Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some VERY important insights from House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson about the upcoming Lambeth Conference in general and Archbishop Rowan Williams in particular, as reported on "Daily Episcopalian." I posted them on "Walking With Integrity" earlier but think they bear reposting here:

I think that the Archbishop has given up trying to get our bishops to take an independent stand on the future of the moratorium of same sex blessings for instance, and is now moving to “plan B” and turning his attention to encouraging our bishops to understand their “distinctive charism” as bishops, perhaps in a new way.

I envision Archbishop Rowan pondering in, to use his word, “puzzlement” why these bishops of the Episcopal church don’t just stand up and exercise their authority as bishops like most of the rest of the bishops in the Communion do. Why would our bishops “bind themselves to future direction for the Convention?”

Some of us in TEC in the past have thought that perhaps the Archbishop and others in the Anglican Communion do not understand the baptismal covenant that we hold foundational. Perhaps they just don’t “get” the way we choose to govern ourselves; the ministers of the church as the laity, clergy and the bishops, and that at the very core of our beliefs we believe in the God- given gifts of all God’s people, none more important than the other, just gifts differing.

We believe that God speaks uniquely through laity, bishops, priests and deacons. This participatory structure in our church allows a fullness of revelation and insight that must not be lost in this important time of discernment.

But I think our governance is clearly understood. I just don’t think the Archbishop has much use for it.


Thanks to President Anderson for the clarity of this analysis, for her willingness to "speak truth to power" AND for the very important reminder to our bishops to pay attention to the man behind the curtain! She concludes:

The joint work of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops is the highest institutional expression of our belief that God speaks uniquely through laity, priests and deacons and bishops. It is thus crucially important that our bishops go to Lambeth knowing what we think about the current state of the proposed Anglican covenant.

Make sure your bishop hears from YOU!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just when you think ...

... you really HAVE "heard it all:

Rachael Ray's Dunkin' Donuts ad gets pulled because (wait for it!) .... she appears to be a terrorist sympathizer.

From AOL News:

(May 29) -- Rachael Ray has been called many things -- loud, brash, elementary, and so forth -- but we're pretty sure this is the first time we've heard her name and "terrorist" in the same conversation.Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an ad featuring the Food Network star after concerns grew about a scarf she wears during the commercial, the pattern of which bears resemblance to a keffiyeh, the traditional headdress that Arab men wear.

The scarf has enraged conservative Fox News pundit Michelle Malkin and some others.

Check it out:

Funny how a "Fox pundit" suggesting that Osama & Obama are equal opportunity candidates for assasination doesn't get that much attention.
Or maybe "funny" isn't the right word. Ya think?

PS -- According to the NYT: "Dunkin’ Donuts turned down a request to talk about the episode, but issued a statement. “In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design,” it said. “It was selected by a stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sleepy In Seattle

I'm in Seattle to visit with Integrity folk here and to talk about our plans for Lambeth at St. Mark's tomorrow. They're keeping me pretty busy so blogging will be sporadic for the next day or so.
However, before I take my sleepy-in-Seattle self off to bed ...
In the Good News Department: Let's rejoice with those in New York who will now have their marriages recognized ...
In the Breaking News Department: Check out the just-launched blog for the All Saints Church "Transformational Journey" about to embark for South Africa ...
In the "What Are the Odds" Department: And ask yourself just what are the odds that Kendall Harmon and Susan Russell would have the same favorite scene in the same favorite movie?
All for now ... later, alligators!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So much for the "undermining marriage" argument

Thanks to All Saints parishioner Jack for pointing me to this blog post referencing marriage in general and All Saints in particular.

Margie and I were married at All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, California. It was not either of our "parish" churches -- I was new to being an Episcopalian (and living in Colorado), and for Margie it was a matter of various convenience factors.

All Saints is a large and lovely church, and its congregation is noted as progressive and liberal. And over the past few years they were involved in (and exonerated from) a big IRS brouhaha over whether they had violated their tax-exempt status by talking about politics.

Now they're making a splash again: Church to begin same-sex nuptials

As someone who was married before that same altar, I will state categorically that I do not feel that my own marriage is at all threatened, cheapened, or changed by the decision -- except that it means that more loving, mature couples will be able to pledge their commitment to each other before God at the same place, which can only be (to my mind) a good thing.

Well said!

Mark your calendars:

On this date in 1533 the Archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, declared the marriage of King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn valid. (And the rest, as they say, is history!)

Memo to the House of Bishops

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this "just issued" memo to the House of Bishops regarding the March 2008 deposition of bishops Schofield and Cox.


To: House of Bishops
Re: Proper Use of Abandonment Procedures for Bishops

Subsequent to our meeting at Camp Allen, some Bishops of The Episcopal Church and some commentators have suggested that we may have failed to follow our own rules for giving consent to the deposition of a Bishop for abandoning the communion of this Church. A careful analysis and examination of the canon law, however, confirms that consent to deposition was procedurally appropriate, as the House’s Parliamentarian ruled and the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor has advised.

This memorandum is intended to provide the Members of the House with necessary legal background and the reasoning supporting that conclusion for the assurance of the Members as to past actions and in advance of their consideration of any additional such actions in the future.

The House of Bishops followed the proper canonical procedure for consenting to the depositions of John-David Schofield and William J. Cox from the Ministry of The Episcopal Church as provided in Canon IV.9 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church (2006) for the following reasons:

A. The intended meaning of Section 2 of Canon IV.9 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church (2006) is that the consent of a majority of the Bishops voting at a meeting of the House of Bishops constitutes valid consent for the deposition of a Bishop.

B. Precedent establishes that the House of Bishops acted appropriately in considering and acting upon the Presiding Bishop’s referral to it of the abandonment of communion certified to her by the Review Committee.

C. Procedural safeguards assure fairness and justice in the case of Bishops accused of having abandoned the Communion of this Church.

Read the rest here ... we now return to our regularly scheduled programing.

Field Poll: Majority of Californians now support gay marriage

Signaling a generational shift in attitudes, a new Field Poll on Tuesday said California voters now support legal marriage between same-sex couples and oppose a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

By 51 to 42 percent, state voters believe gay couples have the right to marry, according to a May 17-26 poll of 1,052 registered voters.

However, the same poll revealed a California electorate that remains sharply divided over gay marriage – split by age, political affiliation, religion and the regions where they live.

The poll was taken after the May 15 California Supreme Court decision overturning a state ban on same-sex marriages. The results marked the first time in more than 30 years of state polling that a majority of Field Poll respondents favored making gay marriage legal.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Liberty & Justice ...

... sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

First comes love,
then comes marriage ...
(At least in CALIFORNIA!)

Thanks to Rhonda for this great icon!

