Comments: TEC proposals for same-sex marriage

I'm not convinced that Andrew Goddard's analysis is accurate. Perhaps Tobias Haller would shed more light. The considerations are all in the context of potentially revising the Book of Common Prayer. The last revision was 1979 and ever since the New Zealand Prayer Book was published, some of us have been jealous of the inclusive language.

As for Bishop Martins... A085 sounds like a great idea. Not only for allowing SSM rites but also to have a marriage rite that makes the woman (in a heterosexual marriage) equal. Our bishop has encouraged straight couples to use the new rites. They are beautiful and liberating.

Clearly, Bishop Martins wants to have the power to continue to oppress LGBTQI people and have pope-like powers over his diocese. And complains that TEC is leaving no space for conservatives. This claim is utterly without merit. No one is demanding that priests marry anyone, they can refuse to marry gay people. In some dioceses, like mine, SSM only happens in parishes that have undergone a discernment process and has been voted on by their vestry. What the conservatives are losing is their power to impose their will on others.

As for Martins writing about how TEC is universally condemned, because the Anglican leadership in England, Ireland, and Australia are against it, is disingenuous and ignores the many positive responses received by the Lutherans and other denominations. It also ignores that England's role in that, with Mr. Nye's very poor letter, was questionable - shaky theology and dishonest about the range of views within the CoE.

There is space for conservatives in TEC to hold their beliefs and practice them in particular parishes, but there is little "space" left for them to oppress others - and that little space needs to go as soon as possible.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 22 May 2018 at 6:01pm BST

Bishop Martins writes: "Is it too much to hope for that I, and others who march to the proverbial different drummer, could be afforded some space in this church in which we might not only be tolerated, or treated affectionately as mascots, but be allowed to flourish?"

What hubris. What entitlement. And said in the same letter where he brags about not making provision easy for others. What gall.

Ok, Bishop Martins, I live in one of those dioceses where marriage equality is forbidden by one of your friends. I wasn't able to have a church wedding. Parishes here can't provide weddings. Is it not too much to ask that I could be afforded some space in this church? What about those parishes in your diocese who desire to join the rest of the Episcopal Church? Do they not deserve the same thing that you ask for? But no, you have refused the approved offices of this church for many good Episcopalians who, like you, would like to live out their days in this church.

And now you want special permission to enforce your point of view on Episcopalians who have done nothing wrong other than to agree with the rest of the Episcopal Church.

Stop whining that you may not be allowed to hurt other people. Stop crying because the national church might decide to find something akin to the 14th amendment for all of us. Stop using these histrionics to hurt the Episcopal Church for doing what is right.

God willing the resolutions will pass at GC in Austin. Enough whining that you may not be able to hurt other people, and that you may not be able to do damage to this church any more.

Dennis Roberts

Posted by Dennis Roberts at Tuesday, 22 May 2018 at 6:28pm BST

"There is space for conservatives in TEC to hold their beliefs and practice them in particular parishes, but there is little "space" left for them to oppress others - and that little space needs to go as soon as possible." - Cynthia -

Thank you, Cynthia, for this succinct summary of the situation regarding the complaints of Bishop Martins and other conservatives in TEC who would like their national Anglican Church to exclude Same-Sex couples from having their loving, caring monogamous relationships recognised by their co-congregants in Church.

The recent blanket approval of the Royal Wedding Sermon by TEC's Presiding Bishop by both Church and secular society - advocating the exercise of love rather than judgement as the basis of the Christian Gospel - should warn the nay-sayers that TEC embraces ALL people, not just those who feel they have the monopoly on God.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 22 May 2018 at 11:53pm BST

Look for others than conservative Bishops and Dioceses to begin to shuffle in their seats.

Is this the Deputarian Church of the USA? The kind of polity Seabury worked to constrain? Nothing worse than to be a Bishop in a Presbyterian polity -- that was his concern. Throw in concerns for financial and demographic survival -- concerns for which Bishops are charged -- and you have a recipe for problems.

It has always appeared to me that the real battle will come at this 2018 GC. HOD v HOB. The latter will be prepared to be accommodating out of simple preservation of Episcopal character in an Episcopal Church. HOD has goals to meet that are not commensurate with that.


Posted by crs at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 6:55am BST

"No one is demanding that priests marry anyone, they can refuse to marry gay people."

The underlying theological question is not whether it is right or wrong for same sex couples to marry, but whether God will or will not marry them. Once a church accepts that He will, then allowing any individual priest to refuse places that priest's definition of marriage above God's. That's a nonsense and clearly insulting to God. How on earth can TEC not see that their responsibility is to the conscience of God not to that of individual priests? It has to be universal.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 7:22am BST

People opposed to same-sex marriage like to think they would have been on the right side in arguments about miscegnation and the church's view of it. As I've mentioned before, I have a Dutch neighbour who points out sadly that everyone in Holland says they joined the resistance, but unfortunately most of them waited until 1946 to do so. Similarly, people like Martins want to convince themselves they would have been on the right side of history against Jim Crow. But we know different.

