Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Episcopal Church view of the primates statement

ENS reports Majority of primates call for temporary Episcopal Church sanctions.

There is a good deal of additional information in this lengthy article. Worth reading carefully right through. Here is what Michael Curry said:

…Before the Jan. 14 vote, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry told the primates gathering Jan. 11-15 in Canterbury, England, that the statement calling for the sanctions would be painful for many in the Episcopal Church to receive.
“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome,” Curry said in remarks he later made available to Episcopal News Service.

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain,” he said. “For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Curry told the primates that he was in no sense comparing his own pain to theirs, but “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain.

“The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family…”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 9:09pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA
Comments

I am so proud of our +Michael.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 9:25pm GMT

I don’t think that we should walk out of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church (and the Anglican Church of Canada) were instrumental in founding the AC 150 years ago. It was the work of the English-speaking North Americans in the 1820s-1860s that paved the way. I think that we should force the conservative Evangelicals/Pentecostals to throw us out kicking and screaming in three years.

I do agree, however, with those who say that we should not contribute another dime to the Anglican Communion in any way. We can still support projects that are worthwhile, but we should do so as TEC. No more “laundering” money for the Anglican Communion. If some do not want to take our “tainted” money, it will be clear that they value ritual “purity” issues more than they do the problems of their own peoples. If, as some suspect, TEC “leaders” continue to insist on funding the Anglican Communion, we in the pews should withhold that percentage from our pledges–and make it very clear, publicly, why we are doing so.

Also, we should open more public communications with groups such as the Old Catholics, who are liberal theologically and very much like us. Perhaps we can even join them and demonstrate that if we are kicked out of the AC we will still be an international presence.

We certainly should campaign against those human rights violators in Africa and elsewhere who advocate the murder and imprisonment of gay people. Nor should we be shy in encouraging oppositionists in the Church of England from slamming the current conservative Evangelical Archbishop of Canterbury.

Finally, I am amazed that many of these Con-Evo provinces are not more self-reflective. They all have their own fracture points. Up until now TEC has encouraged dissidents to remain despite the disagreements. Perhaps this should change.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 9:52pm GMT

One wishes the Primates who voted against this would have the courage of their convictions by not signing it and issuing dissenting statements. Fat chance I'm sure.

I am waiting eagerly to learn the response of my own Primate, Archbishop Hiltz. This maneuver will probably hand both the nervous Nellies and conservatives in the Canadian Church, most especially its house of bishops, just what they need to derail the consideration of revising our Marriage Canon in favor of marriage equality.

The decision to invite the ACNA guy together with this decision is an open disregard for the integrity of The Episcopal Church as an autonomous province. It's also a warning shot to any other province/national church that presumes that its synodical government cannot be vetoed by prelates off shore. No amount of pious rhetoric can make it otherwise.

I wonder if this will add additional problems for the Episcopal Church with regard to its civil litigation cases?


( I posted the above earlier today, as soon as read the statement, but under the wrong article, the one about audits.)

Let me just add, upon reflection, it is pretty difficult to continue to belong to this outfit with any kind of integrity.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 10:22pm GMT

Lord knows there is PLENTY of opportunity to help others in the AMERICAS...we can even keep track of every dime spent (mostly)...it now completely irresponsible to add FUNDING (the majority of funding) to the Anglican Communion...not only did they SILENCE US (just what they needed to avoid because of the narrowed thinking/believing available) but some of the GAFCON folks actually endorse the prosecution and punishment for LGBTI Anglicans for being LGBTI...it's way beyond being goody-goody codependent to AID those who HARM others at the Anglican Communion...let's focus on the Americas...no need to wade deep in the depths of muddied waters in other hemispheres. Leonard Clark/Leonardo Ricardo Central America

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 14 January 2016 at 11:22pm GMT

What a gracious and dignified response from the Presiding Bishop of TEC, facing such a serious and unmerited sanction so early in his tenure of office.

