Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Church and Gay Clergy.


I am continuing to be fascinated by what is happening in the Episcopal church. Of course in Uganda, we are at the other end of what is happening. But, it is fascinating. Here is a body of believers who are determined to stand by their beliefs in me.

Sometimes, I wonder whether I am equal to their faith in me!

But, (yes, I am a non-believer), it is the typical story of Jesus as taught by Christians. He is God. And he believes in me enough to die for me. That is how it goes, isn’t it?

Well, here is a Church of Christ willing to stand by what they believe. And, aren’t they fascinating!

Aug 03, 2009

Episcopal dioceses are fast to list gay nominees for bishop

Less than three weeks ago the Episcopal Church cleared the decks for full participation by openly gay members -- all the way up to the role of bishop. And already, two dioceses are nominating gay and lesbian candidates for that role, despite the clear dismay of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In a way, the issue is moving full circle. The election of the church's first gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, was ratified at the Church's tri-annual governing meeting in Minneapolis in 2003. Late last week, the Diocese of Minnesota announced that one of three nominees for bishop is a lesbian priest from Chicago. The vote will be held at the diocesan convention in October.

The most recent governing meeting -- where a de facto moratorium on electing and confirming gay bishops was voted down by Church leadership -- was in Anaheim in July. And this weekend the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles released a slate of six nominees for suffragan bishop including two who are gay. The vote will come in early December.

Just as the locations echo the controversial changes in the Episcopal Church's direction, so do the reactions -- outrage from traditionalists and cheerful best wishes to all the qualified candidates from gay activists.

Anglican traditionalist and vehement critic of the Episcopal Church David Virtue says these moves "further inflame the Anglican Communion's orthodox believers. It confirms in their minds that The Episcopal Church intends to show no restraint whatever, raising the middle finger to the communion's titular head..."

While the Rev. Susan Russell, of All Saints, Pasadena, Calif., head of the gay Episcopal group Integrity, cheersthat "the 'season of fasting' at the expense of the vocations of gays and lesbians in the Episcopal Church is at an end." She links these nominations to the historic moment when women were first ordained by The Episcopal Church 35 years ago last week.

But not so fast. Just because a diocese elects someone doesn't make that person bishop. It requires the consent of the national Church. Since the national legislature doesn't meet again until 2012, the elected candidate will face a mail-in vote on ratification. All the diocesan bishops and all the diocesan standing committees of clergy and laypeople have 120 days from the date they're notified of the election results to decide.

Since Robinson was elected shortly before the 2003 national meeting, the ratification decision was done in the convention center. It electrified the worldwide church and prompted the eventual exit of about 10% of U.S. parishes in a newly formed traditionalist umbrella group, the Anglican Church in North America.

DO YOU THINK ... now that there are two Churches, people will vote with their feet, lining up where they're most comfortable? Is the furor going to die down?

1 comment:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

As I understand it, there are many factors to consider.

Firstly the unhappy folks don´t represent 10% of the parishes, they are about 3% (and the other membership in the new ACNA are made up of decades earlier fall-aways/splits and cults from other eras who have joined up to exclude Gays and others). Secondly they can´t take TEC Church property with them...case after case (including the Parishs Orombi/Akinola, in cooperation with bigots, attempted to remove from TEC) are being lost in costly court battles...albeit these ¨cases¨ are worth every cent by defending TEC Patrimony from those who would steal it in the name of difference, fear and hate...people like to go to Church in their own Parish (sometimes for generations and the Grandparents/others are often buried in the Church Cemeteries)...you are right in the respect that the majority membership of The Episcopal Church is STANDING WITH LGBT Christians/others...this is a very big deal (and you are not required to be perfect to receive a open WELCOME and reassurance of your value as one amongst others)...the dogma is light and the persecution/discrimination is almost non-existant, except for those that instigate fear and hate against LGBT people (and they are grouping together in one, not so large, lump of emotional contamination that isn´t good for anyones spiritual health).

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