Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Canadian bishops continue SSB moratorium

A further report from Canada: in the Anglican Journal Solange de Santis writes that Bishops continue moratorium on same-gender blessings .

…Meanwhile, there was a general consensus that the bishops’ pastoral statement, issued last April, was useful, said Bishop Spence. Some liberals find it attractive as it permits them to celebrate a church service with a civilly-married gay couple; some conservatives appreciate the fact that it does not allow same-sex weddings or blessings and, in essence, continues a moratorium on blessing ceremonies first imposed by the bishops in 2005. (New Westminster responded to the moratorium by limiting blessings to eight parishes that had requested permission earlier.)

Integrity, a support group for gay Anglicans, wrote to Archbishop Hiltz asking that the house of bishops lift the moratorium. He said after the closed session that his response to Integrity will be that “the position of the house as outlined in the pastoral statement remains.” The bishops did not “entertain any changes” in it, he said…

That pastoral statement can be found in this page.

She reports in detail on how various dioceses feel about such blessings:

In terms of consultation, bishops Barry Clarke of Montreal and John Chapman of Ottawa each said they have not yet reached a decision on how they will act upon the votes of their synods. “It was useful to have a conversation with dioceses in the same position,” said Bishop Chapman, who added he wanted to see the decisions of the diocese of Niagara, whose Nov. 16-17 synod was scheduled to vote on the blessings issue. “I don’t want to act alone, but I don’t think I’ll need to. There is movement in the church (toward further acceptance of gay people); there is no going back.”

In open session, bishops discussed the reactions in several dioceses to the General Synod votes last June that said same-sex blessings do not contravene core church doctrine but declined to affirm dioceses’ authority to offer them. Reaction was fairly quiet in Western Newfoundland, Brandon (Manitoba) and Calgary, said their respective bishops, Percy Coffin, Jim Njegovan and Derek Hoskin.

Bishop Jim Cowan said seven priests in his diocese of British Columbia, angered that they may not offer same-sex blessings, signed a petition asking to have their permission to officiate at weddings withdrawn from the diocese and will make other provisions for marriages to take place at their churches.

Bishop Spence said the reaction in Hamilton, Ont.-based diocese of Niagara was a “firestorm” after General Synod. “There is frustration that Niagara, which has held the line, is not allowed to go forward (with same-sex blessings),” he said. If the matter arises again at synod, “my expectation is that I will not be able not to give my assent,” he said. (Niagara’s 2004 synod voted in favor of blessings, but Bishop Spence withheld his consent in favour of church unity.) On the other hand, the diocese contains clergy who lead the conservative Anglican Essentials group and was to be the location of a major meeting of that group in late November, after the synod. “If we are faced with parishes that decide to leave the diocese, we will need legal responses to that,” said Bishop Spence.

Read the whole article for what the bishops thought about the New Orleans meeting and JSC report thereon, and also on their concerns for the activities of a Canadian retired bishop who has participated in irregular consecrations of bishops who intend to minister to conservatives in the U.S.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 3:52pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada
Comments

Glad to see they are at least talking about Don Harvey. He was once my parish priest, and I had a great deal of respect for him. Interesting where he now finds himself, since it was he who changed my mind on the ordination of women! He has been known to say that he wants to be remembered as someone who fought against the whole gay inclusion thing, so I suspect there is a certain self aggrandizement in his actions. His involvement in Essentials and the underhanded way they have gone about organizing in this diocese, along with the typical attention getting stunts they pull has meant not a great deal of support for them, and have lost him most of the respect he once had. This is not at all a liberal diocese, but he isn't overly popular, and I suspect there won't be much consternation felt here whatever the HoB decides to do with him, unless that be to endorse his actions.

Glad to see as well they are standing by their original position, and I hope no-one is forced by internal diocesan politics to break ranks. On the surface, the actions of the New Westminster priessts seem to be on the same level of childishness as the seven parishes who flounced out of synod a few years ago when, after twice refusing to allow SSBs, Ingham finally gave in to the will of the diocese.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 4:47pm GMT

The line that made my toes curl: "The episcopal couples enjoyed time together, visiting the Stratford Festival and engaging in a moderated discussion of “wellness in the episcopal household.”

