Gay rights, church's `defining moment'
OTTAWA–Retired Connecticut Bishop Arthur Walmsley can only watch from the sidelines as his beloved Anglican church rips itself apart over gay rights – and he couldn't be more proud, however much the process saddens him.
"It's a defining moment for the church," Walmsley, bishop from 1979 to 1993, told the Whole Message Conference on gay rights in the church yesterday.
The U.S. Episcopal Church, as Anglicanism is known in that country, has been given until Sept. 30 by the worldwide Anglican communion to renounce its support for gay clergy and same sex marriage blessings, or face expulsion.
At a meeting in Texas last month, however, the U.S. House of Bishops, of which Walmsley was once a member, voted to stick by its principles – even if it means splitting the church.
Walmsley, who has been central to the Episcopal move to ordain gay clergy, said the bishops' stand took courage and should inspire liberal church-goers around the world to fend off "bullying" by conservatives.
"We are at a time when some of us need to stand up and speak," said Walmsley, chaplain to the diocese of New Hampshire.
Read the rest here ... and thanks be to God for bishops like Walmsley who continue to stand up and to speak up!