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Re: Don't let gay row divide us, say bishops (Church Times)
The report in the CHURCH TIMES is the best I have seen on the dialogue of
this group of twelve bishops:
Simon Chiwanga of Mpwapwa; Roger Herft of Newcastle; Josiah Idowu-Fearon
of Kaduna; Michael Scott-Joynt of Winchester; Peter Watson, archbishop of
Melbourne; Rowan Williams, archbishop of Wales; Terence Finlay of
Toronto; Chilton Knudsen of Maine; John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida;
Frank Griswold, primate of ECUSA; Peter Kwong, archbishop of Hong Kong;
Glauco Soares de Lima, Primate of Brazil.
I rejoice that bishops on both sides of the sexuality issues became more
conscious of and respectful of the positions of those who disagree with
them. That is not surprising: through such direct and confidential
encounters with those who disagree, people with good will always move to
less strident positions.
We should not try to go it alone in this Communion. For better or worse,
we need one another, all of us.
I am disappointed that this group did not themselves bring lesbians and
gays to their meetings, or at least did not report that they did. Several
have obviously met with lesbians and gays in other venues. I know the
last six in the list above personally (persons from both "sides"), and I
trust all twelve to give an accurate report of any encounters they have
had with lesbians and gays.
Perhaps this is no more flawed than the Council of Jerusalem, which heard
from the Uncircumsized only through Saint Paul. The main importance of
this group, like that of the Council of Jerusalem, is not the terms they
negotiated, but THAT they negotiated. After the Council of Jerusalem, the
objections of a few could no longer hold back God's welcome of the
I agree that no part of the Communion should take action without being
aware of the effects the action will have on others who disagree. But the
pressure should work both ways. The bishops' statement does not address
one very real risk: namely the risk that we might fail to do the right
thing merely because a majority of people now oppose it.
The Holy Spirit usually acts on us one person at a time. An individual
would sin against the Holy Spirit's bidding if she or he waited until all
Christians everywhere heard the same bidding.
Nor are we a law unto ourselves. All of us have the obligation to bring
our understandings to the Christian community for its collective
evaluation, for we all risk mishearing what God is saying. Lesbian and
gay Christians around the Communion are ready and willing to share the
blessings that God is pouring out in our lives.
On 29 Aug 2001, I sent to 443 Anglican bishops online (185 of them in
ECUSA) a letter asking them to indicate how they had responsed to the
commitments made three years earlier to homosexual persons when at Lambeth
they promised 1) "to listen to the experience of homosexual people" and 2)
"to assure them that they are loved by God." You can see my letter and
the 23 responses (a mere five percent) at
People surrender their moral authority when they don't deliver on what
I realize that these bishops have no obligation to reply to me, but they
surely must give an account of themselves to the lesbians and gays in
their own jurisdiction. Their silence speaks loudly.
Grace is amazing still: God loves absolutely everybody. I repeat my
willingness to go anywhere in the world to share that good news.
Millions are starving for this message, and some might not believe it
until they hear it from someone they thought God could never love.
God is good ALL THE TIME!
Louie Crew, Ph.D., D.D.
Founder of Integrity, a lesbigay ministry in the Anglican Communion
Member of Executive Council of the Episcopal Church