Sunday, 25 January 2009

reports from Virginia

The Diocese of Virginia held its annual Council meeting yesterday. A number of resolutions were passed. They included this one:

R-4a Blessedness of Covenanted Relationships

RESOLVED, that the Diocese of Virginia recognizes our responsibility to respond to the pastoral needs of our faithful gay and lesbian members in a spirit of love, compassion and respect, and in doing so seek to fulfill our baptismal commitment to respect the dignity of every human being; and be it further

RESOLVED, that accordingly the 214th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirms the inherent integrity of and blessededness of committed Christian relationships between two adult persons, when those relationships are “characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.” (Resolution 2000-D039 of the 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church).

Two other resolutions on related topics were not passed, but were referred to an already existing diocesan Windsor Dialogue Commission. For details of these resolutions see:
R-5: Allowing Clergy To Exercise Pastoral Care In Blessing the Unions Of Same-Gender Couples
R-6: Inclusiveness in Ordained Ministry

According to Episcopal Café another highlight of the event was this:

…the longest applause came during the closing remarks of the chaplain for this year’s 214th Annual Council. Archbishop Barry Morgan, Primate of Wales, said Wales was in the same boat as The Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church and he would resist the formation of an alternative North American province with, in his words, “every fiber of my being.” The room jumped to its feet with applause and cheering.

The report of the Windsor Dialogue Commission is a PDF file here. Appendices 2 and 3 contain liturgies in Thanksgiving for a Committed Relationship and for Friendship.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 25 January 2009 at 8:22am GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Virginia law is extremely unfriendly to all unmarried, cohabitating couples. Much of the law won't stand up forever, but that doesn't make current situation any less friendly.

So often resolutions kind to our non-hetero brothers and sisters can be linked to positive changes in a state's civil law. Not so in Virginia, our red-to-blue voting in November is merely shades of purple. Every positive step is welcome in my book.

Posted by: Lynn on Sunday, 25 January 2009 at 6:18pm GMT

I think this is thoroughly decent: clearly pointing the way, not being antagonistically provocative.

Posted by: john on Sunday, 25 January 2009 at 7:38pm GMT

I wonder what the anti-Diocese of Virginia (CANA) will say.

Posted by: Weiwen on Sunday, 25 January 2009 at 9:47pm GMT

This progressive Virginia mixed step was helped along no doubt by the leave-taking of the most extreme antigay-anticommited-couples congregations who want to be ACNA and replace TEC plus Canada plus who knows who or where else.

Would those ACNA folks also be: presumed by extension to be, anti-parenting? anti-adoption? What about work barriers? What about housing barriers? What about health services hurdles or narrowings in who can get what sort of social or physical medicine, and under what circumstances with what documentations?

The extremes of rightward believerhood offer their own scary slippery slopes, not just the lefts.

Meanwhile, in Colorado and Los Angeles, the leavers have lessened the diocesan TEC blocks by no longer being present to cry foul and alarm while standing square in the doors of change.

Slowly the emerging consensus blocked by the far rightist believers (who stopped speaking badly about housing or workplace dangers, about two or three decades ago, and now clamor about couple commitments and sometimes parenting?) can more clearly emerge.

Ah the joys of muddling along in global Anglicanism. God bless our Anglican mess, better a stone soup gathered from many hands than an exquisite recipe handed down from on high only, by some archbishop claiming to be cooking at God's right hand.

Passing note: See how the Windsor Report groups are now mainly turning into safety checks on the brakes and policing proper? Interesting developments, then. Maybe.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 25 January 2009 at 9:56pm GMT

"President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples," the Whitehouse.gov website states. "Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions." 'Christian Post - Monday, 26 Jan.2009 -

From this article, it would seem that President Obama is already intent on bringing a measure of justice to the LGBT Community, in his decision to
uphold the rights of same-sex couples to have their relationships put on a par, legally, with heterosexual couples who have committed their lives to a permanent sate of union.

The fact that the Religious Right in the U.S. have voiced their opposition to what the President is proposing, suggests that he has taken on board the present injustices surrounding the issues of the serious infringements of human rights in the lives of at least ten percent of the population.

What a wonderful beginning to this new Administration's determination to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual differences. Let's hope that this Administration will move forward on a basis of truly equal rights for all citizens in the USA. This will mark a milestone in government recognition of the needs of the LGBT Community in governments around the world. God Bless Barak Obama.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 27 January 2009 at 5:20am GMT

Contrary to the Episcopal Cafe, the longest applause was not during the closing remarks of Archbishop Morgan. Applause expressing appreciation for the ministry of Peter Lee, applause for the service of the Diocesan Treasurer and applause for the service of the Diocesan Chancellor were all longer. I mean I think so, I didn't have my timer on. :)

Posted by: Sven on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 3:09am GMT

I was there also, and Sven is correct. Standing applause for Bp Lee was overwhelming. Much as I have in recent years wish he had acted differently towards Minns et alia, his has been a distinguished episcopate.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 12:43pm GMT

A pleasing move.

Thanks Father Ron for reminding us of the larger context and hopes for the future.

It is also pleasing to know that Obama did not create these waves of reforms, but rather that the way was paved for Obama to be elected on such a platform.

There are countless souls who have contributed to breaking the tyrannical strangleholds that purported that selfish aggressive leaders were the only legitimate voices for their faith or philosophical stream.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 1:55pm GMT

All true conservatives will welcome this development. It should not really be news for a religious body to support relationships.

Though many of the relationships within anglicanism worldwide are so poor, the primates etc would stand to learn a thing or too from these being offered a blessing! Yes, the Church would be truly best by such creative relationships, if they would be open and modest to receive it.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 29 January 2009 at 6:26pm GMT

If Wales is in the same boat as TEC ..why was Jeffrey John robbed of Bangor?

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 1 February 2009 at 3:48pm GMT
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