I agree with the point made by Kurt Hill about the lack of self-reflection (by all who voted for sanctions) and I hope we get to read names named; but maybe it's Chatham House rules. And equally with the point about contributing financially to central funds - however that works - while on the naughty step.

I am old enough to remember odd moments (e.g. Christa) which made me squirm; but in recent years TEC has offered the rest of us, with our brains engaged, a good deal of Spirit-filled leadership and good theological sense.

Posted by: Peter Edwards on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 12:16am GMT

In view of what has just happened (which is infamous), the restraint and natural Christian courtesy exhibited by Michael Curry in this admirable message is remarkable - just as it is in telling contrast to the poisonous and menacing communiques, statements and sermons belched forth from GAFCON and others in Canterbury this week.

Posted by: J Drever on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 12:51am GMT

Giles Frasier gets all this just about right, here:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2016/jan/14/equal-marriage-is-the-next-stage-in-the-churchs-continual-reformation

Posted by: jnwall on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 1:51am GMT

The news has actually just hit here this evening about an hour ago. It's on CNN as the 'The Episcopal Church has been suspended from the Anglican Communion'. I look forward to more statements from the church as I still don't understand what this means.

Posted by: Josh L. on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 2:32am GMT

Just as a thought experiment--what if it turns out that homosexual behavior is wrong?

I have been a supporter of same-sex marriage and openly gay priests. I've responded to this decision a bit differently than most. Rather than think GAFCON is wrong, what if their strong convictions are due to the fact that they correctly discern the Holy Spirit on homosexuality and ECUSA doesn't?

Because of this decision, and because of the fact that most Christian churches believe homosexuality is wrong, I'm going to carefully look at my supposedly inclusive beliefs. Maybe homosexual behavior is a sin and God wants something better for homosexuals that the ECUSA doesn't offer.

It is, you know, possible.

Posted by: Aspenaz on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 3:59am GMT

How can we "walk with" those who just shoved us off a cliff?

They have turned their backs on us. Shake the dust from your feet, and stop letting them hurt those whose souls and spirituality were entrusted to you, PB Curry.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 4:22am GMT

Is the Observer status for TEC the same as the status achieved by ACNA?

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 4:49am GMT

More sanctions, more, more. It's only a beginning. This is what happens when you feed the crocodile. To all Americans who read this blog: many here love your church. Do not give up on us. The Archbishops do not speak for synod, as I'm sure will be discovered in the months to come.

Posted by: Lorenzo on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 7:08am GMT

What a beautiful statement by the presiding bishop.

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain,” he said. “For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Curry told the primates that he was in no sense comparing his own pain to theirs, but “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain.

Posted by: clairejxx on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 7:24am GMT

Kurt - they just did expel TEC .... You're right, with old cash; be independent & partner with like minded people globally.

Rod - too many sacrifice integrity to wear pointy hats with other pointy hat wearers. It's not right to even want to be affiliated with some provinces. Let TEC be true to its principles and set up TEC for all who agree globally

Posted by: S Cooper on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 7:48am GMT

Seriously, aspenaz? The way you live, the love you bear someone, the commitments you make, the physical affection you show... become immoral (aka sinful) because the gender of your partner changes? You should begin to suspect that you may be morally bankrupt for entertaining the question.

Posted by: Lorenzo on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 7:56am GMT

Aspenaz, I'll let Archbishop Tutu answer that one:-

"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this."

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 8:02am GMT

NOT ACCEPTABLE!

In the Church of England:

Being racist is forbidden. (Priests cannot be BNP members, for example.)
Being sexist is optional. (Both have a "valued place".)
Being homophobic is compulsory. (No one can perform equal marriage.)

There has been much talk of "separate bedrooms", but the Primates' Meeting has decided that all must share the same room, except for TEC which must sleep in the garage.

There has also been much talk of "good disagreement". I think that is over.

