Sunday, March 20, 2011

Latest meetings show Episcopal Church fragmented, incoherent and in some cases dishonest

I am still trying to make heads or tails of this:

Lay and clergy Deputies of the Episcopal Church General Convention (although not all of them, just one invited guest from each geographic diocese) met with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in Atlanta on March 18-19 to develop rationale (bit late for that, as you will see) and ceremonies celebrating same sex relationships.

Meanwhile, it appears that the House of Bishops, the ministers of the church who are "to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest, and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act in Christ's name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ's ministry" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855) were not included in the event.

It is hard to get a handle on the House of Bishop's schedule - I've checked various Bishops' calendars at diocesan websites and it appears that some are using this weekend to travel to Kanuga, NC for spring meetings. It is possible that some of them went to the LGBT conference in Atlanta, but it does not appear that the HOB was there as a body or in an official role. It's also clear that the Presiding Bishop and others spent Saturday in Springfield, IL for the consecration of a new Bishop.

It is nonsense to have a handpicked group of single-issue activists articulating the church's teaching and worship without the participation of the order of ministry charged with those responsibilities. The Episcopal Church includes all orders of ministry (including lay people) in decision making bodies, but each order has some unique responsibilities. A "theology and worship" meeting without Bishops is incoherent in an "Episcopal" church.

But it gets crazier than that. The Underground Pewster has the video report of the event, and it turns out that many dioceses, despite The Episcopal Church's representations of "restraint" to other Anglicans around the world, have been holding same sex ceremonies for some time. And over half of those who admit to having done them did not engage in any kind of theological discussion or teaching with their congregations - they just went ahead (even ahead of pro-LGBT resolutions) and did what they pleased - lying about it all the time to the rest of the church.

Meanwhile, in the UK, liberal Christian and LGBT supporter Theo Hobson wrote a scathing editorial about the LGBT activist wing of the church becoming a "self-righteous subculture" that makes the church less inclusive and effective, even for progressives.

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