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 8:58am BST

I am puzzled at what is being demanded from bishops who desire the right to prevent everyone in their dioceses from having access to what the national church has agreed.

In Scotland, bishops who are against the marriage of same-sex couples are still expected to administer the necessary paperwork to allow their clergy who desire to be able to conduct such weddings to do so.

If people's consciences are what matters then it matters that bishops who are opposed should not be forced into marrying couples they do not desire to marry nor to enter a marriage they do not desire themselves.

However, conscience works both ways. Those who are in favour need to be able to do so.

Perhaps those bishops in the USA who are opposed to the marriage of same-sex couples need to contact some of those in a similar position in other places, who have found ways of making it work without bringing on ecclesiastical civil war.

It can be done with goodwill

It is being done with goodwill elsewhere.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 11:15am BST

"No one is demanding that priests marry anyone, they can refuse to marry gay people."

They can, and do, refuse to marry couples of different races. We normally recoil from these sorts of people:

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2014/02/19/tennessee-pastor-rails-against-interracial-marriage

but if people who thinking of themselves as "decent" and "respectable" want to swim in the sewer with them, who are we to stop them?

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 11:17am BST

Kate to Cynthia and Kelvin: it must be universal. No exceptions.

KH: SEC does not have the same historical polity as TEC. And TEC has 100 plus Bishops not 7.

Posted by CRS at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 12:31pm BST

PS. It also looks like the TEC International Communion idea, latterly confected, is not finding Province 9 cooperation. The vast majority is not marching in step. 'Must be universal' is not their cup of tea but indeed the opposite.

I hope there is some engagement with Sumner's letter to the Diocese of Dallas. As in TN, this is a diocese that sought to bring a resolution to stop anything short of ss marriage in that Diocese. One assumes the hope is for GC 2018 to fix this.

Goddard mentions both this--Joan Gunderson said as much at TA last month--or first reading for BCP revision.

CK doesn't think he has things right. What is inaccurate, please?

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 3:41pm BST

Cynthia, Andrew Goddard's essay errs in stating that adopting the proposals will force people from the church. This is a rhetorical strategy. No one will be forced from the church, though there will no doubt be some who will feel that they have to part company with it, on grounds of conscience.

The canons protect clergy (including bishops) who are opposed to any given marriage; they do not have to give a reason for this refusal to officiate. (I can think of several off hand, and have written a bit about it in my book about preparing for marriage in the Episcopal Church.) I know this is something Kate finds objectionable, but I do not believe that is going to change.

The polity of the Episcopal Church is fairly standard when it comes to the limits of a bishop's authority. The anxiety expressed in these essays reflects the reality of these limits, recognizing that once a rite is part of the process for revision of the BCP a bishop cannot gainsay its use (unless that is part of the "terms or conditions" for such use, in accord with the canon governing trial use). And once a rite becomes part of the BCP any such terms or conditions lapse. This is precisely what some bishops object to: they do not want this rite to be used; at present they can forbid or limit it, and they do not want to lose that power, a power which is not innate in the episcopate but a result of a synodical polity that constrains bishops to obedience to the common discernment of the larger body.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 4:02pm BST

"KH: SEC does not have the same historical polity as TEC. And TEC has 100 plus Bishops not 7."

I don't care how many priests or bishops they have. They are still allowing some priests and bishops to deny God's will - and once the Church has accepted that same sex couples can marry, that is what it amounts to. Why aren't those bishops and priests being disciplined?

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 4:06pm BST

Kate, that remark was to a priest in SEC.

Your own position is crystal clear!

It is one opposing the views of KH and CK both. I was acknowledging that.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 4:36pm BST

TSH. OK. You do not like the rhetorical tone of Goddard but that was not CK's point. She said his references to the choices before GC were wrongly summarised. How so?

I spoke with a prominent progressive bishop recently who wanted to assure that nothing would happen to restrict any Bishop at GC 2018. I suspect this is because the HOB has those who understand bringing them all to heel is sauce for the gander.

And this is why what we will observe at GC will be a struggle between HOD and HOB. My bet is on the former. TSB can call this synodical. But it is also exactly what Seabury sought to constrain. Like it or not. It will require therefore the HOB to agree to the obvious direction of the HOD.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 4:47pm BST

CRS, I am neither offering prognostications about GC 2018, nor expressing approval or disapproval of Mr. Goddard. I said he was being rhetorical with regard to "force." Surely you don't think I of all people disapprove of rhetoric! But I do know it when I see it.

I did not understand what in Goddard's article Cynthia was referencing. His summary seems, in the main, accurate if brief. Of course all will depend on the actual wording of any resolution adopted, and as I noted, trial use can specify a proviso involving the local bishop. Bp Martins acknowledges that the current proviso is vaguely phrased; something more precise may well be warranted, or the status quo could continue, or no proviso at all included.

And yes, the Episcopal Church's highest synod is in two houses, which must agree before anything becomes policy. So everything decided must have the approval of the majority of bishops. The two houses hold effective mutual veto power, if you will. And yes, the Bishops did not hold this in the first Constitution but gained it after protests were raised by some, including Seabury.

