Monday, November 27, 2006

Update on "As the Anglican World Turns"

"Thanks But No Thanks" .... The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, and the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, have declined an invitation from the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop of Virginia, to attend a second Summit Meeting of bishops requesting Alternate Primatial Oversight with the Presiding Bishop .... read the rest here

"Voting To Walk Apart" ... Meanwhile, Fr. Jake is reporting the over in San Joaquin that "Bp. John-David Schofield of San Joaquin has been making pre-convention presentations at the various deaneries within his diocese in an attempt to explain why he feels the proposed constitutional changes must be approved at their diocesan convention which begins this weekend" .... read the rest here.

And in the Diocese of Fort Worth nothing short of Civil War will do for some ...

"Secede: the only option" ... [Tracey Smith's commentary in the 11/27 Fort Worth Star-Telegram] The Episcopal Church today is like the United States in 1860 -- on the verge of civil war. Abraham Lincoln's inauguration in 1861 forced South Carolina rebels to attack the Union stronghold of Fort Sumter, beginning a four-year conflict. This month's inauguration of Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church had the same effect. Rebels against Schori see secession as their only recourse. ... read the rest here.

"Let The Record Show" ... Finally, here's Katie Sherrod's Letter to the Editor printed in Sunday's Fort-Worth Star Telegram as a rebuttal to the "Civil War" commentary referenced above:

Here's a fact checklist for those trying to make sense of Tracey Smith's extraordinarily misinformed piece about the Episcopal Church.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori holds views almost identical to those of her two immediate male predecessors, Edmond Browning and Frank Griswold, on issues of full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church, on same-sex blessings and on salvation. Jack Iker managed to remain in communion, however impaired, with both of them.

The election and consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire has nothing to do with the rise of AIDS in Africa. AIDS in Africa is almost entirely a heterosexual problem. Trying to connect this tragedy with Robinson was a specious argument used to stir up fear.

The Anglican Communion isn't a church. It's a fellowship of highly autonomous provinces. The archbishop of Canterbury has no authority in or over the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican church in America, and its primate is Schori.

Episcopalians, like all Anglicans, believe that Scripture holds all things necessary for salvation. We take the Bible seriously, not literally. We believe that Scripture can best be understood through the lens of history, tradition and reason. Episcopalians are encouraged to love God with all their hearts and all their minds. We are encouraged to think.

There are 111 dioceses in the Episcopal Church, not 104. Of these, seven refuse to accept the leadership of their new presiding bishop.

No Episcopal bishop, including Iker, can be forced to ordain a gay or lesbian person -- or anyone else, for that matter. No Episcopal priest can be forced to perform a same-sex blessing. No one is forcing "recognition of homosexual practices" on church members.

Episcopal Church membership is dropping, as is membership in all mainline Protestant denominations. That trend began after World War II, long before Robinson and Schori were issues.

The Star-Telegram failed to apply its usual standards to Smith's "special" commentary. I hope that future essays on our church will be better informed.

Katie Sherrod, Fort Worth

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