Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have also decided to name a (Special) Legislative Committee on Marriage for this General Convention to ensure that the work of the Task Force on Marriage and resolutions related to the rapidly shifting contexts of civil marriage in the United States and in several other parts of the world can be given appropriate consideration. This will also make it possible for the Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music legislative committee to give full consideration to the other business that will come before it.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 10, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Michael Carreker was rector of Saint John's, Savannah Georgia at the time this was written--KSH).

The workings of God’s good providence are never failing and always glorious, but none more so than the events of these last two weeks. This past weekend we hosted a conference of the Georgia Chapter of the American Anglican Council, followed by the southeastern convocation of the Anglican Communion Network, and this coming weekend is the dedication of our newly refurbished building for Christian education, Cranmer Hall.

In the first instance, it was a joy to sponsor these conferences along with Christ Church. An enormous amount of good will was shared between our parishes: extensive preparation and flawless execution. Mostly responsible for this were Patti Victor of St. John’s and Carol Rodgers Smith of Christ Church. While significant differences distinguish our churches - in a very inadequate way we might refer to us as Anglo-Catholic and to them as Evangelical - we stand together now in solidarity with those who claim the essentials of what it means to be within the Anglican Communion and the Church Catholic.

All of this might not have been possible for our churches, if by God’s good providence, Dr. [Marcus] Robertson [of Christ Church, Savannah at the time] and I had not shared in a theological seminar for a year before the chaos of General Convention 2003. That seminar, as does all proper theological thinking, helped to establish trust, charity, and mutual joy.

The meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the American Anglican Council was very encouraging. There were a number of parishes represented from the Diocese of Georgia, and a few from the Diocese of Atlanta, as well as some from outside Georgia. We also heard from a young, courageous priest (an old friend from North Fulton High School in Atlanta), Dr. Foley Beach. His story of the gradual decline in the Diocese of Atlanta away from the Catholic faith was sobering indeed. But the story of how his faithful parish has come under the pastoral oversight of an orthodox bishop, the Rt. Rev. Frank Lyon of the Diocese of Bolivia, was inspiring and hopeful.

On Monday, at the meeting of the Anglican Communion Network, Dr. Beach’s story was put in a much broader context when the Rt. Rev. Alex Dickson, retired bishop of West Tennessee, recalled for us the history of the past forty years and the gradual doctrinal decline of the Episcopal Church, something we have all come to recognize has come full force with ECUSA’s action in New Hampshire.

But what was most gratifying to me was the evidence of providence again, when we had the Rev’d Canon Michael Green, Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, preach for us

at Evensong. Lynne and I attended St. Aldate’s Church at Oxford in the late seventies when Canon Green was the rector there. It was the time of Professor Maurice Wiles and the infamous publication of his The Myth of God Incarnate, to which, in a miraculous six weeks, a volume was published refuting Wiles’ book, entitled The Truth of God Incarnate, edited by Michael Green. He was a defender of the faith then and he is now. His sermon and the most exquisite Evensong of the Choir was another glistening of our Lord’s providence.

The rest of the Anglican Communion Network meeting saw a resolve for us to embrace the recommendations of the Windsor Report. The ACN has as its primary goal to be an orthodox Christian fellowship which holds to the supremacy of Holy Scripture, the historic formularies of the Anglican Church, and is in communion with the worldwide Anglican Church.

As for this coming Sunday, we dedicate our newly refurbished Christian education building, Cranmer Hall. I believe this must be seen within the larger context of what St. John’s has been, is, and shall be.

Our church has been devoted first of all to the worship of Almighty God. It is wonderful when you hear, as I did the other night, people speaking of Bible studies and study groups in which they have discerned through the Bible and elsewhere that the first need that they have is the worship of God. That is why St. John’s has not given herself over entirely to practical concerns, but keeps the focus of worship primary.

Cranmer Hall represents now the commitment to educate ourselves and our children more completely in the orthodox Christen faith. Its Rose window is s symbol of what such teaching means.

At its center is the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, enveloped by the Triune God. From this center, the window moves outward through the symbols of the twelve Apostles to twelve saints and worthies who made a profound influence on the development of Anglican spirituality. It is our intention to live into that heritage more fully and to share and teach it as well.

But more is required. We as a parish must prepare ourselves for greater mission work than in the recent past. We sometimes forget that St. John’s was a mission of Christ Church, and that St. Paul’s (originally St. Matthew’s and later renamed) was a mission undertaken by St. John’s. It is time now for other mission churches to be founded and for greater cooperation with Anglican Churches throughout the wider Communion. The ministry of Elliott House is set and on its way with our fourth theological seminar coming up in January. But now it is important for us to reach out in other ways to establish Christian mission in the Anglican Way. That will not happen unless we live into the theme of the Rose Window, and cultivate our heritage as orthodox Anglican Christians with missionary fervor.