However, once the majority has spoken -- in both houses -- and the canons enacted or the BCP amended, an individual bishop cannot gainsay it without risk of discipline. This is a matter of synodical polity so basic it hardly bears noting. It is not unique to the Episcopal Church by any means.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 7:04pm BST

The introit of Bishop George Sumner's pastoral letter is a recounted story from a particular Canadian indigenous experience.

With regards to the appropriation of LGBTQ2 experiences from First Nations communities, I would encourage readers of Sumner's letter to do their own research. Where possible access directly and listen carefully to the views of First Nations two spirit folks who felt they had to leave their communities. Listen as well to the view of some First Nations two spirit voices that trace the problems they experience with acceptance back to colonial Christianity and the residential schools.

I have attached a link to a CBC opinion piece titled, 2 Spirit Indigenous People: Indigenous Communities Need to Begin Talking about Gender and Sexuality.

Lenard Monkman is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation. Monkman writes: "Albert McLeod, co-director of Two-Spirited People of Manitoba Inc., said one-third of the suicides in indigenous communities are committed by people who are LGBT/two-spirited."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/two-spirited-indigenous-conversation-1.3524020


Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 7:27pm BST

"Kate, that remark was to a priest in SEC."
No, I was quoting you, crs

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 8:01pm BST

I have long said there is no middle ground here. Those in favor of marriage equality are injured by its absence in dissenting dioceses; those opposed are offended by its presence in affirming dioceses. As Tobias says, priests have the ability to say no to any couple without reason, with which I have no problem; I don't see why that isn't sufficient cover for both sides. If your priest refuses to marry you, I doubt you are very happy in that parish anyway. But having a Diocesan say "no" is a much broader and harder limit. Bp Martins bleats that there is no place for him if marriage is passed but isn't the case really that he sees no place for partnered LGBT people? If the CoE is managing to provide some sort of cover for those who don't want women bishops I don't see why TEC can't provide some similar cover for those who don't want to perform a marriage for Teh Gayz --as long as they aren't able to prevent Teh Gayz from marrying at all.

Posted by IT at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 8:43pm BST

Kate, I appreciate your sensibility that SSM has to be universal. However, there has been a lot of talk about having space for everyone in the church. Priests have always had discretion on who to marry, or not. I can't see that the use of force is very conducive to a joyful celebration of the sacrament of marriage.

I appreciate Kelvin's observation that bishops be required to do the paperwork, while not being forced to do the marriages themselves. Along with the Scotland-proud "It is being done with goodwill elsewhere." Kelvin, it's only 8 of our US bishops, out of around 100, but you'll never find 8 bishops who are more entitled and "exceptional."

In my view, it was a mistake to allow bishops to opt-out of SSM within their dioceses "while making provisions." However, we've had more than enough schism and lawsuits, and there were all sorts of pressures to "make space" for conservatives. GC gave them that space, and it turned out that they were the oppressive jerks that they were expected to be (they could have allowed one parish to marry, to make provision that doesn't require expensive travel...). We have people in those dioceses who are hurting mightily, LGBTQI people, family, and allies, so it's time for the episcopal opt-out to go.

The new rites are beautiful and inclusive, including for heterosexual women. I'm all for including them in the new BCP, if we move forward on revisions. BCP revision is a complicated issue that goes beyond SSM. My view is that inclusive language is far more controversial than same-sex marriage, as I am convinced that misogyny is actually far stronger than homophobia. Unconscious gender bias, psychological essentialism, etc., are ensconced in the minds and social fabric of our culture.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 10:53pm BST

CK. You omitted the entire Province IX group in your tally. Effectively the international component, if you will, of TEC.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 6:54am BST

CK, just for some geographical orientation. It is closer to Ft Worth from Dallas, or Orlando to Tampa, than some distances within these same Dioceses. I believe in the case of SE Florida, that diocese actually refused.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 7:01am BST

"Kate, I appreciate your sensibility that SSM has to be universal. However, there has been a lot of talk about having space for everyone in the church. Priests have always had discretion on who to marry, or not."

Practically that makes sense. The trouble is, it's theologically difficult to justify. There is also a big difference between a minister deciding not to marry a couple on exceptional grounds and a minister refusing to marry a couple because of their gender when the church has decided that is not a theological barrier. It is not reasonable simply to extrapolate from discretion in specific circumstances to interposing his/her personal theology on the matter. The two are very, very distinct.

The correct way of handling the issue is having some ministers who do not marry any couples, That way their consciences are salved but they are not imposing their theology ahead of what is understood by the TEC church to be God's.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 9:50am BST

It may be useful to know that TEC dioceses, historically, organized themselves as something like corporations, legally or incipiently. With trustees, audits, annual conventions, boards, delegations, and canons.

People here like to imagine rogue or stentorial bishops. But they were elected to serve dioceses already with canons and integrity. The Diocese of Dallas or Springfield or TN or Central Florida elected bishops who suited their already determined popular will. They want their bishops to uphold canons popularly voted for in canonically regular assemblies, with delegates of clergy and laity.

