Saturday, April 30, 2011

Real Anglicans ARE Fully Inclusive

This is right from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. 

Dear Friends,

This Friday Reflection contains the Authorization for the Blessing of Sacred Union. I commend this to the Diocese of San Joaquin.


Since its reorganization in March 2008, the Diocese of San Joaquin has made incredible progress in recognizing a basic truth expressed in 1976 in Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention, which stated in part, "That it is the sense of this General Convention that homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church."

Since that time the Church has continued to examine what that full and equal claim means. In 2009, the 76th General Convention passed Resolution C056, which directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to "collect and develop theological and liturgical resources" as they relate to the blessing of same gender relationships. That task is in progress and the results are to be reported to the 77th General Convention in 2012. In the interim, Resolution C056 stated that, "bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church." With respect to the nature of the relationships being considered, they are described in Resolution D025, a related resolution as, "lifelong committed relationships 'characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God' (2000-D039)."

In 2009, at its Annual Convention, the Diocese of San Joaquin adopted a resolution supporting C056. Further, following the Annual Convention in 2010, the Commission on Equality, along with Bishop Lamb, hosted a forum on the issue of blessing same gender unions. The forum was well attended and the sense of the forum was that the Diocese is ready to take the next step in full inclusion and support the blessing of these unions.

California currently finds itself in an odd position regarding same gender marriage and unions in that for a short time in 2008, same gender marriages were lawful. The passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008 added a provision to the California Constitution which limited marriages to the union of a man and a woman. This was swiftly challenged. The California Supreme Court, in the case Strauss v. Horton, ruled that Proposition 8 was valid, but would not apply to those same gender couples who were lawfully married prior to the November 2008 general election. This constitutes approximately 18,000 couples whose marriages are legally recognized despite Proposition 8.

California also permits the formation of Domestic Partnerships under state law for same gender couples as well as opposite sex couples if one or both of the persons is 62 years of age or older. These Domestic Partnerships confer upon the couple all of the rights and responsibilities which pertain to marriage under California law.[1]

We must also recognize that there are same gender couples in relationships which reflect the characteristics set forth above who have not entered in Domestic Partnerships, perceiving them to be inferior to marriage, and who, for various reasons, did not or could not marry during the brief time when same gender marriages were legal.

Couples in such relationships are part of the Diocese of San Joaquin. They are in our congregations and in positions of leadership. They are our friends, neighbors, and brothers and sisters in Christ. It is now time, to the extent permitted by California law and the Canons of The Episcopal Church, to extend to these couples the "generous pastoral response" necessary to meet their needs as members of this Church.

Effective on Pentecost, June 12, 2011, clergy in the Diocese of San Joaquin may perform blessings of same gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships, and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterized by "fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God."[2] Said relationships shall be called "Sacred Unions" for purposes of the blessing and recognition of these relationships. A liturgy authorized for use within the Diocese will be published separately.

It must also be recognized that the Canons of the Church currently limit marriages to opposite sex couples[3], as does California law. Accordingly, until such time as both the Canons and state law permit the solemnization of the marriage of a same gender couple, and specific authorization of the bishop is given, no priest of this Diocese shall attempt to solemnize a marriage between two persons of the same gender.

It is to be understood that no clergy will be required to perform these blessings in contravention of his or her beliefs and conscience. However, prior to June 12, 2011, all clergy are encouraged to engage in open discussion of this matter with members of their congregations, particularly those who are members of Vestries or Bishop's Committees.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters,


It is not perfect, but it is not complete either.  And for the Epsicopal Diocese of San Joaquin this is a huge step into Christ's ever-present love.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rattle Your Windows and shake Down Your Walls!

I was lucky enough to live in So Cal and saw these guys when they were a "warm up" group.  A warm up group?!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Random Thoughts On The Covenant This Holy Week

As we move into the the most sacred time of the year I offer some random thoughts on our proposed covenant.  I am hopeful they are not lost in some morass of global warfare.

Jesus allowed both Judas and Peter to exercise their free will and pick what they would do?  Both picked wrong but, when one asked for forgiveness was not denied the love no one deserves but everyone gets.

