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Anglican Communion

Ordination of Donald Luc Boisvert Christ Church Cathedral Montreal September 8, 2013

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Saturday Easter Vigil …

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Yes, that is a McDonald’s across the street from the Cathedral, as the building sits on Ste Catherine’s Street downtown. I took these shots on a vigil some time ago, because there is snow on the ground in the series. Blessedly, there was no snow, but it was chilly outside, and the flame was very big.

It was a glorious night. Many followers attended the service which ran two hours from start to finish. Tonight we hear the five great readings from Scripture from Genesis, a reading from St. John Chrysostom, Exodus, Homily on the Passover by Melito of Sardis, and once again from Exodus, and ending in the Gospel of Mark.

My friend and fellow Deacon Donald was there serving at the mass, he is to be ordained a priest this fall 2013.

From the darkness of the church, the paschal candle is carried into the church where it is proclaimed “Lumen Chrisi” Light of Christ. And we then light our candles one from another and candle light shines as the readings were done, and finally in a flurry of bells and organ and choir sing … Alleluia He is Risen.

A good night was had by all.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and we shall gather at 6:15 for the tradition meeting for the month at St. Leon’s.


The Ordination of Donald Boisvert

The Ordination to the Deaconate
And Priesthood
of the Diocese of Montreal
June 3 2012
Christ Church Cathedral
Montreal

Donald Luc Boisvert
Rev. Robert Camara
Rev. Rhonda Waters

It was a beautiful day for an ordination. Donald Boisvert to the Deaconate, The Rev. Robert Camara to the Priesthood, and Rev. Rhonda Waters, also to the Priesthood. The Cathedral was packed. The choir was heavenly.

And there was controversy, a letter had been submitted to the proceedings calling for Donald and Robert Not to be ordained today because they are both gay and in same sex marriages.

However, our Bishop Barry, having put thoughtful prayer to this petition, decided against it and performed the ordinations to the swelling jubilation of the people inside the cathedral.

It was a beautiful service. My camera phone was very handy. I was like damn, I forgot my camera, and then remembered that my phone had a camera… DOH !!! So here are a few shots.


Maundy Thursday

The Triduum has begun. It was a quiet day, hubby was out all evening for class and a get together with friends, which left me home alone for the balance of the night. So I watched a little tv, farted around on Facebook, and got myself ready for church.

Since it is only 3 stops up from home, I made it in time. Little did I know that our celebrant tonight is newly ordained. A young woman who I have seen before the Reverend Karla Holmes. She is a fresh new face to the ministry at Christ Church Cathedral. I quite enjoyed her. The Rev Joyce was there con celebrating and Donald Boisvert, my academic adviser and friend was there as well, and what a treat, he was preaching tonight.

Tonight’s service was interesting. The washing of the feet, which I participated in, I missed this service last year. As always, the music was GLORIOUS. If you’ve never heard our Cathedral Choir, you should come to the Easter Vigil service on Saturday night. It starts at 7:30. It will be glorious.

The choir outdid itself tonight. The music was just amazing. The range and talent in the group is just beautiful. They were seated under the cupola directly behind the altar, which only lends to sonorous music. They have such great harmony, and add to that the singing from the congregation. I quite fancy myself a singer. I hit all the notes tonight in song. I really do love singing. My spirit soars when I sing in church. Tonight’s hymns were beautiful.

  • Jesus Calls Us
  • Ubi Caritas
  • Tantum Ergo

There were a couple others, from the missal that I was looking at. If you are in Montreal and want to join us Saturday night, leave a message here. The Christ Church Cathedral sits above Place Cathedral at the McGill Metro, and the service once again starts at 7:30. Get there early to get good seats. We usually have a good crowd for the Vigil Mass.

It’s after 4 am so I am off to bed.

More to come, stay tuned.


Rowan Williams issues ‘profound apology’ to gay Christians

Found on: UK Times Online – Here.

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a “profound apology” to the lesbian and gay Christian community today.

In a powerful address to the General Synod, Dr Rowan Williams warned that any schism within the Church would represent a betrayal of God’s mission.

But he made clear that he regretted recent rhetoric in which he has sought to mollify the fears of the traditionalist wing of the church.

The Archbishop is from the Church’s liberal wing and a man who once espoused equal rights for gays within the Church. More recently he has adopted a conservative line for the sake of Church unity.

Today he said: “There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them.

“I have been criticised for doing just this and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression.”

Addressing the even more contentious debate over gay ordinations — something which threatens to split the Church farther with the expected consecration in May of Canon Mary Glasspool, a lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles — Dr Williams said it had not been helped by those who ignored the fact that many worshippers were gay, as well as many “sacrificial and exemplary priests”.

He made it clear that there was blame on all sides of the argument that has brought the Church to the brink of splitting. He pleaded for Anglicans angry over gays and women bishops to cease fighting, admitting that he and other bishops might have to settle for a two-tier communion.

In his wide-ranging address at Church House Westminster, Dr Williams said that the ordination of women bishops should not go ahead at the expense of the Church’s Anglican Catholic wing, which is currently assessing an offer from the Pope to move over to Rome into a new Anglican Ordinariate.

Dr Williams admitted: “Most hold that the ordination of women as bishops is good, something that will enhance our faithfulness to Christ and our integrity in mission.”

But this good was jeopardised by the potential loss of traditionalists and some evangelicals who oppose women bishops.

Referring to proposals to give women bishops a lesser level of authority, he said the reform should not happen if it is done in such a way that that will “corrupt it or compromise it fatally”.

Dr Williams said that attacks on the Anglican Covenant, a new unity document intended to find a way to keep the 38 provinces under one umbrella, were mistaken.

“There is no supreme court envisaged and the constitutional liberties of each province are explicitly safeguarded,” he said.

Referring to tomorrow’s debate tabled by a lay member from the Chichester diocese calling for the Church of England to recognise the breakaway new traditionalist church in the US, he said: “Certain decisions made by some provinces impact so heavily on the conscience and mission of others that fellowship is strained or shattered and trust destroyed.