TSB, I am happy to be corrected, having been licensed in the SEC and in the CofE, and knowing something about other provinces. I believe this polity is something distinctive. It is now being tested.

I do not however believe it is accurate--and you have not said this--to make it appear, as have KH and CK and others, as though we have a matter of oddly acting individual bishops. If that is so it is equally the case of popularly organized and accountable dioceses qua dioceses.

I suspect this polity is being eroded without doing the necessary constitutional work by vote at GC. 2018 will be another chapter in this season of TEC discontent.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 3:50pm BST

I really hope and pray that the proposed changes takes place. It would be worth buying another copy the 1979 U.S Prayer Book.

Posted by Christopher Rees at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 4:33pm BST

CRS, perhaps not correction, but clarification. The polity point I hold to be relatively universal throughout the Communion is that bishops (and all clergy) are to conform to the law of the church, however that law is established.

The Episcopal Church is likely unusual in having a synod that meets in two separate houses, the concurrence of which is required for any action to be finalized. But the difference lies in the manner of meeting, and not in the substantive matter of consent of the whole church. In votes in General Synod in England the three orders must all assent; the difference to TEC is in the simultaneity of the session. In earlier years decisions taken in the church required ratification by Parliament -- this was the model upon which TEC loosely based its two houses, with the voice of the laity (parliament) included in the Deputies.

I am not clear as to what you mean about the polity being "tested." The disagreements about the presenting issue are within both houses more than between them. You may be correct that some of the bishops do not want to concoct a "gander sauce" but there may well be others who want to be done with the ambiguity. I suspect, and hope, that among both bishops and deputies some reasonable provision can continue to be made for those opposed to the general trend, but it will have to be more clearly defined, and equally gracious to those who favor the trend.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 8:13pm BST

CRS:

"They want their bishops to uphold canons popularly voted for in canonically regular assemblies, with delegates of clergy and laity."

Are you suggesting that these changes, if approved at General Convention, would not be so voted for?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 9:24pm BST

PO'N. I am not sure what you are asking. Perhaps you could rephrase.

When in 2015 GC passed the trial rites nothing changed in the Diocese of Dallas. They already have canons on marriage.

Are you asking, did they meet and decide to vote them out? No they did not. The canons represent the larger mind of the diocese.

At the last of three annual conventions a resolution was moved to say GC over-ruled the canons. It failed by a wide margin.

TH: what is unusual in TEC is the composition of dioceses. No region I am aware of has dioceses with annual conventions, deputies, corporate status, audits, voluntary giving to 815, and Diocesan Canons.

Posted by crs at Friday, 25 May 2018 at 6:34am BST

Thank you, CRS, for the note about the inner workings of some of our dioceses. Of course a large part of this, especially corporation status, has to do with civil law (a fact recognized from the beginning, in the preface to the 1789 BCP) and that varies significantly from state to state. But this is not in fact part of the "polity" of the Episcopal Church, merely a consequence of requirements of civil law. However, the Church of England and the ACC also have "corporate" arms governing how they handle a number of concerns.

Diocesan canons exist -- in fact the Canons of General Convention require dioceses to have certain rules in place for a number of things which are left to their determination, again, some of them conditioned by civil law (for example, NY has state law concerning vestries; Virginia also has some laws inherited from the colonial era). The analogy would be with the English establishment, which places some limits on the actions of the Church of England, and I assume English dioceses also have some means of regulating their temporalities and properties.

I also don't know how distinctive diocesan conventions (or synods) are. SEC has them; so does the C of E. The dioceses have mechanisms to choose delegates or members of the general synods, so that too is not peculiar to TEC.

I know that you and Mr McCall have a much higher view of "the diocese in the Episcopal Church" than I do; this is not the place to air that difference of opinion, as it is remote from the topic of the original post.

I continue to hope for an eirenic solution to the issues coming before GC this summer.

Peace and all good.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Friday, 25 May 2018 at 4:39pm BST

Dear TSH, I suspect the salient difference, as I believe you know well, is that a diocese in TEC has canons. Canons that speak the mind of the diocese.

Where is the analogy elsewhere in the AC?

These go back to the reality that TEC originated as a voluntary association of States in which pre-revolutionary churches resided.

TEC could of course have decided to adjust this fully 150 years ago, and thereafter, and make PECUSA a federated entity under a Constitution and GC.

+John Bruno in LA knew this was not so.

The next decade will show us how this built-in tension resolves itself.

+Sumner in Dallas seems to come close to the compromise you suggest above. For my part, I wonder if this is too irenic. But God will know better as always. Time is in His hands.

My bet is on TEC at GC 2018 eliminating all opposition and the HOB deciding it can live with this. But who knows.

Grace and peace.

Posted by crs at Friday, 25 May 2018 at 7:10pm BST

CRS, I know about Province IX, and Province II (Haiti and Europe). Usually, I say US domestic bishops, but I got sloppy. Again, I know people on the ground, lay and clergy, who differ from their bishops. Folks from Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico (oddly in Province IX), Navajoland, Taiwan, etc. Again, the ACC and our General Convention of clergy and laypeople seem far more representative than the bishops. Down with patriarchy, up with PEOPLE.