Finally, the work of the Building Committee has now come to a very happy end. We should all be grateful for the many gifts and hours of labor, a labor of love, that the members of the committee have offered to the Lord and to their Church. Our Senior Warden and I have asked George Fawcett to oversee the final interior details of the building, and Martha has graciously consented for him to do so. As George represents a long family history at St. John’s, this too is a remarkable testimony to the good providence of God. And so with our profound thanksgiving, Soli Deo Gloria.

(My emphasis--KSH)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing ParishesTEC ParishesInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process* Theology

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Posted June 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

4 Comments
Posted December 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Integrity USA, a nonprofit working for full LGBT inclusion in the Episcopal Church, has named Viv Taylor, an Iraq war veteran and columnist for The Chapel Hill News, its new executive director.

Taylor is among the first transgender women to enter the Episcopal ordination process and will be the first openly trans woman to lead a major mainline Protestant denominational organization in the U.S., according to an Integrity news release. Integrity has been the leading grassroots voice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Episcopal Church and for equal access to its rites since its founding in rural Georgia in 1974.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted August 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While all people are welcome in our fellowship and some of our dioceses provide for the blessing of same-sex unions, Christian marriage is reserved for a man and woman in the Episcopal Church.

Thank you for correcting this error.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 30, 2013 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Gay Jennings, who helped lead the charge for structural reform at the 77th General Convention and now serves as president of the House of Deputies, says this reform may lead to fewer church committees.

“This may be hard for some of us to accept, but I think that we are in the death throes of the current standing commission and committee structure,” Jennings told Executive Council June 7. “Both those who are on TREC [the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church] and those of us who aren’t need to begin imagining new ways of bringing together laypeople, clergy, and bishops to accomplish the work of General Convention.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

11 Comments
Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Long long overdue and worth some scrutiny.

update: We're "bumping" this up the page, since the Anglican Ink website is now working again after one or two days of problems. -- the elves.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted July 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You recently decided to take the issue of gay marriage on, head-on, at the National Cathedral. What led you to that decision?

There’s my own track record on the issue and then there’s the cathedral’s process. I’ve been a proponent of same-sex marriage at least 20 years. I worked in the ’90s on this stuff at All-Saints Church in Pasadena, California, a progressive church in that part of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has a very large gay and lesbian population, it had an AIDS service center. I got to know a lot of gay and lesbian people well, personally, which I hadn’t before. And during my time there, that parish decided to do same-sex blessings. We aren’t talking about marriage yet. So, I’ve been involved in same-sex blessing and a couple of same sex marriages, really, over the last 20 years. But I had a book of essays about it.

On the public side, it’s that in 2012, thanks to all this activity that I and others did, the Episcopal Church authorized a liturgy, a ritual for same-sex blessings. And in the areas where marriage was legal, nine states plus the District, it could be locally adapted for marriage. The cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral, it’s part of the Episcopal diocese of Washington. So same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington for a while. Maryland just passed a referendum in November saying same-sex marriage is legal now. So all parts of our diocese were where same-sex marriage was legal.

The bishop and I met and said we’re going to start allowing same-sex marriage everywhere, in that diocese in January, and the cathedral would also do it. It was part of a long process in the Episcopal Church. We’ve had controversies over openly gay bishops and all that kind of stuff. We worked through those. Our denomination has come to a place that’s made it possible. And at our general convention in 2015, we’ll probably take up the marriage question.

Read it all (my emphasis).

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture


Posted May 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a deputy to the 2006 convention, Mr. [Michael] Rehill helped lead the legislative fight against adoption of the changes. However, he did not attend the 2009 convention in Anaheim where the deputies accepted the reforms based upon assurances it was “pastoral" and "healing" rather than "legal", and “that it would reduce the number Title IV cases”.

As a result “they voted away virtually all of the canonical rights of Clergy in Title IV matters,” and “unfortunately, the representations of the proponents proved to be wrong, and the results have been devastating for many clergy.”

As an alternate deputy to the 2012 convention in Indianapolis, Mr. Rehill testified in committee hearings seeking to “restore many of those fundamental Clergy rights, and to restore justice as the primary focus of the process,” he said, but noted these “efforts were not successful, in part because of the bureaucratic structure of General Convention and in part because the authors/proponents of the current Title IV were in control of the legislative process.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 26, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the Episcopal Church voted last summer to allow the blessing of same-sex unions, many clergy and faithful in Wisconsin and the nation saw it as a major step toward the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in the life of the church.