“The present effect of this is chaos — local schisms, outside interventions, all the unedifying stuff you will be hearing about, from both sides, in the debate on Lorna Ashworth’s motion.”


Rowan Williams issues 'profound apology' to gay Christians

Found on: UK Times Online – Here.

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a “profound apology” to the lesbian and gay Christian community today.

In a powerful address to the General Synod, Dr Rowan Williams warned that any schism within the Church would represent a betrayal of God’s mission.

But he made clear that he regretted recent rhetoric in which he has sought to mollify the fears of the traditionalist wing of the church.

The Archbishop is from the Church’s liberal wing and a man who once espoused equal rights for gays within the Church. More recently he has adopted a conservative line for the sake of Church unity.

Today he said: “There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them.

“I have been criticised for doing just this and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression.”

Addressing the even more contentious debate over gay ordinations — something which threatens to split the Church farther with the expected consecration in May of Canon Mary Glasspool, a lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles — Dr Williams said it had not been helped by those who ignored the fact that many worshippers were gay, as well as many “sacrificial and exemplary priests”.

He made it clear that there was blame on all sides of the argument that has brought the Church to the brink of splitting. He pleaded for Anglicans angry over gays and women bishops to cease fighting, admitting that he and other bishops might have to settle for a two-tier communion.

In his wide-ranging address at Church House Westminster, Dr Williams said that the ordination of women bishops should not go ahead at the expense of the Church’s Anglican Catholic wing, which is currently assessing an offer from the Pope to move over to Rome into a new Anglican Ordinariate.

Dr Williams admitted: “Most hold that the ordination of women as bishops is good, something that will enhance our faithfulness to Christ and our integrity in mission.”

But this good was jeopardised by the potential loss of traditionalists and some evangelicals who oppose women bishops.

Referring to proposals to give women bishops a lesser level of authority, he said the reform should not happen if it is done in such a way that that will “corrupt it or compromise it fatally”.

Dr Williams said that attacks on the Anglican Covenant, a new unity document intended to find a way to keep the 38 provinces under one umbrella, were mistaken.

“There is no supreme court envisaged and the constitutional liberties of each province are explicitly safeguarded,” he said.

Referring to tomorrow’s debate tabled by a lay member from the Chichester diocese calling for the Church of England to recognise the breakaway new traditionalist church in the US, he said: “Certain decisions made by some provinces impact so heavily on the conscience and mission of others that fellowship is strained or shattered and trust destroyed.

“The present effect of this is chaos — local schisms, outside interventions, all the unedifying stuff you will be hearing about, from both sides, in the debate on Lorna Ashworth’s motion.”


Night of Nights…

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Luke 2:10-14

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Christmas Eve was a bag of tricks today. It snowed, it snowed some more, the streets are a mess tonight as the wind is blowing between 50 and 90 km/hr and it has been pouring rain all night. So all that piled up snow became lakes of dirty slush everywhere.

Because of the weather I chose not to attend Christmas Eve services tonight, I was just not going to navigate mounds of snow and pouring rain. Oh well. The turkey is thawed and everything is ready for the morning to come.

See you tomorrow…


Loving our Enemies …

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Last night I was listening to late night radio, as I am apt to do on any given night and a caller shared some thoughts on 2012. The Western Calendar is off from the Maya Calendar, and if that is so, then we don’t have to wait until December 21, 2012 to see what is going to happen.

The caller stated that if we are following the old calendar – 2012 – is upon us now. That would mean that we are or we should be preparing for what is coming in the next few days…

December 21, 2008… We only have a few days to make this happen…

And he said this: “If we are to change the world in a dramatic way, we must begin to Love our Enemies…” Because if we could master this thought, we could in essence change the face of humanity as it exists today.

Scripture reference: Luke 10:25-40

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?””What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Prayer:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
In Thought, Word and Deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us,
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your name. Amen.


CANADA: Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing

[Anglican Journal] Link

After this week’s discussions with bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal plans to launch a process to work out a rite for blessing same-sex couples in the diocese who have been married in civil ceremonies.

In an opening statement October 24 to the annual synod of the Diocese of Montreal, the bishop said he believes that in the current debate about same-sex issues some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, others with a voice of caution.

“For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Montreal, are among those who have been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice,” he said. “It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the church. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing and a means of God’s grace. In time our voice will either be affirmed by the body, or stand corrected.”

About a year ago, the 2007 Montreal synod adopted a resolution calling on the bishop to grant permission for clergy, under certain conditions, to bless duly solemnized civil marriages, including same-sex marriages. Clarke, like the bishops of two other dioceses where such motions were passed around the same time, has not yet implemented it by authorizing such blessings.

Speaking at this year’s synod, the bishop described his decision as one that “does constitute an incremental step forward, which is consistent with the wishes of synod, all the while observing the cautious posture voiced and upheld in other parts of the Anglican Communion” and expressed at the Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops this summer.

Delegates to this year’s Montreal synod took no further action on the issue except to debate and vote down, by clear although not overwhelming majorities, two resolutions presented by people opposed to same-sex blessings.

One resolution asked the bishop to refrain from implementing same-sex blessings until there had been extensive consultation with the Anglican Communion worldwide, until the diocese had established a process for consulting its members, until the General Synod of Canada changed the marriage canon, and in any event not before the 2010 Montreal synod.

The other resolution asked that, if the bishop did authorize the blessings, a process called shared episcopal ministry be made available to parishes and clergy requesting it. (Basically, this could mean that, with Clarke’s assent, a bishop opposed to the blessings would provide certain services, probably including confirmations, in similarly minded parishes. Last May, Eddie Marsh, retired bishop of Central Newfoundland, carried out a confirmation service for candidates from two parishes in the Montreal suburban area known as the West Island. Clarke authorized this, at least with regard to one of the parishes, and the experiment was considered by some to be a trial run for shared episcopal ministry.)

The two motions were rejected, although their sponsors used conciliatory language in presenting them.