Love, Cynthia

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 6:44am BST

TH: Diocesan Canons do not exist in places other than TEC. And that is tied up with TEC's polity of creating a diocese and then petitioning GC for association. And that in turn is tie up with the colonial reality of states existing (and as dioceses) prior to the USA as such. As Shelby Foote used to say, one used a verb in plural to speaks of the United States well into the 19th century. The Civil War ended it.

And of course it is the existence of such Diocesan Canons which represent the mind of the Diocese, not a rogue bishop imposing his eccentric will.

I have long said that TEC can take care of this by recasting its Constitution. Until then, a diocese can conclude that it is staying the course. It is GC producing odd teachings and departures from the BCP. Which is the argument of the authors cited above at the top of this thread (pace TH). For them trial rites are at best "in reception" and cannot be imposed on any church catholic.

One can pray for arrangements acceptable to all. I am dubious. Piecemeal tinkering with the BCP is like piecemeal dioceses.

Bon courage.

Posted by crs at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 6:59am BST

"Until then, a diocese can conclude that it is staying the course."

Really? Do priests and bishops no longer vow to adhere to the canons of the National Church? If they do, how can they ignore them, as adopted and revised by GC, to "stay the course"?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 11:41am BST

PON. Your question, so obvious to you, situates itself almost perfectly on top of the neuralgia.

Do laity in dioceses which insist on upholding diocesan canons need to be brought before a tribunal? Who would that be?

Clergy who made solemn pledges upon ordination did so in respect of BCP at the time. They did not pledge to abide by any foreseeable alterations. There is no new BCP yet.

This is what staying a course means.

Your scenario would mean there could never be any allowance such as GC 2015 accepted was necessary. We do not have as yet GC confectioning a new BCP standard.

Where is your court of review to do what you imagine?

Posted by CRS at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 1:53pm BST

CRS, you are simply mistaken on the matter of diocesan canon law being peculiar to TEC. You can find them in Canada, Australia, ACNZAP, and in Scotland several dioceses have their own Constitutions or other Rules. I have not searched further.

Again, this is not the place to argue with the minority view you and Mr McCall hold concerning diocesan independence in re the Constitution of TEC. Those interested might find it of help to review original sources rather than to rely on secondary opinions. I can commend, for example, a review of Dalcho's history of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (p. 465ff), which reveals that, for example, the only reason representatives of the churches there gathered for Convention was to work towards union with the emerging PECUSA, and did not adopt local canons until after assenting to the General Convention's Constitution, whereon they complied with its requirements.

The objections in the documents cited above, particularly by Goddard and Martins, are to amending the BCP; as once (and if) the BCP is amended, clergy will be bound by it. (The notion that clergy are bound only by the laws in effect at the time of ordination would lead to no such protest.)

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 4:26pm BST

"...on the matter of diocesan canon law being peculiar to TEC. You can find them in Canada, Australia, ACNZAP, and in Scotland several dioceses have their own Constitutions or other Rules."

Thank you TSH. I gather that you have found several (=4 total) instances within 38 total Provinces.

I think this pretty much confirms the oddity.

I also do not hear you saying they are representative of *entire Provinces*, as they are of course in TEC.

Otherwise consult my comment to PON above.

Obviously when the BCP is amended clergy will have to refer to this. See the cautions of Bauerschmidt, Sumner, Martins and others re: this eventuality. That has not transpired.

PON seemed to assert laity and clergy in dioceses were running afoul of something that a tribunal could arrest. Do you believe that? I doubt it.

I lived in the SEC for ten years. Do you have that experience?

I believe the entire province is the size of a good diocese in TEC. I recall NOTHING comparable to a diocese functioning as if were anything but an organic component of a 7 diocese wide church.

To say this is like TEC is, generously, a category error.

Enjoy a Sunday for Trinity blessings.

Bon courage.

Posted by crs at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 6:19pm BST

"Clergy who made solemn pledges upon ordination did so in respect of BCP at the time. They did not pledge to abide by any foreseeable alterations. There is no new BCP yet. "

Really? When an elected government official makes a solemn vow to uphold the laws and constitution of the USA, and/or of his own state or locality, does he mean only those laws currently in effect? And not those that may be passed, changed, amended, rescinded during his term of office?

Well, that certainly changes things, doesn't it?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 7:33pm BST

CRS, I have never been incardinated in the SEC, but I did work closely with the former primate for five years on an Anglican Communion committee.

As I say, I listed only a few exceptions to your allegation of American Episcopal peculiarity as to dioceses. I'm sure there are more. The notion of diocesan synods and regulations (whether called "canons" or "constitution" or "ordinances") is common enough to be noted in Principle 20 in the _Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion_ which was produced during the time of my service with the Communion, though I was not involved in the production. It is generally on point though it sometimes suggests greater uniformity than is the case.

And now I really must close, as I am to preach on the Trinity tomorrow...

Blessings in that Triune name...

