Thinking Anglicans

further reports on the London church service

Earlier reports here and here.

Riazat Butt at the Guardian has Gay priest resigns after furore over church blessing.

The headline refers to the New Zealand priest, David Lord, about whom there is also this report from New Zealand on Stuff, NZ priest in gay marriage row gives up licence.

Concerning the legal situation in England, Riazat reports this:

Dudley is the freeholder of St Bartholomew’s, making it virtually impossible for him to be ousted. But he could face procedures which would involve someone proving there had been an irrevocable pastoral breakdown or that Dudley had acted in a manner unbecoming of a clergyman of the Church of England.

Nigel Seed, a church lawyer, said there was no prohibition on having a service after a civil partnership, provided it was not contrary to church doctrine.

“If you do not purport it to be a service of blessing there is nothing to stop couples from having prayers, hymns or a service of prayer and dedication,” he said.

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dodgyvicar
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dodgyvicar

‘it was not a wedding or a marriage but the blessing of a civil partnership’

‘If you do not purport it to be a service of blessing…’

This did purport to be a service of blessing.

Brave? Loving? Forward looking? Inculturated?

I would like to be able to offer such services of blessing, (though I would do the liturgy very differently).

Do African priests bless polygamous marriages? Do they conduct polygamous weddings? Is there any moral and theological equivalence, and if so why isn’t there any ecclesial / political equivalence?

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

Regardless of my personal views on the service that went on; one cannot escape the fact that Fr. Dudley went ahead with the blessing of a Civil Partnership with the full the knowledge that he would be breaking the laws of the Church. In a time within the Anglican Communion when trust is at an all time low, this was the wrong time to decide to do such a thing; while I am sure Fr. Dudley had the best intentions he has only served to heighten the tension, mistrust and ill feeling that is all too rife across the Anglican… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

The time has long since past for doctrinal and liturgicval witch-hunts in England !

Is the missa normative consonant with C of E doctrine ? — widely used. And what about Benediction of the blessed Sacrament ? Expostion ? etc– all widely practised by cofe bishops and other clergy.

Better live and let live asap !

Malcolm+
Guest

What baffles me is the way i which both the “conservatives” and the secular media have been treating this event as though it were groundbreaking and new.

And I’m left somewhat curious as to which “side” in the debate has chosen to use this particular blessing ceremony as a wedge.

robroy
Guest
robroy

It quite frankly embarrassing that the officiant would try to pass this off as “just a blessing of a civil union.” That is beyond duplicitousness and is simple mendacity.

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Mark Wharton,

And just which law would that be that Fr. Dudley broke? As has been mentioned elsewhere, the guidelines from the HoB are just that – guidelines. They are not mandatory. They say *should not*. They do not say *must not.*

I am uneasy about the form the service took but I cannot find a law that has been broken.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Mark Wh: “this was the wrong time to decide to do such a thing” – the problem is, if asked when the right time would be, your answer would be “never” wouldn’t it? Since civil partnerships were introduced, it has been obvious that the C of E urgently needed to introduce a blessing rite of some sort. If we can bless pets or houses, for goodness’ sake, of course we should be blessing loving relationships between people. Not to do so would be a denial of pastoral need. The foot-dragging and wishing-away of the whole issue by the C of… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

This statment is untrue. No church or law has been broken. In fact, there are no laws against blessing any more than love, itself. Blessing is an operationalisation of love & grace, surely. ‘Regardless of my personal views on the service that went on; one cannot escape the fact that Fr. Dudley went ahead with the blessing of a Civil Partnership with the full the knowledge that he would be breaking the laws of the Church. In a time within the Anglican Communion when trust is at an all time low, this was the wrong time to decide to do… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

‘What baffles me is the way i which both the “conservatives” and the secular media have been treating this event as though it were groundbreaking and new. And I’m left somewhat curious as to which “side” in the debate has chosen to use this particular blessing ceremony as a wedge.’ Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 16 June 2008 at 4:31pm BST If they don’t pass it off as ‘groundbreaking and new’, there is no story. Nothing to get outraged about. Nothing to cry “foul !” about ! They must stir the proverbial, hufffing and puffing. Apparently normal life must stop… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Galations 3:11 “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Galations 3:23-25 “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Recall also James 2:5-13 which includes “But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers… Mercy triumphs over judgment!” Which is… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Rob, do you not realise that there have been hundreds of similar events? Are you really that naive?

robroy
Guest
robroy

So many specious remarks. “If we can bless pets or houses, for goodness’ sake, of course we should be blessing loving relationships between people.” Except houses, pets, fox hunts, etc., aren’t condemned by the Bible to be sinful. So there have been hundreds of such homosexual marriages that have been low key events. And now we are emboldened to have much fanfare with a small symphony and reproduce the wedding vows on the internet which shows them to be essentially taken word for word from the 1662 service, changed only to take into account the lack of a bride. And… Read more »