David Johnstone, rector’s warden of the evangelical St. Stephen’s Church in Westmount, said the motion on consultation would not reverse the 2007 decision but would help to preserve Anglican unity in a situation where “the diversity once cherished by Anglicanism has been stretched beyond limits.”

The Rev. Timothy Wiebe of two churches in the Eastern Townships described the motion on shared episcopal ministry as “creative, generous and fully inclusive of all points of view” and “an Anglican solution, a via media.”

In his opening address, Clarke said that, shortly after the meeting of the House of Bishops (October 27-31), he would establish a commission with the responsibility of drafting an appropriate rite for the blessing and guidelines for implementation.

“In this process, I am committed to an open dialogue, and to this end, I will provide opportunities on a formal basis for listening, dialogue and further discernment,” he said. He added that the diocese would work alongside the faith, worship and ministry committee, which had been charged by General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, to develop a process to engage dioceses and parishes in study of the Christian perspective on human sexuality in light of scripture, reason, tradition and current scientific understanding.

“Let me make it absolutely clear that in this process, no cleric and no congregation will be required to participate in any future blessing of same-sex civil marriages,” said Clarke.

— Harvey Shepherd is editor of The Montreal Anglican, the newspaper of the Diocese of Montreal.


Episcopalians to seek repeal of ban on gay, lesbian bishops

BANGOR, Maine — The man Maine Episcopalians chose a year ago as their bishop presided Friday over the 189th convention of the Episcopal Diocese.

Bishop Stephen Lane, 59, told the more 300 lay and clergy delegates attending the annual convention at the Bangor Civic Center that he was looking forward to “many long years in ministry with you.”

He also stressed the importance of the church’s annual gathering.

“It is here that we consider together the mission of God and our ministries as followers of Jesus Christ,” he said in his first convention address Friday afternoon. “It is here we adopt a budget for our life together. It is here that we worship God together. This is an occasion to be celebrated and savored.”

One of the things the convention did was to call for the national church to change its stance on the election of gay and lesbian clergy as bishops. By a show of hands, the delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling for the Episcopal Church at its General Convention next summer to repeal a resolution, known as B033, that was passed two years ago. The original document called upon the national body to restrain from approving the election of gay and lesbian bishops.

Bishops are elected by delegates to diocesan conventions but the national body must “consent” to those elections. Supporters of the repeal who attended the 2006 General Convention told the Maine convention Friday that B033 was passed at the eleventh hour under pressure from the retiring Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the newly elected bishop, the Rev. Katharine Jefforts Schori.

Jefforts Schori expressed concern that she and other American bishops would not be allowed to participate in the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a meeting of bishops from around the world held every 10 years. It was held in Canterbury, England, in July and August amid anxiety over a possible schism.

Concern over whether the denomination would split began five years ago when the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. American bishops consented to his election.

The Anglican Communion, headed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, demanded an apology from the Episcopal Church and a moratorium on the election of gay and lesbian bishops. Several dozen congregations and a few dioceses have left the Episcopal Church over the issue.

Peter Bickford of Christ Episcopal Church in Norway told the convention Friday that he had voted for B033 but had done so reluctantly. He urged delegates to pass the proposed resolution to repeal it because it was in conflict with Canon Law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“After prayerful consideration, I believe we need to pass this,” said Geoffrey Schuller of Mount Desert, who worships at Saint Saviour in Bar Harbor. “This is our position [concerning the election of gay and lesbian bishops] and we need to come to terms with it. We need to consider the feelings of the Anglican Church, but we need to take a stand.”

The Rev. Barbara Clarke, who recently retired after serving St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Brewer, urged the convention to pass the resolution. A lesbian who has been in a committed relationship for many years, Clarke called B033 a “de facto denial of access” for gay and lesbian clergy to the possibility of being elected bishops.

Lane did not vote on the issue but Robinson participated in his consecration service earlier this year.

“My greatest joy, as your new bishop, has been meeting the people of the Diocese of Maine,” Lane said. “Everywhere I go, I’m impressed by the energy and the commitment of our congregations. Most have a solid worshiping community and are engaged in serious ministry to the larger congregations.

“And yet everywhere I go, I encounter concerns about aging congregations and shrinking budgets,” he continued. “Parish leaders are concerned about burnout and succession planning. I’ve been asked if I intend to close congregations or merge them. People are very concerned about the future of their churches. And so am I. It seems to me that we need an alternative to simply letting the economy have its way with us.”

Lane said that he did not intend to close churches, but pointed out that the diocese has many small congregations. The diocese has 66 parishes that are served by 29 full-time clergy. Nearly, 40 percent — a total of 26 congregations — need diocesan grants to stay afloat.

The bishop said that he wanted the diocese and congregations to engage in priority setting and strategic planning over the next year two years. He also announced a committee to study how the convention is planned, where it is held, and whether the work can be completed in one day instead of two.

The convention is scheduled to conclude today.


Bishop of Ottawa Proposes Blessing Of Same-Gender Civil Mariages

Found on: Walking with Intergrity

Below is the relevant portion of Bishop Chapman’s charge to his diocesan synod on Thursday…

“Synod 2007 adopted a motion ‘requesting the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that he authorize an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.’

“For a year now I have reflected on how I should respond to the mind of Synod. I have prayed for God’s guidance, sought the counsel of fellow bishops, and listened carefully to all who have spoken from various perspectives. In forming my response to this motion I have been strengthened in my conviction that God remains faithful in guiding His Church to the truth, that our chief call on this matter is a pastoral one, and that we are challenged to proclaim a prophetic voice to the Church and to the world.

“When we gather at Synod, we pray that our church will be guided by the Spirit of God. I believe God is faithful to us in this and as we discern how to proceed, the decisions we make, informed and shaped by healthy debate and conversation, are the result of the leading of that same Spirit for which we have prayed.

“With the benefit of scientific and medical knowledge we know sexual orientation is a given and a gift from God in the lives of all people. Our challenge is to determine how all persons may rejoice in and celebrate this God given gift so it honours our creator and gives dignity to the creatures of God. I believe our dealing with the issues of human sexuality is fundamentally a pastoral matter. How is God calling us to proclaim the gospel, the good news of Jesus, to those whose sexual givenness has resulted in their marginalization and has often made them victims in their communities, families and churches?