Q. What's the Episcopal Church doing marching in Pride Parades?


From the OHC Lectionary Blog, this witness from the sermon preached last Sunday at St. Paul's, Tustin CA:
I prayed to ask God if there really could be a Christian church out there that would truly accept me, as the traditional hymn says “Just As I Am.” It was about this time I began hearing in the national news about the stir being caused by the Episcopal church ordaining a gay bishop.
I knew absolutely nothing about the Episcopal church but I truly felt joy in hearing this news. For me and hundreds like me it was not just national news--it was Good News."

Then something quite amazing happened. I had moved back into the West Hollywood area and it was June. Time for the annual gay parade.

Now this is an event that I personally run from. I found it pedantic. But when you live just one block from Santa Monica Blvd you have to give in to the tens of thousands of people who show up for a visit. Having secured my parking space for the weekend I wasn’t going to give it up under any circumstances.

So on that June Sunday I walked the 2 blocks from my home to Santa Monica Blvd to be a casual observer of the day's celebration.The Gay Pride Parade offered every group and organization you would expect. But there was one group that took my breath away.

In this wild and party atmosphere I looked down the boulevard to see literally hundreds of smiling, peaceful Episcopalians carrying signs saying "God loves you and we welcome you." It was a very powerful moment for me. And one that gave me courage to tiptoe back into a Christian church."

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's personal

Over at The Huffington Post our friend Robin Tyler -- one of the plaintiffs in the suit that resulted in last week's landmark marriage equality ruling -- offers a moving, personal reflection on the hopes and fears of those who aspire to the sanctity of marriage.
You'll want to read the whole piece (linked above) -- but here are some excerpts posted below. And do keep Robin & Diane and all those hoping for happily-ever-after in your prayers as this drama continues to unfold. (See also: "Shield the joyous.")

My Reaction to the California Marriage Ruling -- by Robin Tyler

There is no such thing as same-sex marriage, because after marriage, sex is never the same.

Despite that, on May 15, the day the California Supreme Court ruled that my partner, Diane Olson, and I could get married, I e-mailed my brother Robert, who was traveling in Spain with his wife, Maureen. We had won! Could they come to our wedding?

It wasn't going to be until June 16, the first day it would be possible because the court had ordered a 30-day delay so the state's marriage application forms could be changed to read "spouse and spouse" instead of "husband and wife."

Thirty days? How was I going to lose 30 pounds in 30 days? Obviously, I couldn't, so I decided to leave myself alone. No, I wasn't going to diet. This was going to be the most joyous month of my life and if I wanted to have desserts, so be it.

The e-mails began pouring in. My friend Jan, a lesbian who lives on Fire Island, New York, wrote that she and Edrie, her partner of 49 years, were coming to Los Angeles to get married. They wanted to get married at the same time as two other long-term older couples -- Marilyn and Jean of Los Angeles and another couple who live in Cherry Grove, N.Y.

I explained to Jan that their California weddings would not be recognized in New York. I told her that although no residency was required to get married, if they decided to get divorced they would have to live in California for six months. "So what!" said Jan. "After 49 years together, we don't think we will be getting divorced."

None of these six women, most in their 70s, some in their 80s, had ever dreamed that in their lifetimes it would be possible for them to get married. For them, it wasn't about the benefits. For the New York couples, there wouldn't be any.

It was about the word "marriage" -- the word that gives the relationship of two people in love a special meaning. As Diane says: "Marriage is a universally understood word defining a unique and distinct loving relationship between two people."


After 15 years together, and 20 years before that as friends, Diane and I were finally getting married! It was the most joyous week of my life. And then, on May 22, our attorney Gloria Allred e-mailed me an Associated Press news story headlined: "California Marriage Opponents Seek 5-month Delay."


When I finally got to bed the evening of May 22, Diane, emotionally exhausted, was already asleep. I wanted to wrap my arms around her but I was afraid of waking her. I lay there, while the pain poured over me. I wanted to believe that this would work out.

Surely, once the public saw the joy on the faces of all of the same-sex couples getting married in California, and saw that nothing was going to be taken away from their own marriages, they would not vote for a mean-spirited constitutional amendment that protected nothing except the right to discriminate.

If only the California Supreme Court would deny the petition, we would stand a fighting chance of defeating the amendment and realizing our dream.

If only, if only....


Robin Tyler is the comedienne & activist who's portfolio includes this memorable quote: “Fundamentalists are to Christianity what paint-by-numbers is to art.” (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Letter to the Editor

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by All Saints parishioner Cathy Clement to the Pasadena Star News in response to the 5/22/08 article on marriage equality that included this quote:

One opponent, Richard J. Mouw, president of the conservative Protestant Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, said Thursday that he believes All Saints is "making a very serious mistake" in performing marriage rites for same-sex couples - and he advised Bacon to read Romans 1.

Here's Cathy's letter:

Letter to the editor of the Pasadena-Star News

Greetings ~

I respectfully disagree with Richard Mouw, the esteemed president of my alma mater, Fuller Theological Seminary. His statement that the Bible does not support granting the right to marry to homosexuals employs the same style of biblical argument that was made by 19th century clergy to defend slavery and in the 20th century to oppose women's rights and ordination.

If Rector Ed Bacon of All Saints Church needs to read Romans 1, as Mouw suggests, perhaps Rich Mouw needs to read Philemon. Both address social institutions -- gender roles and slavery -- that the light of the Gospel eventually exposed.

God has been mercifully patient with how long the liberating implications of the Gospel have taken to dawn on the church. May we recognize that extending the right to marry to all adults who wish to commit to a faithful, lifelong union does not strain the social fabric but in fact strengthens it.

Cathy Clement

Brava, Cathy! Whether the Star News prints it or not, it's a keeper!

Enough is enough!

I'm supposed to be taking a "day off" and cleaning closets and organizing for summer but ...

... once I heard about this YouTube from FOX News yesterday I had to see it for myself and ... well ... see for yourself.

Maybe it's because we watched "Recount" last night and I'm horrified all over again about what happened in the 2000 election and how perverted our political system can be OR maybe it's because I spent the morning in the most AMAZINGLY moving interfaith Memorial Day service and caught a glimpse of how the world COULD be. Whatever.

Enough is enough! What do we have to do to take our country back, our values back, our media back and start being the peacemakers we're called to be?

I'm going back to folding laundry and cleaning out closets again ... but I'm TOTALLY not done with this one.


"To nourish all people from the riches of God's grace"

My rector, Ed Bacon, began his sermon yesterday with the announcement of the All Saints vestry's resolution on marriage equality. Here's that portion of the sermon on YouTube:

  • The sermon, entitled "Spiritual Practices for the Weary" can be viewed here.
  • The May 22nd resolution of the vestry is available here.


God of love and mercy, receive our thanks this day for the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. Help us to honor them in our work for peace through justice, that people across the globe may live abundant lives, freed from the threat of war and violence. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ick! Girl Cooties! Run for Cover!

