Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Chicago Consultation

Here’s the press release from: The Chicago Consultation

International Anglican group initiates “strategy of inclusion”

Chicago Consultation celebrates contributions of gay Christians, urges blessing of same-sex relationships, calls homophobia “a sin whose end time is now”.

(Evanston, Ill.) Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago last week to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the Church.

Meeting at Seabury-Western Seminary, Dec. 5-7, the 50-member group known as the Chicago Consultation urged leaders of the Episcopal Church to permit the blessing of same-sex relationships and to remove barriers that keep gay candidates from being elected as bishops.

“Some people call it the gay agenda, but we call it the Gospel Agenda,” said the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Church, Chicago, co-convener of the Consultation. “We are asking our Church and our Communion to see what God has created and know that it is good.”

The Consultation also called upon the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to invite Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a full participant to the Lambeth Conference. Robinson, a member of the Consultation, is the only diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion living openly in a same-sex relationship.

“We wanted to affirm Gene,” said Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington, “but we also wanted to affirm all of the anonymous gay and lesbian Christians who have graced the Church with their God-given gifts—even when the Church has been unwilling to receive them.”

Participants from Africa, England and New Zealand joined fellow Anglicans from Central, North and South America in pledging to work against schismatic leaders who have sought to gain power in the Communion by turning marginalized groups against one another.

“Homophobia is a sin whose end time is now,” said the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford University, in a paper opening the consultation.

Human institutions are riddled with systemic evils, she said. “Our calling is to discern which ones are ripe for uprooting and to take the lead in eradicating them, beginning in the garden behind our own house!”

In three intensive days, punctuated by periods of silent prayer, participants heard papers by Adams, Bishop Stacy Sauls of the Diocese of Lexington, Dean Jenny Te Paa of St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand and the Rev. Frederick Quinn of Salt Lake City, Utah and began to develop strategies to advance the cause of full inclusion at the Lambeth Conference in July 2008, and at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim in 2009.

Te Paa also preached at a Eucharist celebrated with members of the Consultation and the seminary community.

While developing what they dubbed a “strategy of inclusion,” participants also voiced opposition to the current draft of a proposed Anglican Covenant, which would create a centralized governing body with authority over member Churches for the first time in the Communion’s history.

“There was tremendous energy in the plenary sessions, and even more in the breakout groups,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, academic dean at Seabury, and co-convener of the Consultation. “It was such a talented and committed group that eventually we abandoned some of the formal presentations and started identifying our priorities and making plans.”

Participants focused particular attention on building international coalitions to work against what the Rev. Mpho Tutu, executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage in Alexandria, Va., called “interlocking oppressions,” the web of economic, political and social factors that determine who has access to power, resources and social approval, and who does not.

“The issue is human suffering and the attitudes that cause it,” said Bishop Celso Franco de Oliveira of Rio de Janeiro.

Before adjourning, the group made plans to:

  • publish several of the papers it received on the Web site Episcopal Café (http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/)
  • establish a Web site
  • hire a part-time coordinator
  • support working groups on communications, fundraising and organizational strategy, as well as a group to identify and produce theological resources.

The consultation includes two Primates of the Anglican Communion—Archbishop Martin de Jesus Barahona of Central America and Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter of Mexico, who was unable to attend due to illness; 12 bishops from the Episcopal Church, including 10 diocesan bishops or bishops-elect; four members of the Church’s Executive Council; numerous General Convention deputies, and representatives of groups such as Integrity, Claiming the Blessing and Inclusive Church.

Bonnie Anderson, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, attended the consultation as an observer, and said she hopes other groups in the Church will invite her to their meetings in a similar capacity so that she can familiarize herself with their concerns.

Participants from other Churches in the Anglican Communion included the Very Rev. Victor Atta-Baffoe, dean of St. Nicholas College, Cape Coast, Ghana; Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada; Te Paa; the Rev. Jane Shaw, dean of divinity, New College, Oxford and the Rev. Giles Fraser, founder of Inclusive Church in the United Kingdom.

