GENERAL CONVENTION 2003


 

 

RELATIONSHIPS and BLESSINGS

WEB EDITOR'S NOTE: As Christians, we are called to live in a world of understanding, nonviolence, justice and mercy for all and respect for the dignity of every human being.(Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles). The debate over the propriety of the Church's blessing of same-sex relationships is heavy, filled with strong emotions, and polarized among many Episcopalians. The recent calling and election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, to be ordained Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire has drawn media attention to the issue. It was a media focus during our General Convention. It is our hope that some of the material presented here will shed some background, understanding and healing of diverse opinions, and provide perspective for those who wish to approach the issue with an open mind. especially as we look toward our Diocesan Convention and the introduction of a similar resolution there -jd

SOME THOUGHTS FROM OUR BISHOP, Katharine Jefferts Schori

The larger church seems to be in a time of some anxiety, but then we seem to live in especially anxious times. I spent a day in mid-June with a roomful of bishops who are enormously concerned about the election of Gene Robinson as bishop coadjutor in New Hampshire, and about the possibility that General Convention will authorize the preparation of rites for blessing same-sex unions. If we can look at the situation dispassionately (which is far from easy), we soon discover that the same kind of furor accompanied the incorporation of non-white Episcopalians into the full life of this church, the ordination of women, and even the seating of women deputies in General Convention. The Holy Spirit continues to shake us up, whether we are ready or not. When we are confronted with an issue of inclusion, it seems to be an invitation to remember that the Body of Christ does not look just like any one of us, and that this Body is far more complex than we can imagine. We all reflect the image of God, but no one of us alone can reflect the fullness of God's image.

Jesus spent his time hanging out with the folks on the margin, because too often the rulers/authorities/governing bodies in his society were busy worrying about boundaries ­ who was “in”and who was “out. ” If we're worried about whom to include, we've missed something essential about the gospel: Jesus invited everybody.

When we are faced with what a tough ethical question, how do we respond? As Anglicans, we look to three sources of authority ­ scripture, tradition, and reason. If we still cannot come to a consensus, then the advice of Gamaliel (Acts 5:33-39) is appropriate ­ “if this is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.” Or as Jesus said so often, "by their fruits you shall know them" and “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Our task is to look for God in our neighbors, whether we agree with them or not.

There is room in this expansive church of ours for all ­ for those who agree with us and those who disagree, for those who seem to be innovating and those who see themselves as conserving the tradition ­ because it's not our church, it's the Body whom Jesus has called together.

+Katharine


THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS WERE APPROVED BY THE CONVENTION:

Make programs on marriage enrichment and renewal as well as premarital counseling available to congregations and dioceses

Acknowledged differences in pastoral practice in caring for homosexual persons (CO51);

BLESSINGS OF SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS:
Note: There were 2 "official" New Releases describing what the Convention decided about this topic. They are both here:
1) A National Liturgy for Blessings will not be designed
2)
Deputies approve compromise resolution on same-sex unions
YOU MAY HAVE BEEN WONDERING What really happened By CLAIMING THE BLESSING
web site
LOCAL OPTION ENDORSED

Current Practice in Canadian Diocese of NEW WESTMINISTER
Theology Supporting the Practice

SEXUALITY MATTERS; Is it an “Essential” of Faith?
An Editorial from the Diocese of Virginia

MARRIAGE & BLESSING
by Pamela Darling, ThD

A NEW LOOK AT Leviticus

Bishop CATHERINE M. WAYNICK (Indianapolis)
Considering Our True Calling...

What I find condemned in scripture I would also condemn... The hate-filled power play of homosexual rape which is described in the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is one such practice. We would also deplore cultic ritual prostitution of any kind, and the promiscuous and hedonistic revelry condemned by Paul.


HETEROSEXISM by Katie Sherod
A Position Paper from The Witness

A NEW PURITANISM? by Tom Woodward

“CLAIMING THE BLESSING” - A helpful web site

No Longer Strangers or Strange


A Sermon by Michael W. Hopkins July 20

 

Patriarchy besieged - Communion or Federation?
by Pam Darling

TOBIAS HALLER COMMENTS ON PRIMATES LETTER
Regarding Same - Sex Relationships

A MIDDLE WAY - Donald Goodheart, North Carolina

JOHN SNOW on RELATIONSHIPS and a THEOLOGY OF MARRIAGE
Some reflections by Tom Woorward, Salinas, California

Bishop JELINEK of Minnesota on the confirmation
of GENE ROBINSON of New Hampshire
(7/23)

UNION OF BLACK EPISCOPALIANS on REJECTION

CROSSING LINES
A Sermon by Deputy Lowell Grisham, July 20

LAMBETH SPEAKS ABOUT THE ISSUE OF UNITY AMONG ANGLICANS
October 16, 2003


PRE-CONVENTION EUCHARIST (7/27) ADDRESSES SEXUALITY

Gene Robinson addresses Halfway to Lambeth Oct 25 (ENS)

As the Diocese of Venezuela was Welcomed to full membership in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Orland Guerrero was asked about the ramifications of the consent for Bishop Gene Robinson. The Venezuelan prelate explained that homosexuality is a difficult topic in Latin American, "but we know that there have always been gay people everywhere, and there will always be. It is not a foreign reality for us
either. We don't believe that it is the product of a certain culture, and we are aware that it is a complex topic with many variables. Our clergy are open to discussions, and they are not scandalized by it, and
I believe that our congregations share this view. Our ecumenical relations won't be affected because other denominations are struggling with similar issues, so they know what is going on. We will debate those topics when we have to."

"I must voice my thankfulness to Canon Gene Robinson of New Hampshire; he always supported us and took part in the process. Because we have many small congregations, he was always interested in our joining since
that will help us grow," he added.

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10/25/03 -j

 

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5/7/04 -j