News from the Church of England:

The church of England faces a mass exodus of priests and worshippers after plans were approved to allow women to become bishops without protection for traditionalists.
["Without protection!" I'm shocked ... shocked, I tell you!]
At a confidential meeting...
[Evidently not so much!]
... bishops narrowly voted to proceed with the historic reforms and to resist pressure to create separate dioceses free of women clergy.
The decision will dismay hundreds of priests who could defect to the Roman Catholic Church, which refuses to ordain women. It was taken at a meeting of about 50 members of the House of Bishops, at a hotel in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, last week, and has set the stage for a showdown with traditionalists when the General Synod, the Church's parliament, is next convened, in July.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quote of the week ...

Thanks to "uffda51" for this keeper:

"Why does anyone think that marriage equality will destroy traditional marriage? Marriage has survived Liz Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Britney Spears. I think it will survive the two guys down the street who have been together for 20 years."

Fun Facts to Know and Tell ...

... about +Gene & Mark's upcoming blessing.

In an interview with the Religion News Service's Kevin Eckstrom, +Gene answered questions about all the details of his and Mark's "Big Day" coming up in June.

Q: How are the ceremony plans coming together?
A: We're very, very much looking forward to it. The first part will be a civil ceremony that will be presided over by our lawyer, and then we'll proceed with the service of Holy Communion in which we give thanks to God for showing up in our relationship.

Q: You came under fire not too long ago for saying you always wanted to be a "June bride." Do you now wish you had chosen different words?
A: Yeah, yes and no. On the one hand, it's just a sign of how little humor there is in this whole debate. What I was trying to say is that all of us grow up wanting our relationships to be affirmed by our friends, and gay and lesbian people are no different.

Q: Are you calling this a wedding, or a civil union, or a commitment ceremony or something else?
A: One of the things that drives me nuts is that everyone in the press calls it a wedding, and they say we're honeymooning in Lambeth. Of all the places I'd want to go on a honeymoon, Lambeth is the last place I'd think of. It's very clearly a civil ceremony, and that's what we're availing ourselves of.

Q: How is this different - or is it? - in your mind from the wedding ceremony you had those many years ago with your wife?
A: Probably the simplest thing I could say is that if the state of New Hampshire had passed a law for people of the same gender to get married, that's what we'd be doing. But that's simply not possible.

Q: In your new book, "In the Eye of the Storm," you talk about the fact that Britney Spears could go off to Las Vegas in the middle of the night and get married, but you and your partner are told you cannot get married. Is that frustrating to you?
A: It's frustrating not only to me but to faithful gay and lesbian couples everywhere. At a time when some heterosexual couples are taking that commitment very lightly, it seems ironic to deny the right to marriage to those who are deeply and profoundly serious about that commitment.

Q: What does a bishop wear to his civil union ceremony?
A: I will not be wearing my collar and (bishop's) purple shirt because I'm not the bishop that day. I'll be one of the grooms, one of the participants. It will just be tuxedos - very boring and unflamboyant.

Q: Tell me about the church blessing service. What's it going to look like?
A: We're now less than three weeks away and I still haven't put the liturgy together. It's really a service of Holy Communion with special prayers for us.

Q: What readings and music have you chosen?
A: I've still not chosen the Scriptures, and the preacher is breathing down my neck for that. That's on my list of things to do.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Local News Coverage ...

... of Marriage for All at All Saints Church

Church to begin same-sex nuptials
By Janette Williams, Staff Writer [Pasadena Star News]

PASADENA - All Saints Church in Pasadena, one of the largest and most liberal Episcopalian congregations in the country, announced Thursday it will begin performing wedding ceremonies for gay couples starting June 16.

In what All Saints Rector the Rev. Ed Bacon called a "historic vote," church officials adopted the "Resolution on Marriage Equality" unanimously Thursday, after a special meeting of the 3,500-member congregation's lay leadership.

The church's action came in response to the California Supreme Court's May 15 ruling overturning the ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 2000.
All Saints has performed blessings for same-sex couples for the past 15 years.
But Bacon described the church vestry's vote as showing "stirring courage to move beyond lip service" to the church's commitment to equality by extending marriage rights to gay members.

"Today's decision is consistent with All Saints Church, Pasadena's identity as a peace and justice church," Bacon said in a statement Thursday. "It also aligns us with the Scriptures' mandate to make God's love tangible by `doing justice and loving mercy' (Micah 6:8) and with the canons of our Episcopal Church that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

Those against same-sex marriage have vowed to overturn the appeals court's decision by putting a constitutional amendment initiative on the November ballot.

One opponent, Richard J. Mouw, president of the conservative Protestant Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, said Thursday that he believes All Saints is "making a very serious mistake" in performing marriage rites for same-sex couples - and he advised Bacon to read Romans 1.

All Saints has many valuable ministries and Bacon is a friend, Mouw said, "but it should be clear to everyone that he's out of step with his global Anglican communion and fostering what many of us sincerely believe is a real threat to the social fabric."

By linking gay marriage to issues of "justice and mercy" rather than moral standards, he said, All Saints restricts dialogue with people who have "legitimate questions" about their definition of marriage.

Bacon called the decision a "natural step forward on All Saints' lengthy journey of justice, peace and inclusion."
So my question for Dr. Mouw is "help me understand how more couples committing themselves to love, honor and cherish each other is a 'threat to the social fabric.'" It seems to me that it is those who want to exploit marriage as a wedge issue to polarize the electorate who threaten "the sanctity of marriage" ... not the couples lining up to enter into it until death do them part!
As for Romans 1, I thank God that this is a country where freedom of religion allows Dr. Mouw to interpret the Holy Scriptures as his faith informs him. I also thank God that this is a country where the same is true for Ed Bacon and for All Saints Church. And most of all, I thank God that the separation of church and state keep either of those faithful guys ... or anybody else, for that matter ... from injecting their faith-based conclusions into our constitution-based rule of law.
PS -- Yes, we know we're out of step with the global Anglican Communion. It's called "a step ahead" -- and we're moving on!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Marriage for All at All Saints Church

Press Release sent from All Saints Church, Pasadena this afternoon:

All Saints Church, Pasadena rector, J. Edwin Bacon, Jr., announced today that the church will treat equally all couples presenting themselves for the rite of marriage. The announcement followed a special meeting of the All Saints Church Vestry, which unanimously adopted a “Resolution on Marriage Equality” [below] in response to the May 15, 2008 ruling of the California Supreme Court.