Jesus instituted the Eucharist and gave it freely to all the disciples, men and women.  And, to punctuate the need to be a servant, washed everyone's feet.  Not only did one servant need to wash but all servants needed to allow their feet to be washed.  Not some, all.

Jesus was not very popular, especially among the orthodox members of the Jewish tradition.  The Pharisees and Sadducee's grew to hate him for hanging out with sinners, tax collectors, all the general riffraff of the day.  But they condemned him to death when he told them they ought to do the same.

Jesus wept. Jesus asked for everyone to weep for the world.  Is it possible that death and destruction should be met with tears rather than death and destruction? 

Do you suppose Simon of Cyrene would have preferred justice to mercy?

What better covenant do we have, do we need, should we build than the cross and the tomb?  A death he freely accepted so that we might all have life.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Orthodox Way of Counting

Our friend over in virtueless land is making things up once again.  Much as the orthodox folks like to "count" the "billions and billions served" by way of the Global south/GAFCON he has now published a letter "demanding" that the Episcopal Church 'splain all the litigation dollars spent.  Never mind that those Anglicans that have lost their way are spending millions and millions of hard earned and hard saved dollars they took with them and believe they can spend any old way they want (see old what's his name in Colorado) including suing every Episcopalian in sight.  These folks had a chance to consolidate several cases in California and thereby cut costs and they fought the saving of funds every inch of the way.  Not because they think they can win, but rather the goal is to attempt to run the Episcopal Church out of funds.

So, what gives now? Well there is this letter from a group supposedly attached to the Episcopal Church:

The Trust Fund Coalition

c/o American Anglican Council of Washington, Inc.
and the Anglican Laity Fellowship, Inc.

So I decided to go and see just who this group is?  Far as I can tell it is nothing more than a front group for our favorite virtueless writer.  For example, here is one of the groups "supporting" this Trust Fund Coalition.

The American Anglican Council of Washington (AAC-W) is a non-profit 501-(3)-(c) Church organization with Clergy and Lay members in the Episcopal Church (TEC) or the Anglican Communion-North America (AC-NA).
Now, when was the last time you saw ACNA and TEC in the same 501(c)(3)?  Never would be a pretty good guess.

And here are the "resources" cited:




So, let's just say that perhaps the first step in resolving this difficulty would be for the various diocese in ACNA that have taken the property (cash included) to reveal how much they have spent on litigation and perhaps share with the Episcopal Church why they fought the consolidation of court cases that would have saved them time and money and saved the Episcopal Church the same.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Conelonialists Must Come Clean!

The "orthodox" Anglican Conelonialists have harped on "just how much is TEC spending on litigation?"  and I find that question to be laughable.  Why?  Well, one need look no further than the "Anglican Defense Fund".  This is the brainchild of Mr. John David Schofield.  He has decided that his brand of distinctly "non-anglican" worship coupled with the stolen property of The Episcopal Church is worthy of folks sending Mr. Schofield much money to "fight the evildoers". 

Here is the problem with that.  First it is important that he, Mr. Schofield, come clean on just how much money has been collected through this defense fund (though I think it is more offensive rather than defensive).  In addition, how much of the funds collected through this fund were spent specifically on the legal fees incurred by the various parishes within his faux diocese to keep their stolen property.  Also, Mr. Schofield has absconded with millions of dollars of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin cash reserves.  How much of those has Mr. Schofield spent on legal fees and how much has he spent on his crystal and china?  Assuming that the real Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has found most if not all of the funds Mr. Schofield shoved in his pockets while heading to South America and that those funds are tied up in the legal battle, just where is the legal defense fund coming from?  Are they/he mortgaging the property that is not theirs in order to fund the defense of their ill-gotten gain? 

And, how much of this defense fund is going to other diocese with in the Continental United States?  How much of these funds have gone to Archduke Venables and the sad story of his personal residence?

Mr. Schofield, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Venables how much have you shared with your own mis-guided parishioners?  Or maybe this is too sensitive to share with just lay people?!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Bible Says It, I Believe It, Don't Talk To Me!

As I view the current political landscape I am growing frightened by the lack of real dialogue that goes on these days.  While clearly there is this problem in the House of Representatives, specifically those newcomers to the House, it's presence is significantly felt in our Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

There is a post over at a not-to-be-named "Orthodox" website by a priest that clearly sets the tone and tenor of Christian apology at angry.  The post goes from 0 to angry in about two lines and then he sets himself up against any discussion by saying that Jesus would truck no discussion why should we?  Well, words to that affect.

