Wednesday, February 28, 2007

LIVE FROM NEW YORK ....

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... IT'S THE PRESIDING BISHOP!


We were here at 6:30 a.m. AST [All Saints Time] ... between 30 and 40 folks in the Forum sleepily sipping coffee and grateful for the muffins that had materialized while we waited for the music from Trinity Wall Street to end and the webcast to begin.
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You can still watch the telecast here yourself -- thanks to the marvels of modern technology and Trinity Wall Street. And ENS has a transcript of her opening remarks here -- the rest of the broadcast was answering questions from emails, call-ins and the studio audience.
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And here are some of the "reviews" coming in:
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Here's AP's Rachel Zoll's take: Appearing on a live webcast, the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop began the painful task Wednesday of persuading members to roll back their support for gays — at least for now — so the denomination can keep its place in the world Anglican fellowship. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who personally supports ordaining partnered gays, told a studio audience, callers and those who submitted questions by e-mail that they should make concessions that Anglican leaders are seeking to buy time for reconciliation.
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Reuter's Michael Colon had different perspective: Anglican church leaders and others demanding the U.S. Episcopal Church harden its stand on gay issues may be yielding to unwarranted impatience instead of waiting for divine guidance, the head of the U.S. church said on Wednesday... "We are being pushed toward a decision by impatient forces within and outside this church who hunger for clarity," she said in a conference broadcast over the Internet from New York to church members worldwide, who were allowed to pose questions. "That hunger for clarity at all costs is an anxious response to discomfort in the face of change," she added. "The impatience we are now experiencing is an idol, a false hope that is unwilling to wait on God for clarity, an idol that fails to ... expect that the spirit will lead us."
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An ENS article offers "views and reviews" including Maori Anglican theologian Dr. Jenny Plane Te Paa, the "ahorangi" or dean of Te Rau Kahikatea (College of St. John the Evangelist) in Auckland, New Zealand. Te Paa said afterward that she was impressed with the "grace and dignity and clarity" she thought Jefferts Schori showed during the webcast.
She said she was glad that the Presiding Bishop had also brought those qualities to the Primates' Meeting. Speaking as a member of another province of the Anglican Communion, Te Paa said Jefferts Schori "is a gift to us all," in part because of her urgency in calling Episcopalians and all Anglicans to God's mission.
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And then there are the blogs:
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Daily Episcopalian has two comments: One Disputing the Diagnosis and the other In Defense of Anxiety. And for all that I'm supposed to be giving up the bread of anxiety for Lent, I appreciated Jim's analysis: It is not helpful when people who have power tell people who do not have power to dial down their anxieties, move beyond their fears, etc. Expressing our anxieties is often the only way we have of communicating with leaders who otherwise might not hear us, and might be willing to sacrifice our continued membership in the Church in order to achieve their own aims.) And Stand Firm had kind of a "live blogging while the PB talked" thread going (read comments at your own risk)
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And What did I think? Hmmm ... I thought she did a brilliant job of fielding questions and staying on her message. I thought she came across as fiercely bright and gracefully faithful. I thought that "fasting for a season" sounds a lot like "justice delayed" which equals "justice denied." And I thought that her job as Presiding Bishop is to try to represent the whole church and my job as President of Integrity is to try to represent the LGBT faithful and I thought I am REALLY GLAD that I have my job instead of her job!

13 comments:

Fred said...

While I find her unflappable in front of the camera, I find what she says extremely problematic. She seems way too willing to wait this out and wait for the spirit to lead us. Yet, she is in denial about where the spirit has already lead this curch and where she circumvented the spirit at GC06. If we can do the ministry and mission of this church without the Anglican Communion, then let's get on with it. Is anyone besdies me hearing the spirit leading us in that dirrection? Let's stop fighting it and move on!

Anonymous said...

The Presiding Bishop characterized the situation as one of standing still, but not stepping back. I am not so sure. I would like more clarity regarding the meaning of "authorizing rites of blessing." Her interpretation seems to be at odds with the Archbishop of Canterbury's. If all blessings are banned, that is a step back. Also, I find it disingenuous of her to imply that the Episcopal Church, as a whole, will be bearing the brunt of the Primates' ultimatum. She really should be honest and admit that she is asking LGBT persons to continue suffering for an indefinite period for the sake of the institution.

John Gibson said...

And I think with friends like her, who needs enemies?

She's a disgrace to the collar she wears.

Fr. Christopher D. Hofer said...

I watched with eager anticipation to hear some words of hope - hope for our Church, hope for our Communion, hope for the GLBT Community and those who seek justice in the Church. Sadly, instead of hope, I was left with an ever-increasing bad feeling in my stomach that our Presiding Bishop really thinks that "delaying" justice is the right, and should I write, "Christian" thing to do. Would Jesus delay?

Although there was no follow-up to her question about ordaining GLBT as deacons and priest, it appears to this "reader between the lines" that if our Church delays justice in issues of GLBT Episcopacy and blessings, then the next thing to be asked will be to deny baptismal rights of ordination for GLBT individuals to the diaconate and priesthood.

