Skip to comments.Liveblogging the American Team Presentation to the ACC in Nottingham
Posted on 06/21/2005 10:03:39 AM PDT by sionnsar
Liveblogging the American Team Presentation to the ACC in Nottingham
The atmosphere is tense, the temperature is warm, and the lecture hall at the University of Nottingham is filling up.
Sam Candler, Dean of the Cathedral in Atlanta, and Bill Sachs of the Episcopal Church Foundation have arrived and are sitting with the Episcopal Church observers.
Bob Williams, director of Communications, has just handed me a copy of To Set Our Hope on Christ: A Response to the Invitation of Windsor Report Paragraph 135. With Endnotes and appendix it is 130 pages in hard copy and is published by the office of communications at the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue.
Bishop John Paterson has introduced the afternoon session. The presiding Bishop has begun with a prayer from the BCP. We live in a world where we rush to judgment the mystery of communion requires being together and speaking face to face. He stressed the deep commitment of ECUSA to the Anglican Communion.
We recognize that our actions on the question of homosexulaity have distressed many of them and ECUSA itself has not reached a common mind on this question.
Our presentation takes two forms. The first form is the document which we are giving out, To Set our Hope on Christ. The Second is what our team will say. Bishop Roskam and Michael Battle will talk about the document we are distributing.
I have also asked two people who experience homosexuality to share something of their stories. Susan Russell and Jane Tully will share here.
Then two bishops, Alexander and Jenkins, will share from different perspectives our desire to live with difference. Beyond our differences we are called to share Christs love in Christs name.
Bishop Roskam begins. She brings greetings. The tone is gentle and a scripture is cited from Colossians and a phrase from Ephesians. We set our hope in Christ because we know how weak and fallible we are. Nothing will be able to separate us from Christ jesus our Lord. We will do as we were asked in Windsor 135.
We welcome and our grateful for this invitation to participate in the Lambeth listening process, a small part in the large process of listening in the Communion. A process of over 40 years. Humility is particularly required of those from the West. Perhaps mutual humility is what is called for, allusion to Mark 10:58.
The gifts and fruits of the spirit of those of same sex attraction. We would never willingly hurt you in any way.
He invites those who oversimiplifies the issue to learn from the experience of the neighbor. This changes the climate in which the discussion is held. To see each in the other, Jesus welcomed the outcast in order to restore them.
We pray that whatever differences there are that they may be overtaken by the anger and diviseness of this world. A communion of differences yet reconciled in the cross. Quotes from Philippians 2;11ff a sign to the world of the reconciling hope of God.
Dr. Battle is invited next. Let me say this is a great privilege to be here to be listened to and to listen. To invite you is my task into the paradox of learning to be surprised by Gods life especially in Christ.
To understand our process. An outline of four steps. How a same sex partnered person can be a bishop.
First our surprise of holiness.
Second, our surprise in the Bible, how we have learnedc to inwardliy digest Scripture
Our suprirse by the hope that remains
Four our surprise by who God can raise up to be eligible.
A story. Our two daughters saw a spider with a caterpillar. Our younger daughter bliss. Mom, that poor caterpillar needs our prayers. That put me to shame. The norm of Gods creation should not be cunning or survivial but cooperation and the practice of Gods presence.
It is a paradox of learning to be surprised. First step. Surprised by holiness. We see analogies in the experience of the early church. We know Gods word is living and active. As the early church struggled with Gentiles in their midst. Acts 10-15 has been studied with great care. It was controversial to welcome them without giving up certain practices.
Yet Peter was challenged by a vision a voice outside of himself and had to learn to be surprised. Ezekiel learned this too in Ezekiel 4. It took peter and Cornelius and Ezekiel a while to catch up to Gods way of surprising us. The church rightly called peter to account for his new vision, they needed corroboration and evidence. It was not adiphora. There was no discussion of rights. Instead people gave testimony solely accounted via the gifts of the spirit.
Arguments such as persons can only be ordained only if celibate need to be rejected by analogy as to how scripture is applied and appropriated. Celibacy is a gift given only to some. Peters credibility and Cornelius character were the key, like my daughter looking at a spider web.
The second step is being surprised by the Bible. ECUSA has learned that human identity is not to be fought over by looking at proof texts and fighting over them.
Our salvation story told through scripture not to be discouraged through disagreements but to trust the HS in our midst and trust that we will not be allowed to hurt each other. Not by cunning but by trusting. Biblical writers also struggled to see the spirirt working in their midst.
When was it written, what were the circumstances, and do they apply to us in the same way today? Ezra men forbidden foreign wivesthis happened in exile. Yet in Ruth there is an embrace of the foreign wife through whom even david often comes. The deeper realities of the spirit in our midst. The visions of the prophet seeing predator and prey cooperating together. Aliving word, a dynamic word, not a static one.
