Friday, January 11, 2019

Comment on Presiding Bishop Curry's Response to Bishop Love

With his response this morning to the Bishop of Albany, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has officially ended the Inclusion Wars in our beloved church and abolished the de facto sacramental apartheid which has for too long denied a percentage of the sacraments to a percentage of the baptized. It is a great day to be an Episcopalian.

Presiding Bishop Curry, responding to Bishop Love’s refusal to make the sacrament of marriage available to all couples in his diocese as instructed by Resolution B012 adopted in July 2018 by our General Convention, wrote:
“I am therefore persuaded that as Presiding Bishop I am called upon to take steps to ensure that same-sex marriage in The Episcopal Church is available to all persons to the same extent and under the same conditions in all Dioceses of the Church where same-sex marriage is civilly legal.”

This is good news not only to any couples in the Diocese of Albany who have been waiting to be able to order their wedding cake and invite their friends and family to celebrate with them as they pledge themselves to love, honor and cherish each other until death do they part. And it is not just good news for Episcopalians who have been working for decades to become the church with no outcasts Presiding Bishop Browning dreamed of and to make the full and equal claim on the pastoral care, love and concern of the church promised LGBTQ persons way back in 1976 not just a resolution but a reality. This clarity from the Presiding Bishop is good news for the whole church, equipping us to more fully do the work of living out God’s values of love, justice and compassion in this beautiful and broken world.

There is absolutely a place in this church for those who hold – as the Bishop of Albany does – a minority opinion on the theology of marriage. However, as of today, that place is no longer standing between same-sex couples and the sacrament of marriage.

I am honored to serve as one of the co-conveners of the Communion Across Difference Task Force called for by General Convention Resolution A227 last July. Our first meeting is scheduled for mid-March and our “marching orders” include “That the Task Force seek a lasting path forward for mutual flourishing consistent with this Church’s polity and the 2015 “Communion across Difference” statement of the House of Bishops (‘communion-across-difference’), affirming (1) the clear decision of General Convention that Christian marriage is a covenant between two people, of the same sex or of the opposite sex, (2) General Convention’s firm commitment to make provision for all couples asking to be married in this Church to have access to authorized liturgies; and also affirming  (3) the indispensable place that the minority who hold to this Church’s historic teaching on marriage have in our common life, whose witness the Church needs.”

As Episcopalians we have the DNA of Anglican comprehensiveness coursing in our veins. Forged in the crucible of the English Reformation and emerging as a community of faith uniquely wired to hold in tension the seemingly irreconcilable differences of being both protestant and catholic at the same time, we are therefore uniquely wired to take that 16th century heritage into the 21st century and model how it is possible to be a church strengthened by its diversity and committed to moving forward together into God’s future. It is a great day to be an Episcopalian.

No comments: