Sunday, February 25, 2007

Annual Meeting Resolution

This afternoon St. Mary’s held its 184th Annual Meeting. At the meeting I said:
We are an Episcopal Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Last week the Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and issued what is in effect an ultimatum to the Episcopal Church – do not ordain any more partnered gay priests to be bishops, and do not authorize any services of blessing for same-sex couples.

Partly because we are in North America, we in the Episcopal Church have led the Anglican Communion in extending full participation to women and girls. (Not so long ago, women could not serve on vestries.) St. Mary’s was situated so as to play a visible part in the struggle for the right of women to be ordained – but there are places today, even in the Episcopal Church, where the ministry of women is not accepted and is treated as unscriptural and even unchristian.
The ministry of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer people is now an issue in the wider church. We at St. Mary’s have played a role in this struggle too – a less visible role. We have enjoyed the ministry of both out and closeted LGBTQ folks in all areas – as priest, deacon, acolyte, crucifer, organist, choir member, usher, warden, vestry member, and ordinary parishioner.
I propose the following motion:
We at St. Mary’s, Manhattanville, call upon our Bishop, the Presiding Bishop, and the House of Bishops not to draw back from the commitment the Episcopal Church has made to LGBTQ people – in particular not to make any pledge in advance about denying ordination to the episcopate on the basis of sexual orientation and not to make any promise not to authorize blessing same-sex unions. All are welcome.After discussion, the motion carried and will be forwarded to the Bishop of New York, Mark Sisk, to Presiding Bishoip Katharine Jefferts Schori, and to the House of Bishops.

In putting this posting together I recalled that at the 131st annual meeting 33 years ago on April 28, 1974, our congregation passed a resolution urging our bishop, Paul Moore, to ordain two of our deacons, Carter Heyward and Emily Hewitt, to the priesthood at the same time as our third deacon, Doug Clark, was being ordained. I had the privilege of conveying that action of the congregation to the bishop. Needless to say, Bishop Paul Moore did not accede to our request. This time we are not asking the bishops to do anything extracanonical.

7 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Allen, did you see the answer to your comment by Budda Ball at the forum? Here it is. You can delete it after you read it if you want to.

budda_ball

Posted 25 February 2007 09:11 PM Hide Post

quote:
Originally posted by allenmellen1:
"didn't the church denouce it as sin?"

Depends on the church and who you ask. I found this site because a local saintly Christian person put the story on her blog. Most of us who read her blog are committed Christians and do not consider gay behavior is inherently sinful.

huh, whattttt! sheeeiiittttt!!!!!


About this saintly Christian business. It's not true, but thank you anyway.

Grandmère Mimi said...

A motion like yours would go absolutely nowhere in my church. My congregation is welcoming and inclusive to the gay and lesbian members, but very conservative.

Our bishop is a Windsor bishop, but he says he will not leave the Episcopal Church. Thank God for that.

About Bishop Katharine's talk to the staff, did you feel that she was talking to you or about you? Apparently others of the gay and lesbian community felt that they were being asked to bear the brunt of the sacrifice without even being directly addressed.

Morningsider said...

"About this saintly Christian business. It's not true, but thank you anyway."

I knew you'ld say that, Mimi.

As for budda ball's comment, it's good for him/her to learn there's some of our kind of Christian around.

Allen

Allen

Morningsider said...

Mimi,

A motion like yours would go absolutely nowhere in my church.
And probably not in most churches. I feel very blessed to be at St. Mary's, though it maddens me much of the time also.

About Bishop Katharine's talk to the staff, did you feel that she was talking to you or about you? Apparently others of the gay and lesbian community felt that they were being asked to bear the brunt of the sacrifice without even being directly addressed.

The way I took it, which was confirmed by my friend Anne who was there and heard Bishop Katharine, was that she was trying to fairly state what the Primates are asking of the Episcopal Church. I don't think she gave enough attention (in the part that has been made public) to the effect of the request on LGBTQ people in TEC. In the Q&A she had to take on some pretty strong reactions from lesbian and gay staffers and Anne says she handled it pretty well. The main thing is, Bp. Katharine is not telling TEC what our response should be -- although some people think she is.
I think it is unfortunate that she has not yet publicly acknowledged that the real cost of what the Primates are asking would be borne mostly by bog standard lesbians and gay men.

Allen

Dennis said...

Did your friend hear anything that sounded like a willingness to "stand and fight" for a vision of acceptance and welcome?

I am hearing a lot about her being caring, motherly, trying to create room and etc.

What I wish I was hearing was some evidence that the progressive leaders had some backbone for the road ahead. Otherwise I am afraid to think that they will be all too willing to sell us out for a continued place at Lambeth.

Morningsider said...

Dennis,

What I wish I was hearing was some evidence that the progressive leaders had some backbone for the road ahead. Otherwise I am afraid to think that they will be all too willing to sell us out for a continued place at Lambeth.

I think it is far too early to guess what the progressive leadership will do. It is my conclusion that the Primates asked the bishops of TEC to do something that is within their power -- to pledge to withhold consent and not to authorize. So the response of TEC is up to our bishops.
I expect the bishops to act collegially, at least as they begin to deliberate. I do not expect Bishop Katharine to try to influence the discussion in its early stages -- the bishops (indeed the entire Episcopal Church) have to respond to the Primates' ultimatum, not to +KJS.

As I said below, she has done a good job of setting out her take on some of the consequences of both the YES and NO answers. I wish she would publicly articulate the true costs within TEC of a YES and state loud and clear who would bear these costs -- both all out LGBTQ clergy, all persons seeking same sex blessings, and indeed all LBGTQ persons whether closeted or out.

In any case, I don't look for the Presiding Bishop to be out in front leading the church to the response she desires. I eagerly await (a) hearing what she says this Wednesday in the webcast, (b) hearing what Executive Council says, and (c) hearing what the House of Bishops says in its
March meeting. I'm also interested in hearing what General Synod does in the CofE.

Allen

fr. christopher d. hofer said...

Once again, St. Mary's proves itself to be a home for those who are hurting and wounded. Thanks Allen for your witness to the truth!