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Saturday, 26 May 2018 at 8:39pm BST

PON. You now have recently, built to purpose, title IV recourse, with officers, budget, and remit. Not 1, not 2, but 3 years have passed and not one charge has been made consisgent with your opining. Why not? Because we do not have a new BCP standard and because dioceses like Dallas and others have canons on marriage.

I believe what you are wanting is not a back-date stamp but a 2018 GC set of decision to block this and set a new standard over against the present one pertaining which is the staying course one.

TH. The most obvious point is that Dioceses in TEC have the capacity to generate marriage canons and this coheres with tbe history unique to TEC's, originating in the colonial period and never constitutionally changed. The SEC is about the size of a Large TEC diocese and my experience of it is of a united front of 7 bishops. The exceptions are big parishes scattered about like Ps and Gs in Edinburgh. There is no Diocesan identity like unto TEC. Scotland is about the same size as SC.

Incardinated? Ouch. Trinity blessings.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 27 May 2018 at 7:26am BST

The Gunn piece does usefully expose where all the snakes are on all sides.

He does not favour BCP revision because he believes there is a way to make provision for all anyway and 'improve' the arrangements he thought were to be in place at 2015. One can see in the comments the resistance to this, and also suggestions that it will not work anyway.

If the expression 'devil in the details' has any saliency it certainly does here. I also think a governing assumption of those who wish to be more accommodating--whatever that looks like; Gunn wants alternative oversight arrangements--is that all the resistance will be eliminated in time anyway. And yet it is very hard to see that is the case in the non-USA part of TEC he is otherwise keen to show great solicitude for. One could suppose that their refusal to be a part of this would mean that in time they go their own way or find location in their own province. They have suggested as much.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 27 May 2018 at 10:53am BST

I find Scott Gunn's and Bishop Bauerschmidt's writings the most measured and compelling. Sadly, Bishop Sumner wastes a lot of ink swimming upstream. Obviously, TEC has decided that there is a case for SSM and so his first chapter is clearly a position statement, his position statement.

Tobias is more than welcome to correct me if I'm wrong here, but what I find unfortunate about the progression of the development of SSM in TEC is that we got to SSM before we had provided heterosexual women with liturgies that reflect full equality rather than subordination (subtle or otherwise). If I've properly understood Kelvin Holdsworth, SEC had already tackled creating a marriage liturgy that reflected gender equality. So their move from gender equality to SSM is much, much, smoother. Feel free to correct me, if I got it wrong.

My most compelling arguments for revising the BCP.
Our bishop, in Colorado, is encouraging heterosexual couples to use the new marriage rites because they are beautiful and equal. No one would question my advocacy for SSM, but straight women represent a huge, if not majority demographic in TEC. They have needed an updated liturgy for a long time. If SSM/heterosexual equality comes out as the same beautiful rite, then great!!! Lift it up. Include it in the new BCP - but for crying out loud, make it clear that the need for a women-as-equal marriage liturgy is a compelling reason for the revision. If marriage is simply marriage, equal all the way around, then whether it's gay or straight hardly matters, liturgically. My second argument is that we need a BCP that includes Scripturally based feminine imagery for God, and would benefit from the creation loving language of Native Americans.

My reservations about revising the BCP at this time would track with the arguments of Scott Gunn and Bishop Bauerschmidt.

What I would love to see, is a digital compilation of trial rites for marriage, the Eucharist, etc., that explores inclusive language, and incorporates the sensibilities of various cultures within TEC. Don't go to the expense of printing books. Those rites could become fodder for a revised BCP down the road. A digital compilation would hopefully make alternative rites more easily accessible for use and for scrutiny and improvement. It would allow time to get people behind a project that can become meaningful for them. Over time, it would become more apparent which rites can serve as a "focus of unity." Technology can save us from "either/or" mentality and actually express the full range of beliefs and priorities within our church. Bloated as that may sound, over time, it may come more succinct.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 28 May 2018 at 7:20pm BST

Just to be clear, Bishop Bauerschmidt is dead-set against a compilation idea of any kind. For him and for others--lacking the Confessions of continental reform churches, or the black letter law of RCC, or the conciliar polity of the Eastern Churches--Anglicanism's centre or canon is the BCP. For him and others, changes in the marriage rites could only at best be a teaching in reception, since not shared by those within Catholic Christianity.

Obviously Scott Gunn is Bauerschmidt's example #1 of where not to go.

I have been wondering about parishes which, according to the present system, can turn down ss marriage as an option. How can this be acceptable if ss parishioners in these parishes want to get married.

I think the point is that any system which purports to be 'fair to all' and 'inclusive' cannot but have a single way forward for all. This is why setting up episcopal oversight systems can't really stop at parishes wanting such rites, but will have to deal with parishes which don't, but have ss marriage desirous couples.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 6:38am BST

"This is why setting up episcopal oversight systems can't really stop at parishes wanting such rites, but will have to deal with parishes which don't, but have ss marriage desirous couples."

As I said, in Colorado a parish has to go through a discernment process and have a vestry vote before it can offer SSM. Our parish has hosted SSM's of people who go to other parishes.

