would have stripped retired bishops of their vote in meetings of the house.

During Thursday morning’s business session of the House of Bishops at General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., the bishops voted 72-39 to refer resolution A052: Amending Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, to committee. Moves to strip retired bishops of their vote in the House of Bishops began in the 1940s, and failed at the 1979, 1988 and 1997 General Conventions.

Read it all.