“I am mindful that we do not normally act in isolation. The question of blessing same-sex civil marriages is before our sister and brother Christians in many Dioceses and Provinces of the Church. My observation of how various parts of the church deal with the question leads me to believe that we will not go forward at the same pace nor with uniformity. At the Lambeth Conference this summer the Bishops of the communion articulated a strong desire that we remain together as a communion. Equally strong were convictions held on all sides of human sexuality issues.

Moratoria emerging from Lyambeth, while reflecting a majority view, hold neither the command of consensus nor the proscriptive authority of legislation. In other words, it appears that a majority of Bishops desire a moratorium but a legislation or decision has yet to be taken. As well, majority support for a moratorium was not evident among the Bishops from Canada, the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Scotland, Ireland and the Congo to name just a few provinces.

At this juncture I believe some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, challenging long held assumptions, unseating prejudices, and advocating on behalf of those whose circumstances to not permit them to advocate for themselves. Others are being called to speak with a voice of caution calling the Church to evaluate and test all positions with the longstanding three-fold reliance on tradition, reason, and scripture.

While the prophetic voice and the voice of caution may not find a common place within the Chruch from which to speak they can both be embraced within the breadth of the body of Christ. For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Ottawa, are among those who have been called by God to speak with the voice of a prophet. Synod 2007 reflects this communal desire. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the Church. It is our voice that is calling to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God’s blessing.

“It is my intention to place before the Canadian House of Bishops, next week, my prayerful hope regarding the issue of ‘blessings’. It is important that I honour the collegiality of the Canadian House; we are, after all, an episcopally led and synodically governed church. It is my intention at this meeting to discuss my hope which includes my desire to make the following statement: ‘That we, in Ottawa, begin to explore experientially, the blessing of duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; to charge the Doctrine and Worship Committee with the responsibility to develop an appropriate rite for this blessing. Upon the authorization of a rite, I will give my permission for one parish within the Diocese to offer the blessing of civil marriages between same-sex couples. Discernment continues!’

This hope is not and must not be understood as a conclusive statement affirming that the church must and ought to proceed with the blessings of same-sex civilly married couples. As the church was not able to come to a clear mind regarding the benefits of the ordination of women to the priesthood until the church experienced the priestly ministry of women, so must we take the process of discernment to a place beyond discussion. We have talked about this issue since I was a seminary student in the mid-seventies. In order to further the discernment process, we must ‘experience’ the issue as church before clarity of heart and mind might be attained.

For this reason, I hope to proceed, but slowly and cautiously. This would be an initial step from which we can observe and learn. If we are to interpret our scriptures using prayerful reason in interpretation and application as generations before us, most especially on matters that reflect a historical context and appear inconsistent with a scriptural mandate, e.g., divorce, slavery, usury or the role of women, then, we must encourage discernment fully and completely.

What I propose will allow for a continuation of our discernment process without obligation or a non-negotiable commitment. Our process will allow ourselves to be better informed as we go forward to General Synod 2010 where this issue will be discussed again.

“Within one month following the completion of the House of Bishops’ meeting next week, I will make a conclusive statement to the Diocese regarding next steps.”


Central Interior assembly says ‘yes’ to blessings

Similar request declared out of order at Ontario synod
Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Oct 22, 2008

The assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) has requested its bishop, Gordon Light, to allow clergy whose conscience permits to bless civilly-married gay couples where at least one party is baptized. The assembly passed the motion when it met Oct. 17 to 19.

A notice of a similar motion was filed at the synod of the diocese of Ontario but was declared out of order by the diocesan bishop, George Bruce, who acted on the advice of the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor). The ruling was appealed at the synod held Oct. 16 to 18 but was upheld by a majority vote of delegates.

At the APCI assembly, Bishop Light gave concurrence to the motion but suspended any action pending consultations with the Canadian house of bishops, which meets Oct. 27 to 31 to discuss, among others, how best to respond to renewed proposals for moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of persons living in same-sex unions to the episcopate, and cross-border interventions.

Since the 2007 General Synod four dioceses have already passed similar motions – Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara, and Huron. The diocesan synod of New Westminster approved same-sex blessings in 2002.

Of the 50 clergy and lay delegates at the APCI assembly, 36 voted yes (72 per cent), 10 voted no (20 per cent), and four (8 per cent) abstained. APCI is composed of 18 parishes (including 35 congregations) which was constituted after the former diocese of Cariboo closed its diocesan office in 2001 because of financial pressures surrounding lawsuits about abuse at the St. George’s Indian Residential School in Lytton, B.C.

“We had a very respectful discussion. All voices were heard,” said Rev. Susan Hermanson, rector of St. Peter’s Anglican church in Williams Lake, who moved the motion. She said that approval of the motion “allows us to accept gays and lesbians fully as part of our family and, as in all families, we can disagree with one another and still be part of the family.”

In a telephone interview, she added that the motion was also meant to “take a reading” of where APCI was on the issue. She noted that in 2000, the diocesan synod of Cariboo had approved  a motion affirming the full inclusion of gay and lesbian couples in the life of the church.  Since then, parishes have been discussing and studying the issue further, she said. “We have, in fact, been discussing this issue for the last 30 years now,” she said.

In her written background and explanation, Ms. Hermanson noted that APCI “is a diverse community and therefore respects and honours those who, because of their theological position or as a matter of conscience, cannot agree with the blessing of same-sex unions.”

Anglicans opposed to same-sex blessings believe that homosexuality is contrary to scripture and to Anglican teaching. To date, 14 of about 2,800 congregations have left the Canadian Anglican church over theological disagreements over homosexuality. These churches have joined a group called the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and placed themselves under the episcopal oversight of the primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables.

Meanwhile, Bishop Bruce said he referred the notice of motion to approve same-sex blessings to the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor) to determine “whether what it sought was within the authority of both synod and myself as bishop.”

