Friday, July 17, 2009

Statement from Anaheim on General Convention as it draws to a close

The House of Deputies just passed CO56 by 2/3 in both orders. Here's the Integrity statement going out momentarily:

The Episcopal Church turned an important corner at this General Convention and Integrity applauds the hard, faithful work of the bishops and deputies who brought us closer to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments. We came to this convention committed to moving the church beyond BO33 and forward on equality for the blessing of same sex unions -- and we are beyond gratified that we have realized both of those goals.

Thirty three years after promising “full and equal claim” to the gay and lesbian baptized, the Episcopal Church has affirmed equal access to ordination processes for all orders of ministry for all the baptized, has approved a broad local option for the blessings of our relationships and has called the church to work together toward common liturgical expressions of those blessings.

It is a great day for the church and a greater day for the witness to God’s inclusive love.

“While Integrity’s advocacy work is not yet done,” said Integrity President Susan Russell, “the actions here in Anaheim liberate us to get on with our evangelism work – proclaiming the good news of an Episcopal Church that welcomes not only LGBT people looking for a spiritual home but ALL those seeking a faith community that shares their core values of justice, compassion, inclusion and love.”

“We celebrate this historic movement forward and we commit ourselves to this church we love and serve to continue to witness to the good news of Christ Jesus present in our lives, our vocations and our relationships – and to call others to “come and see” what we have found and seen and experienced in the Episcopal Church.”

“Integrity applauds the hard work of all our allies in this struggle and lifts up particularly the witness of our TransEpiscopal colleagues whose courageous work at this convention has been truly extraordinary. We look forward to working with all our allies as we move forward together into God’s future, giving thanks for the good work here in Anaheim that has brought us closer to that church with “no outcasts” former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning called us to be.”


Katie B said...

Congrats! The work that you have done at General Convention is not just a powerful witness to the LGBT community but to the world. My boyfriend and I are an example of this. We just got off the phone with each other (long distance relationships are a wee bit sad)and we were both so happy and excited about what has happend in Anaheim. I feel (for the first time in a long time) like maybe there is a chance for us to marry and raise our children in a church with the liturgical tradition I love and the commitment to justice and inclusion that we both know should be at the core of Christian faith. :)

Katie B said...

By the way, not that it matters but that marriage and those children are highly nebulous and hypothetical.Sorry-still a little worried about the evil eye and such.

LGMarshall said...

As we settle into our newly revised religion 'GC2009'.... we confirm & believe:

-- Individual Salvation is heresy
-- Pansexual Leaders govern
-- Traditional Marriage has no place in church
-- TEC is the 'Gay Church'
-- Evangelisim is dead
-- Religious rites for pansexuals
-- Religious rites for dead pets
-- Turning our backs on Israel

I guess we'd better change the street signs...'The Episcopal Church Welcomes You(if you agree with above).'


WilliamK said...

The Episcopal Church Welcomes YOU... even with your sinful denigration of your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters ("pansexual"?).

Turning our backs on Israel? (Are you also some kind of hard-core Christian Zionist who thinks that not only should the church be gay-free but that the Holy Land should be Arab-free?)

When I read your posts, I move very quickly from a slight burst of anger to a feeling of deep pity for someone so angry and so unhappy.

I'm going to try to sincerely pray for you.

Pat Klemme said...

Oh, no, LGM. The Episcopal Church welcomes everybody with no dangling under sign. I used to think it read the Episcopal Church welcomes you (unless you're gay), because that is how I felt with B033. But I want you to keep your reasoned voice active in our midst. You can continue to believe what is right for you and I can continue to believe what is right for me, and we can both be Episcopalians in the Anglican tradition. The most marvelous thing about the Episcopal Church is that there is room for both of us in God's love!
I'd like you to stay my brother in Christ in our big tent that encompasses us all. Inclusive means we are all welcome!

Unknown said...

LG is perhaps a bit blunt, but I can't totally disgaree with a couple if his pointa. I too now feel very unwelcome in the Episcopal Church. It's going to be a sad service tomorrow as for a lot of us it may be the last we attened at the parish. Our rector asked us to wait until GC2009 was over before we did anything and now I think the time has come. Many of us will leave now.