“Today’s decision is consistent with All Saints Church, Pasadena’s identity as a peace and justice church,” said Bacon, following the historic vote. “It also aligns us with the Scriptures’ mandate to make God’s love tangible by ‘doing justice and loving mercy’ (Micah 6:8) and with the canons of our Episcopal Church that forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

“In this our 125th year, this morning’s decision was a natural step forward on All Saints’ lengthy journey of justice, peace, and inclusion,” Bacon concluded. “As the rector of All Saints Church, I am inspired by the visionary stride All Saints’ lay leaders took today. I am honored to serve a church where the leadership demonstrates such stirring courage to move beyond lip service about embodying God’s inclusive love to actually committing our faith community to the practice of marriage equality.”

“As a priest and pastor, I anticipate with great joy strengthening our support of the sanctity of marriage as I marry both gay and straight members and thus more fully live out my ordination vow to nourish all people from the goodness of God’s grace.”

For further information contact:
Keith Holeman, Director of Communications
626.583.2739 or


Adopted by the Vestry of All Saints Church, Pasadena, California
on May 22, 2008

WHEREAS, our baptismal covenant commits us to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being;”

WHEREAS, Holy Scripture reveals that we are all created in God’s image and that God embraces all people as equally precious;

WHEREAS, the Vision Statement of All Saints Church, Pasadena, calls us to “embody the inclusive love of God in Christ” and our Foundational Values urge us to be “dispersed throughout this multicultural region for courageous and risk-filled work of peace and justice;”

WHEREAS, All Saints Church, Pasadena, currently blesses same-sex unions, but does not perform the rite of marriage for same-sex couples;

WHEREAS, on May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court issued its decision holding that marriage is a “basic civil right of personal autonomy and liberty” “to which all persons are entitled without regard to their sexual orientation;” and

WHEREAS, as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, on June 16, 2008, the State of California will begin to license and recognize same-sex marriages;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry do declare that, as of June 16, 2008, All Saints Church, Pasadena will treat all couples presenting themselves for the rite of marriage equally.

From the Bishop of Los Angeles

Dear Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Los Angeles,
I trust by now you have had the opportunity to read my statement in response to the recent California Supreme Court decision.

Some clergy and lay leaders have contacted my office requesting information or clarification of how this decision affects what we can do, or will do, as well as what our policy on this issue will be. As publicized in the press, the State of California expects the decision to become effective 30 days after its issuance. In addition I remain on sabbatical and am scheduled to resume my regular work schedule the week of June 3.

There are canonical, prayer book, and pastoral questions which are raised and must be addressed. I have been in contact with the bishops of the Dioceses of California and San Diego and we will be working together with other bishops of California to meet and discuss how we proceed. I will keep you informed and will act with all possible dispatch while attending to the canonical and pastoral issues the decision affect.

I remind you that pastoral acts are personal decisions between clergy and members of your congregation. In the meantime please remain patient and prayerful. Thank you.

Yours in Christ,
J. Jon Bruno, Bishop
Diocese of Los Angeles

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Considering the Lilies

So, with Matthew 6:24-34 coming up on Sunday, I've been considering the lilies of the field. I loved this collect that was part of our Noonday Eucharist today:
Most Loving God, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who care for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds from this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

And then there was the reading from Isaiah:

Thus says our God: “At the time of my favor I will answer you, on the day of salvation I will help you. I will keep you, and appoint you to be a covenant people. I will restore the land and assign you the properties that have lain waste. I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out!’ and to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves!’ ...

How timely is that? What a great text for the week that marriage equality is being celebrated in California. What Good News for those whose relationships have been imprisoned by discrimination and are now being liberated by a court ruling that puts an end to "separate but unequal" for California couples!

What a great opportunity to "come out" of the darkness of "separate but unequal" and to "show themselves" -- to claim the blessing of the legal protections of civil marriage.
I already have a list of seven couples at All Saints Church who are lining up to claim that blessing -- to make those vows -- to enter into marriage, which our Prayer Book describes as "a physical and spiritual union, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind, and will, and with intent that it be lifelong."
Some of those couples have been together for decades ... one, I know, for 28 years. And now -- finally -- they are on the cusp of being able to secure for each other and for their children the same civil rights and legal protections as opposite-gender couples. "At the time of my favor I will answer you" indeed!
To be perfectly honest, marriage equality wasn't on my "to do" list this week. I thought I had my hands full with the end of the program year here at All Saints Church & the Lambeth Conference coming up in July. But at 10:o2 a.m. on May 15th I downloaded the California Supreme Court ruling -- and there it was!
And here we are. And yes, there is work ahead of us. There is a proposition pending for the November ballot intended to reverse the May 15th ruling -- to write discrimination into the California constitution. And we will be hard at work moblizing to defeat it if it qualifies for the ballot (which it looks like it will.)
But for today ... at this very moment ... I'm taking the advice of our former Senior Warden ... (a member of one of those in-the-queue-to-get-married-couples) who reminded us on Sunday to take some time to stop and smell the flowers. To pause and celebrate and to rejoice for just a wee bit before we shift into our typical "Type A Mode" and gear up.
So Sunday's Gospel is for him ... and for all the others who remind us to not just consider the lilies but to stop long enough to smell them ... to rejoice in them ... to give thanks for them.
This IS the day that the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

The American Liberal Lion

Do read Elizabeth Kaeton's reflections on Ted Kennedy over at Telling Secrets ... a moving tribute to an historic voice for peace & justice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving's obituary ran in the May 17 issue of "The Economist" ... poignantly illustrating how far we've come as a nation committed to liberty and justice for all in the very week we here in California took another step forward toward that goal.

Mildred Loving, law-changer,
died on May 2nd, aged 68

THEY loved each other. That must have been why they decided to get their marriage certificate framed and to hang it up in the bedroom of their house. There was little else in the bedroom, save the bed. Certainly nothing worth locking the front door for on a warm July night in 1958 in Central Point, Virginia. No one came this way, ten miles off the Richmond Turnpike into the dipping hills and the small, poor, scattered farmhouses, unless they had to. But Mildred Loving was suddenly woken to the crash of a door and a torch levelled in her eyes.

All the law enforcement of Caroline county stood round the bed: Sheriff Garnett Brooks, his deputy and the jailer, with guns at their belts. They might have caught them in the act. But as it was, the Lovings were asleep. All the men saw was her black head on the pillow, next to his.

She didn't even think of it as a Negro head, especially. Her hair could easily set straight or wavy. That was because she had Indian blood, Cherokee from her father and Rappahannock from her mother, as well as black. All colours of people lived in Central Point, blacks with milky skin and whites with tight brown curls, who all passed the same days feeding chickens or smelling tobacco leaves drying, and who all had to use different counters from pure whites when they ate lunch in Bowling Green. They got along. If there was any race Mrs Loving considered herself, it was Indian, like Princess Pocahontas. And Pocahontas had married a white man.

The sheriff asked her husband: “What are you doing in bed with this lady?” Richard Loving didn't answer. He never said much for himself, being just a country bricklayer with a single year of high school behind him. Mrs Loving had known him since she was 11 and he was 17, a gangly white boy who took her out for years and did the decent thing when he got her pregnant, by asking her to marry him. She thought he might have known that their marriage was illegal—a strange marriage, driving 80 miles to Washington, DC, to be married almost secretly by a pastor who wasn't theirs, just picked out of the telephone book, and then driving back again. But they hadn't talked about legalities. She felt lucky just to have him.

She told the sheriff, “I'm his wife.” And Mr Loving, roused at last, pointed to the framed certificate above the bed. “That's no good here,” Sheriff Brooks said.

Mrs Loving had said the wrong thing. Had they just been going together, black and white, no one would have cared much. But they had formalised their love, and had the paperwork. This meant that under Virginia law they were cohabiting “against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth”.

It was a felony for blacks and whites to marry, and another felony to leave Virginia to do so. Fifteen other states had similar laws. The Lovings had to get up and go to jail. “The Lord made sparrows and robins, not to mix with one another,” as Sheriff Brooks said later.

Faced with a year in jail or exile, they chose to go to Washington for 25 years. Mrs Loving hated it. She was “crying the blues all the time,” missing Central Point, despite the fact that they would slip back there in separate cars, first she and the children, then Richard, casually strolling from opposite directions to meet and embrace in the twilight. Only Sheriff Brooks cared that they were married, and they avoided him.

But Mrs Loving wanted to return for good. When the Civil Rights Act was being debated in 1963, she wrote to Robert Kennedy, the attorney-general, to ask whether the prospective law would make it easier for her to go home. He told her it wouldn't, but that she should ask the American Civil Liberties Union to take on her case. Within a year or so, two clever New York lawyers were working free for the Lovings.

By 1967 they had obtained a unanimous ruling from Earl Warren's Supreme Court that marriage was “one of the basic civil rights of man”, which “cannot be infringed by the state”. The Lovings were free to go home and live together, in a new cinder-block house Richard built himself.

The constitutional arguments had meant nothing to them. Their chief lawyer, Bernard Cohen, had based his case in the end on the equal-rights clause of the 14th amendment, and was keen that the Lovings should listen to him speak. But they did not attend the hearings or read the decision. Richard merely urged Mr Cohen, “Tell the court I love my wife.” For Mildred, all that mattered was being able to walk down the street, in view of everyone, with her husband's arm around her. It was very simple. If she had helped many others do the same, so much the better.

She had never been an activist, and never became one. When June 12th, the day of the ruling, was proclaimed “Loving Day” as an unofficial celebration of interracial couples—who still make up only 4% of marriages in America—she produced a statement, but she was never a public figure. She lived quietly in Caroline county, as before. Her widowhood was long, after Richard was killed in a car accident in 1975, but she never thought of replacing him. They loved each other.

And may her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen
UPDATE: The New York Times had a very touching obituary as well:
"Mrs. Loving stopped giving interviews, but last year issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of the Supreme Court ruling, urging that gay men and lesbians be allowed to marry."

Statements on Marriage from Presidential Candidates

Interesting round up of candidate statements in response to the CA Supreme Court Marriage Equality ruling:


Although Republican John McCain does not support a federal marriage amendment, in 2006 he did support a proposed constitutional marriage amendment in his home state of Arizona, and even taped a television ad for it. Following the California decision, his campaign released a statement implying he backs the amendment effort in that state. "John McCain supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona," it read. "John McCain doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions."


"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as President," a statement from the Obama campaign said. "He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."


Hillary Clinton's campaign released a statement saying she "believes that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should have the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans and believes that civil unions are the best way to achieve this goal. As president, Hillary Clinton will work to ensure same-sex couples have access to these rights and responsibilities at the federal level. She has said and continues to believe that the issue of marriage should be left to the states."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thanks to Louise, for pointing me to this very thoughtful piece posted by Arianna Huffington today:

Hillary Clinton's Defeat:
A Historic Triumph

From the article:
It is to her great credit that very shortly into the '08 race, when you saw Clinton on television, you didn't think, "Oh, there's the woman running for president." That is no small feat for a woman trying to break into a male-dominated arena. So the next time a woman -- or two or three -- runs for president, it won't be seen as a novelty act. Because Hillary certainly wasn't.

But the greatest triumph of Clinton's campaign -- a complete triumph -- is the example she has set for the next generation. And not just for young women; her dedication, perseverance, and indefatigable drive make her a role model for young men as well.

Read it all here and ... for the record ... it isn't actually "over" until it's over! :)

BCGLM Garden Party Pictures

Trying out a new trick here ... this SHOULD be a link to pictures of yesterday's Diocese of Los Angeles BCGLM (Bishop's Commission on Gay & Lesbian Ministry) Garden Party at the Bishop's Residence.

Or check out the slide show:

Quote of the week ...

... on the Marriage Equality Debate (from Bruce-my-Florida-attorney-friend):

I find it very ironic that people who say they are in favor of strict constructionism will go off and amend the Constitution like it's the local building code. These folks need to go back and read the Federalist Papers and pay attention to the parts about the tyranny of the majority. There's a reason we're not a democracy. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for lunch.

And there you have it! Now, back to our regularly scheduled representative government, complete -- thank God! -- with checks and balances!


+Gene to Preach @ Putney

The Episcopal Cafe is reporting:

[+Gene at Integrity Eucharist, Columbus 2006]

Bishop Gene Robinson will preach at St. Mary's, Putney in London on Sunday July 13 at 6 p.m. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has prohibited Robinson from presiding at the Eucharist, but does not have the canonical authority to prohibit him from preaching, although he attempted to dissuade him from doing so. The invitation was made by the Rev. Giles Fraser.


Two comments:

1 - "Way to go, Giles!"
2 - "Preach it, +Gene!"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bizzy, Bizzy, Bizzy!

It's been a VERY busy last-few-days in this particular corner of the kingdom! San Diego was great ... thanks to ALL who showed up to support Integrity's Canterbury Campaign and to share the ongoing celebration of last week's Supreme Court ruling.

While in San Diego, I also got a look at the Bishop of San Diego (Jim Mathes') statement on the Court Decision. The whole statement is here's the "money quote:"

I support the Supreme Court's decision and oppose the likely effort to amend the constitution. At a federal level, the constitution has only been successfully amended to expand rights, not remove them, and it follows that California would maintain a similar posture.

Well done!

And the today was another big-old day at All Saints ... we had a panel discussion during our adult ed hour, looking at the legal & electoral, along with the pastoral & liturgical implications of marriage equality in California. The parish hall was packed ...

... and we had the L.A. Times, the Pasadena Weekly and local Channel 4 News all covering the offering. (Even Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard was there!) Former Senior Warden Bob Long gave us the benefits of his legal-eagle eye-view of the decision ...