Karen MacQueen
Guest
Karen MacQueen

Right now, in California we are celebrating with great joy, the first same sex marriages sanctioned by th eState.Our problem as clergy is a next generation problem, i.e. do we solemnize these marriages? As in England, many are caught up in legalism, citing the canons of the Church and offering gay people an endless waiting until the last opposition dies off. Nevermind the injustice of that and the failure of the Church to deal openly and honestly with this issue. Here in Los Angeles, we were treated to protesters holding up signs emblazoned with the name of Jesus, to justify… Read more »

counterlight
Guest

Meanwhile, our churches in North America are threatened with subversion and ostracism for far less public and extravagant — and fewer — rites.
Do I smell the fragrance of hypocrisy coming from across the Atlantic?

I wonder if anyone ever noticed, or cared, that the NY Times has published same sex wedding notices for years?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I must say I have difficulties with the reactions to the St Bartholomew event. They are contradictory beyond Anglican Hypocrisy in general. Expecting everyone to “play by the rules” when there aren’t any, when none are provided, indeed not agreed but deeply contested seems inconsistent, immature, and stupid. To want things forbidden that are not illegal seems bad leadership, if not something worse. Tyranny and repression. Modern social prejudices aren’t “biblical”. The claim that they are doesn’t make them so. It is as if those that complain want both created Reality to vanish *Don’t ask don’t tell* and at the… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

Why the furore now over this service? There are multiple reasons, among them this one: Because GAFCON starts this week and Lambeth is just 5 weeks away, and those conservatives who are pushing the Communion to the brink of schism are doing for Changing Attitude something we have been trying to do for some years – show that the full inclusion of LGBT people isn’t something that is only happening in North America. This story is being publicised by the conservatives to say, look, global south friends, it’s happening in England too. You need to wake up to the danger… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If we can bless pets or houses, for goodness’ sake, of course we should be blessing loving relationships between people.” Except houses, pets, fox hunts, etc., aren’t condemned by the Bible to be sinful.”

Nothing specious about this, other than your added insistence that loving same sex relationships are condemned by the Bible. It’s about time you accepted that there is sufficient outstanding pro-gay theology around to make it at least possible to hold the view that these relationships are blessed by God.

You may disagree, but this rubbishing of those who don’t is really getting childish and sounds increasingly uneducated.

Craig Nelson
Guest

I think there’s a real lack of leadership here. It was obvious that Christians within the established Church would enter into Civil Partnerships and would want a religious service of prayer and dedication. Everyone is so caught up in battles and political factions in the church that no-one stops to think about genuinely responding to pastoral and spiritual need. Such needs are provided for for people who marry in the opposite sex so I don’t see why Civil Partnerships should not be blessed in the same way. If we are worried about some believers being upset by the precise from… Read more »

John Anderson
Guest
John Anderson

My problem with these actions, including Gene Robinson’s marriage, is not that they shouldn’t happen but that the timing may not always be helpful. However you spin it, it looks as if the timing was deliberately aimed at provocation. Of course such blessings having been going on for a long time, of course there is lots of hypocrisy around, but the question remains as to what comes first – some notion of an inclusive communion with a place for genuinely different perspectives, or a simple triumph of one side over the other. There often seems to be no recognition that… Read more »

counterlight
Guest

In the City of God, there are no second class citizens, there is no compulsion, and there is no hierarchy.

counterlight
Guest

I almost forgot,

MAZEL TOV to the happy couple! Live long and prosper!

MrsBarlow
Guest
MrsBarlow

I agree with Colin Coward’s comments, this service is only getting the attention it has because of the timing, and perhaps because it was a blessing of the relationship between two priests. Nevertheless to be fair to robroy there is an argument here about the relationship between church policy (whether ‘legal’ or simply in the form of codes and expectations) and what people feel compelled to do or not. There’s no point pretending that it’s ok for same-sex partners to have their relationship blessed in church when it’s frowned upon by the institutional church and when it’s still a matter… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John
“The preferable option would be for them all to grow up”

And what would that mean in practice?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

John Anderson:

If we always waited for consensus or agreement, progress would often never occur. It’s highly likely that, absent court decisions and/or bold decisions and actions by determined individuals, the following would all still be in place:

School segregation
Jim Crow
Sexual discrimination
Male only ordination

As I said earlier, progress often requires that individuals defy authority to make a point.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

