Monday, March 15, 2010

The Episcopal Church prepares to walk away

But we'll see if the diocesan bishops hold back the tide. From here:

An openly gay priest has received more than the required majority of consents to be confirmed as bishop, the Diocese of Los Angeles reported Wednesday.

According to an unofficial tally, the Rev Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool has received 61 nods from standing committees in The Episcopal Church. Only 56 are required for confirmation.

"I give thanks for the Standing Commitees’ prompt action," said the Bishop of Los Angeles, J Jon Bruno. "I look forward to the final few consents to come in from the bishops in the next few days, and I give thanks for the fact that we as a church have taken a bold step for just action."

The presiding bishop's office has yet to verify the count.

Glasspool, who has been with her lesbian partner since 1988, was elected in December to the office of bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Consents to her election would make Glasspool the second openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church, after V Gene Robinson of New Hampshire whose consecration in 2003 caused uproar.

Dr Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion – of which The Episcopal Church is the US branch – had expressed concerns over Glasspool's election in light of the Communion-wide moratorium on the consecration of bishops living in a same-gender union.

Since the 2003 consecration of Robinson, relationships between The Episcopal Church and much of the Anglican Communion have been strained or in some cases, impaired. Just after Glasspool's election, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion called for "gracious restraint in respect of actions that endanger the unity" of the global body.

The Most Rev Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, said earlier that confirmation of Glasspool's election "will make clear beyond any doubt whatsoever that the TEC (The Episcopal Church) leadership has chosen to walk in a way which is contrary to Scripture and will continue to do so".

"This settled path that the TEC chooses is contrary to the expressed will of the majority of the Anglican Communion," he noted.

Despite the calls for restraint from Anglicans worldwide, Los Angeles Bishop Bruno has pushed for support for Glasspool.

"To not consent [Glasspool's election] in this country out of fear of the reaction elsewhere in the Anglican Communion is to capitulate to titular heads," Bruno commented earlier. "At our last General Convention, we said we are nondiscriminatory."

Last July, The Episcopal Church's highest legislative body adopted a resolution opening the ordination process to all baptised members, which would include practising homosexuals.

Pending completion of the consent process, the ordination and consecration of Glasspool is scheduled for May 15.

Read it all here.

47 comments:

TLF+ said...

That is some strange photo - why is Glasspool the focal point? Never mind. Answered my own question.

Anam Cara said...

There it is! The Episcopal Church walks away - TEC is the departer!

I always suspected that was the case. I knew they left me and now it is official - they are leaving the Anglican Communion!

A lot of words in law suits need to be changed to show the proper status of the participants.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Two comments:

1. I like the headline - sort of - because it recognizes that TEC is only now going to break the moratorium on ordaining partnered LGBT bishops.

2. When members of a family disagree about something - and even act on that disagreement - does it mean that one of them has walked away? As I see it, TEC has not walked away from the Communion on the central matters of Anglicanism expressed in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. As I see it, the actions of TEC are supported by Anglicans in many of the Churches of the Communion. There is frequent mention of TEC's action being rejected by the majority of Anglicans, but there are many Anglicans - lay people - who have never been asked how they view TEC's actions.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Weir,
"There is frequent mention of TEC's action being rejected by the majority of Anglicans, but there are many Anglicans - lay people - who have never been asked how they view TEC's actions." Do you honestly believe that if all Anglicans including the lay order were polled, that they would be in agreement with her becoming a Bishop? Fr. Dale Matson

Ed McNeill said...

Fr. Weir,

Have you read the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral lately? It is a document that expresses a willingness to submit autonomy in for the sake of interdependence and communion. TEC walked away from the spirit of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral years ago.

Ed Hird+ said...

Perhaps it might be most accurate to say that TEC continues to walk further away.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Fr, Matson-

I have no idea how lay people or priests throughout the Communion would vote on the ordination of Canon Glasspool or any other partnered LGBT person. My point was that we have no way of knowing. We don't even know if the majority of Bishops whp are serving today in the Communion would vote in favor of the 1998 Lambeth resolution I.10. The only recent votes have been the Primates and I am far from certain that they speak for the majority of members of their Churches.