... and as soon as we get the video digitized, I'll post a link up with the whole presentation.

Meanwhile, here's one last pix ... our friend Max in last year's L.A. Pride T-Shirt giving his "two thumbs up" to the day and to the decision ...

And now, off to the annual BCGLM Garden Party at the Bishop's Residence ... "film at eleven" ... (like I said: bizzy, bizzy, bizzy!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

On the road again ...

So I'm heading off for San Diego this morning for a Canterbury Campaign event but, before I go, thought I'd post up a few bits & pieces from around the blogosphere:
Episcopal News Service ran a follow up story to Thursday's California Supreme Court decision, which included:
Time for the church to be prophetic

The Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity, an organization of Episcopalians committed to full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] persons, called the ruling a huge step forward for "marriage and the sanctity and importance of marriage and against bigotry and separation."

She said it is now time for the church to "be as prophetic as the state of California has been."

"I am convinced the church should do no less. When we baptize, there are no conditions on those baptisms," Russell declared.

She recalled a friend whose comments are posted on her blog, who is a "Florida attorney, who happens to be a straight, white, male, libertarian-leaning-conservative Episcopalian" who called the court's decision conservative.

"There is no judicial innovation here, just the recognition that, under well established law, marriage is a fundamental right and that for a statute abridging that right to pass constitutional muster, the government must demonstrate a compelling state interest served by that restriction," her unnamed friend is quoted as saying.

Interesting how a comment on a blog can end up being featured in a national news story, eh? But wait ... there's more.
The California Supreme Court struckdown two state laws banning same-sex marriages Thursday, becoming the second state, after Massachusetts, to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. Nothing ignites the blogosphere like a good wedge issue.

"The amazing thing about the opinion, much to the dismay of the religious right I'm sure, is just how conservative it is," writes Susan Russell, an ordained Episcopalian minister and lesbian living in California, on her blog An Inch At A Time: Reflections on the Journey. "There is no judicial innovation here, just the recognition that, under well established law, marriage is fundamental right and that for a statute abridging that right to pass constitutional muster, the government must demonstrate a compelling state interest served by that restriction."
Hmmm ... got the quote right but not the writer! Go figure. Glad to see Bruce's analysis getting so much "air time" but also mulling how easily quotes get morphed, mis-attributed and otherwise messed with in the world of instantaneous communication and little or no "fact checking." (Just my word-to-the-blog-wise for a Saturday morning!)
In other news:
THIS SUNDAY: We are having a panel discussion on Sunday at All Saints to talk about the legal and electoral as well as the pastoral and liturgical implications of the court decision. Panel members will include attorney Bob Long, activist Dave Frick, and parish Peace & Justice director Lori Kizzia. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood ... we'll see if we can get it videotaped and up online.
It is also Long Beach Pride weekend and the Episcopal Church will be well represented in Sunday's parade -- lots to celebrate! Have a great weekend, everybody!
And now, hi ho, hi ho ... it's off to San Diego I go!

Friday, May 16, 2008

More on Marriage ...

While yesterday's positive action by the California Court was not completely unexpected, I think it is safe to say the scope of the ruling surpassed what had even been hoped for. For those unfamiliar with the journey we've traveled to this point in California on the issue of marriage equality, here's a note from Integrity's Field Organizer, Jan Adams:

We need to kill the meme that this decision has anything to do with "judicial activism." The legislature, twice, has passed bills approving gay marriage rights. That's legislative action. The only reason those bills did not become law is that the Governor, the executive, vetoed them, deferring to the Court.
Now that the Court has spoken, the executive says he will not oppose the decision. Gay marriage has made the rounds of the system and jumped the normal procedural hurdles. Now we may need a vote of the people -- a campaign we are forced to struggle through. But that will only be AFTER we've played by all the rules. Our opponents want to change the rules because they don't like the outcome the rules have rendered.
Sounding vaguely familiar? Why yes it is -- because it's the same "change the rules when you don't like the outcome" strategy the schismatics have used in the Episcopal Church, attempting to shift the debate they lost on the American Church playing field to the global Anglican Communion.
Speaking of the church, I'm getting questions about what this all means for the Episcopal Church in general and for Integrity's legislative agenda toward General Convention in specific. This morning I was interviewed by a reporter who asked about our plans for GC09 ... would we now be "pushing for marriage?"

I told her that our goal was the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments and marriage equality was certainly part of that goal.

AND, as there were a variety of ways to reach that goal, we would be continuing to be open to how the Holy Spirit was going to work to lead us there. There are a number of different resolutions already wending their way toward Anaheim, we're working hard with allies in both the House of Deputies AND the House of Bishops to move the Episcopal Church forward and we're confident there will be forward movement.

I told her that I am convinced that the decision yesterday by the California Supreme was a huge step forward toward "liberty and justice for all" in the civil arena and that I'll be looking for the Episcopal Church to "go and do likewise" and take another step forward toward the full and equal claim it has promised the gay and lesbian faithful since 1976.

Commentary on the California Marriage Decision

I'm elevating this commentary from comment-land because it is such a concise, encouraging and clearly stated summary of "what the deal is" with yesterday's California Supreme Court decision. Thanks, Bruce ... you rock!

The amazing thing about the opinion, much to the dismay of the religious right I'm sure, is just how conservative it is. I well remember the decisions that came out of the Rose Bird court many years ago, that frequently strained logic and common sense, but this opinion is actually a well-reasoned and rational application of precedent and the law as it exists under the California state constitution.

There is no judicial innovation here, just the recognition that, under well established law, marriage is fundamental right and that for a statute abridging that right to pass constitutional muster, the government must demonstrate a compelling state interest served by that restriction.

I am certainly no fan of judges who usurp the proper function of the Legislature (the primary concern of the dissenters here), but this decision simply acknowledges that the present statutory scheme creates two systems under which the State of California recognizes this type of permanent relationship between couples, giving one the time honored and respected name of marriage and the other the sterile, bureaucratic-ese name of "domestic partnership."

One is clearly preferable to the other (ask any fundamentalist which they would prefer)and under California law, at least, offering the first arrangement to one group of people while not offering it to another, violates the constitutional requirement that, for the most part, people must be treated the same.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CA Marriage Equality Ruling in the News

It's been a very busy day, but before I leave to go do some celebrating, here is a quick round up of some of the who's saying what about the historic happenings here in The Great State of California today:

'This is about people and the right for people to love who they want,' Villaraigosa says in praising the ruling by the California Supreme Court, calling the high-court's decision a victory for California.

[Episcopal News Service] Integrity, an organization of Episcopalians committed to full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] persons, heralded a May 15 California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-gender marriage as "a giant step closer to 'liberty and justice for all.'"