‘My problem with these actions, including Gene Robinson’s marriage, is not that they shouldn’t happen but that the timing may not always be helpful. However you spin it, it looks as if the timing was deliberately aimed at provocation. Of course such blessings having been going on for a long time, of course there is lots of hypocrisy around, but the question remains as to what comes first – some notion of an inclusive communion with a place for genuinely different perspectives, or a simple triumph of one side over the other. There often seems to be no recognition that… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Colin Coward is right. The furor over the service at St. Bart’s (but not the service of blessing itself, which took place some weeks ago) was precisely timed to have maximum positive impact on the GAFCON meeting. So GAFCON wishes to opt out of the Canterbury-centered Communion? Well, but of course they do — just look at what goes on at St. Bart’s, tut, tut, tut. Once again the extremist faction of the Church demonstrates their mastery of the media. Anglican Mainstream activated “their” journalists in the Times and Telegraph, and now we are all obediently reading from their script.… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The real war is about whether we allow committed gay couples to put their relationship in a similar high position in their shared life – including that caring overflow which overflows onto us, others in the community – to what would happen if they were only straight, opposite-sexed. Obviously, the continuing traditional answer still is: No, hang dog looks and creeping sheepishly about the Anglican sanctuary walls is still required. Required, otherwise we conservative believers might possibly come to doubt our certainties about awful you other lot are, or perhaps even worse, see ourselves rendered contextual by our own next… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Divorce and remarriage (even say, 3 or 4 times over) has been legal for some time now, so we urgently need to bless it. Ummm, no.” But we happily do it all the time, necessity or no. Indeed, some of those most adamant that Scripture forbids homosexuality are quite happy to divorce and remarry, despite this being equally proscribed by Scripture. It is this hypocrisy, and all the other former sins that conservatives seem quite happy to commit now that we say they aren’t sins any longer, that shows they are not at all concerned about following Scripture when they… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

If groups like Changing Attitude had actually campaigned for real change and the very necessary split which needs to happen in the Church, then this could have all been sorted out years ago. Some of us could see that a split was inevitable and think that progressives should have taken charge of managing it on their own terms and for their benefit. That should have included showing up Williams for the spineless wasteman and hypocrite he is. How fitting that he will go down in history as the archbishop who tried to keep the church together, failed, and ended up… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“My problem with these actions, including Gene Robinson’s marriage, is not that they shouldn’t happen but that the timing may not always be helpful.”

Ah, yes, John A: if only civil unions had been available in New Hampshire prior to +Gene’s consecration in 2003 . . . instead of becoming legal *just this year*.

Why does the VICTIM get blamed, for the delay of justice???

John Anderson
Guest
John Anderson

Whose blaming the victim. Gene Robinson can do what he likes as an individual, but as a bishop it striks me he does have some responsibility to choose his timing and to take into account whether his actions will harm or hurt the cause he is promoting, ie as a human being he takes his own decisions, and a bishop he dos have to consider the real politics of the church.

In the meantime I look forward to hearing Gene Robinson preach in Edinburgh in August.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John
The reason Gene Robinson gave for the timing of his Civil Partnership are very real fears for his life while in England over the Lambeth period.

Isn’t it more shocking that he should be living in that kind of fear and that he will again be walking around with a bullet proof vest?
Do we really have our sense of priorities right?

And I would still like to know that you call for everyone to “grow up” should mean in practice.

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

Colin Coward: “Why the furore now over this service?”

Colin, you must be out of the loop if you didn’t know that this was put out by gay activists and not ‘Gafconites’ (and I have spoken to two journalists who rightly won’t reveal their sources but confirm that it wasn’t evangelicals or traditionalists who publicised it). I presume the intention is to drive Gafcon out of the Anglican Communion.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I presume the intention is to drive Gafcon out of the Anglican Communion.” You could assume that the purpose is to show gay people that some in the Anglican church love them. You could assume it is a celebration at a perceived “victory” over a Church that has traditionally oppressed them, you could even see it as triumphalism at the bringing to heel of something seen as an evil enemy that has long needed to be punished. You could see it as knocking a piece of the traditional power structure off its pedestal. You could see it as celebration of… Read more »

Andrew Carey
Guest
Andrew Carey

Ford Elms wrote: “Bit of a persecution complex, perhaps?”

Not really. I’d have to be a supporter of Gafcon then. I’m not.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

John Anderson: “In the meantime I look forward to hearing Gene Robinson preach in Edinburgh in August.”

St Mary’s Glasgow?

Kennedy
Guest
Kennedy

John Anderson: “In the meantime I look forward to hearing Gene Robinson preach in Edinburgh in August.” He is in Edinburgh in August but as part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace (St John’s Episcopal Church, Princes Street). http://www.festivalofspirituality.org.uk/ WE WELCOME BISHOP GENE ROBINSON -BISHOP OF NEW HAMPSHIRE Is Bishop Gene Robinson the most controversial Christian in the world? Currently he is at the centre of the storm blowing through the word wide Anglican church. Bishop Gene will participate in two conversation events, a roundtable dialogue and a film event at the Filmhouse. The rest of the programme looks… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Not really.”

Well, there are more that believe the persecution myth than are part of GAFCON. Why assume what seems the more unlikely reason for this publicity?