Our third step. Surprised by the jope that remains within us. It is not a threat to be used against others or to characterize others. We are being called to see deeper realities but even more to BE a deeper reality. This is the blessing that surprises us. Through the relationships that God has given us the hope remains.
We have been surprised by how makes people eligibile to lead the flock of Christ. Ultimate knowledge of human identity is Gods alone. Through the lens of Christs identity. What makes people eligibilethose who can bear authentic witness to Christ.
The chief criterion is service to Christ alone. To be a bishop is the work of God, the credential of God.
If we are going to be a church we must turst Gods gifts and Gods giftedness.
We read the Bible as a whole. Salvation history teaches us who can be so gifted.
We are still learning. The character we experience are those we see in Christ.
Cathy Roskam takes a moment to look at the historic context. To hold and express different beliefs. Freedom of speech is a key for us. A safe context for a multiplicity of voices. Alals we drew from a minority of the population. Acts 10-15 we cannot help but notice parallels. Genocide of native American peoples. We wonder how that story coul have been different if we had thought of acts 10-15.
A history of racism in our church. James holly who left the u.s. to found the church in Haiti. How many have gone unrecodgnized because we failed to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Women were held back by a few select texts but they had gifts and there were others texts we overlooked.
We have a mixed history. We are sometimes a contentious lot but if we do not put our differences first but Christ first we can find a way instead of excluding those whom we might overlook.
Let us look at the African American struggle. It led to a kind of shadow church which oly gradually came back. John burgess in 1970 was the first black bishop way ,way later than james holly.
1920 womens suffrage. A full 50 years until womens suffrage came about. Womens ordination much messier than Windsor report made out. We are relieved to find womens ordination a done deal but it was very difficult. Women make up something like 75% of the communion. Same sex struggles seem a huge concern for some men in our communion. Why are we talking about splitting our communion over an issue that concerns such a small minority, where is the same heat over world poverty which has an overwhelmingly feminine face? Womens vioelence and that against children? The issue of aids? The fostering of female vocations in provinces where ordination is already possible?
When we gaterh the energy is not focused only there.
She focuses on the American baptismal covenant which is not familiar to many so she goes through it carefully beginning at the beginning with the trinity. After the trinity five questions each of which calls for an answer.
We renew these at every bishop visitation, at every baptism they are who we are, part of our dna. We have come through them to trust in the discernment of the spirirt. The democratic polity of our church has more han just American in its roots it has baptism at its roots. Disagreement can fuel a lifelong process of discernment and disagreement. This continually inspires hope for any even deeper unity.
Hello. My name is susan Russell, presidenty of integrity. We understand the holy spirit in our midst. As the only gay person here I speak not only for myself but for other gay men and women and I am honored to do so. My deepest hope is that this will be but the beginning of a listening process which will enable the stories of the gay and lesbian faithful will be able to be heard. It may seem unthinkable as was the idea of the Gentiel faithful would be to saint peter. It is the vision God has given to us, just as peter was given the vision to see gentiles as welcome in Gods community as he was.
I remember having a church with no girl acolytes and no women priests and I count the conflict and pain as aprt of the cost of discipleship. This has broadened our experience of God and our vision of the kingdom, The ark of history is bent toward justiceMLK Jr. The ark of the gospel is bent toward inclusiveness.
We are not withering at all saints we are flourishing. When we live into the true via media we can hold in tension that which others may consider things mutually contradictory. We are following the clarion call of our Lord to minister to those who are the least in our midst. You will hear stories of some who find healing. I do not question their healing, I question what it is that has been healed. It is not possible to be healed of something which is not an illness. We need healing not of our sexual orientation but our theological orientation.
The values we are promoting are monogamy and faitfulness and integrity and accountable to our borthers and sisters in Christ. Telling our gay and lesbian friends that there is a place for them where they can be all that they were meant to be.
Anglicanism has been about not knowing the mind of God but in maintaining a conversation with one another. Verna Dozeier: the Christian church succumbs to temptation when it calls doubt the opposite of faith. Doubt is not the opposite of fiath fear is.
We witness to the hope that is in us the hope of Christ jesus our Lord.
Jane Tully. A mother of two sons and wife of Episcopal priest. My mom a woman of great faith. I aksed who is God and she said God is love. I knew of that love through my parents.
I discovered more of Gods love when I had my children. I did not create them and I see Gods love in them and I am very thankful. When I was about ten I discovered that I had a special feeling for boys. I didnt ask for it I just experienced it as a gift.
Now I know my grandmothers sister had those feelings for other women. Another family relative had those feelings for men.
