Skip to comments.Diocesan debate about lesbian priest escalates: Bishop of Ottawa called on to rescind his decision
Posted on 04/04/2006 5:26:39 PM PDT by sionnsar
A controversy over Bishop Peter Coffin's decision to grant a temporary licence in the diocese of Ottawa to an American lesbian priest who is in a relationship with a woman has continued, with a group of clergy calling for a rescinding of the decision saying it constitutes a "breach of the General Synod process in place in this country and puts our relationship with the world-wide Anglican Communion in jeopardy."
The Anglican Gathering of Ottawa (AGO), a group that says it "seeks to follow the traditional teaching and beliefs of the Anglican church," said the action has "set us on the course to fully embracing a new policy with regards to same-gendered blessings and issues surrounding Holy Orders."
In an open letter posted on its Web site and on Ottawa's diocesan e-mail discussion list, the group added: "Priests are supposed to be held to a high moral standard. That standard has always been faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman or abstinence. If a bishop sanctions same-sex 'marriage' in the priesthood, surely there can be no basis for refusing to marry any same-sex couple."
The letter was signed by seven priests.
Bishop Coffin has stated that he would stand by his decision to grant Rev. Linda Fisher Privitera, a priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States, "temporary permission" to function as an associate priest at the parish of St. John the Evangelist, saying it does not reflect a change in diocesan policy.
Meanwhile, debate on the decision has continued on the diocese's e-mail list, with Ms. Privitera's partner, Melissa Haussman, urging an end to "this silliness." She described statements that Ms. Privitera is the first gay priest in the diocese as "nonsense; she is not and I'm quite sure that many of you know that."
OTTAWA PARISH WITHHOLDS CONTRIBUTIONS
A parish in the diocese of Ottawa has withheld its contribution to the diocesan budget for the second year in a row, saying it can't support the direction being taken by "leaders of the diocese" on the issue of the blessing of same-sex unions.
St. Alban the Martyr's decision to withhold its apportionment was not made public until recently, when Bishop Peter Coffin wrote to the church's wardens, calling the decision "deeply disturbing." He added that their move would affect other parishes and "it is only fair to make your decision public."
St. Alban's rector, Rev. George Sinclair, chairs the Anglican Essentials Council, a conservative group that believes homosexuality is prohibited by the Bible and is contrary to traditional Anglican teaching. A spokesman for St. Alban, warden Peter Di Gangi, said the church's action was "a matter of conscience" and a response to actions that "appear to be leading away from the worldwide Anglican church."
In 2005, St. Alban's apportionment was $16,112, or 0.83 per cent of the total diocesan budget and in 2006 it is $20,574, or 1.03 per cent of the total budget. Parish contributions are voluntary and Bishop Coffin noted that "our system does not provide for any sanctions or other actions for parishes who will not support the mission of the wider church."
However, he said, "the apportionment assists mission in the diocese including social service ministries, support for parish programs, youth ministries, etc. It has nothing to do with same-gender blessing. Why would one not want to support this?"
Mr. Di Gangi noted that an Ottawa priest, Canon Garth Bulmer, successfully introduced a motion at the 2004 General Synod that "affirmed the integrity and sanctity of committed same-sex relationships." The motion had the support of diocesan leaders and "that's part of what went into our decision," he said.
How anyone could still be a part of that 'church' is beyond me. They openly mock and defy Gods word with their actions.
The names sound made up - it is like a parody.
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