Thursday, February 22, 2007

And The Award Goes To ...

THE "YOU GO GIRLS" AWARD goes to two clergy colleagues here in the Diocese of Los Angeles who made their annual Valentine's Day pilgrimage to the County Registrar's Office to be denied a marriage license. Here's the profile article from last week's Ventura County Reporter.

THE "QUOTE OF THE DAY" AWARD goes to Ann Fontaine for this AP article: "We made our 'yes' to gays and lesbians," wrote the Rev. Ann Fontaine of the Diocese of Wyoming, in an examination of the Anglican demands. "Let it stand."
THE "PRESS RELEASE OF THE DAY" AWARD goes to Ed Bacon at All Saints Church for his "Response to the Anglican Primates": "As rector, I will reject all Episcopal invitations to "fast" from doing the justice work of embodying God's inclusive love. The fast to which Lent calls us is to foreswear acts of interpersonal and institutional bigotry and discrimination with which this communiqué is dripping."
THE "NEW BLOG TO WATCH" AWARD goes to "Walking With Integrity" which is featuring a round-up of reactions from bishops from round and about the Episcopal Church.
Which brings me to ...
THE "CROCODILE TEARS" AWARD goes to Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona for his "Special Message" dated February 21st: "I know that many who have worked so hard for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church will see this as another step backward. It is, and my heart breaks because of it."

I expected better from Kirk, a former clergy colleague here in Los Angeles and a long-time "straight ally" in the struggle for the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ -- which is what called me to send the following:


Dear Kirk,

Just a quick note to say how deeply disappointed I was to read your Pastoral Letter in response to the Primates Communiqué from Tanzania. While we are all grieved by the current state of affairs in the worldwide communion and pray for a vision of a way forward together, to allow ourselves as a church to be blackmailed by demands that we institutionalize what amounts to sacramental apartheid as the price for our inclusion at the Anglican Communion table is not the answer.

While I appreciate your heartbreak at sacrificing the vocations and relationships of the gay and lesbian baptized on the altar of global Anglican politics there is an even greater victim here: the spirit of Anglican comprehensiveness that is in danger of becoming a footnote in the history of the Church of God. This is indeed the season to remember who is the focus of our faith. It is NOT we ourselves -- but the One who didn't say one word about protecting the unity of the church but said many about liberating captives, freeing the oppressed and proclaiming good news to the poor.

Please know that you and your brother and sister bishops will be daily in our prayers as you prepare to gather at Camp Allen next month.



Anonymous said...

Thank you, Susan. After reading diocesan letters written by other bishops, +Kirk's response was definitely underwhelming. I pray his thought that he believes most bishops will go along with the Primates' demands is proven totally, crushingly wrong.

John Gibson said...

I knew there was a reason I didn't join St. James' until after he left!

John Gibson said...

And another observation - he and Neville Chamberlain must have the same speechwriter!

Anonymous said...

Susan, the only rational and ethical response to the primate's "ultimatum" is "NO." No to the oppression of gays and lesbians that continues throughout the world, some of it actually perpetrated by churches in the Communion such as Nigeria and manyof the other "Global South" groups. We don't need this fundamentalist Anglo-Baptist kind of mentality in the West. We don't need that kind of mentality in the world, quite frankly. We don't need the Anglican Communion; it is only a remnant of British imperialism anyway, so be done with it. Churches that think alike should group together and that's that. Simple but realistic. The Episcopal Church can no longer afford to "study," "appoint another committee," or use any other circumlocutionary tactic any longer. This is it. Enough. The Church also needs a PB who says this and a House of Bishops and House of Deputies who say this as well....NO.

The Rev. Robert Semes
Episcopal Diocese of Oregon