Those in power have shown very clearly that they will allow no variation, or local accommodations. I think the time has come for inclusive Christians to proclaim loudly and clearly "NOT ACCEPTABLE."

It is not acceptable for the established church in England to be homophobic. It is not acceptable for it to deny some priests the right to marry. It is not acceptable for it to refuse to marry some people within its parishes. It is not acceptable to refuse employment, respect, or ministry. It is not acceptable for ANY church to refuse equal treatment of gay, lesbian, or trans people. All priests in the established church must be COMPELLED to treat all equally by the state of which it is a part. We have freedom of religion in the UK. Anyone who cannot in conscience accept this, would be free to leave and join another denomination or start their own.

Does this seem extreme? Do we allow racists an honoured place?

Every inclusive individual who speaks at General Synod should begin every speech with the words, "It is not acceptable that this is a church of homophobic discrimination." They can then go on to speak on whatever the subject in hand is.

We need to be open and visible, and loud and clear. The same opening words can be used to address bishops, included in prayers, added to sermons. This issue needs to be there in people's faces, until they are sick of hearing it!

NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Posted by: Iain Baxter on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 8:18am GMT

The example of Archbishop Michael Curry is admirable. In our own country we who support his views could just ignore the Primates' punitive judgements: but what can we do to support those people in countries where human beings are criminalised, persecuted and sometimes martyred for expressing their loving commitment to a person of the same sex? Chriatians who take this view, who sincerely belief that homosexuality is a natural variant of humanity, cannot do nothing at all. Surely we have to try and limit financial and other kinds of outward support to those national Churches that encourage the persecution of any section of the human community? How we do that in a loving way is a question that needs wide discussion and consensus, but witness to Gospel truth as shown by Jesus, is part of non violent protest against injustice towards our neighbours. Please continue to dialogue about this possibility that might make a difference to the lives and morale of those who are suffering. Una

Posted by: Una Kroll on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 8:20am GMT

@Aspenaz

I think we are all called upon at some moments to reevaluate whether we have correctly discerned the will of God.

But, continuing your thought experiment, suppose GAFCON is correct. Then the strain on gay and lesbian Christians would be very great. We would need a lot of compassion and tenderness from our brothers and sisters, attributes which seem absent from the various communiqués. So, even if GAFCON was right then they would also be terribly wrong too.

It's why the open letter to ABC at the start of the week was excellent. It didn't take a doctrinal view whether same sex liaisons are right or wrong, instead it stressed the need for compassion and understanding.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 8:23am GMT

Aspenaz,
of course it's possible that we have a random and cruel God who imposes special restrictions on a whole group of people. Restrictions that cause much psychological damage and that result in self harm, addiction, attempted and successful suicide. Of course it's possible that he would do this for absolutely no apparent moral benefit to anyone. Knowing that stable relationships benefit gay people as much as straights.

Of course it's possible that he believes it's important for one group of people to be told that their natural desire for love and long term self-giving relationship is sinful. That they have been singled out to live with a burden of sin straights don't have to live with.

But that's not the God I know in my own life. It's not the God I see reflected in Scripture. It's not the God I see expressed in Jesus.
Others are welcome to believe in that kind of God. The God whose nature is to do random harm.

I won't.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 9:24am GMT

Aspenaz,

If you are not a homosexual, whatever "conclusion" you arrive at means nothing. Sorry, but it doesn't. No more than if I arrive at a feeling about what it is to be an angel or a cat by "re-evaluating" my beliefs. You won't and can't know what homosexuality is or means.

Frankly, I don't believe for a second that their opposition is in good faith or compassionate. It isn't. To believe that it is I would have to believe that they were either blind or abysmally stupid, and I can't believe either of those. They know the harm they do, and don't care. Not because of the Bible, or faith, but fear and the desire to control others. The only other answer is that they are entirely incapable of empathy, entirely devoid of the human capacity to engage with reality and of such a profoundly superstitious and insular nature as to be dangerous to themselves and others.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 9:27am GMT

If TEC decided to start a mission church here in the British and Irish Isles people and priests would flock to it.

