Archive for the ‘Anglican’ Category

>Anglicans, Gays and the Big Picture

August 11, 2008

>Two articles in Saturday’s Birmingham News, in their Religion section, looked at the issues surrounding the recent Lambeth Conference for Anglicans. My links are from other papers, because I couldn’t find the stories on the Birmingham News site.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams used century’s old Anglican diplomacy to weather the recent Lambeth Conference which ended with Williams suggesting that more time is needed to consider the issues that threaten to divide the denomination. The issues, of course, are whether to allow gay clergy and blessing of same sex relationships.

Lambeth ended without the issues being resolved, just as expected.

But the Archbishop is OK with gays, according to some letters recently disclosed that he wrote in 2000 and 2001. The letters were written to Deborah Pitt, an evangelical Christian who asked for his opinion.

I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it has about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” he is quoted as writing.

The Story

Another article looked at Black Episcopal bishops questioning conservative ties to African Anglicans.

The differing opinions on acceptance of sexual minorities has led conservative Episcopalians in the United States to form ties with African Anglicans, at the expense of black Americans here in their own country, according to a prominent black bishop from Maryland, Bishop Eugene Sutton.
Sutton likes to point out “the historical anomaly of dioceses that have nothing to do with the black community going all the way back to Africa to make these relationships.” And he says that the use of scripture to oppose homosexuality is reminiscent of Biblically based arguments supporting slavery and racism.

I don’t know how many black bishops there are in the Episcopal Church, but eight attended Lambeth, and all eight favor gay rights in the church.

That is in contrast with the perception of black clergy in general. Most gay advocacy groups as well as the mainstream media seem to promote the idea that blacks are more opposed to gay rights than whites; therefore all blacks are opposed to gay rights. (Completely discounting the fact that there are black gays and lesbians. Really. Even here in Bessemer.)

Not so fast, according to Jasmyne Cannick , who points out that prominent black clergy are supportive in a post following the California marriage ruling and reprinted in part as a blowback in the L. A. Times.

“Nationally, the list of prominent Black clergy supporting the right of lesbians and gays to marry has grown exponentially over past several years to include among others: Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. William Sinkford, President, Unitarian Universalist Church, Rev. Peter Gomes, Harvard University Chaplain, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, his wife Rev. Marcia Dyson, and Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.

“Yes, that’s right, the pastor whose comments were inaccurately portrayed by the media as being unpatriotic and then used by presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s opponents to distract voters, is and has been a supporter for equal rights of lesbian and gay couples. That somehow was missed in all of the criticism being hurled at Wright.”


Cannick also points out that the perception is that “gays are white and blacks are homophobic,” and that the perception is wrong.

It is sometimes joked that every prominent person in Bessemer is a minister, most of whom are black. The mayor, at least one council person, the mayor’s assistant, the police chief, neighbors, friends; all either are actual ministers or act like they are at times. But not one has taken a public stand on issues of sexuality that I am aware of. Some of my African American neighbors and friends are supportive, but who knows about the rest of the crowd?

Well, we do know at least two white Bessemer clergy members that are supportive of gay rights, and at least one city council member. How about the rest of you?

Meanwhile, read some of Bishop Gene Robinson’s posts about the conference at his blog, Canterbury Tales from the Fringe. Thanks for this link to Chris at Blethers.

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>Episcopals at Lambeth

July 14, 2008

>Anglicans, including American Episcopals are gathering in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference which begins in a couple of days.

In this photo and caption from Episcopal News Service, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, joins Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in procession before the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist at Salisbury Cathedral July 13.

They are at Salisbury’s Cathedral Church of St. Mary , consecrated in 1258, which boasts the world’s tallest medieval spire, in the southern English county of Wiltshire. Wow, a 750 year old church.

Jefferts Schori, in an interview with Episcopal News Service, said earlier about the conference:

ENS: What message do you plan to bring to the Lambeth Conference?

KJS: That the mission of God is far larger than anything we disagree about.

She may have been thinking that when she said last week that she would explain the actions of the American Church, specifically, regarding Gene Robinson, the gay Bishop from New Hampshire.

In another interview last week, she said,“Some people think that you can read the Bible without understanding the original context and simply take literally what you read. We will interpret – and it’s an important part of faithful living. To assume there is only one way of reading is hubris.”

Anyone who reads this blog will realize that I share the Presiding Bishop’s feelings precisely. And, I am not even Episcopal! But I have followed the denomination and its bold moves to be inclusive closely.

