Don't repeat the mistake on page 847 of The Prayer Book .  Here is what God really requires from the chosen people:

Do justice

A series of essays in the Episcopal Church


TEN THEMES THAT SHOULD UNDERGIRD THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

TEN PROPOSITIONS TO GUIDE THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

 

Our Response to the Worldwide Anglican Communion

 

  1. We are an inclusive Church.  We struggled and debated about homosexuality for forty years in a mighty wrestle with God.  In the end our Church voted for inclusion of gays and lesbians in response to gospel imperatives. This position is now supported by a large majority of bishops, priests and laypersons who are Deputies to General Convention. We would deny our basic understanding of the gospel and the commitment we have made to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters by acceding to the demands of some who now call us to repentance.

 

  1. We are part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.  We are committed to fellowship and common purpose in mission which we will pursue aggressively in every way possible.  We believe, however, that the four “Instruments of Communion” are being misunderstood or distorted by those who want to modify them to define Anglicanism narrowly.  We yearn to express “bonds of affection” but not through a redefinition of Anglicanism.

 

  1. We are committed to traditional Anglican creeds and values, including “big tent” acceptance of differences.  We affirm unity within diversity, and respect for the dignity of every person. We place great importance on the “three-legged stool” of scripture, tradition and reason.  We believe in “holy mystery,” that the ways of God are at times more profound than our partial understanding. We are fundamentalist in our commitment to “The Great Commandment” to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

 

  1. We are an independent Church.  We are governed by a constitution and canons that have evolved over more than 200 years of our history.  Decisions with major consequences are made at General Conventions by joint vote of approval of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.  From our founding the laity has been an integral part of our governance.  We cannot accept mandates given to us by archbishops who are not constrained by clergy and laity.

 

  1. We choose to be proactive in regard to our identity as a Church, including our response to the issue of homosexuality.  We know who we are as a people; we believe our mission is founded on the sure rock of Jesus, the Christ.  We deeply regret honest differences that are felt to be so basic as to rend the cloth of Anglicanism.  We will not respond to threats, arbitrary dates or repent for actions that we feel are led by the Holy Spirit. We will not be bullied.

 

  1.  We acknowledge that we have not explained our position as fully and carefully as needed.  We wish to participate fully in the work of the committee being formed to do a worldwide study on methods of interpreting scripture, called hermeneutics.  We recommit ourselves to a greater effort to explain the reasons for our positions to parishioners within our own Church, to the Anglican Primates, and indeed, to the world at large. We wish to have this dialogue within the context of respecting the views of others, both the majority opponents within the Anglican Communion and the minority within our own Church.

 

7.      We want to continue the Windsor dialogue. We believe we can respond to The Windsor Report in good faith only as others at the same time respond to those requirements which they have neglected or opposed.  We require that other branches of the Communion respect our territorial integrity; we are committed to protecting our church property from schismatic parishes or dioceses who withdraw from our Church.  We call again for a listening process within the Communion to hear the concerns of gays and lesbians. We cannot treat gay and lesbian persons as things to be decided about without recognizing them as persons who have the right to meet and present their case to their challengers.

 

  1. We call upon all Primates and Anglican Churches to work for justice for gay and lesbian persons.  Our Church believes that justice is the very heartbeat of our God. It is the most profound scriptural orthodoxy.  We call on the Church in Nigeria  to reverse its position and actively oppose legislation to make it a crime punishable by five years in prison to live openly as a gay person, to advocate on behalf of justice for gay persons, or to provide pastoral care of any type to gay or lesbian persons. With sorrow we acknowledge the work of CAN, an organization of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, in lobbying for and fully supporting this pending legislation. We note that the UN Commission on Human Rights has declared it to be a serious breach of human rights as defined in the charter.  We declare that we have the right to cross national boundaries to advocate for and minister to victims of injustice in Nigeria and other countries.

 

  1. We understand that there is an external well-funded organized effort to weaken The Episcopal Church and replace it with a fundamentalist Anglican Church. We can identify wealthy persons associated with The American Anglican Council who encourage and fund the activities of dissidents. (Their counterparts are present also in other Protestant denominations.) Their strategy is to team with the primate of Nigeria and other fundamentalist archbishops to discredit the Episcopal Church as apostate and then have Canterbury recognize their alternate “orthodox” Anglican Church.  This, they believe, will provide the backdrop for retention of church properties in American courts of law.

 

  1. We commit ourselves to a stewardship of time.  We know issues related to sexuality are important and therefore we will continue to speak, listen and act decisively as the situation demands. However, our mission of pastoral care, spiritual formation, evangelism, public policy advocacy and outreach to a world in poverty is far larger than this one issue. We will maintain a balanced perspective.

 

Robert L. McCan, Ph.D.

Falls Church, Virginia

 


You are welcome to submit your essays for consideration for this series. Send them to lcrew@newark.rutgers.edu Identify yourself by name, snail address, parish, and other connections to the Episcopal Church. Please encourage others to do the same.

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