From a theoretical perspective, the folks over there would have us believe that this is Biblical anger, not unlike that which Jesus undertook in the Temple.  But look more closely, please, it is hatred "justified" by biblical anger.  It sounds to me like the same rationale used by the Ku Klux Klan for over a century and it smacks of the same approach that Hitler used to attempt to eradicate the Jews.  And how does this play out practically? 

First, that seems to be in line with the lack of reason that the new Anglicans wish to promote inside our communion.  The three-legged  stool no longer exists for this group.  Solo Scriptura is the only thing that matters and discussion and true discernment can ONLY be what an elite few say it can be (if you don't believe that read the proposed Anglican Covenant).  But they take this hard edge, this anger against the world and promote it.  The "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any longer" only works in movies folks.  It has no place in society, certainly not a free and democratic one.  And yet, this same group of people that now occupy a small corner of the House of Representatives is not only saying that but practicing it as well.  It is this type of anger that fuels the murders of men and women both here at home and worldwide.  They will argue against it but the fact remains that this hatred leads to violence. Don't believe me see Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Wyoming, Oxnard, Texas and just about everywhere.

The current climate both in and out of our Communion is growing in anger and hatred.  If that is what the new Anglican Communion is all about, if it is only a little about, if there is only a small circle of people who "stand firm" then there is no doubt in my mind not only MUST we reject the Anglican Covenant but it is time to leave the Anglican Communion.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How About A Simple No?

We continue to struggle and search and research and study and re-study the proposed Anglican Covenant.  This transparent document is designed to punish the Episcopal Church in the United States of America for all the perceived mis-guided antics we have perpetrated on the Anglican Communion since 1979.

The GAFCON/Global South continues to search for the latest and greatest way to ostracize the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. In addition, the Conelonialists want to set up a tribunal of sorts made of those primates who believe that only they can interpret what God wants us to do and to assure themselves that something like what has happened in the Episcopal Church never ever happens again. 

We in the Episcopal Church, and elsewhere, take this so very seriously that we have read and studied and written and researched until that is just about all we do.  After all, we do not want the world to think that we are not taking the Global South seriously, do we?

Think of all the time, staff power, paper, blogs, parishes and diocese that have been consumed by this antic.  Then think of what we could have been doing in the world had we simply said NO.  Think of all the people we could have helped, all the work we could have put into ERD and the earthquake in Haiti and Japan and all the work needed in Africa.

The answer to the Anglican Covenant is simply, No.Now, let's get on with what  Jesus wants us to do.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Faith Once Handled

I find it amazing that the Southern Cone/GAFCON/Great Pretenders/Conelonialists work so hard to make their points.  They have conferences and secret meetings and Primates meetings and all sorts of meetings to lay their claim to the faith once handled. 

Do you suppose that Jesus worked this hard?  He wandered from place to place usually at a leisurely pace (save perhaps the meeting of the Samaritan woman at the well) and managed to grow the faith with out counting how many bishops and followers he had.  Do you suppose there is a missing gospel where Jesus is found to spend each evening counting the number of followers he has or picked up that day.  He fed 5,000 people with a couple of loaves and some fish and sent everyone home with leftovers.  Would Mr. Duncan or Mr. Minns try something like that he would need Bill Gandenberger to count up the number of people sitting on the hill, estimate those that would eat and those that would fast and then subtract the number of gays and lesbians and go shopping to get the necessary food.  In the meantime they would teach the Alpha Course to all those on the hill while making sure that no one had an original thought.

Or how about when Jesus turned water into wine.  Mom came and talked with her son and the next thing there was more wine.  I wonder what would happen if Bishop Orombi's mom came up to him and asked him to play nice.   There would be renting of garments, reading of scriptures, two conferences (one in Australia and the other in Jerusalem), three Primate meetings of which four Primates would attend one while seven missed that one but made the third one but only because they all stayed in separate rooms and no one touched anyone else (or talked to Bishop Robinson). 

It appears that the faith once handled by the GAFCONeers has been massaged and kneaded and left to mold for a while until Jesus and the faith he left to them is unrecognizable.