Saturday, April 08, 2006

OASIS/CA Responds to Special Commission Report

ECUSA Special Commission Report
No Bar To Electing Best Candidate As Bishop Here

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - - - A report issued late today by the Episcopal Church does not bar election of the best candidate as bishop in the Diocese of California whether or not that person is lesbian, straight or gay, the leader of the California’s Oasis LGBT Ministry said.

“Of most interest to us in the Diocese of California is the report’s recommendation that ‘nominating committees, electing conventions, Standing Committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise very considerable caution in the nomination, election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion,’” Oasis California President Rev. John Kirkley said. Oasis California is the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California.

“Exercising caution when electing a bishop is always wise counsel, it should not mean ignoring the church’s canons protecting against all Episcopalians against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation,” he added.

“Electing a woman as bishop would present a challenge to large parts of the Anglican Communion, but most Episcopalians would not vote against a female candidate just because she is a woman. Unity of the Anglican communion can not be based on scapegoating women or gay and lesbian people.”

Oasis/California commended the report of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion for its commitment to “maintain the highest degree of communion possible” between the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion, while at the same time refusing to scapegoat lesbian and gay people.

“On the whole, the report offers a way for our church to maintain the bonds of communion with other Anglican provinces, and press for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people,” Kirkley add.

“It is only one part of an ongoing conversation that will continue at General Convention in June and beyond. It offers one word, not the final word in this conversation. I’m sure it will bear improvement as it is considered more fully.”

The Commission’s report includes ten resolutions for consideration at by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in June. These include resolutions committing the church to ending abject poverty worldwide, affirming human rights protections for gay and lesbian people, and affirming the full and equal claim of gay and lesbian people as baptized members of the church while also repenting of the church’s rejection of gay and lesbian people. “There is much good in this report and we should be grateful for the hard work of the Commission. I believe it will provide the basis for progressives and moderates to move the church forward,” Kirkley concluded.

Coverage of this issue will continue at the Oasis California web site and its news blog.

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