Daniel

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Ed McNeill-

I have read the Quadrilateral and you are right that the Bishops in Chicago affirmed that "this Church is ready in the spirit of love and humility to forego all preferences of her own...." While that willingness is expressed in relation to ecumenical relations - or, as the Lambeth resolution put it, Home Reunion - I agree that there seems to be less willingness than we would like in many parts of the Communion to forego preferences. I think some of this is a matter of preferences that grow out of responding to the different contexts in which the member Churches of the Communion are ministering. Such preferences can come to be seen as almost essential for the mission of the Church in a particular context. I believe that autonomy in relationship should leave room for member Churches to adopt practices that seem to them to be important for their ministry even though other Churches disapprove.

Anonymous said...

Fellow Bloggers:

When posting comments about this subject, please remember that TEC can do no wrong. That way we'll all just get along fine!

RalphM

Sinner said...

Of course Glasspool has all the consents - bishops and standing committees.

And TEC has walked away from the communion years ago - all this is the final walking away from Christ - spitting on the cross, crucifying Christ again and again.

Everyone who is in TEC is damned - whatever they may claim about their personal faith.

You cannot serve both Christ and Dagon.

Allen said...

I love how we are incessantly being lectured to by those TEC apologists who defend the insanity that wounds this Church beyond any respect or repair.

THAT is true Christian charity.

I truly can't wait until the Supreme Court of Virginia rules and then those apologists will hear their own withering voices echoing in an ever-shrinking and insignificant circle of like-mindedness.

Ed McNeill said...

Fr. Weir,

Please don't play the sophist. It is unbecoming. You write "I agree that there seems to be less willingness than we would like in many parts of the Communion to forego preferences." Own up man and name names. This sort of set up of the argument is a great example of how TEC convinces itself of the rightness of its position. FIrst you reduce the debate to a seemingly harmless platitude and then build upon it like its the rock of Christ.

Have a little respect for the intelligence of your readers. TEC tore the fabric of communion and like you is intent on ignoring the wounds caused. Own up already and simply say you reject the spirit of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

Do you understand your desire to reinterpret it is in fact a rejection of it?

Anam Cara said...

Fr. Weir,

You use the term "Churches." This is incorrect. It should be "churches" as there is only ONE "Church" - the Body of Christ. The question is, "should member churches adopt practices of which the Church disapproves?"

By the by, I am very sorry you had to see what Sinner wrote (Everyone who is in TEC is damned - whatever they may claim about their personal faith.) He should know better than to judge another. The only person we are to judge is ourselves - so that we won't be judged.

Anam Cara said...

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.

(Lenten prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian - but good all year long)

Londoner said...

Mr Weir - I think we can safely say that Lambeth 1.10 would have stood in 2008...... or TEC would have been pushing for a vote!!!

Now TEC will take another action, moving further out of line with "the mind of the Communion", but will seek to stay in nevertheless, even though that destroys unity in the AC. No surprise. The alternative is obscurity given so few Americans (less than 1 in 400) turn up to TEC churches on a Sunday to hear about 'ubuntu' etc... a global platform and airplane trips to exotic places to wear pointy hats are important when nobody cares in the US.... look at the great state of NH....how many people coming to TEC churches? So very few..... Funny how the rest of the AC gets told that TEC is doing the best for its context - the US population does not seem interested but has a high rate of churchgoing....to other churches!

Anonymous said...

Sinner,

You may have valid reasons to be angry at TEC, but your statement is uncalled for.

There are those in TEC who disagree mightily with the direction of the national organization (ex: DioSC) and with other churches and dioceses. Are they damned too?

RalphM

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Ed McNeill,

I understand that you are angry - if you aren't then I wonder why you sound so angry.

I don't believe that I reinterpreted the Quadrilateral. First of all, I simply pointed out the context, i.e., that it was not inter-Anglican affairs but ecumenical affairs, i.e., Home Reunion.

