Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Washington Post: Episcopal Leaders Defiant

Also check out this statement from the Archbishop of Uganda, who was eletected to the Primates Standing Committee, the Most Rev. Henry Orombi here.

Leading Liberal Episcopalians would rather accept schism
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 21, 2007; A03

Several leading liberal Episcopalians said yesterday that they would rather accept a schism than accede to a demand from leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion for what they view as an unconscionable rollback of the U.S. church's position on gay rights.

The defiant reaction to the communique issued by the primates, or heads, of the Anglican Communion's 38 national churches on Monday at the conclusion of a weeklong meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, reflected a growing feeling on both sides of the dispute that time for compromise is running out.

"Yes, I would accept schism," said Bishop Steven Charleston, president of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. "I would be willing to accept being told I'm not in communion with places like Nigeria if it meant I could continue to be in a position of justice and morality. If the price I pay is that I'm not considered to be part of a flawed communion, then so be it."

Conservative primates, many from developing countries, insisted in Dar es Salaam that the 2.3-million-member U.S. church must comply with the 77-million-member communion's position that "homosexual practice" is "incompatible with Scripture." They sought and won a Sept. 30 deadline for U.S. bishops to pledge to stop authorizing rites of blessing for same-sex couples and to promise not to consecrate any more gay bishops since the election of V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire in 2003.

U.S. conservatives hailed the communique. Martyn Minns, of Truro Church in Fairfax, one of 15 Northern Virginia congregations that have voted since 2005 to separate from the Episcopal Church, said it gives the U.S. church just "one last chance."

"It says that the American church is invited to be part of the Anglican Communion, but if it chooses not to, it can walk its own way," Minns said by telephone from London during a stopover on his return from the Tanzania meeting.

The communique also recommends against litigation to settle property disputes between Episcopal dioceses and departing congregations. Minns, now a bishop in a missionary branch of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, said he hoped that the Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, would agree to mediation.

But Patrick Getlein, spokesman for the Virginia diocese, said it has no plan to drop its legal claims. The departures "set in motion a spiritual and legal conflict that at this point remains unresolved," he said.

Some Episcopalians who support gay rights in the church said they are waiting to hear from the U.S. church's presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who signed the communique.

"My assumption is she's coming home to tell us how it can work," said Jim Naughton, a spokesman for the Washington diocese. "And since she's amassed a lot of goodwill in a short time, maybe she can persuade us -- though it will be a hard sell."

Other liberals said it is time to admit that they have been outmaneuvered.

"The American church has been very skillfully and strategically painted into a corner where we really need to face a "Sophie's Choice" of staying true to our understanding of the inclusive gospel or staying true to our commitment to being a constituent member of the Anglican Communion," said the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity, a 33-year-old gay rights advocacy group within the church.

Russell said the U.S. church has done all it can to avoid that choice. "The idea that the criteria for being in communion with each other is you must agree down the line on doctrinal points -- that has never been how Anglicans have operated," she said. Nevertheless, Russell said, her group will urge U.S. bishops, who are scheduled to meet next month at an Episcopal retreat center near Houston, to "utterly reject" the Anglican demands.

The Rev. Mark Harris, a retired priest and liberal blogger who sits on the Episcopal Church's 40-member Executive Council, said that U.S. bishops may have to tell the Anglican Communion that they cannot speak for the entire U.S. church, which has a democratic structure that includes lay people and priests in decision-making.

"Part of the courage needed for the future is to stand by what we believe is right, and stand by the consequences," he said.


Kevin said...

No big surprise here, not after the reports of B033 display by +Chang and his gang. I do under how well +KJS is at her Nancy Pelosi impersonation to get her trip to Lembeth.

She has her work cut out for her, though the last three weeks show someone some where has been doing good backroom politicking (subcommittee report & standing committee. So I dunno.

Lawsuits will probably be an impasse (I'm sure TEC would love to grant access to property by renting it back, which will be unacceptable but 815 will then claim CANA trying to alienate -- thus each claiming the other is in breach - no one fully willing to step in GS pointing finger at TEC, Europe pointing at CANA more moderates seeing a breach on both sides).

The cards are staked in her favor with the review process, if she can keep some in line. It'll be interesting.

mdlawlib said...

I have some questions as an observer. I was wondering if the Chruch in Candada was in the same boat as TEC because of the blessing of same sex unions? Or is it just TEC?

Also, can we give KJS a little credit? I mean it must have been very hard for her to agree to certain things, but she did. I would hope that we could pray for her just as we pray for a lot of other leaders.

Finally, I really hope that the folks at TEC won't leave the Anglican Communion. They are hurt and angry right now, sound familiar, and they are lashing out. I hope in time they see the importance of sticking it out and fighting for change from the inside if that's what they feel called to do.