In the cities, it's likely that the vast majority of LGBTQI people attend open and affirming churches, or have one nearby. The scenario that you bring up, CRS, is most likely to be more problematic in the rural areas. But it seems to me that active Episcopalians typically know other clergy and parishes. If the distance isn't too great, part of the marriage preparation could involve building relationship in a marrying parish. And being within a diocese, the distance might not be prohibitive for family and friends. My guess is that most LGBTQI couples who want to get married in the church are particularly observant and active Episcopalians. It isn't hard to find an affirming parish.

I find it hard to believe that a couple who feels called to the Sacrament of Marriage would want the liturgy conducted by a hostile/apathetic priest in a hostile/apathetic parish. Especially when there are parishes that are more than willing to host.

I like the Colorado model. It isn't perfect, but perfection is not available to any of us. Love, however, is abundant.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 10:05am BST

"TEC has decided that there is a case for SSM and so his first chapter is clearly a position statement, his position statement."

Again it needs to be emphasized. This is not 'his' position but the position of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, and has been so regularly, canonically put into place.

Alternatives have been mooted at recent annual diocesan conventions and these were voted down by wide margins.

On 'equal marriage'. If one holds the view that there are specific goods in the estate of Holy Matrimony; that these are stated clearly in the BCP and especially the history of rites for marriage; then one cannot eliminate them and the scriptural warrants upon which they are based and for that use the same word. If one does, people rightly object, just as if the State of Virginia were now to be called East Virginia.

One accepts that you believe otherwise, but for the sake of at least understanding the argument, you cannot produce a new rite and somehow believe that Virginians ought to jump for joy. Something is being changed. Even Gunn gets that much. Genesis 1 being dropped out isn't just anodyne 'how cares?' manipulating.

Again, the point here is that there is no "rabbit out of the hat" when it comes to words and how they cohere with estates. A change is a change. Something presupposed becomes something else. One does not have to believe in traditional marriage to understand that logically.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 11:12am BST

I have in mind two very large parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. Dallas is a metroplex and voted for Obama. Get rid of JR Ewing ideas. It is behind Austin for being hip with the millennial crowd. Uptown is full of millennials who love traditional liturgy and are not of one mind on ss marriage. These two churches do not have apathetic and hostile clergy but big clergy staffs representative of the population. I cannot imagine one of them voting to approve same sex marriage and at the other it would divide the parish right down the middle. LGBT+ couples attend these churches, and at the one a very traditional lot. So while there are a couple very vocal pro LGBT parishes in the Diocese, this doesn't really get at the problematic of trying to accommodate the reality on the ground. And then as I have said several times to you, the really puzzling thing is how very few couples have bothered to go to Ft Worth just down the road. On your account there is a great urgency. It just does not match the reality one sees in the Metroplex.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 4:09pm BST

For the record, CRS, I'm a Virginian. My 9th great-grandfather was on the founding vestry of Bruton Church and gave up 300 acres of land for the founding of the College of William and Mary. This Virginian would indeed jump for joy at the inclusion of rites that are egalitarian for straight women and SS couples. But I've not demanded total replacement of the current rite. I'm advocating for including, not excluding. There are parishes that still use the 1928 Prayer Book, so the idea of overlap, or simply including new rites in a digital resource, is my desire. One of the joys of being a creative is that things don't have to be either/or, black/white, etc. If we can have both rites, we would be honoring people on both sides, and if we can honor one another, it would be living out the Gospel of love together. I'm fine with that.

You love to say that I don't understand the issues. I do indeed. And I described a situation that is working in Colorado that should ease your mind about parishes that have not come round to SSM.

It's unlikely that you are plugged into Episcopal LGBTQI social media where one would hear the pain of couples in those 8 dioceses who feel left behind by the church. The pain is very real.

I don't know why SS couples, in your view, don't go to Fort Worth to get married. Maybe they are waiting and praying for healing and wholeness at home. Anecdotal evidence is not really helpful.

I love your description of The People's Republic of Dallas! ;-) (For non-Americans, Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado are considered so far left that some refer to us as The People's Republic of Austin/Boulder.) Alas, I am post-JR Ewing generation. I was in public school and conservatory practicing the violin like a bandit. I don't know who shot JR and I don't care!

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at 7:38am BST

"This Virginian would indeed jump for joy at the inclusion of rites that are egalitarian for straight women and SS couples" -- sorry I was using the example in respect of language, not in respect of literal citizenship...

If it helps, let me change geography.

No one in North Dakota would be thrilled at having South Dakota change its name to Dakota.

Your inclusion is someone else's alteration. You are happy at that. Very clear. You make it most clear when you enthuse about couples opting out of a marriage rite in favor of a genderless one.

But opting out it is just the same. People have gotten married in relation to certain goods. I have counseled couples in relation to those goods. To have them changed isn't 'inclusion' but for these couples 'subtraction.' The word "Holy Matrimony" refers to something and that something is now unclear.

As to ranging new rites alongside BCP ones, at issue is for how long and what happens in parishes I have described above? That is, where ss couples are denied the rites due to a parish vote?

At some point "go over there" -- plug in 'diocese,' or 'parish' or designated 'ss chapel' -- is equally 'unfair' if referred to on those terms.

