Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NOT what I said!

Today's NYT has an article about marriage equality here in California entitled "Blessings and Anguish for Pastors in California."
Laurie Goodstein is a great reporter and it's a good "slice of life" here in the Golden State where we're experiencing a wide diversity of responses to the historic Supreme Court ruling that opened the way for marriage equality on June @ 5:01 p.m.
HOWEVER, I am quoted in the article as saying the following:
Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles has authorized clergy members to perform same-sex marriages, said the Rev. Susan Russell, associate pastor at All Saints Church, and president of Integrity, a gay and lesbian advocacy group in the Episcopal Church.
Nope. Didn't say it. Isn't true. Not correct. Even if he wanted to he couldn't. Etc, etc, etc.
I've already emailed Laurie to clarify and I TOTALLY understand that given how complicated this all is -- even for those of us in the middle of it -- that secular reporters don't always "get" what we're saying when we talk to them.
But here ... for the record ... is how I understand the policy here in this diocese and of my bishop:
In his May 22nd statement to the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Los Angeles, +Jon wrote:
I remind you that pastoral acts are personal decisions between clergy and members of your congregation.
We at All Saints Church have been performing blessings of same-sex couples for over 16 years within that parameter, while at the same time advocating for systemic change within the Episcopal Church to acheive the full and equal claim it has promised it's gay and lesbian faithful since 1976. Now that civil marriage is legally available for same-sex couples in California we will be performing them within the same parameters.
Our bishop has not "authorized" us to "perform same-sex marriages." He has reminded us that we are called to act as pastors to our people. And that's what we're doing.
I hope that's clear.
And now, I have to get off to church and get ready for a wedding at noon!


Dan Mac-Syr said...

Dear Susan,
I'm Confused even after the explanation. The previous post discusses the "soon to be married" Mel White & Gary Nixon. Then you're off to a wedding.

So All Saints really is performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, but NOT because the Bishop has authorized them as "marriages" per se, but instead they're being performed within the framework of "pastoral acts"?

Sorry, but I had to read & reread this several times. I realize that this is a 'fine line' to keep the Bishop out of hot water with the Presiding Bishop. But it is a nuance that in your explanation, is not exactly clear.



It's a fine line.

It's the same fine line we've been performing blessings on the side of for 16 years and it's the fine line we're operating on the side of when Mel & Gary marry each other here today.

And wouldn't it all be a lot simpler if we could just end the "separate but unequal" BS and include ALL the baptized in all the sacraments and get on with the work of partnering with God to bring "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!"

Dan Mac-Syr said...

Thanks for your reply. I concur with you so so much. I'm hopeful that NYS will enact legislation to make marriage available for all. At least...NYS will recognize California weddings.

Thanks too for the "lifeline" of this blog. Between this blog and Bishop Robinson's book, I feel that my head has not been submerged beneath the roiling waters of this controversy in our Church.
Dan in Syracuse, NY

Jim of L-Town said...

Dear Rev. Russell:

It's a distinction without a difference. If the Bishop is allowing the marriages and is not taking canonical actions against them, i.e. St. James, St. Luke's of the Mountains, etc. then he has given permission.
I see no reason for the NY Times to correct the story.
Bp. Bruno may be riding the fence, but if he doesn't fall off onto one side or the other, he has, tacitly perhaps, given his permission.
The Bishop should strap on his cajones and just authorize what he believes in his heart. He doesn't seem to have a problem expressing himself to the churches he disagrees with.

A sinner saved by God's Grace

Jim of Michigan