Second of all, without much success, I stated that the willingness to forgo preferences was apparently lacking in the Communion. I did not name names, but not for the sake of evasion. TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have been unwilling to turn back from their commitment to full inclusion of LGBT persons. Several churches (I will use lower case) have been unwilling to respond positively to the Windsor Report request regarding border-crossing. And I have been told that in some places in the Church of England you find priests blessing same-sex unions.

I am not angry. I am sad to see former friends no longer willing to be in communion with me. I am disappointed in myself for being naive enough to think that the Communion could accomodate disagreements about this issue as it has about other issues in the past, e.g., the ordination of women. I was perhaps very foolish to believe that the bonds of affection and the faith we share in Jesus the Christ were strong enough to hold us togther. I am not so naive now and I believe that if conformity on this issue is what is required to stay in the Communion then it is altogether possible that in a decade or so there will be another communion-breaking issue, perhaps the position on artificial contraception that was adopted at Lambeth in 1920.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Londoner,

I suspect that you are right that had Lambeth I.10 been on the agenda in 2008 and all the Bishops who satyed away been present it would have passed. But that is only guess work. What is true about I.10 is that it was followed very selectively, with some churches choosing to move in the direction of full inclusion of LGBT persons and other churches supporting criminalization of same-sex intimacy. What is also true is that the Bishops who studied and discussed the issue most extensively during Lambeth 1998 thought that the clear differences of conviction about the issue made a resolution inadvisable. They were clearly in the majority and the 1998 resolution was, IMV, more conservative than the resolutions in 1978 and 1988. I think that many of the Bishops who voted for I.10 wanted to set the position in stone and end all further discussion. If that was their hope, it wasn't realized. The discussions have gone on, fueled somewhat by discussions of sexual orientation among scientists, somewhat by the experience that many have had of the holiness of partnered gay and lesbian clergy and lay people, and somewhat by the work of Scripture scholars. The conclusion which I have reached may be wrong, after all, I am human, but I am willing to stand by my conviction on this issue and continue to suffer the consequences, including strained or broken relationships with friends in other churches of the Communion and friends who have left TEC. If standing where I stand on this issue comes to mean that I am no longer a member of a member church of the Communion, I will accept that reality with sadness.

BabyBlue said...

I must say that Hagrid was hanging at the bar with Fr. Daniel and the rest of the cheery folks enjoying their robust conversation when "sinner" came in and tossed his cream pie across the room.

The good news - and it is Good News - is that there is no place we can go to escape God's love and redemption, it is always available, always wide and deep and long, not by our own merits, but on the merits of Jesus who Himself said on the cross, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."

And on those merits there is hope for us all - Episcopal and Anglican - because He lives.

bb

Allen said...

Fr. Weir said,

"I am sad to see former friends no longer willing to be in communion with me".

Respectfully, this is the whole problem. It is not THEY who broke fellowship. It is not THEY who have walked away. It is not THEY who have brought unChristian innvoations into a formerly mainstream Church and called it Christianity. It is not THEY/US who are creating schism by calling attention to the wrongness of the actions of TEC's revisionists.

THEY have not destroyed the fellowship and communion. For the true answer, you should look elsewhere to determine who was allowed to run amok, unaccountable, unattended and unchallenged.

THEY did it. And in the process wounded and keep on wounding us all.

BabyBlue said...

And sadly, Mark Harris illustrates very well the walking apart in his most recent post: http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/2010/03/tipping-point-being-who-we-are.html

bb

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Allen,

To say,as you seem to, that TEC has been "allowed to runamok, unaccountable, unattended, and unchallenged" seems to me to be ignoring all the ways that TEC has been challenged and held accountable during the past seven years. The Windsor Report challenged TEC, requesting a temporary relinquishing of participation in the Anglcan Consultative Council, a presentation of the rationale for its actions, and moratoria on the authorization of the blessing of same-sex unions and the consecration of bishops in committed same-sex unions. TEC complied with those requests fully until 2009 when the GC adopted resolution C056 - Litrgies for Blessings. This hardly seems to be a church that has run amok, rather a church that has slowly and prayerfully considered the course it should take. You are free to judge that the course is the wrong one, but your resort to hyperbole and inflammatory language contributes little to the continuing discussion of this issue. It says to me, if I may venture an opinion, that you have no desire at all to be in any kind of relationship with me or others who share my commitment to the course TEC is taking. If that is true, I am sad because it may well mean that we will have some unfinished business when we meet in heaven.

