Saturday, 17 June 2006

latest on Columbus

Updated Sunday morning

Rachel Zoll of AP has another report Episcopalians to Choose New Leader
Michael Conlon of Reuters also has a report Episcopal Church panel OKs gay issue apology

Jim Naughton has “No quotes, no votes, no nothing”.
Ruth Gledhill has Split now inevitable, saving miracle.

Sunday morning
The full text of the address by The Rev. John Danforth, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a former US Senator, has been published by ENS. Or you can watch it on video.

The state of the Windsor resolutions is summarised for ENS by Herb Gunn. And their progress is explained by Solange De Santis for Anglican Journal.

Newsweek has two interviews, one with Robert Duncan, and another with Gene Robinson.

Steve Levin of the PIttsburgh Post-Gazette has Church leaders moving carefully.

The BBC radio programme Sunday opens with a discussion about events in Columbus featuring Robert Pigott (Real Audio)

Kendall Harmon comments on where things are at Into the Fulcrum

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A pessimistic view of the US General Convention is that the 11 Network diocese will split and their allies in Central Africa will demand that the Network dioceses be considered the Anglican Convention's representative in the United States and that ECUSA be expelled from the Anglican Communion.

Would this trigger schisms in Great Britain that would move parishes or dioceses to communion with ECUSA instead of the Anglican Communion?

Posted by: Warren Eckels on Sunday, 18 June 2006 at 8:19am BST

The Church of England is as far as possible schism-proof, because local churches do not belong to their congregation. Although they theoretically "belong" to the rector/vicar, in practice they can not be detached from the diocese in which they are situated.

There is nothing to stop a congregation leaving its buildings and setting up elsewhere, as with the Rev Charles Raven in Kidderminster, but they are now a free church outside the Church of England.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Sunday, 18 June 2006 at 11:51am BST

It could make life "interesting" in the Scottish Episcopal church, however.

It occurs to me that individuals are used to choosing a church based on local as well as doctrinal issues, and tend to arrive at a compromise. This leads to - and maintains - a diversity of belief within any one denomination, within any one church; but trying, on the denominational level, to redefine denominations on purely doctrinal grounds would be terminally daft, threatening to separate friends who've worshipped together for decades on the grounds of some doctrinal issue or other. I just wish some other members of the anglican communion could see it from the pews as well.

Posted by: Tim on Sunday, 18 June 2006 at 1:39pm BST

Alan, it works the same way here in the U.S. If a parish wishes to leave its diocese, that's fine, but it cannot take the property with it. That's part of why the Network types continue to make a pretense of being Episcopalians--they don't want to give up the goodies.

Frankly, I would be willing to give them their churches if they would just go away.

Posted by: New Here on Sunday, 18 June 2006 at 5:12pm BST

So now we have two representative contrasts in a nutshell, juxtaposed in Ruth Gledhill's take next to Fr. John Danforth's take. (Just follow the blog links already posted.)

Danforth admonishes us who are sort of present at the GC by proxy thanks to streaming internet video, that before we as believers ever answer any particular question of doctrine or controversy, we may wish to clearly preface all with a brief statement of our distinctive ECUSA calling to reconciliation. Thus the implication is that no particular doctrine or controversy is an armament of war, requiring us to pledge any sort of oppression or violence, no matter what.

Ms. Gledhill, in contrast, offers us the smirked harrumph that ECUSA could even bother with the following resolution: "That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the Episcopal Church’s historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention’s action calling upon “municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples”; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions."

This is the explanation offered: "For at least thirty years, and even as debate about the role of gay and lesbian people within the Church has continued, successive General Conventions have recognized the equal claim of gay and lesbian persons to the civil rights enjoyed by all other persons. In 1994, General Convention (1994-D006) called on all levels of government to support legislation giving same-sex couples the same legal protections as non-same-sex married couples. In light of recent legislative actions in several states, and a proposed federal constitutional amendment, an affirmation of the Episcopal Church’s support for equal rights is warranted."

Ms. Gledhill seems deeply amazed that any believing church does not immediately with to turn aside from such an outlandish resolution. (Good thing she is not assigned to be Minister of Equality?)

Which one sounds more like the gospel? Different ears will no doubt hear differently.

Keep an eye out for any conference which features the ECUSA latent theme of ministries of reconciliation, maybe. Thank goodness, thank God.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 18 June 2006 at 5:56pm BST

There's an interesting quote from Bishop Duncan at the end of his interview with Newsweek where he says that "a majority opinion doesn't make it right."

It is this same logic that should apply to Archbishop Akinola's gay-bill endorsement. It's one thing for Nigerians to decide not to officially recognize gay marriages -- it is quite another for the majority to tell a minority that they have no voice.

I await Bishop Duncan's call to Archbishop Akinola telling him that "a majority opinion doesn't make it right."


Posted by: Matt on Sunday, 18 June 2006 at 7:32pm BST

Apparently a majority opinion does make it right inside The Episcopal Church when they elect their Presiding Bishop! When they do that, a majority is not just right, it is declared to be the work of the Spirit and you can't get any righter than that! Unless of course a majority opinion doesn't make it right but just reflects what most people think. (At least that's how I thought democracy worked?) But if that's right, then how can we know what to do in the church, how can we discern the leading of the Spirit? Maybe we'll just have to start reading our Bibles again even though we don't read there what we want hear and even though the majority disagree with what's there!

Posted by: Rupert Standring on Monday, 19 June 2006 at 3:34pm BST

Translations, they are Translations!

Not the Bible. Translations.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 19 June 2006 at 6:51pm BST

Dear Matt, Majority opinion is actually pretty irrelevant. What really matters is God's opinion!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 19 June 2006 at 8:33pm BST
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