After ensuring that no lesbian or gay couples could be married in the church, the bishops had a great time with their own families.

Does this not ring false? How can any writer note these events in the same article without a hint of sarcasm?

Posted by: Alison on Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

Maybe we should defrock retired clergy. They seem to get up to a lot of mischief after they've retired.

Better to have them running around as retired advocatees with credibility from their lifetime works than running around creating new churches and stirring up dissension. The latter makes one wonder if the new churches aren't founded more on boredom or dementia rather than credible theology. The dementia comment is reasonable when you consider how much of the bible has been forgotten or overlooked by the bickering camps.

My favourite at the moment is that they like to rant that, through Jesus, they have been given full authority over heaven and earth. Yet, they deny the consciousnesses of celestial beings and insult their would-be guardians (e.g. referring to them as having fantasies about some gal called Gaia) and advise that God is not concerned about wellbeing or justice in this world (refer 3 such comments by one TA poster on 21 December 2006).

I would love to see that soul's camp go to the celestial beings and claim to have authority over them! Their response would be that since they can't even acknowledge or respect the celestial being that keeps them providing them an atmosphere, water, food and resources; then they really can't claim to have full authority even over this earth, let alone anywhere else in the universe.

Paul and Jesus acknowledged the Cherubim of the ark, celestial beings, angels and transcendant forces. Those who have insulted me for acknowledging them have shattered their credibility at those levels. They can enjoy their communion with their fellow small-minded tyranny-loving corrupt-accussers; but have no illusion that they are perceived as "holy" beyond their own small circles.

The covenant of peace is rising like a tide around such souls and their descendants, tyrannical theologies will be swallowed in a healing that will happen irregardless of cruel priests' actions.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 7:56pm GMT

The line that made my toes curl: "The episcopal couples enjoyed time together, visiting the Stratford Festival and engaging in a moderated discussion of “wellness in the episcopal household.”

After ensuring that no lesbian or gay couples could be married in the church, the bishops had a great time with their own families.

Does this not ring false? How can any writer note these events in the same article without a hint of sarcasm?

Posted by: Alison on Tuesday, 6 November 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

Absolutely spot on ! I suppose they ignore EM Forster's words as too inconvenient-- & any way he was gay:---

'Only Connect'.

Posted by: L Roberts on Wednesday, 7 November 2007 at 1:06pm GMT

"After ensuring that no lesbian or gay couples could be married in the church, the bishops had a great time with their own families.

Does this not ring false?"

No. They have not denied that we have families, nor have they claimed that we may not enjoy fellowship with our families. They have said that at this time, they will not act in an area which, while not core doctrine, still has theological implications for our understanding of redemption, sexuality, and our relationships with each other and God, and which is not anywhere close to being worked out theologically. They have even expressed regret at the pain this will cause some people. They have given examples of ways in which our relationships CAN be celebrated while, one hopes, not adding fuel to the fire. Why is this, to me, reasonable compromise, one that is expected to be temporary, so objectionable?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 7 November 2007 at 4:01pm GMT

Ford asks "Why is this, to me, reasonable compromise, one that is expected to be temporary, so objectionable? "

Because it is all about RIGHTS, Ford.

All the Primates of the AC ask VGR and TECUSA not to "tear the fabric of the Communion" and they refuse....because individual RIGHTS are more important than the Communion to some.


Lambeth 1.10 says certain behaviour is "incompatible with scripture" but some clergy think they can ignore this with "integrity" and teach the opposite because individual RIGHTS are more important than the scriptures.

TECUSA bishops can split hairs and use words to mislead (not authorising but permitting SSBs) because they are defending the RIGHTS of some....

