Thinking Anglicans

Connecticut update

Further Update 27 April
This commentary has been published by Via Media USA

Update 25 April
There is an editorial in the Living Church about Connecticut: Harsh Treatment

Many thanks to commenters who posted links to news reports on this last week, while I was away from home.

The New York Times carried several reports:

22 April Dissident Priests Not Punished, but Their Fate Is Still Unclear
21 April Dissident Episcopal Priests Are Called Part of a Strategy
18 April Episcopal Clergy to Meet on Dispute Over Gay Issues

In the 21 April story, we read this:

…But as the bishop of Connecticut, Andrew D. Smith, prepared to suspend the priests, he described them as local troops in a nationwide strategy by conservative Episcopalians to secede and then establish a “replacement” church that would take the place of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. in the world Anglican Communion.

In an interview at his office in Hartford on Tuesday, the day after a meeting with the priests that seemed only to deepen the impasse, Bishop Smith said that the priests never had any intention of returning to the fold. Instead, he said, they were bent on “kind of a ‘Please, go ahead and shoot me’ ” approach that would make him a villain and win them public support.

Bishop Smith said the priests were following a strategy laid out in a memo written in December 2003 by a member of the American Anglican Council, a group of orthodox Episcopal parishes that includes those led by the six priests. The memo laid out steps that priests can take to distance and then eventually sever themselves from the parent church.

The memo said the strategy would “generate significant public attention” and added that the church authorities, knowing “well how conservatives could quickly become the ‘victims’ in the public mind,” would be reluctant to discipline priests.

“If you read that memo and then look at what happened there, there are a lot of similarities,” Bishop Smith said…

Meanwhile, the AAC republished the whole story from the NYT and also this press release.

The News page of the Connecticut diocesan website contains many useful links to statements, including a pdf copy of the letter of 27 May 2004 from the six parishes in which they list their demands:

  • We seek the immediate care and pastoral oversight of a bishop acceptable to us who:
    a) affirms Holy Scripture, the ancient creeds, and the 39 Articles.
    b) Upholds the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on human sexuality.
    c) Neither supported the election, consecration and ministry of V. G. Robinson as bishop, nor supports the ordination of any unchaste homosexuals to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.
  • We seek suspension without prejudice of the canons and resolutions of the Diocese of Connecticut requiring an assessment of funds in support of diocesan mission and ministry.
  • We seek a one-year review of these DEPO Agreements in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates of the Anglican Communion or their appointed designee,
  • We seek a written agreement that guarantees that the future succession of clergy in our parishes rests in the hands of the vestries, our search committees, and our DEPO bishop.
  • We seek a written assurance that you and the Diocese of Connecticut will not foster a ministerial environment that is hostile to our parishes’ mission and ministries.

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J. C. Fisher
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“a member of the American Anglican Council, a group of orthodox Episcopal parishes”

Aaaaaaargh! Hey Great Gray Lady, that’s SELF-DESCRIBED “orthodox”!

The Very Rev'd Michael J. Shank
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The Very Rev'd Michael J. Shank

Bishop Smith would have nothing to worry about if he had remained orthodox! But his support of Gene Robinson and same gender blessings and the gay agenda – all of which are against the teachings of Jesus – may well lead to a replacement church. But Bishop Smith should be willing to own the blame if it happens.

Simeon
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Oh no! not the dreaded Gay Agenda! Quickly, shield the childrens’ eyes!

http://www.markfiore.com/animation/agenda.html

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

Re: the Gay Agenda

I wonder if the proponents of this term would have labelled the civil rights movement as the black agenda?

There are clearly quite a large number of people within ECUSA supporting this so-called “gay agenda”. I seriously doubt they are all gay.

Is this term used to attempt to limit perception of the degree of support for providing all people with access to the sacraments?

RL

Simeon
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Robert wrote: “I wonder if the proponents of this term would have labelled the civil rights movement as the black agenda?” I’m old enough to remember the civil rights struggles of the 60’s and yes, that’s pretty much what happened. First it was people of different racial/ethnic groups, then women, and now it’s GLBT people. Just cultural-conservatives singing different verses of the same tune… “Is this term used to attempt to limit perception of the degree of support for providing all people with access to the sacraments?” Amongst other things, I’m sure it is. Wouldn’t want “those” people in church,… Read more »

Ken
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Ken

The American Anglican Council is composed of orthodox bishops, other clergy, and laity……..not dioceses, parishes and missions. The Anglican Communion Network is composed of orthodox dioceses and affiliated parishes and missions. They work hand-in-hand. Bishop Smith should’ve paid more attention to his homework! And by the way……Fr Chapman’s memo was repudiated by the AAC, I believe. I’m a member.