In his charge to the synod, Bishop Bruce said that the chancellor had advised him that the motion is ultra vires (beyond the power) of both him and the synod. “Firstly, because at its inception, matters relating to doctrine were ceded by dioceses to the General Synod and secondly, as you heard, General Synod 2007 clearly affirmed that blessing same-sex unions was a matter of doctrine,” he said. “Therefore, until such time as the General Synod addresses the question of whether the theology of marriage can be extended to all legally qualified persons and decides for or against amending Canon XXI (the national church canon on marriage), the request made in this motion remains within the authority of General Synod.”

At its triennial meeting in June 2007, General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national governing body, agreed that same-sex blessings are “not in conflict” with core church doctrine, but declined by a slim margin to affirm the authority of dioceses to offer them.

Nathan Brinklow, who filed the motion and is a parishioner of St. Thomas’, Belleville, Ont., said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the synod’s decision. “I am a little concerned that bishop so obviously ignored the precendent set by several other dioceses when we’re all interpreting the same Constitution and canons,” he said. “There is a growing level of frustration amongst many that we’ve run out of ways to put this decision off.  We either need to move forward and practice what we preach or we need to own up to the way things really are and stop pretending we’re something we’re not. “

While the motion was declared out of order, the synod of Ontario engaged in indaba group discussions designed “to help us discern God’s will around same-sex matters,” said Bishop Bruce. (Indaba, which is Zulu for “a gathering for purposeful discussion,”was a process used at the recent Lambeth Conference of bishops.)

In a related development, the diocesan bishop of Brandon, Jim Njegovan, addressed the issue of cross-border interventions in his charge to the diocesan synod held Oct. 16 to 18.

“Sadly, our diocese, even though we as a synod have not even begun to address permitting parishes to bless same-sex couples, has been one of those parts of the communion affected by cross-provincial intervention and it is all the more painful because it has been done by those who many of us considered friends and colleagues,” said Bishop Njegovan.

St. Bede’s, a small rural congregation of the South Parkland parish in the diocese of Brandon, voted to leave Oct. 15.

Bishop Njegovan noted that his predecessor, Malcolm Harding, had relinquished his order of ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, “meaning that for all intents and purposes he was ‘laicized;’ that is, he could no longer exercise any ordained ministerial function within the church and could not use ministerial titles or wear clerical vesture.” He said that following ancient practice and polity of the church, this would apply not only to ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada “but also within all churches in full communion with us, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and all the churches of the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Njegovan said that his predecessor, now recognized as a bishop by Archbishop Venables, has been meeting in various communities in the diocese “with the intent of planting ‘ network’ (ANiC) churches.” He cautioned parishioners against believing what they have been told “that they would still be Anglicans recognized by the communion” once they leave the Canadian Anglican church and fall under the jurisdiction of another province like the Southern Cone.

He said that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stated in a letter to him that his office and that of the Anglican Communion only recognizes “one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitute part of the communion, that being the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Bishop Njegovan said that while the Southern Cone is a recognized part of the communion and Archbishop Venables was invited and present at the Lambeth Conference of bishops “those claiming to be under his jurisdiction in Canada were not and are not so recognized.”

In his strongly-worded charge, Bishop Njegovan added, “It could be argued that the promotion of schism within the church has always been considered an even greater heresy in that it flies directly in the face of the scriptural call to unity…”


Lambeth Post-Mortem continues

Dr Williams has made a split inevitable in the Anglican Church


… includes these quotes:

The Rev Susan Russell, of the US gay lobby group Integrity, said that Dr Williams was seeking a false unity based in dishonesty. The latest revelations would encourage liberals in North America to press on with their agenda and protect them against charges of apostasy, she said.“That Archbishop Rowan Williams’s theology is identical to that held by Canadian and American Anglican Churches currently blessing same-sex unions is not news,” Ms Russell said. “What should be news is the rank hypocrisy of Williams’s willingness to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the communion when the only difference between what’s happening in our Churches and in his is that we’re telling the truth about it.”

The Rev Giles Fraser, Vicar of St Mary’s in Putney, southwest London, which played host to the gay US bishop Gene Robinson on his recent visit to London, said: “I know Dr Williams thinks the Church is important. But this is almost saying the Church is more important than belief. We had a Reformation to change that view.” Just for the record, here’s the whole comment I sent to the Times this morning per their request (I kinda liked the wise man built his house upon the rock part they didn’t use!):

+Williams’ affirmation that a theology supporting the holiness of gay and lesbian partnerships is not only viable but shared by the Archbishop of Canterbury will be received as encouragement by those who continue to press on toward full inclusion. It should give rest, once and for all, to the fiction that our perspective lies outside of the bounds of historic Anglicanism and end the charges of apostasy and heresy from those who disagree with us on the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Anglicans in the work and witness of the church.

The sacrifice that will hold the Anglican Communion together is not the sacrifice of the gay and lesbian baptized but the sacrifice of a false unity based in dishonesty. That +Rowan Williams’ theology is identical to that held by Canadian and American Anglican churches currently blessing same sex unions is not news. What should be news is the rank hypocrisy of Williams’ willingness to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the Communion when the only difference between what’s happening in our churches and in his is that we’re telling the truth about it.

Scripture tells us what happened to the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. It’s time for the Archbishop of Canterbury to act like the wise man he is and build the future of the Anglican Communion on the solid rock of honest differences reflected in the Lambeth Indaba Report and not on the shifting sands of global Anglican politics. Jesus promised us that “the truth will set you free.” The Communion deserves nothing less than the truth — and so does the Gospel.

Picked up at: The Times Online:

Dr Williams has made a split inevitable in the Anglican Church

The Archbishop of Canterbury faces a fresh furore over the strength of his liberal views on gay relationships

A split in the Anglican Church was inevitable, a leading conservative cleric said last night as he attacked Rowan Williams’s belief that gay relationships could be “comparable to marriage”.

After a successful Lambeth Conference for the Archbishop of Canterbury, where he avoided schism over the issue, Dr Williams faced a fresh furore over the strength of his liberal views.

The Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables, predicted the end of the communion, saying: “This is more evidence of the unravelling of Anglicanism. Without a clearly agreed biblical foundation, all the goodwill in the world cannot stop the inevitable break-up. Unity without truth is disunity.”

Archbishop Venables, who has infuriated North American Anglicans by taking conservative defectors into his South American province, including the entire Diocese of San JoaquÍn in central California, was among the organisers of the recent Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem.

With Archbishop Henry Orombi, of Uganda, and Dr Peter Akinola, of Nigeria, he will be at the meeting of the Global Anglican primates in London this month, where Anglican bishops who boycotted Lambeth will discuss Dr Williams’s views.

A leading Global South primate told The Times that most conservative bishops and archbishops in Africa and Asia had been unaware of Dr Williams’s personal theology on same-sex relations and had never read his 1989 essay The Body’s Grace, where he gave some indication of his views.

The disclosures will add impetus to the Global Anglican Future movement and drive liberals and conservatives in the Anglican Communion even farther apart.

The emergence of Dr Williams’s views, in private correspondence published by The Times yesterday, prompted renewed attacks on his leadership from British conservatives.

The Rev Rod Thomas, of Reform, a network of Anglican evangelicals committed to reforming the Church of England, said: “For many people in the communion, what this reveals calls into question the ability of Dr Williams to lead the communion out of the crisis it is in. Despite his considerable personal qualities, he is so obviously torn. In his very person he is bound to give encouragement to one side of the controversy. This leaves a vacuum of leadership and that is why the Global Anglican Future Conference emerged.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury also came under attack from liberals, particularly in the United States, who accused him of “rank hypocrisy” for blaming them for rifts among Anglicans, while British liberals criticised him for putting unity before belief.

The Rev Susan Russell, of the US gay lobby group Integrity, said that Dr Williams was seeking a false unity based in dishonesty. The latest revelations would encourage liberals in North America to press on with their agenda and protect them against charges of apostasy, she said.

“That Archbishop Rowan Williams’s theology is identical to that held by Canadian and American Anglican Churches currently blessing same-sex unions is not news,” Ms Russell said. “What should be news is the rank hypocrisy of Williams’s willingness to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the communion when the only difference between what’s happening in our Churches and in his is that we’re telling the truth about it.”

The Rev Giles Fraser, Vicar of St Mary’s in Putney, southwest London, which played host to the gay US bishop Gene Robinson on his recent visit to London, said: “I know Dr Williams thinks the Church is important. But this is almost saying the Church is more important than belief. We had a Reformation to change that view.”

Clergy and laity in the centre ground defended Dr Williams. The Rev Graham Kings, Vicar of St Mary’s, Islington, in North London and founder of the open evangelical group Fulcrum, said the letters “added nothing” to what was known of Dr Williams’s views.

Dr Williams said in a letter to an evangelical churchgoer that, after 20 years of thought, study and prayer, he had concluded that the Bible did not condemn homosexuality.

A Western imposition

Analysis: Tabu Butagira

It is no coincidence that African bishops are among the most prominent voices speaking against same-sex relations.

Africans are largely conservative about issues of sexuality. Homosexual relationships are illegal in most parts of the continent. In Uganda, sodomy attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The continent now finds itself struggling with an increase in homosexual behaviour, which is seen by many Africans as an alien cultural imposition perpetuated by rich Westerners targeting vulnerable youths. Indigenous African communities often shun and vilify homosexuals.

Opposition to homosexuality has united African political leaders, atheists and clerics determined to defeat what is seen as cultural imperialism. The disagreement within the Anglican Communion looks set only to deepen further.

Tabu Butagira is a senior reporter at the Daily Monitor in Uganda and David Astor Journalism Award Trust Fellow on attachment to The Times


In Between: The Church of the Not So Open Door

An Inch at a Time: Reflections on the Journey
Susan Russell –

I write this as we fly from Heathrow to LAX on the Monday after Lambeth Conference 2008. The map on the airline video monitor tells me we’re somewhere over Greenland. My watch tells me it’s either coming up on 2pm or 6am …depending on whether I want to be on London or L.A. time. So I’m in a very “in between place” at the moment.

And so, I believe, is our Church and our Communion.

There is much dust yet to settle before it will be possible to make whatever sense we will eventually make out of the just concluded Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops. I’m not going to attempt to make any sense of it myself … not from this in between place. But I am going to offer some thoughts … at least in part so I can get them out of my head and settle in to the nap I should surely be taking at this point of this journey home – whatever time it is!

There were many good things that happened in Canterbury between July 16 and August 3:

Despite the dire predictions of a coup d’état, instead of an outbreak of schism there was an outbreak of civility. The interactions between the bishops over their two-week conference were marked by generosity and by a holy curiosity and genuine interest in learning from each other about mission and ministry in the various parts of the global communion. Building on those relationships – one-on-one, diocese by diocese, year by year – will continue to build up the bonds of affection that make up the fabric of this global communion of which is our Anglican family of faith.

The Indaba process offered a model of listening and reflection that might be the best souvenior any of them will bring home from their trip across the pond. I wondered aloud with a few of our bishops if we might not think about a way to bring that process home to the U.S. and imagine it as a means for conversation that would involve the whole church as we move toward General Convention 2009 and look beyond in our mission and ministry.

There was tremendous effort, energy, prayer and practice generated to make this Lambeth 2008 an opportunity for bishops from around the Communion to reflect on the multitude of issues that challenge us as Anglican Christians to live out our faith in the world. While our differences on human sexuality inevitably dominated the press reports, they did not dominate the daily discourse, where the bishops’ agenda focused on the kaleidoscope issues and opportunities that both challenge and bless us as a global communion.

After a decade of drum beating and saber rattling by the conservative fringe seeking to replace the generous comprehensiveness that is our heritage as Anglican Christians with a narrow orthodoxy that is not, the bishops in their weeks of reflection and the Archbishop of Canterbury in his 2nd Presidential Address clearly came down on the side of diversity. Despite both external and internal pressure for “resolutions” that would bring “clarity” on questions that challenge us, there was explicit recognition that those who disagree with the majority perspective reflected in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 are, in fact, faithful Anglican Christians and fall within the parameters of “the faith received through the ages.”