Allen said...

...and, despite it all, exactly WHAT has TEC changed, Fr. Weir.

Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Can you spell "Glasspool"?

Remember GC 2009?

What, exactly, changed?

Our numbers, that's what.

You seem to equate supporting gay folks as having a need to go a step past welcome and embrace and endorse them by not only episcopal ordination but also redefining marriage. Why aren't you happy to allow the tension of it all: namely, welcome everyone but also declare that some lifestyles exclude an individual from some of the offices of the Church? Instead you redefine to suit the culture. The culture always wants to belong to something the easy way and so you seem ready to lower the standard in the name of welcome. Whose need is that?

So, what has changed?

TEC still has rules that few follow, Canons that are winked at until progressives get them changed, and bishops who define marriage to suit their constituents.

How is that not running AMOK and unaccountable? But I have seen that the new "standard" is truly no standard at all, just everyone doing "right" in their own eyes.

Nothing has changed.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Allen-

Why am I not happy to embrace your convictions about same-sex relationships? That's what you're asking. The answer is obvious: because those aren't my convictions. I look at the same-sex couples in my parish and the children they are raising and I can see no reason to condemn their "lifestyles", other than an interpretation of a handful of passages in Scripture that,IMV,completely ignores the context in which those passages were written. I have read and listened to all the arguments against my position and I remain unconvinced. To use an expression from Luther, after my careful study of Scripture, my conscience is bound and I will contuine to stand where I believe God has led me to stand. I understand - and respect - that you must remain true to your convictions on this issue. I am sorry that you do not appear to have the same respect for my conscience.

Robert said...

Fr. Weir, I do have to give you applause for standing in at the plate and answering questions graciously. May if Bishop Righter and some other revisionist clergy had been so respectful in my dealings with them I'd have been a bit more tolerant.

Allen said...

"Me, my, I".

I thought that this Church was catholic in nature and discipline. Looks instead to be rather presbyterian and congregational since the locus of theological and pastoral interpretation clearly lies mainly with the individual or a group of like-minded people.

Hmmm. So the Creed this week would go something like:

"I believe in the holy catholic....ooops... local Church".

Anonymous said...

To reduce the reason for this split to a few passages in scripture is to ignore where TEC has gone over the decades.

When one believes he can pick and choose what is defined as sin in scripture, then celebrate that sin as holy, it becomes an affront to the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. If there is no sin, there was no need for Christ to come into this world.

As a sinner, that is one trap into which I do not care to be led.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

Sinner has damned me to hell. While he/she is probably less inhibited about uttering such thoughts in public than many, his sentiments seem consistent with the type of comments that often are made around some of the blogs that I rely on for obtaining the views of those who have left. I appreciate RalphM's intervention.

Allen - why would any possible action of the Virginia Supreme Court cause any of us to change our voices on subjects of mutual interest?

Scout

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

RalphM,

I can only say that the Church has always had to grapple with what Scripture defines as sin. Slavery wasn't defined as sin for most of the Church's history. Marrying a divorced person was defined as sin for most of that history - and still is by many. Lending money at interest was defined as sin for centuries. And there have been deep divisions in the Church over pacifism.

Scripture is always interpreted and there are,as far as I know, no Christians who take a "literal" interpretation of every passage in Scripure which defines something as sin or an abomination.

The question,IMV,is not whether or not the Church can change its understanding of whether a partucular action is sinful. The question is whether or not this particular change is a reasonable one. On that question we disagree.

Daniel

London said...