Dr Abigail Ann Young
Guest

I do wish someone would explain to me what the “gay agenda” is supposed to be! I suppose that by supporting “Claiming the Blessing” I am part of it — I wish however that both sides could be less strident on the subject. I am amazed that how one interprets a handful of passages that have traditionally been taken to refer to same-sex activity has become the shibboleth by which one is judged as a Christian beleiver. I interpret these passages in such a way that to me it is possible for God to be doing a new thing in… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Simeon wrote “First it was people of different racial/ethnic groups, then women, and now it’s GLBT people. Just cultural-conservatives singing different verses of the same tune…” Hi Simeon. I don’t think it is reasonable to equate racial equality, or women’s equality, with the sexuality debate. There are large differences: – Sex and race are defined physically; LGBT sexualities are defined by desire. – The NT states that all races and both sexes are equal in Christ; but it condemns same-sex sexuality as sinful. – Men and women of all races can fully express the created order of human beings; but… Read more »

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

Quoting David “Sex and race are defined physically”. Actually race is a social construct. We see this when we try to apply our U.S. notions of race in international clinical trials, which is an aspect of my work. Try asking someone from Spain if they are “Hispanic” or “Latino”. Or for real fireworks, ask a U.S. citizen born in Africa if they are black. Our U.S. definitions of race do not make sense outside of our country. In one of our studies, the “other” box for race was checked by two participants. In those cases we ask for a self-description… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Hi Robert. Actually I’ve heard people argue that sex (or at least gender) is a social construct too. But I think that says more about the perceptions of the person who is arguing it than it does about the physical differences between men and women. Simeon’s original comment was drawing parallels between the gay rights campaign and the “civil rights struggles of the 60’s” – “… people of different racial/ethnic groups,….”. As I remember it, this was primarily about segregation due to “colour” (ie physical racial origin), although even then there were some people identifying across racial groups. Things have… Read more »

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

Increased promiscuity in modern society, for our purposes, is a red herring. I am quite prepared to agree that promiscuity, which by nature does not respect one’s partner and treats others merely as means, is unethical. That goes for straights as well as gays and lesbians. So no, I am not arguing for “do what you want to do”. Sexual orientation, however, is a question of intrinsic identity – it is a matter of inner nature, not of the will. The confusion of the issue of promiscuity with sexual orientation is part of the problem here. There are plenty of… Read more »

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

P.S. I’m not sure why you bring up the definition of sex and gender, or what kinds of inferences about perceptions you’re trying to draw from it.

For the record, no one argues that sex is a social construct. But gender, by definition is. To see the difference, contemplate the different definitions of “female” and “feminine”.

Dave
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Dave

Hi Robert, I agree with you on most of what you wrote. My point, however, is that the ideal should be about “what you do” as well as how “you do it”. So life-long commitments between a man and two women are not acceptable, not because of the quality of the relationships (they may well in some cases be better than that between one man and one woman) it is because it is against the created and revealed order for human beings (physical, family, societal, generational). Just because you can defined a group of people (“polyamory”/”polygamists”) who want to do… Read more »

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

Hi Dave, I’m all with you on relativism, but I don’t think that’s what I’m doing. I’m not merely saying that gays or lesbians “want to do this” – I’m saying that sexual orientation is not a question of the will. We do not choose this – there is no “wanting” to be gay any more than there is “wanting” to be intrinsically heterosexual. Nor is this humanistic, but rather interpreting Scripture in light of new scientific information (cf. Galileo). I’m saying that homosexual orientation is created by the Creator, and since the Creator further posits that it is not… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Robert wrote: “In the end, what is the purpose of Scripture? To paraphrase Augustine, it is to learn to love our God with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and to love our neighbor as ourself.” Hi Robert, well your choosing that paraphrase is a good example of what I mean about existentialist humanism. You are focussing on the human aspects of Scripture, a conservative would focus more on the divine, eg “Scripture is the revealed word of God given in the words of people in history”. Taking some of the other points you made:… Read more »

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

Hi Dave, This is the first time I’ve heard St. Augustine called an existential humanist. I’m surely not quoting him out of context; he goes on for several pages on this topic in the Confessions. And I seriously doubt he would agree with your assessment that he was not contemplating the divine. There are a number of homosexual couples who have adopted babies who have grown up with them. So there are families involved in this question as well as in the question of polygamy in Africa. Sexual orientation defines the universe of those who one could mate with. As… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Robert I doubt that you are still reading this thread (I only just reread it to give someone a link as they are going over this ground again at the moment). However, just in case, I would like to point out that whereas homo-sexual bahaviour is always treated as a sin whenever it is mentioned in both the OT and the NT, slavery and women are not always treated the same. So, for instance, St Paul advises Christian slaves to get their freedom if possible, asks a Christian brother for the freedom of a Christian slave, and says that slaves… Read more »

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

Dave, That’s a nice explanation about how to deal with slavery in the Bible. This method doesn’t work, however, with proscriptions against loaning money at interest or any of the many other Biblical proscriptions that are not considered mandatory today, yet have no similar affirming texts. Nor were the contradictions between Biblical chronology of the universe or geocentricity and the scientific evidence resolved by appeals to other regions of Scripture. So the lack of affirming texts is not really relevant – other changes in interpretation, clearly needed, were made on the basis of examining of the scientific evidence without any… Read more »