Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You don't get much more "from the diverse center" than Durango, Colorado!

I spent several summer vacations in Durango, and delight in my memories of them. AND I delight in these words from the monthly newsletter from St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Durango ... and their rector, Andrew Cooley -- who is also a Deputy to General Convention:

A sacrament is an affirmation that we can see God’s action and presence in the lives of God’s people. I suspect most of us would agree that it is appropriate to baptize and confirm persons who are gay or lesbian. I would point out that the church (including St. Mark’s) has been blessed by the ministry of gay and lesbian persons who serve (or served) the church as lectors, Sunday school teachers, music ministers, Eucharistic Visitors, vestry members and priests. Yes, priests.

I can name priests who have served St. Mark’s – who have acknowledged (some privately to me) that they are gay or lesbian – who served with great distinction and respect, and faithfully administered the sacraments of the church. I have come to believe that God can use a qualified gay or lesbian person to offer the ministry the church needs from its bishops. I find Bishop Gene Robinson – who I’ve known personally for over ten years – to be a godly person who is well suited to be a Bishop. I can name other priests who might also be called to be a Bishop who are gay or lesbian. The church would be blessed to see them called forward to serve as Bishops. I am also satisfied that we can see God’s loving presence manifested in the lifelong, committed relationships of gay or lesbian couples.

I have run out of reasons to deny gay and lesbian persons the full participation in the life and ministry of the church that is available to me and the majority of us. I had previously been persuaded (and thus my positive vote for the moratorium three years ago) that sacrifice was necessary from all of us for the sake of preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion. The sacrifice some were being asked to make was unequal, but might have been worth the benefit.

I have now come to see that the benefit of waiting doesn’t seem so obvious and the burden seems too great to put on our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. I cannot see Jesus withholding God’s grace in these sacraments, and for me (and the church) to be a part of withholding them feels like an injustice.
Read the rest here ... and do give thanks for the work and witness of those who continue to be open to having their hearts, minds and votes changed on the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments!

1 comment:

susankay said...

Susan -- I had lunch with Andrew Cooley today and he was SO excited by the mention in your blog AND by an e-mail from +Gene. And so were we all. You might be interested to know that he and a couple of members of the parish were also instrumental in kicking off Integrity of the Four Corners. Paul the BB has kindly posted news of our next "event" which is a Eucharist at the Episcopal Church in Mancos, the small town west of Durango. Integrity Four Corners currently involves members from the Episcopal churches in Durango, Mancos and Cortez and we hope to involve more of the towns around.