And so in time there will be no 'there' to go there to. The line that divides over this issue won't stay put but cuts through parishes once one has put to rest diocesan canons.

"Anecdotal evidence is not really helpful" -- with the exception of Colorado.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at 9:55am BST

"The word "Holy Matrimony" refers to something and that something is now unclear."

There's nothing unclear about Holy Matrimony, I just think that it is just as holy for gay couples as straight couples. And the term is gender neutral (equal) not genderless (lacking gender).

Inclusion of the new does not mean exclusion of the old! That isn't logical.

The Colorado example is not anecdotal. There is an established process of discernment that parishes follow in order to be eligible to do SSMs. If the parish doesn't "get there," then SSM doesn't happen. There are nearby alternative parishes. Is that hurtful to gay couples in conservative parishes? Yes, I would think so. But they can marry without distant travel, and friends, family, and supportive clergy, singers, etc. can come. Anecdotal is when you say that LGBTQI people from the People's Republic of Dallas don't go to Fort Worth to get married. How do you know? And even if that story is true, do you know why that might be? I decided that calling it anecdotal and unhelpful was a kind way to question that whole line of murky thought.

Be not afraid. God can handle all of this.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 31 May 2018 at 5:25am BST

"Inclusion of the new does not mean exclusion of the old!"

"The Boy Scouts" are now something different. "Inclusion" of Girls means the name requires changing.

(This is an analogy. I do not mean to occasion a discussion about scouting.)

"Holy Matrimony" has typically been associated with four goods. Male-Female. Openness as such to procreation and its attendant responsibilities for raising children in the Christian Faith. A sacrament mirroring the Love of Christ for His Bride the Church. As a curb against fornication.

The point is simple: You can disagree with that. You can arrange and prioritize the goods and eliminate some. You can call this Holy Matrimony. But it will then refer to something different.

Yes, the situation in Colorado is anecdotal. Just as the arrangement in Dallas you disagree with. It turns on how people view what is happening. You have given your view.

Grace and peace.


Posted by crs at Friday, 1 June 2018 at 10:47am BST

Typically Holy Matrimony treated women like chattel. This redefinition to the 4 points given may have been true for a short time, but it certainly opens the door for new understandings. Though I am in agreement with point 3, in gender-neutral terms, and actually point 4, to some extent.

an·ec·do·tal - anəkˈdōdl, adjective (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.

Colorado is not anecdotal, it is factual. It is a solid example of how SSM is being handled at the parish level for opting-in or not to SSM. It isn't a story "I've heard" something. It is a policy that can be found on the website. I'll spare you the trouble of Googling it: https://episcopalcolorado.org/congregational-resources/leadership-resources/

Your story about LGBTQI people from Dallas not seeming to go to Fort Worth to get married is anecdotal. You don't actually have facts for it, "you've heard" is the essence of anecdotal.

My hope was to ease your mind that parishes who don't collectively wish to enter into providing SSM don't have to opt-in. I know this upsets Kate's sensibilities about universal marriage. It also challenges Kelvin's implication that SEC found a way to gracefully while TEC didn't. We pretty much have. It's the rhetoric that comes out of the US that makes it seem that the "sky is falling" or rather, the "dome" that separates earth from chaos, which we've sent rockets through...

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 1 June 2018 at 11:38pm BST

"Holy Matrimony typically treated women like chattel."

Then leave the term for those who don't want it co-opted to be used for something else.

"True for a short time." How about for the length of the church's life?

Dropping out Genesis and Ephesians happens for a reason in the new rites. It isn't forgetfulness.

If you can find evidence of anyone driving the 45 minutes to Fort Worth to get married I am all ears. Or the same distance to the Diocese of SW Florida.

I think the best solution is Kate's.

Using clerical discretion--which is purposed for a different reason than not wanting ss marriage--or alternative oversight--not workable at the parish level--are really only stratagems put in place for reasons of expediency. I suspect she sees that.

Sabbath blessings.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 3 June 2018 at 7:37am BST

"My hope was to ease your mind that parishes who don't collectively wish to enter into providing SSM don't have to opt-in."

And the point is that in such parishes there will still be couples who want to get married from the LGBT+ segment. I mentioned two well known and quite big, multi-staff, parishes in EDOD where this will be the case.

Why should they be deprived?

TEC GC takes place in a month's time. I for one find this exercise useful as it exposes just how difficult the realities are. TEC made all kinds of rock-solid assurances when it came to Women's Ordination. Dioceses were given leeway. Next came alternative oversight arrangements. Then, au fil de temps, enforcement throughout the land was necessary. It didn't take very long in the grand scheme of things. This won't take that long.

Thank you for your hopes. Sincerely. They are however ill-placed. If ss marriage is judged by TEC meet and right, then it will ultimately be the Law of the Land. That is the way these things go.


Posted by crs at Sunday, 3 June 2018 at 8:42am BST

Well, I hope that my hopes aren't ill-placed. So far, so good in Colorado (on SSM).
Peace.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 5 June 2018 at 12:35am BST
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