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RE: Submissions to the Lambeth Commission



Some have noted the paucity of submissions to the Lambeth Commission
from members and supporters of the Episcopal Church vs. the 
plentiful responses from our opponents. (Some of them are listed at 
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ecumenical/commissions/lambeth/kanuga/index.cfmand there is a list of others at
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ecumenical/commissions/lambeth/documents/200406overview.pdf)

I think the limited number of responses to date from The Episcopal 
Church stems from several factors:

1) (My most cynical response first:)

Few show enthusiasm to submit paper documents when The Commission has
given live air time to enemies of lesbians and gays. It is insulting 
and unconscionable that Bishop Gene Robinson and Bishop Michael Ingham 
have not been invited to appear in person before the Commission.  They 
have even been turned down flat when petitions have been made on 
behalf of their doing so.

That's like not allowing Saint Paul to appear on his own to face the
charges at the Council of Jerusalem, but letting a leading and
supportive rabbi from Asia Minor or Rome speak for him.

I am aware that Archbishop Eames and others on the Commission 
stress that their work is not really about persons, but about 
boundaries of authority and how we might live together with 
our disagreements ...........  but the Lambeth Commission  imposed 
no such limits on Archbishop Drexel Gomez's screed, nor on Bishop 
Robert Duncan's.  At Kanuga, Diane Knippers,  a leading 
anti-gay activist was heard, but no lesbigay Episcopalians.

2) Our House of Bishops respects what +Presiding Bishop Frank
Griswold is doing in stating the position of The Episcopal Church.  
No one wants to to usurp the primate's obligations to represent us 
officially. 

Furthermore, many of our bishops were at Lambeth 98, and most of those 
more recently consecrated followed the spectacle of abuse there.
Few want gratuitously to invite that wrath on themselves again, 
and for what purpose?  They are busy disciples working hard at 
ministry where they have some hope of success.  What is there to 
make them think that taking time to petition the Lambeth Commission
will have any effect beside meeting the Commission's need to be 
able to point to a stack of paper and say it invited all voices?

3) Most are not following blow-by-blow accounts of the attacks 
on us at home and abroad, unless they are in the highly exercised 
conservative minority.  The whole country, indeed the whole world, 
knows that we have consecrated an out gay bishop, but that was 
eight months ago and except for the highly vocal group bent on 
taking a stand against that, most Episcopalians are going on 
about the business of their parishes and dioceses.

If others outside The Episcopal Church want to change us, 
they are going about it all the wrong way.  They might love us 
into their attitudes, but they will never bully us into them.  

Most of us held their attitudes ourselves at one time and have 
abandoned them because of spiritual encounters with god in the 
lives of those whom they tell us not to ordain or to bless.

I personally think it would be a horrible loss for the Communion
to split, but I have no illusion that one or additional papers,
however well written, will make that happen or prevent it.
The 'communion' we now have is not as substantial as I would like 
it to be; currently we have far too few exchanges disciple to 
disciple.  Many of our structures are far too impersonal: 
they work well enough to allow the flow of tangible support, but 
we might structure more personal contact, 
especially with the major growth in communications and
transportation over the last two decades.   It would be horrible 
to miss the opportunity that is before us to grow in bonds of 
affection and ministry.

The Episcopal Church will go right on trying to be faithful and trying
to be Anglican whether or not we are booted out.  We are never going
to capitulate to those who do not have jurisdiction here, and if the
the Communion reconstitutes itself to seize the powers of a Curia, few
Episcopalians will want to be a part of it.

We are aware that many see The Episcopal Church in the Imperial image 
of the USA, forcing our way needlessly on others, but that is not what 
is happening.  In this instance, The Episcopal Church is not on the 
side of the mighty and the rich, but companioning the inclusion of the 
lowly, the meek, the vulnerable, the despised and the rejected.  O how I 
wish our President and Britain's Prime Minister would humble themselves to 
do the same with the weak and dispossessed of the world.  O how I wish 
they would redress the neo-colonialism masquerading at 'globalization'

The Episcopal Church is not forcing our way on any other part of the 
Communion.  We have continued to give generously to jurisdictions 
quite without regard to, or pressure regarding, their views of us 
-- because it is God's money, not ours, of which we are the stewards.

Having explained why I believe so few Episcopalians have submitted
statements to the Lambeth Commission, I personally am networking with 
others to assure that at least a few more presentations supportive 
of The Episcopal Church  will reach the Lambeth Commission.   
Those who submit need to be careful not to return bullying for bullying,
however.  This is not a war of words, but a struggle for the hearts.
In such a struggle often the strongest witness is in silent solidarity 
with the despised, not in making loud noises.

If there is not enough love and support of us elsewhere to make this 
witness on our behalf, all will just have to live with that.  It
is in precisely such times that Jesus bids, "Rejoice, and be
exceedingly glad."   

I confess that I would grieve over the lack of empathy and 
long-suffering with us, but will not stop one beat in trying to be 
the most faithful disciple of Jesus that I can be.

Louie Crew 
Member of Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, Deputy from Newark 
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1222. 973-395-1068 
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel.html  Anglican Pages
http://www.andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/queers.html Queers!  For Christ's Sake!
 




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