19 June 2006

Update From Fr. Richardson.

From Fr. Freddy Richardson, one of our Diocese of Tennessee delegates:

"I apologize for not writing more often or giving more detail on what has been happening. The schedule has been intense, and all the significant stuff is just now coming out of committees or from the House of Bishops to the floor of the House of Deputies. I have a couple of hours break right now (the first such break other than sleeping 11:00 pm to 5:30 am each day!). But I’m not complaining :-).
Here’s the news:
As most of the world now knows, The House of Bishops yesterday elected Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Nevada, as the next Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, with the House of Deputies concurring. Whatever your position on women’s ordination, it should be fairly easy to see that this election will prove controversial and a further strain on the bonds of affection within the Anglican Communion and our broader ecumenical relationships.
Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh had this to say: "While many of us have supported women in holy orders, … [f]or the Anglican Communion worldwide, this election reveals the continuing insensitivity and disregard of the Episcopal Church for the present dynamics of our global fellowship. This election asserts once again that it is our autonomy and revolutionary character that is most dear to us. Any words the General Convention might speak about compliance with the Windsor Report will have to be read in light of this election."
Bishop Schori is an advocate for openly homosexual persons to serve in holy orders and allows blessings of same-sex unions in her diocese. Her diocese passed a resolution in October of 2003, which says:
"[T]he 33rd annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, desiring to support relationships of mutuality and fidelity which mediate the grace of God between those persons for whom the celebration and blessing of a marriage is not available, does hereby authorize that ceremonies to celebrate the relationships of such persons who are baptized members in good standing in this diocese maybe conducted by clergy in the diocese, with the approval of the bishop, respecting their pastoral discretion.
"Background and Explanation: The 74th General Convention [2003] passed Resolution 051, article 5 of which, ‘recognizes that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.’
This resolution addresses that adopted by our General Convention and makes particular application to the Diocese of Nevada. In the interest of promoting an informed discussion, you are invited to contact the Integrity Network with any questions about the resolution or to discuss this proposed resolution."
In other news, two significant pieces of legislation will come before us today.
1. "Gay & Lesbian Affirmation" – the first two resolves of this resolution are reaffirmations of previous resolutions at earlier General Conventions. The third resolve, however, takes us to the next level. It says that we "oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions." As Elizabeth Kaeton, openly lesbian priest and deputy from the Diocese of Newark said in the committee hearing for this resolution, if we pass this resolution, we will in effect endorse civil marriage for same-sex partners.
2. "Election of Bishops and Public Rites of Same-Sex Unions" – this resolution is a combination of two resolutions in response to the Lambeth Commission’s Windsor Report, Primates’ Meeting of February 2005 Dromantine Communiqué, and Archbishop of Canterbury’s requests for us to exercise moratoria on further consecrations of openly homosexual bishops and blessing same-sex unions. The requests are clear – stop doing these things. The response, however, in the resolution that we will consider today is not.
It now reads – "we are obliged to urge nominating committees, electing conventions, Standing Committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to refrain from the nomination, election, consent to any bishop whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church…" "Obliged to urge…to refrain…" – What does that mean? That "you [the primates and Archbishop of Canterbury] are forcing us to do something that we don’t want to do. And we’re not doing what you asked us to do, but we’re trying to make it look like we’re doing what you have asked us to do."
On the issue of blessing same-sex unions, we have been asked to tell bishops to stop doing what Presiding Bishop-elect Schori, for example, has done and is doing.
Instead, the resolution now reads, "That this General Convention not proceed to develop or authorize Rites for the Blessing for same-sex unions at this time…" General Convention not doing it and telling bishops to stop doing it are not equal. If this resolution passes, we will not have done what has been asked of us.
One more thing – the committee hearing was today for a resolution sent in by our diocesan Bishop and Council, produced by Fr. Patrick Allen of St. Joseph of Arimathea, asking General Convention to rescind the affiliation of The Episcopal Church with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, action taken by the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church in January of this year. A similar resolution was submitted by Lorne Coyle of the Diocese of Central Florida. We both spoke for the resolutions, along with Georgette Forney, President of NOEL (an anti-abortion group of Episcopalians). After we spoke for the resolutions, a number of members of the committee hearing our testimony got up to speak against us.
Elizabeth Kaeton (openly lesbian priest from the Diocese of Newark) said that what I said was a lie, when I said that the RCRC advocates positions at odds with The Episcopal Church. I had simply used Fr. Allen’s statement at our last Annual Convention, which quoted directly from a General Convention 1994 resolution! Another member of the committee said that the Executive Council was merely confirming an affiliation that has been in place since 1986, an affiliation begun by staff at 815 on behalf of The Episcopal Church. Also, a similar resolution was defeated in 2003. I doubt that this one will get any further.
So, that’s life in Columbus. Please continue to pray for us.
Your servant in Christ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following the committee meetings considering the Windor report resolutions on the Stand Firm blog, and what seemed surprisingly hopeful a few days ago has crashed into the meaningless resolution that Freddy+ recounts. Disappointing but not surprising.

Regarding Schori, Richard John Neuhaus has this quote on First Things:
"As of this week’s General Convention, however, one thing seems certain beyond doubt: The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has declared itself to be just another liberal Protestant denomination, in deliberate defiance of the Anglican Communion and in scornful indifference to a long history of hope for reconciliation with Catholicism. Yes, many, going back to John Henry Newman in the early nineteenth century, said that this would be the inevitable outcome of Anglicanism’s claim to be a “middle way” between liberalism and Catholicism, but it is nonetheless very sad to see it come to pass, and to see the self-congratulatory rejoicing of Episcopalians in celebratory assembly at the death of an honorable, if finally untenable, hope for greater Christian unity."

19 June, 2006 13:19  
Anonymous Scott K said...

Oops, that previous comment was me... didn't mean to by anonymous.

19 June, 2006 13:20  
Blogger PSA+ said...

I'm not commenting personally, at least for another day or so. I had three calls this morning. One said he felt like he'd been sucker-punched, another that he'd been slapped, and another that he'd been poked in the eye. My response to all was, "you have been."

Thanks for the Neuhaus quote. I'm posting it.

19 June, 2006 13:28  
Blogger Milton said...

Not the topic of this thread, but late Mon. afternoon and not only have all the classicalanglican sites (Titusonenine, etc.) but Stand Firm in Faith are inaccessible. T19 seems to be overloaded, but Stand Firm's site shows a blank page with a strange address - http://io.hmdnsgroup.com/suspended.page/

Too much traffic made their server suspend the site? Hackers or coordinated denial of service attack? Seems TEC and ENS have found a way to go back to the good old days of keeping us in the dark!

19 June, 2006 15:45  
Blogger PSA+ said...

Who knows? Might mean significant action on one of the Windsor resolutions.

19 June, 2006 15:59  
Blogger jj said...

Can anyone report on how the TN clergy and lay delgations voted on whether to confirm the choice of Schori?

19 June, 2006 22:35  
Blogger PSA+ said...

My understanding is that only Fr. Richardson and Maria Lytle voted to withhold consent.

Troubling to me that only 8 delegations withheld consent.

20 June, 2006 05:19  

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