Our parish also has a number of young couples planning to get married and as LG did point out traditional marriage has no place in the Episcopal Church. The statements by the Presiding Bishop also are very disturbing.

I wish my friends in TEC nothing but the best, but I can no longer walk with you. There is Eastern Orthodox not too far from here and I will likely go there.

Katie B said...

Reading Ellen's comment I feel so many emotions I don't know what to make of it. Part of the reason I began to feel so uncomfortable in the Eastern Orthodox Church (the church I was raised in, the church I so intimately connected to my Greek heritage) was because so many disgruntled faithful of other denominations began converting. I began to question whether I belonged some place which served as an alternative to inclusion. I also began to recognize that the influx of conservative converts meant that any efforts to move the church forward, even in the small ways possible within the tradiiton, would be remarkably difficult if not impossible.
I don't know if any of that makes any sense and it is still a remarkably painful subject for me. I actually don't know what I am trying to say, so I am going to stop now...
Sorry, Susan(note the lack of title)I don't mean to take over your blog for cheap therapy, but sometimes I can't help it.

uffda51 said...

Ellen, LG is not blunt. He is wrong. Not one of his statements has any basis in fact. They have the same credibility as “Obama is not a U.S. citizen.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but no one is entitled to their own facts.

TEC is not setting aside “traditional marriage” (never mind that many of what we consider the traditional conventions of the Christian marriage ceremony were borrowed from pagan rites). What GC2009 is asking us to set aside is traditional discrimination.

There is a huge gap between what the Bible actually “says” about homosexuality and what we were taught that the Bible says about homosexuality.

TEC is saying that we can no longer ignore that distinction.

Those who are saddened by the end of discriminatory practices are apparently unable to imagine what it feels like to be the target of those discriminatory practices.

BTW, my Eastern Orthodox friends are fully supportive of the TEC position on full inclusion.

WilliamK said...

Let's be VERY clear about what you are saying: if gay and lesbian folks feel welcome in the Episcopal Church, you feel "very unwelcome." Honestly, I don't know what to say to that. It just leaves me with a hard, painful question: REALLY, can't you be in the same church with me?

Again, honestly, I don't know what you mean when you say that "traditional marriage has no place in the Episcopal Church." I guess, by "traditional marriage," you mean man-woman marriage? Is that right? How does seeking a way to recognize faithful same-sex families leave no place for faithful man-woman families? These are honest questions.

If the Eastern Orthodox Church seems a better option for you than Anglicanism, I will wish you well on that path. But I do hope you'll take time to think about what it means to leave the distinctive Anglican Way for a very different vision of what Christianity is about.

Bateau Master said...

Almost 10 days and the Episcopal Church gets a gospel of inclusion and rejects exploring ways to express the uniqueness of Christ in a multi-faith society. So we are one out of two - we have the Second and Great Commandment, but we fail on the Great Commission.

Well there is always next time!

IT said...

It's not either/or. It's both/and. Why is that so hard to deal with? I celebrate my straight friends' marriages. They celebrate mine. All of us want to live to the same standards of fidelity and honor.

And if straights are going to argue that WE changed Biblical teaching, let them consider divorce. Jesus said a lot about that. he said NOTHING about us. How many divorced straights do you know...?

LGMarshall said...

Orthodox Episcopalian Christians --don't care a whit about your sexual sin per se.

What we care about is the Teaching of the Church.(Individual Salvation is NOT heresy.) It's simply wrong to teach that the Bible is up for personal interpretation.

It just so happens that these past couple of decades have been dedicated to furthering sexual sin in the Church.

I wonder what sin will be held forth as honorable and worthy in the next decades to to come?

Greed? Avarice? Envy? Debauchary? Drunkenness?

Why so defensive? I'm not angry, and I'm not unhappy. I'm sad -- to see a traditional Christian church disappear and disintegrate before my very eyes, in such a short period of time. The Christian Church is important to Jesus Christ, he asks it to help further his Kingdom. As of today, there is no such activity occurring at TEC.

'...statements [about Salvation & Marriage] by presiding bishop are very disturbing' -- Ellen.

Does anyone care about Ellen and others like her? You've succeeded in pushing us all out of our long-time, Israel honoring, family-friendly churches (that we built). Don't you feel the least bit compassionate toward us? Contrary to your reality, almost all, parents & grandparents don't want Sunday school to be colored by the LGBT lifestyle & political agenda. It is confusing to children and it's wrong to interfere with their sexual innocence.