Mr Weir You sound a reasonable person but the fact is that most of the AC does not want a situation in which the Communion is both saying something is compatible and incompatible with scripture - so, we have to split. But I don't think your bishops are willing to let go of the prestige that comes from being in someing bigger ...... Sorry, but I do not believe it is any love for the AC, any bonds of affection, which led them to ignore the ABC and "tear the fabric of the Communion" ..... and soon tear it some more. Best we split.....you can have Tutu and Jeffrey John, that's fine.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Just to be clear: I have never denied the reality of the disagreements about sexuality in the Communion. I had hoped that the bonds of affection would allow us to live with those disagreements, just as we had with disagreements over the ordination of women. I was wrong and it appears that the Communionw will divide. How member churches will decide to align themselves is a question. I suspect that there are churches that will decide to be in communion with TEC and that in some churches, e.g., the Church of England, any decision will be difficult. I am not happy that is has come to this, but I believe that the course that TEC is taking is the right one.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

BTW, I am quite happy to be in communion with Arbp Tutu.

Londoner said...

yes, I am sure you would be, Mr Weir.....Tutu is a great man, a brave man...I would be sorry not to be in communion with him but it may come to that because of different views on the authority of scripture, ultimately.

Many of us in the CofE would be happy to in Communion with Bob Duncan and J I Packer....it is very sad that we are (officially) so currently....but we are in reality....they are quite middle of the road Anglicans in the CofE, really.

I respect your attitude and sorrow re splitting, Sir.... this is not personal

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Londoner-
I don't want to be argumentative, but I would suggest that we don't hold different views of whether scripture is authoratative, but on the interpretation of scripture.

Daniel

Steven in Falls Church said...

Breaking news is that the HoB has given the requisite consents. Glasspool+ is now +Glasspool.

As other evidence of walking away, and a bit off topic, news is also coming out that the Diocese of Central New York has sold Good Shepherd Binghamton to a Muslim group. Remind me again why TEC is being a good fiduciary here?

http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/03/dog-in-manger-ii-good-shepherd.html

Allen said...

Folks,

In case you haven't figured it out, the pensioned priests of this Church have nothing to lose while they tear up the playground. There are no consequences to the irrationalities and the self-important fancies that pass for sermons, doctrine, and Christian Education in this wing of the Church.

Don't waste your breath. Just move on, because, like you would expect, there will always be an excuse given for why "I" have "my" thoughts, and then why those thoughts should trump canons and counciliar promises and relationships. We have truly reaped a dung heap in this Church. I imagine that it will take TEC shrinking down to 500,000 ASAs and closing a few dioceses before somebody wakes up and stops dancing on the grave.

Days to go before the Virginia Supreme Court gets an earful of the snatch and grab policies of TEC's ill-pedigreed "Dennis Canon".

BTW: Pensioned priests won't get a say on that one.

Londoner said...

Sorry Mr Weir, given your view is out of line with what the ABC calls "the mind of the Communion", "the teaching of the church" and the position of "the church catholic", I think your 'interpretation' gives scripture less authority....why is your 'interpretation' different to the "church catholic" and "the mind of the Communion"? Seems to come back to the authority of scripture and the asserted freedom to interpret it to bless what it does not bless and not condemn what it does condemn

Anonymous said...

There will always be disagreements about the interpretation of some parts of Scripture. Honest disagreements and discussions can be healthy, but sometimes I wonder if we're even talking about the same texts...

RalphM

The Lakeland Two said...

The question that gets to me is how Fr. Weir's/etc.'s interpretation of Scripture is so far from ours. How did there get to be such a gap. And how definitions can be so different. But, alas, that is part of what's driving the problems and issues - and you can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

There have often been wide gaps between different interpretations of Scripture. Luther and the Pope were miles apart on justification. On the issue of slavery there were deep divisions within the Church. And there still are on abortion, the death penalty, and artificial contraception. On the last one successive Lambeth Conferences passed resolutions that took nearly opposite positions. I suspect that the differences on this issue are due somewhat to context in various ways, e.g., whose preaching does one hear, what theologians and biblical scholars does one read, how conservative or liberal were one's parents, how many friendships one hyas with LGBT people, etc. I recognize that there are no context-free convictions, that all of us have come to hold our convictions to some extent because of our history. One of the values of serious discussion of these difficult issues is that helps us to see how contextual our thinking is and, I would hope, see the issue more broadly.