The steering committee was convened by Meyers and Perry and included Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta, who was unable to attend the meeting; Chane; the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Seabury-Western; the Rev. Gay Jennings, associate director of the CREDO Institute; Jim Naughton, canon for communications and advancement in the Diocese of Washington; Robinson and Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Mary Wolfe Professor of Historical Theology at Episcopal Divinity School.

The consultation was supported by several grants, including one from the Arcus Foundation of Kalamazoo, Mich., which works to “achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race.” Following the conference, the group received a $60,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa., to support its future work.

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“Some people call it the gay agenda, but we call it the Gospel Agenda,” said the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Church, Chicago, co-convener of the Consultation. “We are asking our Church and our Communion to see what God has created and know that it is good.” . . . “Homophobia is a sin whose end time is now,” said the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams"

Amen, amen, alleluia!

May Christ richly bless this undertaking. :-)

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 7:52pm GMT

“Some people call it the gay agenda, but we call it the Gospel Agenda,” said the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Church, Chicago, co-convener of the Consultation. “We are asking our Church and our Communion to see what God has created and know that it is good.” . . . “Homophobia is a sin whose end time is now,” said the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams"

This is it in a nutshell !


“Homophobia is a sin whose end time is now,”.


Posted by: L Roberts on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 12:03pm GMT

How can they call homophobia a "sin"? Jesus didn't even say anything about it, right? Just asking.

Posted by: DGus on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 9:27pm GMT

DGus -- Jesus did indeed say something about it. Just go to the story of the Good Samaritan. It's quite clear.

Posted by: Phyllis on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 1:08am GMT

DGus: by the same logic you might well ask:

How can they call homosexuality a "sin"? Jesus didn't even say anything about it, right?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:00am GMT

"How can they call homophobia a "sin"? Jesus didn't even say anything about it, right? Just asking."

If you love someone as you love yourself you cannot fear or hate them.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 7:39am GMT

He did say quite a few other things that make discrimination and repression and persecution sin.

(never forget that the idea that sin is sexual is Academic, not Gospel or Bible but Gnosticism/Platonism from Alexandria)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 8:02am GMT

DGus: well, Jesus didn't say anything about racism either, but I'd say it was a sin, wouldn't you?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 8:49am GMT

"How can they call homophobia a "sin"? Jesus didn't even say anything about it, right? Just asking."

Jesus said "Judge not lest ye be judged", and told us to pay attention to our own sins and improve ourselves rather than telling everybody else what's wrong with them. "Take thou the beam from thine own eye....." Odd that direct commands like that are ignored by "faithful" Christians, who, we all know, never pick and choose what aprts of the Bible they will follow.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 12:55pm GMT

OK, thanks, everybody. Good points, all. Just wanted to make sure that, when deciding whether something is a sin, we don't just look for it to be explicitly condemned in the red-letter portions of the NT. I sometimes get confused on this point. But you've resolved the confusion.

Posted by: DGus on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 3:10pm GMT

So it's okay to go down to the local gay bar and beat up on fags because the bible doesn't forbid me?

Now it all makes sense. Glad we've resolved that problem.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 11:44pm GMT

Dear CBFH: I'm not sure which way your irony is pointing, so excuse me if I'm stating the obvious, but I think we've established that (to use your example) beating people up CAN be a sin even if Jesus didn't explicitly get around to criticizing it in the Gospels.

Posted by: DGus on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 2:33pm GMT

"beating people up CAN be a sin"

Implying that there are times when it isn't. In the experience of many gay people, those times occur after some preacher goes on an anti-gay rant. Then, to go by the stats on anti-gay violence, it becomes a means of doing God service. This is why all the pious claptrap about hating the sin and loving the sinner just makes conservatives look silly. Conservatives as a general rule appear to hate the sinner as well, despite all their desire to appear publically acceptable.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 5:11pm GMT

Dear Ford:

Oh please. Implied no such thing. BTW, that "claptrap" about hating sin and loving the sinner is essential to Christianity. Don't you hate homophobia but love the homophobe? Ya better. Better at least try.