We loved our time in the Episcopal Church, & will cherish our memories... the Eucharist, the age old traditions, the book of common prayer, the hymns. We had marriages, baptisims, confirmations, and funeral rites.
You have summarialy erased that from our scrap books -- all for your own selfish desires.

Yet we have Hope! The Faithful Bible Believers of the Word of God, take great solace in knowing without a doubt, that their names have not been erased from The Book of Life.

WilliamK said...

If you won't be in the same church with me, I wish you only God's blessings as you go elsewhere. You clearly need to belong to a fundamentalist church, and TEC certainly is not that. But I refuse to be silent when you falsely claim that those of us commited to full inclusion of all the baptized forced/pushed you out. You pushed yourselves out by refusing to live and work together with our disagreements over what counts as sexual sin. [I do hope that your new church holds as firmly that remarriage after divorce is sexual sin as it holds that all same-sex relationships are sexual sin!]

I'm still puzzling over "Israel honoring". Can you show me somewhere in the Creeds or the Prayer Book or the Thirty-Nine Articles where it says that Christians are required to support a particular ethnic nation-state?

Finally, on your final energetic declaration--The Faithful Bible Believers of the Word of God, take great solace in knowing without a doubt, that their names have not been erased from The Book of Life--please have a look at Luke 18:9-14.

ProudToBeEpiscopalian said...

Sorry, Ellen and LG, that you feel like you have to leave. I guess your Episcopal Church isn't the same one I've been a member of for 60+ years. We were taught, in Sunday School, that the Bible (a collection of MANY books, some of which were chosen and some left out: The Apocrapha, for instance) was inspired by God and consisted of stories passed from generation to generation, NOT dictated by God Himself to a particular person, i.e., Paul, Peter, etc. This whole business of literal interpretation seems to have come about, in my opinion, with the televangelists and perhaps too many Episcopal gee-I-wanna-be-like-them, so let's bring it to OUR parish people.
If you folks really feel that you'll be happier in a more orthodox tradition, one in which you will not have any possibility of your own interpretations of anything, then we wish you Godspeed, but please leave the keys and the silverware behind. Too many others who felt the way you seem to did NOT leave, but stayed in the buildings and in many cases continue to call themselves Episcopalians, thereby preventing CONTINUING Episcopalians from worshiping in churches THEY had built, too. If you wanna be a liturgical Bible worshiper, it's your choice. Most of us are not making that choice.

Unknown said...

The more I study church history, the more it's clear that the church ran into trouble when individuals started insisting on their own interpretation of Scripture outside of the church. This sort of thinking has given us nothing but grief and seperation whether we are talking about the schism of 1054, the Protestsnt "reformnation" or the problems in TEC today.

I have no intention of taking TEC's keys or silverware. But I will take things that the leadership of TEC would like to have but cannot: my time, talents, money, and my eternal soul.

Also I would hardly call the Eastern Orthodox "bible worshippers" and they are not in support of the changes in TEC.

As I predicted today was a truly sad day at the parish. The emergency meeting afterwards indicated that around 75% will leave, mostly for the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic Church. I don't know how the remaining 25% will be able to keep up the building or be able to obtain another Rector.

uffda51 said...

LG, to prejudge an entire group of people whom you do not know by declaring that they all share the same “lifestyle” and politics is, by definition, prejudice. To then declare yourself to be somehow a victim of this group requires some extraordinary mental gymnastics.

“I wonder what sin will be held forth as honorable and worthy in the next decades to come?”

It’s true the AC has a bad record in this regard, having not only sanctioned slavery as honorable and worthy, but actually owned slaves.

“What we care about is the Teaching of the Church. It's simply wrong to teach that the Bible is up for personal interpretation.”

I guess the Abolitionists interpreted the Bible differently than the “traditional” slavery-sanctioning Anglicans did. I guess the “traditional” Anglican position, supported by the Bible, changed over time, even though the minority who brought about the change were vilified by the “traditional” majority.

“It just so happens that these past couple of decades have been dedicated to furthering sexual sin in the Church.”

Nonsense. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is not a sin.