The opportunity to witness with LGBT Anglicans from around the globe to the Good News of Christ Jesus present in our lives, our relationships and our vocations was an incredible privilege. Our allies included the UK and Canada, Mexico and Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. The production of the “The Lambeth Witness” – a daily news and reflection paper – allowed us to resource our bishops with the voices they had committed to bring into their discussions at Lambeth Conference: the voices of the voiceless LGBT faithful who remain invisible strangers at the gate in much of the communion.

I want to applaud the extraordinary lengths to which so many of our bishops went to be supportive, available and active toward the goal of the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ. I can’t possibly name them all … thankfully, they were too numerous to easily count, but want to call out +Tom Ely (Vermont) for his dogged faithfulness in organizing, cheerleading and networking; +Marc Andrus (California) for being fabulous in general and for his support of Voices of Witness: Africa in particular; +Mark Beckwith (Newark) and +Bruce Caldwell (Wyoming) for their work with the Chicago Consultation; +Gayle Harris (Massachusetts), +Nedi Rivera (Olympia) and +Chilton Knudsen (Maine) for their unfailing good humor, honesty and transparency; for all the “blogging bishops” who helped keep us clued in; for +Cathy Roskam (New York) who risked speaking truth to power on gender violence and has the scars to prove it; and my own bishops –+Jon, +Chet, +Bob & +Sergio – for not forgetting for a minute that as bishops they are shepherds to all their sheep: not just the straight ones!

I also want to note those bishops who do not agree with the inclusive perspective we understand to be God’s will for this church and yet stood in solidarity with us against those who would divide us from each other and from our Anglican brothers and sisters. +Duncan Gray (Mississippi) and +Charles Jenkins (Louisiana) are but two who spoke publicly and eloquently in that regard … and I know there were others.

Revisiting all that was good and holy and hopeful about this Lambeth Conference somehow makes the actions of the last day of the conference all the more difficult to fathom.

+Rowan Williams and his conference design team set the tone for reflection and deep listening to God and to each other during the opening retreat days of the conference, created a process of faithful conversations within the Indaba Groups informed by the daily Bible Studies and invited as plenary speakers visionary leaders like Brian McLaren and Jonathan Sacks. They resisted the conservatives within the conference who pushed for opportunities for “up or down” votes, the Gafconistas outside the conference pushing their schismatic agenda and the media covering the conference trying to manufacture controversy in order to have something to write about.

And yet, at the 11th hour — in his final Presidential Address and at the Press Conference following — +Rowan Williams managed to snatch the defeat of a guarantee that issues of human sexuality will stay on the front burner of communion discourse for the foreseeable future out of the jaws of the victory of a conference what was on the verge of finding a new way forward in faith for those committed to walk together in spite of their differences.

By pushing his preference that the American and Canadian churches abide by the moratoria on blessings of same sex unions and the consecration of any more openly gay bishops, he undid in a two-hour span a good percentage of the good work that had been accomplished over the two- week conference.

He was unwilling to let stand the Indaba Reflection reports as a mind of the communion declining to draw lines in the sand that would further polarize us on our differences on human sexuality and continue to distract us from the other issues our Gospel mission and ministry crying for our attention. After two weeks at Lambeth Conference, the mind of the bishops to live with those differences rather than let them be the divisions the Gafconistas insist they must be offered a great whiff of hope to the end of the sex wars and a vision for the beginning of a new way of being communion together.

Instead, Williams turned a blind eye to their leadership and threw down a gauntlet to the Americans and Canadians – challenging them to make the “Sophie’s Choice” between the full inclusion of their provinces in the Anglican Communion or the full inclusion of their LGBT baptized in the Body of Christ. Some bishops have already responded – including Marc Andrus in an ENS article:

Andrus said California would not abide by the moratorium on same-sex blessings but that he takes it “as incumbent on me and on us in the diocese to actively labor to both understand the position of those to whom that moratorium is important, and to convey the reality of our life together to the world.”

And I was grateful to see this quote from the Integrity Lambeth Response Statement included by ENS as well: “there is nothing ‘generous’ about asking the LGBT faithful to bear the burden of unity of the Anglican Communion on their shoulders and there is no theological defense for sacrificing a minority of the baptized to the will of a majority.”

So there you have it. And now I’m ready for my nap.


Reactions to Lambeth Conference span the spectrum

Episcopal Life Online – News

[Episcopal News Service, Canterbury] The buses bearing the 2008 Lambeth Conference’s 670 purple cassock-clad bishops had barely arrived at Canterbury Cathedral for the 18-day gathering’s final Eucharist August 3 when reactions to the event and its final reflections document began to appear.

The reactions ranged across the spectrum of opinion, with some urging decisive action in concert with the comments made in the reflections document and some cautioning against making legislation out of a document that is a self-described narrative of the conference.

Noticeably quiet on that day was the Global Anglican Future Conference, which held a June gathering of conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians in Jerusalem. Its silence was noteworthy considering that the absence of the so-called GAFCON bishops is referenced in the introductory section of the reflections document.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said near the end of his final presidential address that “in the months ahead it will be important to invite those absent from Lambeth to be involved in these next stages” of the efforts to maintain the communion. “Much in the GAFCON documents is consonant with much of what we have sought to say and do, and we need to look for the best ways of building bridges here,” he said.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, who emerged as a GAFCON leader during its June gathering in Jerusalem, said August 4 in a short news release that “our absence focused minds on the problems within the communion and spoke louder than our presence would have.”

A two-sentence statement appeared August 4 on GAFCON’s website, saying: “The Primates’ Council of GAFCON will wish to study the outcome of the Lambeth Conference carefully and consult with those they are leading. They are meeting towards the end of August and will make their response following that meeting.”

There was still a day to go before the reflections document was released when the bishops of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa issued a statement August 2 calling for “a spirit of mutual submission to prevail and for unity to be restored.”