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was quick to issue a statement. “I respect the Court’s decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling," he said. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

Critically, the Court emphasized at the outset that its ruling had nothing to do with the political views of the judges with regard to gay marriage, but rather, was based solely on its legal analysis of past precedent interpreting the relevant provisions of the state Constitution

This decision gives our church another opportunity to partner with our state to ensure that all families have the support they need to build relationships that strengthen our communities, state and country.

Yes: the court just ruled for it - sixty years after California's court was the first to strike down miscegenation bans. The most populous state now joins much of the rest of the Western world in bringing gay couples into the civic and human family as equals. More soon on the decision itself. One key fact: the ruling takes effect in 30 days - which means thousands of couples will be able to marry long before any initiative attempts to reverse it. So the initiative question becomes: do you want to divorce thousands of already-married couples? Or do you want to keep things as they now are? That's a big advantage for the pro-equality forces.
Finally, from my own bishop:
The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, has issued the following statement concerning today's California Supreme Court decision regarding same-gender relationships:
Today's Supreme Court decision on same-gender relationships is important because it reflects our baptismal vow to "strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being" and our commitment to justice and mercy for all people.
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has been a leader in working for the rights of all people in the State of California, and that work is honored in today's ruling. The canons of our church, under "Rights of the Laity" (Canon 1:17.5), forbid discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities or age. We affirm equal rights for all.
We will continue to advocate for equality in the future and will do so at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which will meet in Anaheim in 2009.
I celebrate and give thanks for this decision of the court and look forward with joy and excitement to a future of justice and mercy for all people in the State of California and the Episcopal Church.
To paraphrase St. Paul, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord.
J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of Los Angeles


INTEGRITY PRESS RELEASE responds to today's California Supreme Court Decision

LOS ANGELES--Integrity applauds the California Supreme Court for ruling today that it is unconstitutional to bar same-gender couples from marriage.

"The California Supreme Court today ruled in favor of marriage and against bigotry," said the Reverend Susan Russell, President of Integrity. "Integrity is proud to have signed the interfaith amicus brief that helped influence this decision, which we celebrate as a giant step closer to "liberty and justice for all."
Russell continued, "In 1976 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed a resolution expressing its conviction that 'homosexual persons' are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens. We applaud those who are working hard at the state and national levels to make that equal protection not just a resolution but a reality and we salute today's decision as a huge step forward toward that goal."

"As we rejoice in this movement forward on civil marriage equality, Integrity is working hard as to move the Episcopal Church forward on sacramental marriage equality," concluded Russell.

"Although same-gender blessings are permitted by the Episcopal Church and are performed in a many dioceses and parishes, we believe the time has come for an official rite for blessing same-gender couples. Committed to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments, we will be asking General Convention to authorize such a rite a year from now in Anaheim."
PDF of decision here

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stay tuned ...

California's Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it would issue a long-awaited decision on Thursday on whether it is constitutional for the the nation's most populous state to bar gays from marrying.
Here's what Reuters had to say ...
A decision by the seven-judge panel -- expected at 10 a.m./1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) on Thursday -- could have significant impact nationwide on an issue that has divided communities across the United States.
... and there's this from Andrew Sullivan:
Those in favor of civil equality better get ready. The gay civil rights movement will never have waged a battle this big, this expensive or this important. We can win at the ballot box as well as in the courts and legislatures. And the good news is that the Republican governor has said he will oppose any initiative to take marriage rights away, if they are granted. Hold on tight.
Like Sullivan said ... hold on tight!

"Yes" to women bishops ...

... but not at any price.

Thinking Anglicans have posted this press release, dated 5/14/2008:

In an outspoken statement sent this week to all bishops in the Church of England, nearly half of all licensed women clergy called for no further delay on women bishops, but also, for no further discrimination written into the legislation.

The statement, drawn up by leading women priests, states: “We believe that it should be possible for women to be consecrated as bishop, but not at any price. The price of legal ‘safeguards’ for those opposed is simply too high, diminishing not just the women concerned, but the catholicity, integrity and mission of the episcopate and of the Church as a whole.”

It goes on to say: “We cannot countenance any proposal that would, once again, enshrine and formalise discrimination against women in legislation.” None of the 15 Anglican provinces which have voted for women bishops have included discriminatory legislation.The statement challenges any suggestion that those who want the simplest statutory provisions do not care for those who remain opposed to women’s ordained ministry, and points to “strong relationships” and to the possibility of a code of practice that make “the passing of a single clause measure realistic in today’s Church, as well as theologically and ecclesiologically cohesive.”

The statement declares that “all bishops should work within clear expectations and codes of practice. The language of “protection” and “safeguard” is offensive to women, and we believe the existing disciplinary procedures are enough for women or men to be brought to account if they behave inappropriately.”

The covering letter, dated 11th May 2008, is signed by Jane Hedges, Canon Steward at Westminster Abbey, Rosemary Lain-Priestley, Secretary of the National Association of Diocesan Advisors in Women’s Ministry and Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral and more than 500 other ordained women. Since then a further 213 women priests have added their names to the statement, representing nearly half of all ordained women in the Church of England.

Go, Katie!

Episcopal Divinity School will be presenting Honorary Degrees at Commencement Ceremonies tomorrow in Cambridge. Receiving on honorary doctorate is our own, fabulous ...


From the EDS Press Release:

Katie Sherrod is a freelance writer and television producer based in Fort Worth, Texas, and a contributing editor to The Witness. She is an outspoken advocate for women’s reproductive rights, and for battered women. In 1972, she wrote a newspaper series on the crime of rape, which led to the formation of the Rape Crisis Task Force, now the Rape Crisis Center. Another series she wrote on battered women was the basis for the made-for-TV movie “Battered,” and caused the formation of Women’s Haven, a United Way sponsored shelter for battered women and their children.

A pioneer among women journalists, she was the metropolitan editor of the Fort Worth Star, and was named one of Fort Worth’s Outstanding Women in 1988, and Texas Woman of the Year in 1989. In recent years she has been a spokesperson for LGBT inclusion and for the mainstream voice of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Fort Worth.


A life-long Texan, Katie lives in the Diocese of Fort Worth with her husband, Gayland Poole+. A founding member of Claiming the Blessing and long time Integrity member, Katie produced both "Women of the Table" -- a wonderful video telling the stories of women in the Episcopal Church for the ECW and "Stand in the Temple & Tell" -- another wonderful video (commissioned by the Episcopal Women's Caucus) telling the history of the movement for the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church.

She is currently involved in pre-production work on "Voices of Witness: Africa" -- a video project celebrating the witness of LGBT Anglican Africans. Her powerful prophetic voice is a gift to the WHOLE church. "Bravo!" to EDS for recognizing it and celebrating it with this well deserved honor.