Andy said...

At first, I was a bit non;lussed at what I thought was a tepid response by the Primates. But after reading +Martyn's quote, the picture became clear. The Anglican Communion is giving TEC every opportunity to recant and repent of their heresies.
I know of an instance where a church did this (The Worldwide Church of God) but after reading some of the comments on the TEC "Street", I'm bot holding out much hope for 815's donning of sackcloth and ashes.


mdlawlib said...

Oh and I disagree with Susan Russell saying that the Bishops should reject it outright. Maybe there should be some time to study and discuss before calling for that extreme of an action?

Kevin said...

I'm going to use this space a sketch pad - meaning I'm unsure about everything.

Some seem to thing TEC won't be able to hold to this and that's a good thing for a reduced AC status will incur. I hold that +KJS will pull it off in a politics fashion and let GC09 deal w/ it (delay tactic).

I've pondered this, if reduces status, then AMiA & CANA will be seen as valid expressions, game on let's save everyone in life boats, if TEC plays ball, then it could be bad for us (expected to reenter under PV less sovereignty issues raised). That's selfish, now APO outside TEC would bring better protection to +Iker, +Duncan, +Ackerman ... etc however PV plan might protect more +Wolf how attended Camp Allen 1 might consider as well as +Howe, who seems to has split dioceses issues. Thus if this Communique is held to it might actually be very good for the overall faithful of TEC. Thus if fails for them it might leave those worse off (really once you kicked them out, that about all you can do except try to set up a separate "missionary" structure and probably have 200 more new expressions of Anglicanism.

The more I look at this and ponder it from another perspective, the more I realized how complex is this situation. What maybe good for one faithful is not good for another & vice versa. Pray, definitely a situation that needs prayer!


Pat Kashtock said...

Oh yes, mdlawlib, have been praying like wildfire for KJS. I am deeply hoping this will bring her to a new point of questioning herself. My prayer is that the Lord will use this all to bring her fully to Himself. It just has not seemed as though she has ever gotten to that point, and I really feel for her.


BabyBlue said...

I thought the quote from the Diocese of Virginia was interesting.


mdlawlib said...

I don't think the Diocese of Virginia could just wake up this morning and decide to drop the lawsuits without some serious discussion taking place. They said they had no plans, but plans change. . . .

mdlawlib said...


I think KJS took a big leap of faith signing that communique . . . .
I am glad you are praying for her, given the reaction we have seen in the press, she sure needs it!

Kevin said...

You are so correct Mdlawlib, we should expect people like Susan Russell, it's kind of her job working with an ecclesiastical political lobby to spout off.

+Minns,"What are the next steps? All of us have to go back and do the work of the church. We have to look at the document. We need to read it and understand it."

Probably what all people in true authority will do. As NASA had to respond to the press last week that there was no change in the astronaut corp at that very moment but refused to speculate after the arrest of one. It's all too soon! Then the press lives on controversies, they sell copy, when it's time to make reasonable decision based on understanding the hype will be gone. So expect stuff like this for the next week.

Yes, thank you for the reminder Pat, we need to pray for ++KJS!


omar said...

yes, yes, Hell yes!!! This is what conservatives have been saying for years, leave now, we will even let you take the buildings! We'll get them back anyway once the people you have left find out you substituted Jesus for some stale Crackers.

Padre Wayne said...

Only a brief comment: BB, you seem to attract blog commenters who at least maintain some sense of decorum. I've stopped reading VOL (had to hide doing it whenever my sweetheart came into the room) because the comments are vitriolic to the extreme. Congratulations on that.

BabyBlue said...

Thank you, padre wayne - I think that's a tribute to all you who post here! Even if the dishes should start flying, we'll just jump under a table and then crawl back to the stove as soon as possible to put another kettle on. Nothing like a good cup of strong tea to chase away a somber mood.



Pat Kashtock said...

mdlawlib -- Susan Russell -- I imagine she feels like she is fighting for her life. That would explain why she can get that way sometimes. She probably feels she has to be the way she is and cannot see the possibility that maybe this is something the Lord can indeed take care of. She is another one my heart goes out to. LeAnne Payne has a ministry to bring healing to those in homosexuality, but if one is convinced they truly were born that way and there is no way out, then that one is likely to be frightened by anything that could take away what they believe they need. She says she is in love with another woman, and I am sure her feelings run deep. I think of the pain for her in giving up that relationship, and I can understand her reactions. It does not make the gay thing square with scripture, but we can see and acknowledge their pain and pray that somehow they will find the courage to really face things. It has to be heartrending. Yet I truly believe the Lord can bring complete healing.