I do pray for our Church.

Thomas said...

How did +Katharine so quickly move from being supportive of us, to driving the bus under which we've been thrown? I am bereft...

robert ross said...

At a time when she should be showing true leadership, we are getting caution. Standing still while the world moves forward is in effect moving backward. I really need to listen again. My initial response was that her prepared remarks were incredibly smug, while her unprepared remarks were more honest and probably a more accurate reflection of her thought process. I find myself amazed that God thought 3 years sufficient time for Jesus to complete His work and change the world in a time without instant communication. I wonder what he would say to the 30+ we have been debating this issue. Enough!!!

bruno said...

At least among the people (glbt) that I have spoken with since her presentation, there is an overall feeling of being sold out for the sake of unity. People who are active in their churches are starting to talk about where to go, if anywhere, once, and they believe, fear, she gets her way and the episcopal church capitulates to the African bishops. The degree of pain, yes real pain, caused by her presentation and that of Rowan in England yesterday was more than I thought it would be. I understand it, the fear and anger caused by the misunderstanding of the people in power.
Any justice delayed is spiritual violence commited on those who are beginning to deal with who they are, who God made them, and their place in God's world. We must remember that as flawed as the view may be, the people out there who are thirsting, view the churches as the living expression of God on earth, and as such, anytime we make a claim that one is "unclean" or "unworthy" or bears the same burden as a "murderer" We place a stumbling block before them on thier journey to Christ. We all know what our Lord Jesus says about stumbling blocks.
My greatest concern right now though is the house of deputies appears the only possible voice to defend the polity and cannons of the Episcopal Church, I pray they have the strength to remember we are a bottom up church that believes in the dignity and place of all of her children, not just the purple shirts.

Anonymous said...

Brothers and Sisters,
As a gay man who has been in ministry for 30 years in TEC, I find myself greatly encouraged by Bishop Katharine's statement.

I think we should all stop reacting for a moment, take a breath and wait.

I think we are about to witness (and be part of!) a great realignment - so our communion might look a little different, but we won't be going it alone. There are a number of provinces, and even some C of E dioceses who will be coming with us in witness to the truth of the inclusive Gospel.

John Gibson said...

You know, I read her babbling about finding a way to live together and I want to say, "Honey, we have one already. It's called 'Anglican tradition' and the other side has made it abundantly clear they want no part of it. So why are WE the ones who are supposed to be doing the fasting?"

Allen said...

I thought that "fasting for a season" sounds a lot like "justice delayed" which equals "justice denied." And I thought that her job as Presiding Bishop is to try to represent the whole church and my job as President of Integrity is to try to represent the LGBT faithful

I'm with you on both counts. I still have not lost hope that Bishop Katharine can be brought around. The main fault I find in her public statements since Dar es Salaam is that she has not said anything that indicates that she grasps the reality of the lifelong fast by LGBT Episcopalians that was ever so slightly broken by the election and consecration of +VGR.

While I don't read her as openly advocating capitulation to the demands of the communique, she certainly is not doing a very good job of representing my part of the church. As I have said elsewhere, I think she is fairly articulating some of the upside of a YES to the Primates and some of the downside of a NO. To truly represnet the while church, she needs to articulate the downside of a YES and the uoside of a NO -- as well as not weasel about who is being asked to bear the cost of a YES.

Allen Mellen (Morningsider)

Anonymous said...

rights of ordination ?????? rights?

Anonymous said...

My partner and I, both raised Roman Catholic, joined The Episcopal Church following +Robinson's elevation to the episcopate. We were elated that the Church would view us as equally deserving of full participation.

Since then, we've had numerous reasons to believe that we may have reacted in haste. Rather than risk that again, we have decided to divorce ourselves from the politics of the Church.

We may very well continue attending Mass with one Episcopal congregation or another, but that will be the sum total of our involvement. Previously we were active sacristans, members of the choir, committees, and volunteered in numerous capacities. We also cheerfully filled out our pledge cards and always gave more money than we pledged.

But no more. If we are to fast for a season (however long that may be), then others will fast with us. We will withhold all donations of time, talent and treasure. We will continue to be stewards of God's creation in the small capacities we are able by directly donating to charities, working with the poor and homeless, and so on.

We will not do this through the Episcopal Church, especially because we want to be absolutely certain that none of our efforts go to benefit people and organizations who choose to see us as less than deserving of full participation in God's church.

Until a firm, clear and absolutely unambiguous stance is adopted and maintained by TEC that removes all barriers to full participation in the live of The Episcopal Church for its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, the Church will fast from what we would have brought to the Table.

YBIC,
Toewalker

Lorian said...

Good post, Toewalker.

Being asked to "fast" from being accepted for the whole person that God created me to be is a really sad, nauseating concept. This "fast" isn't from some choice of delicious food. It's a fast from the rice and beans of daily life. And it's not just a 40 day fast; it's indefinite -- until the world "changes" at some unspecified point in the sweet by-and-by.

No thanks.