Skip to comments.California weighs up cost of electing first lesbian bishop
Posted on 03/13/2006 12:11:21 PM PST by sionnsar
· Debate increases fears of schism over sex and faith
· Appointment would defy Anglican moratorium
Julian Borger in Washington
Monday March 13, 2006
If elected on May 6, Reverend Bonnie Perry would become the church's first lesbian bishop, a new milestone for the Episcopal church, the American branch of Anglicanism. She is at present the rector of a church in Chicago, and in an open same-sex relationship with another clergywoman.
Another of the five shortlisted candidates, Rev Robert Taylor, the Dean of Seattle, is also in a long-term gay relationship.
When the Episcopal church first appointed a gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003, it triggered a crisis in the Anglican faith, which claims 77 million followers around the world.
The Windsor Report, a study of the controversy adopted by the Anglican prelates the following year, recommended a moratorium on appointment of gay bishops and suspension of gay marriages. If California's Episcopalians elected a gay or lesbian bishop and the choice was ratified by the national church's general convention in June, some observers believe it would lead to an irrevocable split.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has expressed deep unease over the nominations, which were announced last month.
"If there is ever to be a change on the discipline and teaching of the Anglican Communion [on homosexuality] it should not be the decision of one Church alone," the archbishop told the Church of England Newspaper. "The Church must have the highest degree of consensus for such a radical change."
The California election could also further fragment the Episcopal church, which has suffered defections from conservative congregations since the appointment of Bishop Robinson.
Cynthia Brust, speaking for the American Anglican Council, a conservative pressure group within the Episcopal church, described the nomination of Revs Perry and Taylor as "an open act of defiance."
"The message is, we don't care about being part of the Anglican Communion," Ms Brust told the San Jose Mercury News.
Meanwhile, Integrity, an advocacy group for gays in the church, appealed for tolerance. "We realise some of our brothers and sisters in other provinces of the Anglican communion will be dismayed by Robert and Bonnie's nomination and, perhaps, regard it as a deliberate disregard for the Windsor report," it said in a statement. "However, it must be remembered that the Windsor report is a set of recommendations with no binding authority."
"If we let it, it can be an opportunity to learn from each other," the Rev Susan Russell, Integrity's president, said yesterday. "But my fear is that there are entrenched camps at either end of this issue who will not allow a solution and I think that grieves the heart of God much more than the nomination of Robert or Bonnie."
Rev Perry has kept a low profile during the controversy and said that she hoped she would not be chosen or rejected because of her sexual orientation.
"The folks in my interview were much more interested in what gifts and skills I would bring to leading the diocese of California," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I would like to be a leader in our church and possibly a bishop without having the 'gay and lesbian' adjective always attached to my name."
Rev Perry has been rector of All Saints Church in Chicago for 13 years, and has been in a lesbian relationship for 18 years. She first spoke publicly about it in 1997, after receiving a death threat. "A core belief at All Saints' is that the Gospel doesn't matter a rat's tail if it doesn't change people's lives," she says on her church's website. "So we invite people to discern what their gifts may be and then find many and varied ways to make use of these gifts to begin changing our world."
The issue of gay clergy could lead to a schism in the 77 million-strong Anglican communion. Clerics in Africa and the US have threatened to break away after the US Episcopal Church elected Gene Robinson - who is openly gay - as a bishop.
In November Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, faced demands from Anglican archbishops that he act against "unrepented sexual immorality" in the church.
The issue will come to a head in June when the US Episcopal Church is expected to reject demands that it repent its endorsement of Mr Robinson.
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.
FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.
Resource for Traditional Anglicans: http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com
Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)
Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15
"But my fear is that there are entrenched camps at either end of this issue who will not allow a solution and I think that grieves the heart of God much more than the nomination of Robert or Bonnie."
Let's just suppose, for a moment, this is completely true.
Why would anybody want to "grieve the heart of God" AT ALL.
Suicide is worse than tearing one of your own eyes out of its socket.
You shouldn't do either.
But did it restrict lesbians?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.