Posted by: DGus on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 2:41am GMT

I'm sorry, DGus, but there is very little to love in Fred Phelps and his merry band of bigots picketing funerals across the US.

Call my human, call me fallible. I just can't love those who want me dead, bloodied and splattered on the streets just because of the way I was born. I know it isn't Christian, but certainly neither are they.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 12:40pm GMT

"claptrap" about hating sin and loving the sinner is essential to Christianity."

DGus, the claptrap is not in the statement itself. It is, of course, essential to Christianity. It's claptrap because, in the mouths of those who use it to talk about homosexuality, it is a boldfaced lie. They hate the sinner at least as much as they hate the sin. They make it perfectly obvious. One doesn't lie about and slander someone one loves, after all. On a previous thread I am more clear about how this is obvious, I won't repeat myself here.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 1:20pm GMT

"Fred Phelps "

CBH, he's so far beyond the pale that I don't really consider him in the equation. I'm not talking about the Phelpsians, I'm talking about the pious Anglicans who, as one of them put in print recently, don't see why they should "share a communion rail with these people". I'm talking about the otherwise innocuous appearing people who then make the most outragous statements about gay people that they not only don't know are untrue, they refuse to acknowledge any evidence of that untruth, and they can't even understand why they're insulting.

As to Brother Phelps, I agree, 'tis some 'ard to see Jesus in that man. I honestly believe, I mean this, that he and his gang are the most public example we have today of what we traditionally called demonic possession. Have you noticed in pictures of them at their various evangelistic activities, for that is what they think them to be, how their faces only seem relaxed when they are contorted in hatefilled anger? It's really quite interesting. Which is why he and his clan need our Christian love. Seriously, we should organize an exorcism.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 4:24pm GMT

Ford, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you are saying that anyone who professes both to believe that homosexuality is a sin and, at the same time, to love the homosexual, is lying. I can assure you this is not so. I would also urge that this sort of iron-clad defense against criticism ("Anyone who disagrees with me on issue X is necessarily a hateful liar") is ultimately very self-destructive.

Posted by: DGus on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 5:37pm GMT

Ford, agreed, we need to love them to death. Shall I bring the holy water?

DGus, why do you think what has been called by the American Psychiatric Association as a condition, is still called by some (who profess to be Christians) to be a sin?

That's the real sin, calling people born a certain way, and wish to use it in a way that emulates as much as possible for them, a lifestyle of well balanced ('straight')families, only to be called sinners.

That's wrong. Plain and simple.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 6:58pm GMT

DGus,
You can assert as much as you like that those who profess homosexuality to be a sin do not actually hate homosexuals. But, why do you not consider why it is that gay people don't believe them? I have been clear about this. If someone claims to love me, then turns right around and calls me an animal or a "cancer on the Body of Christ", or says I am inhuman, or supports those who do and say these things, well, if you can say that such people love me, you have a very different definition of love than I do. I have never felt it appropriate to slander and lie about those I love. It isn't the claim that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin that is homophobic, it's what the people making that claim subsequently do and say that puts the lie their claim to love me. The amusement comes from the way that, no matter how clear one is in explaining this, there are those who will always deny it. So. Since I am having a good chuckle at your denial of the obvious, tell me, how can the things that +Akinola says about gay people be said in any way to express love of me? How can a man say that he loves me when he is proud of shrinking back from my touch? (No, it was Louie Crew, I believe, but I doubt he'd respond any differently were he ever so unfortunate as to have to touch me). How is it an expression of love to support the jailing not only of me but of those who are kind to me for 5 years? Come on, you gotta admit, these things are anything but loving.

Posted by: ford Elms on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 7:53pm GMT

DGus wrote: "... it sounds like you are saying that anyone who professes both to believe that homosexuality is a sin and, at the same time, to love the homosexual, is lying. I can assure you this is not so."

Ford just told you you can't.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 8:17pm GMT
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