Saturday, January 24, 2009

Diocese of Virginia endorses resolution that "affirms the inherent integrity and blessedness" of same-gender partnerships

R-4a Integrity of Committing Relationships

RESOLVED, that the Diocese of Virginia recognizes our responsibility to respond to the pastoral needs of our faithful gay and lesbian members in a spirit of love, compassion and respect, and in doing so seek to fulfill our baptismal commitment to respect the dignity of every human being; and be it further

RESOLVED, that accordingly the 214th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirms the inherent integrity of and blessededness of committed Christian relationships between two adult persons, when those relationships are "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God." (Resolution 2000-D039 of the 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church).


RSchllnbrg said...

Once again we have done theology by voting on stuff. I have often wondered if we passed a resolution that Christmas was really on December 21 if that would actually make it so. Guess not. But here we have set about a totally new thing, based on the vote of a few delegates who are meeting in a room one fine Saturday.

The listening process is now closed. A lot like a meeting they had at Virginia Theological Seminary last year when a diialogue on sexuality was offered to the whole campus as a safe place to share thoughts about the issues, but with the ground rules that no one could say that the Bible condemned homosexuality as it might upset folk and make an unsafe environment.

I'm not feeling very safe now myself ...

But all is well because we have passed a resolution that all relationships can be inherently good and blessed. So much for the taint of sin (or I suppose any need for confession and absolution, or crosses or redemption or ...)

Roger +

RSchllnbrg said...

One other thought ... my lay delegate voted in elections for Standing Committee by making a pattern on the ballot. He did not know any of the candidates. I wonder how many of those in the Council meeting who voted to create an "inherent blessedness" in relationships have any theological interest, training, or have done any thinking about what it all implies.

You know, in thinking of any historical theological discussions, I can not think of one in which anything in creation is spoken of as inherently blessed. We live in a fallen world, right? Except now. We all in Virginia have discerned this new truth that there are some inherently blessed things. An amazing discovery indeed.

How fortunate we had the direction of the Archbishop of Wales to tell us how thinkng is not as important as feeling our way forward into these new truths.

I think I'll take a pass.

Anonymous said...

Satan has officially hoodwinked the episcopal diocese of Virginia.

Might just as well call it San Francisco.

Unknown said...

BB - WTOP says that Peter Lee is retiring early - Oct 1. Anything on that?

Unknown said...

Never mind - it's all over the place! I must be losing it.

Andy said...

I'm a bit hung up on the "blessedness" language of this resolution. Has Virginia accorded this same blessing to heterosexual/normal couples? Or, is there something that's just plain magical about adam and steve?

I need to read Dante once again to see if there was a ring reserved for the politically correct.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful that one of the last dioceses to recognize and acknowledge the inherent evils of slavery, and then again one of the last dioceses to recognize the evils of segregation, is finally NOT going to be the last diocese to recognize the evils of bigotry towards homosexuals. Thanks be to God!

Anonymous said...

I guess incest is inherently "blessed", too -- if both are adults, it fits the wording of the resolution here. For that matter, it fits an adulterous relationship, as well
. . . just as long as they're not having sex with anyone but each other (ie, not with their spouses).
Ahh, the delights of human wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I had been holding out hope that at least the Diocese of VA would keep its senses and avoid going off the deep end like they did this weekend, but alas, that hope was in vain. While it is true that this doesn't write these positions into the canons, does anyone seriously doubt that that too is coming next year? I cannot remain an Episcopalian in good conscience any longer. The only question now is Rome vs. Continuing Anglicanism, and I'm leaning toward Rome because if this trend continues communionwide, one really has to ask whether it's even worh remaining in communion with Canterbury.

I'm depressed. I'm ashamed. I'm not an Episcopalian any more in anything other than name, and that will soon change.

Fr. Bryan Owen said...

Any sense of what Bishop Johnston makes of all of this?

Unknown said...

Well, you can read his remarks here:

It does appear he favors the "full inclusion" of gay partnered clergy, but is a process guy, not a prophetic guy. He'll have the listening process road tour that will produce a process of which he can carry out the progressive agenda.

Obviously, the progressives tested him by sending a partnered lesbian seeking holy orders to him and he accepted her as a postulant, until it came time for ordination and balked. Frankly, I think that's cruel - if you are going to accept someone knowing they are a partnered lesbian as a postulant and then decline to actually ordain her because she's a partnered lesbian is actually worse than turning her down in the first place. I don't get that - that's just cruel.

Either you know what you believe and you act on it, or you play the "process" game to placate the outroar until people are exhausted from objecting (or are gone). That's clearly his intention.

I can respect Susan Russell though obviously I disagree with her because at least she states her principles and sticks to them. The Bishop Johnston-method, though it may achieve in the end the same goals as Susan's, seems to me to be shrewd and manipulative - for all parties.


redleg82 said...


I am very interested in how this is playing itself out in other parishes within DioVA. What are there reactions? I think there were some who felt like DioSC. The "Not in My Diocese" crowd. Now what, given that it is in your diocese? More parishes leaving under 57-9? More families just leaving?

Anonymous said...

The woman in question had not reached the point of candidate for ordination - just postulancy. She hasn't even gone to seminary.

Unknown said...

redleg82, at least one orthodox rector walked out after R-4a was passed by Council. When I asked another rector how was he doing after the resolutions were passed said he expected more people to leave his parish.

Yes, what happened yesterday was General Convention coming to Reston. There was always a difference between what happened at General Convention and what happened at Diocesan Council, much of that because Bishop Lee kept a firm hand on the reigns and didn't let it happen. But that didn't yesterday. He seemed far more weakened than I have ever seen him before, despite all the standing ovations. The rector of St. Anne's Reston seemed to have more control over the show than Bishop Lee, which not long ago I would never have imagined.

Anon, it might interest you to know that the Washington Times reporter asked Bishop Johnston that question and he refused not only to answer her, but to talk to her and walked rudely off. We found out it was a lesbian and not a gay man when another member of Council from the church in Dunn Loring can up to the press table and let it slip that the postulant is a she. But Bishop Johnston would not say where in the process beyond postulancy she is - so thank you for the info.

Does she plan to go to seminary anyway and perhaps be ordained elsewhere? Or does she think in three or four years Bishop Johnston will ordain her if she gets started now? One does wonder.

It was interesting that her identity was kept anonymous, that even her gender was kept under wraps and the bishop wouldn't even talk about it, especially since he was the one to bring it up in the first place!


RSchllnbrg said...


I think you may have misunderstood the Bishop's reaction. Perhaps he was merely interested in participating in a "listening" process and no more.

Unknown said...

Have a photo now up of the Washington Times attempt to get clarification and Bishop Johnston's on-the-spot participation in an ad-hoc "listening process" here.