Several years ago our son Jonah had feelings for men. I was ashamed. I was fearful. I thought it was my fault. I was afraid he would face bad treatment or violence because of this. I knew theee things for sure. I knew I loved jonah since before he was born. God made him and Jesus loves him. I knew he was the same beautiful person that I had always lovednothing had changed. I needed to learn what his affections meantit took time.
I had to learn to listen. To those hwo had studied this subject and jesus and the bible. My son didnt choose this I learned any more than he chose the color of his skin. I didnt choose my sexual attraction either. We all discover our sexuality planted deep within ourselves. This is an essential and God given part of our humanity. God made most of us to love the opposite sex and some of us to love people of the same sex. Why? I have no idea. God loves diversity.
The church is full of families like mine. Only a small percentage of humanity are made like my son. But they are in families throughout the world. Together we represent a significant portion of humanity. This personally effects more people tham nay of us realize. If you dont know it is probably because those you know are afraid to tell you.
Christian scapegoating has been going on for centuries. It leads to families who reject their children. The sin is not who you love it is refusing to listen and to see God;s love in the people he gave us who are different than ourselves. God is leading us to a new p lace here. My son does not have to be like me or his father for me to rejoice in him.
Who are we to argue with his creator? ECUSA is filled with many many families like mine. It is a difficult process. For some of us it took a long time. We see the church itself going through the same process. Some of were angry. Some ashamed. Some could not accept reality right in front of us. We see families break up over this. I believe this grieves the heart of God.
Loving families do not abandon one another when they have differences. We love our sonfor who he is not in psite hwo he is. Today I rejoice that God gave me a gay son, he is a gift to me and so are all the other gay and lesbian people in our church.
Bishop charles Jenkins from Louisiana. I alone stand as a bishop who did not give consent to the election in new Hampshire. I remain committed to ECUSA and I believe my church has made a wrong move. Some people think my presence is a betrayal of my position.
I believe frank Griswold would guard my interest if he could not and I believe I would his if he could not.
I am here to tell how I as a minority live as bishop in the southeastern united states. Every bishop in ecusa desires to be part of the Anglican family. I am by grace and baptism a Christian and an Anglican. I highly value my place in the agnlican family and I pray we would continue to be valued. I do not wish to walk speately from you and I pray you will not walk separately from me. All province iv bishops remain at the same table toegterh. We delight to share in the same common mission.
There is hurt. There is fear. There is a sense of rejection. I dont wish to underestimate the depth of those feelings. For the sake of Christian mission I pray that this will not happen. A greater charity in the applciation of the canons and indeed the changing of some canons might enable space for this to happen.
We remain committed to evangelism. Some believe our mission is nehanved others see it as astumbling block. We are willing to sacrifice for the integrity of the other. DEPo has worked well in many places and has not in a few places. The former are too little known and the latter is widely publicized. I hope we can improve the DEPO process.
We do not have a final picture of making a safe place for those who disagree. I pray that somehow that we can find a way with integrity and humility to embrace the Windsor report. To walk apart would wreck my diocese as well as many others. I rejoice in the rekection of a aparllel jurisdiction. We remain committed to the Anglican communion may our walk take us deeper into the heart of jesus.
Neil Alexander bishop of Atlanta.
The issues before us are quite important ones and not to amdit this would be unfair in the extreme. I do not believe that having different views on the present questions hwoever are matters that need to divide us. What holds us in common mysteriously is ultimately far greater than what at present is a source of tension.
I did my vote FOR new Hampshire after years of study and wrestling knowing that the majority of my diocese would remain with me in our common life together. A sahred decision with members of my diocese. The priests and lay deputies of Atlanta in a clear decision also gave their consent.
I am grateful for the vitality of ECUSA. It has not been an easy time but God remains vitally at work. Across our church we have welcomed the Windsor report. We will containue to widen the circle of our contulations and conversations. In the midst of it all fellow epsicpaloains have discovere common ground if not common agreement.
The enabling generosity of the holy spirirt is powerfully at work among us. The importance of these conversations can hardly be overestimated. We are a stronger church because of them.
Consensus will emerge in time as long as we continue in holy conversation with each other. We must hwoever move beyond conversation and consensus to commitment.
For me this means a couple of concrete things. There must be a place for my friend charles Jenkins and al those whom he respresnets. We are committed to looking after each others interests at all times. My relationship with bishop Jenkins moreover is not unique in ecusa.
In the meantime we have undertaken massive missionary efforts. We believe we are called to the new life of jesus and that by living into his mssion he will enable us to go into the future he has for us. It is to his mission that we are called and it in that mission that we set our hope; to God be the glory.
Interesting perspective on what she thinks Anglicanism is, presuming the blogger got it right.
How seductive, how serpentine the words...
At points like this, yes. But wait until the knives come out.
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