(Katie's blog is Desert's Child)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dio Cal* names missioner

*Just for the record, that's the DIOCESE OF CALIFORNIA (which is a great diocese about five hours north of here) ... not the DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES (which is where I am.)


Good News from a colleague in the Diocese of California:

At a Special Convention in the Diocese of California this weekend, Bishop Andrus introduced the new ethnic and multicultural missioner called to the diocese in fulfillment of a resolution passed by Diocesan Convention in 2007.

The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston was selected to fill this position after a nationwide search ...

Charleston will also serve the diocese as assistant bishop. Charleston is the president and dean of Episcopal Divinity School, a post he will be leaving this summer before joining the Diocese of California.

A citizen of the Choctaw Nation in his home state of Oklahoma, Charleston has been national staff officer for Native American ministries in The Episcopal Church, director of the Dakota Leadership Program, diocesan bishop of Alaska, and assistant bishop of Connecticut. He is widely recognized as a leading advocate for justice issues and spiritual renewal in the church.

In what he called "a refreshing spirit-filled moment," Charleston spoke briefly to the special convention, saying "I'm coming here full of enthusiasm and with an open heart to work with all of you because I believe this is a great diocese and you're on the verge of doing some really exciting things that will be excellent for the whole church." Charleston will begin his work with the Diocese of California this summer.

"Come thou long expected letter ..."

Remember ...


The one that Rowan Williams was supposedly sending out to "revisionist bishops" telling them to "comply" with the Windsor Report or not bother coming to Lambeth Conference?

Well, it's finally "out."

And guess what? (Yep, you've got it ...)

That isn't what it says at all.

Posted on the ABoC's webpage today, the letter actually went to ALL bishops of the Anglican Communion. The text is posted below ... but, if you're in a hurry, here -- for my money -- is the key quote:

"[It is] essential that those who come to Lambeth will arrive genuinely willing to engage fully in that growth towards closer unity that the Windsor Report and the Covenant Process envisage."

Amen. Closer unity is deeply to be desired ... in fact, our commitment as baptized members of the Body of Christ to the ministry of reconciliation makes it not just desired but required. And reiterating that the Windsor REPORT and the Covenant PROCESS are meant to be means to the end of achieving unity in our diversity -- not ends in themselves -- is an important framing of the context du jour.

Note that "compliance with" or "dictated by" are NOT part of the Archbishop's letter -- and, in spite of the spin that will shortly be coming from the schismatic fringe, that will be a DEEP disappointment to them. Count it as yet another shoe that did not drop in their failed efforts to vote the Episcopal Church off the Anglican Island.

In the meantime, let's be clear that the kind of unity our Lord lived to model for us, died in pursuit of and rose again to exemplify, called all people into God's loving embrace. There is no such thing as a provisional baptism, a second class Christian or a less-than-beloved member of the Body of Christ.

Our presence at Lambeth Conference and our witness to the Good News of God in Christ present in the lives, vocations and relationships of the LGBT faithful will be in pursuit of "that growth towards closer unity" that will not be true unity until it fully includes the LGBT baptized in the Body of Christ.

Yes, there is much work to do to before we realize that vision of a church, a communion and a people of God healed of all that keeps us from truly being the Body of Christ in the world. But it is absolutely work worth doing ... even if it is "an inch at a time!"


Text of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter to the Bishops of the Anglican Communion

Monday 12 May 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent an open letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, in advance of the Lambeth Conference.

The Feast of Pentecost is a time when we give thanks that God, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, makes us able to speak to each other and to the whole world of the wonderful things done in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a good moment to look forward prayerfully to the Lambeth Conference, asking God to pour out the Spirit on all of us as we make ready for this time together, so that we shall indeed be given grace to speak boldly in his Name.

I indicated in earlier letters that the shape of the Conference will be different from what many have been used to. We have listened carefully to those who have expressed their difficulties with Western and parliamentary styles of meeting, and the Design Group has tried to find a new style – a style more reflective of that Pentecost moment when all received the gift of speaking freely about Christ.

At the heart of this will be the indaba groups. Indaba is a Zulu word describing a meeting for purposeful discussion among equals. Its aim is not to negotiate a formula that will keep everyone happy but to go to the heart of an issue and find what the true challenges are before seeking God's way forward. It is a method with parallels in many cultures, and it is close to what Benedictine monks and Quaker Meetings seek to achieve as they listen quietly together to God, in a community where all are committed to a fellowship of love and attention to each other and to the word of God.

Each day's work in this context will go forward with careful facilitation and preparation, to ensure that all voices are heard (and many languages also!). The hope is that over the two weeks we spend together, these groups will build a level of trust that will help us break down the walls we have so often built against each other in the Communion. And in combination with the intensive prayer and fellowship of the smaller Bible study groups, all this will result, by God's grace, in clearer vision and discernment of what needs to be done.

As I noted when I wrote to you in Advent, this makes it all the more essential that those who come to Lambeth will arrive genuinely willing to engage fully in that growth towards closer unity that the Windsor Report and the Covenant Process envisage. We hope that people will not come so wedded to their own agenda and their local priorities that they cannot listen to those from other cultural backgrounds. As you may have gathered, in circumstances where there has been divisive or controversial action, I have been discussing privately with some bishops the need to be wholeheartedly part of a shared vision and process in our time together.

Of course, as baptised Christians and pastors of Christ's flock, we are not just seeking some low-level consensus, or a simple agreement to disagree politely. We are asking for the fire of the Spirit to come upon us and deepen our sense that we are answerable to and for each other and answerable to God for the faithful proclamation of his grace uniquely offered in Jesus. That deepening may be painful in all kinds of ways. The Spirit does not show us a way to by-pass the Cross. But only in this way shall we truly appear in the world as Christ's Body as a sign of God's Kingdom which challenges a world scarred by poverty, violence and injustice.

The potential of our Conference is great. The focus of all we do is meant to be strengthening our Communion and equipping all bishops to engage more effectively in mission; only God the Holy Spirit can bind us together in lasting and Christ-centred way, and only God the Holy Spirit can give us the words we need to make Christ truly known in our world. So we must go on praying hard with our people that the Spirit will bring these possibilities to fruition as only he can. Those who have planned the Conference have felt truly touched by that Spirit as they have worked together, and I know that their only wish is that what they have outlined for us will enable others to experience the same renewal and delight in our fellowship.

This is an ambitious event – ambitious for God and God's Kingdom, which is wholly appropriate for a Lambeth Conference. And our ambition is nothing less than renewal and revival for us all in the Name of Jesus and the power of his Spirit.

May that Spirit be with you daily in your preparation for our meeting. As Our Lord says, 'You know him, for he lives with and will be in you' (Jn 14.17).
+ Rowan Cantuar