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Don't repeat the mistake on page 847 of The Prayer Book . Here is what God really requires from the chosen people:
A series of essays in the Episcopal Church
JSC Report Is Released
by Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick, Bishop of Indianapolis
What an amazing turn of events! The overall response of the Joint Committee to the House of Bishops message is positive – yet the Evangelicals in the Church of England demand that the ABC denounce the church in the US over the possibility of consecrating a partnered gay to the episcopate - and our blessing of same sex unions! They threaten to divide the English church over this - just as TEC is threatened.
We simply have to be more vocal about this....the C of E blesses same-sex unions. The partnered homosexual clergy in the C of E are entitled, under British law, to register their relationships in order to gain the legal benefits accorded them. The C or E House of Bishops issued a statement to that effect in November or December of 2005.
Following that C of E HOB statement a condemnatory letter issued from Nigeria - reminding the English church that TEC and others were being ostracized for that sort of thing. But outrage at the C of E does not seem to have any staying power -- either in other parts of the Communion or in TEC. When Bishop Mark Sisk and I asked the ABC about same-sex blessings - about what the difference is between what happens in the Cof E and what happens in some places here he answered, "They ( in England) are not public."
They may not be public events, but they are certainly not secret. Our own Bp. Duncan was recently interviewed about the tensions within TEC and was asked if his decision to urge separation from TEC was a new thing. He said it was not - that during the Civil War several dioceses separated for a time over the issue of slavery - which he described as a social issue, not a salvation issue!!
But the very fact that he would urge separation from TEC but not from the C of E - where same sex blessings (non-public as they may be in nature) also take place - certainly raises questions. That C of E evangelicals would threaten a split in their own church over what is happening here rather than over what is happening there -- again raises questions.
I can only say what I have said before. The issue is not really homosexuality. It is not about what is "repugnant to Scripture." If it were, Bp Duncan would be calling for his followers to disassociate themselves from the C of E because of its permissive stance about same sex blessings even among their own clergy!
It is rather about what has become repugnant to some of the clergy and members of this church who have become willing to use sex as a wedge to gain support from others around the Communion.
The issue is about the dramatic shift in power and authority over the last forty years within TEC. We have a catechism which clearly states that the ministers of the church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons. We began admitting all baptised persons to the sacred eucharistic meal - including children. Women began serving on Vestries and Bishop's Committees, as chalice bearers, as convention delegates and Deputies. And we began ordaining women as priests and bishops. The C of E has gone through similar changes, and with new conversations about women in the episcopate...well, something must be done.
The list of offenses has become intolerable, but none of those issues would provide the frenzy of support our dissenters require to gain their ends. But for churches in places where there are very few cracks in the solid patriarchy of social, political or religious life, homosexuality provides the wedge.
Even the notion of homosexuality is emasculating in some cultures - we heard this very clearly from the Chancellor of Ghana - a woman who described herself as having learned to work within their system, and who has no intention of making the waves required to push her province into a "listening process" about homosexuality.
As a member of the writing group I will confess that I am not satisfied with the statement from the House of Bishops. I was also not satisfied with B033. We said nothing new in that portion of our NOLA statement. There simply cannot have been anyone in this church who didn't already know that B033 includes non-celibate gay and lesbian persons. About the blessing of same sex unions we repeated ourselves. They keep asking for a guarantee that we will not provide public liturgies, and we keep telling them that we have no public liturgies. We have agreed not to produce them until a "consensus emerges around the Communion" OR until the GC acts.
One might happen far sooner than the other.....and we remain adamant that responses to individual pastoral situations is a local matter. Of course the last paragraph of our statement speaks of where our hearts are rather than the reality of our common life. I can only imagine what St. Paul was thinking when he wrote that "when anyone is in Christ there is a new creation...." clearly not completely true, but certainly the hope of faithful hearts. We included it because we simply had to reiterate our desire to come to that place, and to make it clear to others that it is where we know we ought to be.
I sincerely hope that someone will call the evangelicals in the C of E on their hypocrisy, and that many more of us here at home will start calling our own struggle what it is - a fight to regain power and control in order to return TEC to its even more deeply flawed past..... though even “back in the day” we came to recognize slavery as a moral evil.
Sorry this posting is so long -- I don't chime in that often.
A bit of good news; I look forward to a diocesan convention at which a group of folks are petitioning to become a mission congregation of this diocese. They want to be Episcopalians!
Peace to you,
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