Thursday, February 05, 2009

Responding to the Primates

So I'm taking a break from the Episcopal Urban Caucus Assembly events to get caught up on "other work" -- including getting a response out to the just concluded meeting of the Primates in Alexandria.

In case you missed it, here's the link to the ACNS release on the Primates' "Communique" -- which included:

There are continuing deep differences especially over the issues of the election of bishops in same-gender unions, Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, and on cross-border interventions. The moratoria, requested by the Windsor Report and reaffirmed by the majority of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, were much discussed. If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offence, misunderstanding or hostility cease. While we are aware of the depth of conscientious conviction involved, the position of the Communion defined by the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its entirety remains, and gracious restraint on all three fronts is urgently needed to open the way for transforming conversation.

And here's the ENS report, which includes this comment from the Presiding Bishop:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told ENS that she is encouraged by the tone of the communiqué, but acknowledged that "the long-term impact of 'gracious restraint' is a matter for General Convention," the Episcopal Church's main legislative body that next meets in July in Anaheim, California.

"We are going to have to have honest conversations about who we are as a church and the value we place on our relationships and mission opportunities with other parts of the communion and how we can be faithful with many spheres of relationship at the same time," she said. "That is tension-producing and will be anxiety-producing for many, but we are a people that live in hope, not in instant solutions but in faithfulness to God."

And, to round out the responses for the moment, here's Integrity's comment:

February 5, 2009

MOBILE, AL--Integrity USA is disappointed but not surprised that the communique issued by the primates of the Anglican Communion earlier today repeated the all-too-familiar call for moratoria on the election of bishops in same-gender unions, rites of blessing for same-sex unions, and cross-border interventions.

"There's an American superstition that 'bad things come in threes,'" said Integrity President Susan Russell speaking from the Episcopal Urban Caucus Annual Assembly in Mobile. "And accepting the lumping together of these three issues in one moratoria package would be a very bad thing for the Episcopal Church as a whole and its LGBT faithful in particular.”

"Calling a halt to actions that violate the polity and boundaries of the autonomous national churches that are constituent members of the Anglican Communion is preserving the historic unity of the church. Scapegoating a percentage of the baptized by excluding them from a percentage of the sacraments of the Body of Christ is participating in the appeasement of bigotry. They're apples and oranges."

Russell continued, "Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is absolutely correct in stating that moratoria are a matter for General Convention in Anaheim this summer. Resolutions have already been submitted that would move the Episcopal Church beyond the non-canonical restraints imposed by B033 and forward on marriage equality. Integrity USA believes that General Convention will reaffirm that all the sacraments are open to all the baptized. We will be working with our allies to achieve that gospel agenda item next July."

"Integrity encourages all concerned Episcopalians to contact their bishops and General Convention deputies and dialogue with them on these issues as they prepare for Anaheim," concluded Russell. "The question on the table is whether or not we mean it when we renew that Baptismal Covenant's promise to respect the dignity of every human being. Integrity is counting on the Episcopal Church saying, "We will with God’s help."

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Press Contact:
The Rev. Susan Russell, President
(626) 583-2741 office


john said...

Two words:

Screw them.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Right, John. I don't get why we didn't triumph the good news: The 'othodites' didn't get what they wanted. There was no recognition - official or otherwise - of Archbishop Bob's non geographical province. Indeed, the neo orthodites were not even invited to the party. And, we weren't really expecting them to change their minds after the Indaba Love Feast that was Lambeth, did we?

So, let's focus on the positive. I mean, how long can a group of orthodites tread water, while trying to grow a non geographical province?

Sounds like a set up for a joke, right? That's because it is.

Mark said...

Aren't there only two sacraments in Episcopal/Anglican churches? The others are, in fact, "sacrament-al ("-al" for emphasis here in the combox) rites of the church," which are defined and realized differently in the different national churches that make up the Anglican Communion. Is that correct?

Jim said...

I think you are right Rev. Elizabeth. In fact I think there was a definite step back on the part of the wrong wing. I am not sure if we can credit Indaba for that, but if we can, it is +++RW's triumph.

My blog about the communique

DavidJustinLynch said...

I'm a hetero monogamous married male but that doesn't make me more blessed in God's eyes. I sure wouldn't like someone telling me I can't be married to the person of my choosing.

DavidJustinLynch said...

To Mark: Like many other issues, there is room for more than one view among Anglicans. A few Anglicans, known as low churchers, believe there are only two sacraments (baptism and Mass) while many others like me believe there are seven (the foregoing plus marriage, reconcilation, healing, confirmation and ordination). I grew up in the Anglo-Catholic (high church) tradition and am of the latter persuasion. Think of the Anglican church as an apartment building. We have the penthouse and we have the basement and many floors in between. I like the up button on the elevator better than the down button but God loves everyone on every floor.