Bishops Mouneer Anis, Derek Eaton, and Andrew Proud said that the gathering had been a “most valuable opportunity to express our thoughts and concerns and to listen to the concerns of others.” They called for movement on the Windsor continuation process, the Anglican covenant and the moratoria — called for in the Windsor Report (in Section D) — on authorizing public rites for blessing same-gender relationships, consecrating people involved in same-gender relationships and crossing diocesan and provincial borders to exercise episcopal ministry.

The three argue that the first two moratoria “pertain to central moral teaching while the last is a matter simply of administration and good order.”

Anis, the primate of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, is also one of the signatories of a statement issued August 3 by the self-identified members of the Anglican global south.

The statement was issued from the Lambeth Conference, according to the text, and is currently also signed by bishops and primates Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean), Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi), Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle (Congo), John Chew (Southeast Asia), Stephen Than Myint Oo (Myanmar), Valentino Mokiwa (Tanzania), Daniel Deng Bul Yak (Sudan), and Justice Ofei Akrofi (West Africa), John Wilson Gladstone (South India) and Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania). The current version of the statement notes that the list of signers is being updated.

The signers said that they “stand in solidarity with all the faithful Bishops, Clergy and Laity in the United States and Canada and elsewhere who are suffering recrimination and hostility perpetrated upon them by their dioceses and/or national churches which have not unequivocally complied with the specific Windsor proposals required of them in full.”

They said the communion “is at the probable brink of collapse” and that the May 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) ought to endorse the proposed Anglican covenant. They called on the Lambeth Conference to give “clear endorsement and immediate implementation” of the Windsor Continuation Group’s July 28 proposal for a pastoral forum.

The continuation group, charged with the implementation of the some of the Windsor Report’s recommendations, proposed that the forum that would rapidly “engage theologically and practically with situations of controversy as they arise or divisive actions that may be taken around the Communion.” The forum could “offer pastoral advice and guidelines.” It could also develop a plan to hold “in trust” alternative Anglican groups that have attempted to organize people who disagree with the Episcopal Church’s stance on the issues involved in the moratoria so that they can prepare “for their reconciliation within their proper provinces,” the continuation group said.

While the reflections document says the idea of a pastoral forum was supported by many Lambeth bishops, it did not outline the implementation the statement signers called for. Williams said in his last presidential address that he would “look within the next two months for a clear and detailed specification for the task and composition of a pastoral forum.” Williams did not say where that “specification” would come from, although the continuation group has said it will meet in the fall to consider what it heard from bishops at Lambeth.

The Global South leaders’ statement also charges that “substantial theological voices outside of the Western world have not been present in the evening plenary sessions of the Lambeth Conference,” calling it an example of the “continuing patronising attitude of the West towards the rest of the churches worldwide.” The signers deem the perceived lack to be part of what they call “attempts to cause divisions and break the bonds between churches in the Global South,” adding that “the realities in our churches are often misrepresented and misunderstood in the West.”

The statement says that the Global South Primates’ Steering Committee will meet soon to discuss “how to move the global Anglican Communion substantially and effectively forward.” The signers pledge to work with “all orthodox groups in the United States of America and Canada: to listen together to what Lord Jesus says to his church today, to draw strength and insights from one another, and to take fresh initiatives in upholding and passing on the faith once delivered to the saints.”

On the day after the conference, Diocese of California Bishop Marc Andrus described as “profound and generous”
Williams’ suggestion in his final presidential address that “there will be some who cannot abide by these moratoria, and in this they signal that there are steps to deeper unity they cannot take; or it may be that they conceive of deeper unity in other ways.”

Andrus said California would not abide by the moratorium on same-sex blessings but that he takes it “as incumbent on me and on us in the diocese to actively labor to both understand the position of those to whom that moratorium is important, and to convey the reality of our life together to the world.”

Andrus echoed others’ reactions when he noted that “the document is not legislation.”

“We will pay close attention to it, but we must not reify the agreement points in it into laws, and we should resist interpretations that seek to employ those agreements as laws,” he wrote.

On August 3, Integrity USA’s Susan Russell warned of a similar tendency, urging bishops to “resist the temptation of those who will try to turn this descriptive document into a proscriptive edict.”

She also challenged the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops to partner with the House of Deputies “to break the cycle of being bullied into bigotry and distracted from mission and ministry by those who would exclude us because of our commitment to the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ.”

“We look forward to General Convention 2009 and the opportunities we will have there to move the church further forward on the journey toward full inclusion,” Russell continued.

“We remind our bishops that we cannot live up to our baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being if we tell some of them that they are good enough to arrange our flowers, play our organs, direct our choirs, teach our Sunday Schools, and lead our worship — but not good enough to have their vocations affirmed and their relationships blessed,” Russell said.

Referring to suggestions made during the conference that the proposed Anglican covenant and the moratoria might be ways that members of the communion might be generous towards each other, Russell argued that “there is nothing ‘generous’ about asking the LGBT faithful to bear the burden of unity of the Anglican Communion on their shoulders and there is no theological defense for sacrificing a minority of the baptized to the will of a majority.”

Diocese of Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee said August 3 in a video log that he had come to understand “like never before” how physically dangerous it can be for some Anglicans to discuss homosexuality. He said he came “face-to-face with fellow believers who hold a view of Scripture that I cannot understand.” Lee said that he did not get answers to the questions he asked them about how the issue of the full inclusion of homosexual persons can rise “to the level of saving [the] faith or should be the cause of the breaking of communion.”

Before the reflections document was released on the afternoon of August 3, South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence, who later called Williams’ comment about GAFCON “a crucial and gracious overture,” told reporters that he had witnessed a “new prince” being born at the group’s Jerusalem meeting.

“It was an awkward and messy birth,” he said, reading from what he called his “morning meditation.” Lawrence said he knew that his role is now to “hold together as much as I can for as long as I can that when he comes to his rightful place on St. Augustine’s throne in Canterbury Cathedral he will have a faithful and richly textured kingdom.”

— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is Episcopal Life Media correspondent for Episcopal Church governance, structure, and trends.