Ford - you come with your understanding of the cross and the historic faith....this is why you do not understand those for whom their RIGHTS are the primary issue in TECUSA and the AC....and they are willing to blow it all up for the sake of RIGHTS

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 9:09am GMT

NP: human rights are important. I think they are also Christian, and the Church should be laying claim to human rights language, and not shying away from it. We believe in human rights because we believe that each individual is made and loved by God in His image. We believe in standing up for justice for the weak and oppressed because God's prophets told His people to do so, and because Jesus himself did so. So human rights talk is inherently Christian. If Christians are uncomfortable with rights talk, then perhaps they are uncomfortable with authentic Christianity.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 10:08am GMT

Ford: Well said. When I read the Bishops' Statement back in April, I thought then, and think now, that it was a remarkably subtle document. On the one hand, by withholding a nuptial blessing, it satisfied the conservatives, and kept the Canadian Church on side for Lambeth 2008, and on the other, by permitting the holding up to God of a gay relationship within the context of the Eucharist, it offered a blessing, in everything but name. This seemed to me a subtlety of which Rowan Williams would approve.

Posted by: Andrew Innes on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 10:52am GMT

Mark says "If Christians are uncomfortable with rights talk, then perhaps they are uncomfortable with authentic Christianity."

Mark.....what most of us in the AC are "uncomfortable" with is that some clergy teach it is fine to do things which the bishops of the AC have consistently said are "incompatible with scripture".
Romans 6:1

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 11:30am GMT

Of course the rights of gay people are more important than the institutionally homophobic Anglican Communion! No contest!

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 11:44am GMT

NP,
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with rights (no need to spell it with capitals, by the way, we're all beyond stage 1 in Reading and can do small letters too).
Our human rights are not the "me first" rights Ford so rightfully deplores, but are principles borne out of the awareness that Christ calls us to treat everyone with the same love and respect.

Something about "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

However much you may sneer, it just isn't Christian to exclude people and to treat them with contempt.

Could you at least manage some compassion every once in a while for the suffering your moral certainties are causing?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 12:35pm GMT

NP, I agree with Fr. Mark. God doesn't love us for what we do, but for what we are, His children, all of us. To oppress God's children is to disrespect the humanity He Created, which He assumed in the Incarnartion, and for which He died. Human rights are basic to a Christian anthropology. You can't see that because, for you, being a Christian is only about a bunch of criminals getting away with their crimes and being allowed into Heaven when they die. Too bad, it's a very soulless way to think, and in so far as it denies the goodness of God's Creation, it comes close to being Gnostic. Merseymike, your total disrespect for the faith of your gay brothers and sisters is deeply offensive. I do not believe that my rights are more important than God! You should show respect for those gay people for whom the Church is a source of comfort and spiritual nourishment. You have issues and you hate the Church. You'd do better to work through your issues. Your disrespect for my faith is as insulting as NP's.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 2:53pm GMT

Merseymike - that is what you think and you have left the CofE....the weird thing is that there are those who agree with you who stay in the CofE.....

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 3:25pm GMT

"All the Primates of the AC ask VGR and TECUSA not to "tear the fabric of the Communion" and they refuse....because individual RIGHTS are more important than the Communion to some."

NP, it takes two sides pulling to tear.

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 4:29pm GMT

NP: you are a bit of a tired record. Would you like to engage with some of the substantive points I've been raising, rather than just quoting Paul at me? I don't suppose for a minute that you follow all of Paul's teaching yourself.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 5:43pm GMT

Fr Mark
you haven't quite understood NP yet, I fear. He doesn't follow all of Paul's teachings, but he freely admits that they are valid teachings and that he ought to be following them.
Whereas us horrible revisionists don't follow them because we don't believe they're right, so we're truly beyond the pale.

Not doing something you know is wrong is ok.
Doing something that you don't believe is wrong is bad.

Simple, isn't it?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 10:12pm GMT

Have a read of 1 Cor 9 - Erika......the God of the bible is not an "anything goes kinda guy" ...... he requires those saved by his grace to respond to him appropriately as St Paul teaches very clearly

Posted by: NP on Friday, 9 November 2007 at 8:53am GMT

NP: the God of Leviticus is certainly not "anything goes." He appears to want us to stone gay people to death. Do you follow that teaching, or are you strangely liberal on it?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 9 November 2007 at 11:09am GMT

"he requires those saved by his grace to respond to him appropriately as St Paul teaches very clearly"

Indeed He does NP. The interesting thing is that you try to force everybody else to respond in the way you say is appropriate, but you don't do it yourself. Why are you so concerned about every body else's salvation while showing such cavalier disregard for your own?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 9 November 2007 at 1:24pm GMT

Thanks for reminding me of 1 Cor 9, NP. I had forgotten that wonderful paragraph:

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings"

For you, the lesson is:
“To the liberals I became like liberal, to win the liberals. To the homosexuals I became like a homosexual, to win the homosexuals”.