Allen said...

Fr. Weir,

We're now in the 21st Century. 16th century arguments have been argued in their time and in their context and can't be the stylus or the mould for today's issue at hand. The subject IS that the Anglican Communion had and has a majority mind on many issues that TEC is stone deaf to. Let's stick to how the 1,000 "popes" of the last General Convention proved themselves just as entrenched and obstinate in our day as the 1 pope was in Luther's time. The Church IS reforming itself and TEC's revisionists are standing outside while claiming some superior revelation to the rest of the world's Anglicans. If that's not arrogance and a haughty spirit then it's nothing. It seems that you are better suited to be part of a presbyterian system where a few presbyters get together and decide faith and order. You certainly refuse to be guided by the Church catholic.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Allen,

You seem to have missed my point, which was that there have been deep divisions over important issues in the past and we might have something to learn from them. From your perspective the Church is reforming itself, but I don't see it that way. When the Presiding Bishop defended slavery early in the 19th century, he thought he was defending the faith, but there were those who didn't see it that way. I am not claiming that the position I hold will, like the anti-slavery position, prove to be the right one. I think it will, but I recognize that I could be wrong and I continue to listen to arguments against my position. So far,I remain unconvinced.

Allen said...

...and, as always, the locus of faith and order resides with you, the individual, Fr. Weir? That is not what it means to be part of a catholic Church. American as it is, individuality must taken 2nd place in the Spirit's leadings as interpreted in council and conference. Your trend towards presbyterianism is revealed in practically every post that you make. It takes the form of you and some like-minded people pressing your point to become faith and order until..voila!..it becomes so. When that presbytery is as small as TEC's ruling bodies in vogue they (and you?) pale in comparison to the consensus of the Church catholic. Again, wouldn't you be better suited to be a presbyterian?
I know that it's a bit late, but still that is the mode of faith and order that you and many in TEC have adopted: local cadres of like-minded people creating faith and order apart from the wider Church.
You've convinced some Americans to agree with you. Big whoop. There is still a Church to sell on your point and you haven't done it. And you're OK with that. That, my friend, is exatcly what presbyterians do, but not supposed people who adhere to Anglicanism.

Londoner said...

Yes Mr Weir..."contextual", so in the US context, why do so few Americans turn up to TEC on a Sunday? Cos it's so irrelevant to its context?

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Let me clarify something about which I have apparently not been clear. While I have usually used first person singular pronouns - not wishing to appear to be speaking for anyone but myself - there should be little doubt that the position on same-sex relationships is one that many within TEC and other member churches of the Communion share. While I ownmy own convictions of the issue, I arrived at that conviction within the fellowship of TEC and through many often difficult conversations with others in TEC.

The notion that I trend toward presbyterianism seems odd, since I have not here -or elsewhere -suggested that bishops have no role in the synods of TEC. What I support is the Anglican position that churches are episcopally led and synodically governed. What is at issue is what role Anglicans outside TEC can have in the decisions of TEC's synod. The position of many in TEC is that TEC should listen carefully to what others say, but not feel itself bound to act as others want it to act.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Londoner-

Contextual theology is not always popular. The theology that lay behind the abolitionist and civil rights movements in the US was not popular, even among some African-Americans. The theology of America's civil religion has often been racist, sexist, heterosexist, and uncritically patriotic - and very popular. Prophetic faith - both Jewish and Christian - has spoken against the evils of popular religion.

I recall hearing Bp Theuner - Bp Robinson's predecessor in NH - saying that claims thay his position on sexuality was simply conforming to the world did take into acount how unpopular that position was in NH. I've lived there and it is not a ultra-liberal state.

Daniel

Anonymous said...

BTW, If Sinner is the same Sinner as on other blogs, he is a revisionist pretending to be a real over-the-top reasserter for his own nefarious reasons. Most of us just ignore him as the troll he is.