“The Christian Church is important to Jesus Christ, he asks it to help further his Kingdom. As of today, there is no such activity occurring at TEC.”

More nonsense.

As of today, in my Episcopal church, we baptized children, preached the Gospel, celebrated the Eucharist, and did the same things we’ve been doing as a congregation for more than 125 years. During the week we will be collectively feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, ministering to the sick, and supporting a wide variety of programs within the community. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t mentally check off the sexual orientation of the members of our congregation as they walk up the aisle for communion.

WilliamK said...

So, what Ellen is telling us is that about 75% of the people in her parish have decided--on the basis of the recent results of TEC's GC--that they no longer believe in Anglicanism. These people have now decided, on the basis of their objection to the full inclusion of LGBT people in TEC that, after all, Anglicanism doesn't have valid orders or a valid Eucharist; they have now realized that they never received the actual Body and Blood of Christ from a real priest. Astonishing! Moreover, Ellen has now recognized that the Reformation (for which Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, and Tyndale died) was a terrible error (I'm not clear on which side in the 1054 schism she thinks engaged in interpretation of the Bible outside of the church????).

I guess LGBT folks should feel a certain humble pride for the part they played in helping these people come to such significant conclusions.

Honestly... if people think the Reformed Catholicism of Anglicanism is an error, they should move to Rome or Constantinople. But could they at least be honest and admit that "gay bishops" are the least of the problems? I mean, if a gay bishop isn't really a bishop at all because Anglicans don't have valid orders... then there's something more fundamental at stake.

LGMarshall said...

Be very clear... the Bible NEVER approves Slavery. Don't be a Slave to Sin. 'We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a Slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I dont want to do, I agree that the law is Good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is SIN living in me. I know that nothing Good lives in me, that is, in my Sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the Good I want to do; no, the evil I do --this I KEEP ON DOING'. romans 7.

'During that long period , the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their Slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of the Slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his Convenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was conerned about them. ' EX2:23-25.

There's one kind of Slavery that God does approve of... Slaves to Righteousness... 'Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as Slaves, you are Slaves to the one whom you obey -- whether you are Slaves to Sin, which leads to Death, or to Obedience, which leads to Righteousness" But thanks be to God that, though you used to be Slaves to Sin, you wholehearetedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been Set Free from Sin and have become Slaves to Righteousness.' Romans.6.16-18.

But God (The Law) does teach against sexual immorality and homosexual practices. Why are you so put off by Orthodox Beliefs?

Orthodox: adhering to proven Truths. It's NOT about sexual orientation, its about OBEDIENCE to God's Word, The Bible.

Pat Klemme said...

I am grateful to Susan for allowing this uncomfortable debate to unfold on her comments, because I am learning a lot from it about feeling and beliefs from an opposite point of view.

I can relate to the feelings deeply. After B033 was passed at GC2006--a symbolic promise to all that we would pause in our slow forward motion to become GLBT inclusive--I felt abandoned by the church I grew up in. Can we all relate to that? While many GLBT faithful accepted the need to do that, some of us threw up our hands in despair and left. I did.

This morning I attended church for the first time in a long time. I raised my voice in song, prayed with renewed depth and fervor, and met at the table for Holy Eucharist with my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.

I was welcomed like the prodigal daughter I have been, hugged and cheered by friends, and was introduced to new friends who've joined since I departed. This is reconciliation and I'm grateful for it beyond measure. Now I must amend my life. I must commit to remaining part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

I admire the living daylights out of people who can cite chapter and verse from The Holy Bible. I cannot. I've read the Bible all my life and its teaching are part of my heart and soul. The words come to me to offer to others, even though I may not know what book, chapter, and verse I am quoting. And my simple minded scholarship is grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ and his followers in the New Testament.

He said, "Love your neighbors as yourself." He didn't say, "Love your neighbors unless they disagree with you."

So I love you whether you go or stay. And I have felt the pain of feeling like the outcast. But the plain (and awful) truth is this: Nobody made me leave. It was my choice to pick up my ball and go home pouting. The pain of separation was very real. It was also wholly self-induced. You have that same choice.

Peace be with you, and God bless you.

WilliamK said...

LGMarshall wrote:
Be very clear... the Bible NEVER approves Slavery.

Leviticus 25:44-46. If this isn't approval, what is it?