Not a single bit of reviling in there.

Isn’t his Listening truly wonderful!

Go and do some too!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 9 November 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

Good stuff, Erika.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 9 November 2007 at 8:00pm GMT

Erika - it is important to read scripture in context.........no passage can be legitimately used to justify sinning.

Pls see Ephesians 5:1-21 ("not even a hint.....")

Posted by: NP on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 10:04am GMT

NP
So you will begin to read what you call the clobber verses in context?
That's wonderful news!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 11:44am GMT

"...it is important to read scripture in context...."

Then I suggest you do so in regard to the verses you regularly use to support your view of homosexuality.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 11:55am GMT

NP,
Also, reading passages in context can reveal meaning only in particular contexts, or that they may have more complex meanings than your quoting of one liners suggests.

It is precisely the reading in context that has allowed modern theologians to question the old anti gay certainties.

And, no, you don't need to tell me that most Anglicans don't agree with the new interpreations yet. That doesn't mean they're necessarily wrong.

So how about you do what you preach, stop throwing isolated bible verses around and start engaging intelligently?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

Erika - "engaging intelligently" .... does that mean wanting to stick to what the bishops of the AC say with regard to what is compatible with scripture and what is not is "unintelligent"?

Do you really want to try to claim that the positions of +Durham, Dr Goddard, Dr Radner and many others are not intelligent?

Sorry, not convinced that the AC should follow people wanting to justify certain sins and so condone what the AC bishops have consistently said is "incompatible with scripture". I will stick with those respected scholars (Anglican and Catholic) who have engaged very intelligently with the greek, hebrew and current debates and stand for upholding the teaching of scripture.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 2:42pm GMT

"Sorry, not convinced that the AC should follow people wanting to justify certain sins and so condone what the AC bishops have consistently said is "incompatible with scripture". I will stick with those respected scholars (Anglican and Catholic) who have engaged very intelligently with the greek, hebrew and current debates and stand for upholding the teaching of scripture."

Some 500 or 600 years ago, NP, you would have been siding with the "respected scholars" who placed Galileo under house arrest when he insisted on a Copernican understanding of the solar system, in opposition to the descriptions in scripture.

But just as Galileo is supposed to have muttered "It still moves" as he was escorted from the court, I say to you "Monogamous homosexual relationships are blessed by God (and should be blessed by the church)"...no matter what today's "respected scholars" may say.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 7:21pm GMT

Pat: quite right. NP's repertoire of "respected scholars" is a very small one. Perhaps he should read some James Alison, or Marilyn McCord Adams.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 8:53am GMT

Pat - you do know that bible does not say it is a sin to say the earth ain't flat, right?

Gallileo's insights were not "incompatible with scripture".... but justifying sins certainly is not acceptable to God

Romans 6:1

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 9:06am GMT

Galileo's insights were not incompatible with scripture, as we now all agree, but at the time that is PRECISELY what he was accused of by the church authorities of the time. See for example:
http://www.catholic.com/library/galileo_controversy.asp
from an impeccably conservative source.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 4:11pm GMT

Yes Simon... as you say, we all agree that the bible does not say it is a sin to believe the earth is not flat....even those who opposed Gallileo did not claim that....as they could not.

The bible does say that certain behaviours are sinful even if it does not say the earth is flat.....this is why our Anglican bishops and Primates (in agreement with the RCC and 2000 years of Christian teaching)say that certain activities are "incompatible with scripture".

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 4:44pm GMT

"justifying sins certainly is not acceptable to God"

I think COMMITTING sins is far less acceptible to God than justifying them, NP. Now, how many sins have you committed just in your posts here, today? Why are you less concerned about the sins you yourself commit than you are with the sins that others seek to justify?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 6:08pm GMT

Golly, that's a fascinating link. Thank, you, Simon.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 13 November 2007 at 7:18pm GMT
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