Robinson was not invited to the conference, and he is OK with that. But he is in town, attending and speaking at events nearby. At St. Mary’s Church, Putney, ( another St. Mary’s) he preached yesterday in the face of protesters:

Listed in the church bulletin as a “quiet and reflective” service, it was noisier than usual, with a couple of dozen journalists, television camera operators and a packed church in attendance. Two demonstrators were also present, one carrying a placard outside the church and handing out leaflets saying the Bible prohibits homosexuality and one attempting in the church to shout down Robinson as he began his sermon.

Shouting “Repent! Repent!” the demonstrator was eventually drowned out by the congregation, which rose and sang — with organ accompaniment — the hymn “Thine be the glory, risen, conquering son.” He was escorted out by ushers.

“Pray for that man,” resumed Robinson, his voice shaking slightly. “Fear is a terrible thing. How sad that the Anglican Communion would threaten to tear itself apart over two men or two women who choose to make a Christian family together.”

Noting that several times in the New Testament, the words “be not afraid” and “fear not” appear, Robinson said “the Anglican Communion is going to be fine. Will it change? Probably. Is it going to be easy? Probably not.”

Here is a link to The Gene Pool the entire sermon, which is much more than the protest that you will witness. h/t to JaninSanFran for this.

Google led me to an article about a rugby player titled Robinson on the edge and I believe that description fits Gene Robinson both literally and figuratively. Not invited to the conference, but invited to and attending and preaching at events surrounding the venue, “Robinson on the edge” represents gays who have been on the edge for all of history.

Some would push the gays over the edge, others would reach out and pull them into the fold.

Read this, from the 365 widget to the left, and see how Robinson may be on the edge, but his reach will be inside the conference in a big way.

It will be interesting to follow the Conference, but like both Jefferts Schori and Robinson, I don’t expect any the debate to end at Lambeth.

Episcopals at Lambeth

July 14, 2008

Anglicans, including American Episcopals are gathering in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference which begins in a couple of days.

In this photo and caption from Episcopal News Service, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, joins Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in procession before the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist at Salisbury Cathedral July 13.

They are at Salisbury’s Cathedral Church of St. Mary , consecrated in 1258, which boasts the world’s tallest medieval spire, in the southern English county of Wiltshire. Wow, a 750 year old church.

Jefferts Schori, in an interview with Episcopal News Service, said earlier about the conference:

ENS: What message do you plan to bring to the Lambeth Conference?

KJS: That the mission of God is far larger than anything we disagree about.

She may have been thinking that when she said last week that she would explain the actions of the American Church, specifically, regarding Gene Robinson, the gay Bishop from New Hampshire.

In another interview last week, she said,“Some people think that you can read the Bible without understanding the original context and simply take literally what you read. We will interpret – and it’s an important part of faithful living. To assume there is only one way of reading is hubris.”

Anyone who reads this blog will realize that I share the Presiding Bishop’s feelings precisely. And, I am not even Episcopal! But I have followed the denomination and its bold moves to be inclusive closely.

Robinson was not invited to the conference, and he is OK with that. But he is in town, attending and speaking at events nearby. At St. Mary’s Church, Putney, ( another St. Mary’s) he preached yesterday in the face of protesters:

Listed in the church bulletin as a “quiet and reflective” service, it was noisier than usual, with a couple of dozen journalists, television camera operators and a packed church in attendance. Two demonstrators were also present, one carrying a placard outside the church and handing out leaflets saying the Bible prohibits homosexuality and one attempting in the church to shout down Robinson as he began his sermon.

Shouting “Repent! Repent!” the demonstrator was eventually drowned out by the congregation, which rose and sang — with organ accompaniment — the hymn “Thine be the glory, risen, conquering son.” He was escorted out by ushers.

“Pray for that man,” resumed Robinson, his voice shaking slightly. “Fear is a terrible thing. How sad that the Anglican Communion would threaten to tear itself apart over two men or two women who choose to make a Christian family together.”

Noting that several times in the New Testament, the words “be not afraid” and “fear not” appear, Robinson said “the Anglican Communion is going to be fine. Will it change? Probably. Is it going to be easy? Probably not.”

Here is a link to The Gene Pool the entire sermon, which is much more than the protest that you will witness. h/t to JaninSanFran for this.

Google led me to an article about a rugby player titled Robinson on the edge and I believe that description fits Gene Robinson both literally and figuratively. Not invited to the conference, but invited to and attending and preaching at events surrounding the venue, “Robinson on the edge” represents gays who have been on the edge for all of history.

Some would push the gays over the edge, others would reach out and pull them into the fold.

Read this, from the 365 widget to the left, and see how Robinson may be on the edge, but his reach will be inside the conference in a big way.

It will be interesting to follow the Conference, but like both Jefferts Schori and Robinson, I don’t expect any the debate to end at Lambeth.