Posted by: Henry on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 10:52am GMT

Last Sunday, a priest of TEC as taking part in the worship of the church I attended. After the service I said to her "I remain in Communion with TEC, and not with ACNA, whatever". I still do. In a few minutes I shall go to preside at a midday Eucharist. My private prayers and intentions will be for TEC.

Posted by: cryptogram on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 11:51am GMT

A interesting article from Giles. The French Reformed Church ( which has gay marriage) has a congregation which meets in the crypt of Canterbury cathedral. Wouldn't it be interesting, if they married gays...or does the prescriptive legislation passed by Parliament include buildings?

Posted by: ROBERT IAN WILLIAMS on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 1:22pm GMT

"A interesting article from Giles. The French Reformed Church ( which has gay marriage) has a congregation which meets in the crypt of Canterbury cathedral."

The crypt of Canterbury Cathedral? After this week, perhaps the FRC should re-consecrate it.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 7:42pm GMT

Robert Williams it includes buildings. God forbid that the hierarchy could risk any clergy exercising their conscience as with heterosexual marriage

Posted by: Chris A on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 9:57pm GMT

Aspenaz, as a conservative largely on GAFCON's side (caveat: I agree the church has often treated LGBTQI members and non-members badly, and I'm sorry, and I wish we were more sensitive. I'm on their side in terms of principles, not always in terms of practice), let me say -

I'm praying for you.
And if in your thinking you would value the help of a random stranger off the internet (!) then you're very welcome to get in touch. I'm richard.storm at Google's email provider. In your place I would almost certainly not take me up on this, so no expectations, but I supply it just in case you feel like talking to someone with conservative convictions would be helpful. In any case, as I say, I'm praying for you.

Posted by: Peter on Friday, 15 January 2016 at 11:22pm GMT

I couldn't be more proud of the Episcopal Church than I am now.

TEC;UK

Posted by: F. D. Blanchard on Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 1:27am GMT

But perhaps after 400 years occupancy the FRC have property rights.

So Catholics by invitation can say Mass in Church of England churches ( which the 39 articles describe such as blasphemy) but no liberal denomination can hold a gay marriage!

Posted by: robert ian williams on Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 11:16am GMT

"...of course it's possible that we have a random and cruel God who imposes special restrictions on a whole group of people"

Is the God who sees the birth of the poor, the lame, the blind, the orphan, the woman who lives and dies under communist rule, the man who loses his children to leukemia 'random and cruel'?

Since you are speaking about God creating people, are all in the LGBT nest convinced they were born in this state of affairs have no choice about it: these are fixed states like eye color?

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 5:33pm GMT

Peter- and yet you continue to cling to practices that harm us, indeed necessitate our harm, so your sorrow isn't real. Regret without repentance is empty.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 6:29pm GMT

"Since you are speaking about God creating people, are all in the LGBT nest convinced they were born in this state of affairs have no choice about it: these are fixed states like eye color?"

Yes, Christopher, our sexual orientation is pretty much fixed. Science has weighed in on this. God Created us and said that her creation was good.

As for being born into suffering, like poverty... Now that's an age old question. I think it's independent of the gay issues, as we exist in every setting.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 1:19am GMT

"are all in the LGBT nest convinced they were born in this state of affairs have no choice about it: these are fixed states like eye color?" ["nest", really???]

Yes, Christopher (finally!): sexual orientation and gender identity are as UNCHOSEN as eye color. "Fixed"? Well, some few people DO change from left-handed to right-handed (usually as the result of trauma). QED.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 1:28am GMT

Cynthia and JCF- What other than such a disingenuous, manipulative response could we expect? Conservative religionists have been the gleefully-unrepentant source of all the suffering of GLBTI's - all those different, really.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 2:47pm GMT
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