Six months later, the prior ban on same-sex blessings remains in effect in the southern third of the state covered by the Diocese of Milwaukee. Bishop Steven Miller has yet to decide whether he'll allow the provisional rite approved by the church to be used in its parishes. And the lack of a decision is frustrating many in a diocese that strongly supported the change.

"I have people here in my parish - faithful, committed Christians - who are partners in same-sex relationships and long to have their re lationships recognized by the church they love. So I'm really anxious to be able to do that," said the Rev. Andy Jones of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Madison, echoing the concerns of several pastors in the diocese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

5 Comments
Posted January 15, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Michael L. Vono of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, which includes El Paso, said the liturgy is an issue of human dignity that breaks barriers for the gay community.

"I'm very positive about it," he said. "We live in an age where there is still a lot of judgment, still a lot of discrimination that happens within Christianity. We exclude people that are not like ourselves.

"So this may be the Jesus thing to do in our age because Jesus forced the issue that no one is rejected by God and that all people are loved. And if you have two responsible people, whether heterosexual or gay, who love in a Christian way -- which is responsibly and exclusively monogamous and help each other and forgive each other -- what more can we ask for?"

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

6 Comments
Posted January 14, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The announcement comes six months after the General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved a liturgy enabling priests to bless same-sex relationships with the approval of their bishops. The blessings are allowed both in states where same-sex marriages are legal or, as in the case of New Mexico, where they are not.

“It’s not a marriage in any way,” Vono said in an interview Sunday. “It’s not a legal marriage. It’s not a marriage in the church. This is a recognition of a commitment, which is a covenant, of two people who vow to live their lives in a monogamous relationship.”

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande includes close to 60 congregations in New Mexico and part of western Texas.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted January 7, 2013 at 7:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There was a time, early in my episcopate, when it looked like the choice was either inclusion or communion. It looked binary, with no gradations between these two poles, and it looked as if it might be that way for a long time. The season after General Convention in 2003 was fractious, to say the least. Now, however, it looks like both inclusion and communion are available to us, at least provisionally. There are still issues of maintaining unity, both in our common life in this Diocese and in the lives of many of our congregations. I know this. And we must keep an eye on the horizon of the Anglican Communion.

But things are also changing, and changing much more quickly than I could have imagined. In the eighteen months following General Convention in 2003, for example, issues of human sexuality took over my life. Letters, phone calls, meetings, and email. Oh my the email. After Mary Glasspool’s election and consent to become bishop suffragan in Los Angeles in 2010, only seven years later, I got exactly one email. One. No one even took the trouble to ask me if I gave consent, or not. Something had shifted.

Read it all if you did not last time.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyEcclesiology

5 Comments
Posted December 20, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I support blessing same-sex unions, but some of my faithful fellow Episcopalians do not," Rowe said in a statement. "The Episcopal Church in northwestern Pennsylvania is a place where people of good conscience can disagree charitably about such matters. We respect and love each other, and we are united in the hope and healing of Jesus Christ."

Read it all and see the diocesan guidelines there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

4 Comments
Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships

0 Comments
Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A committee has been formed to create recommendations for how Oklahoma Episcopalians will respond to a same-sex liturgical blessing approved by the Episcopal Church USA earlier this year.

The Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, said he created the committee of clergy and lay people to ensure that Episcopal parishioners across the state have a say in how the same-sex rites are administered in the diocese. The committee is set to meet for the first time in a retreat Friday through Dec. 15....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gay couples who seek spiritual affirmation of their relationships can now sanctify their unions with special blessings at South Florida's Episcopal churches.

Priests in the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida have been given permission to perform a distinct rite, different from the marriage between a man and a woman. Called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," the ceremony, to be introduced this month, was approved by national convention delegates over the summer.

South Florida's Episcopal priests had been performing a locally approved liturgy for the past two years for couples who have been married in other states, Bishop Leo Frade said. Florida law does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted December 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is crucial. We, as a Church, need to get leaner (though not necessarily meaner). The days of top heavy corporate-style hierarchies are over. We must be focused on mission, not governance. We must be outward focused at every level of the Church, having enough governance for the marshaling of resources, enough committees for organizing ministry, enough hierarchy for holy decision making . . . but no more!

The Church must be — from congregations to General Convention — committed to God’s Mission, not our favorite political agenda. God’s Vision for the world; not business as usual.

God has blessed his Episcopal Church with abundant resources, and through the years the Church has tried to be faithful. The time is now upon us to renew faithfulness and be a leaner, more mission-focused Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

5 Comments
Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This last point brings us to the crux of our disagreement with Bishop Whalon: does TEC’s Constitution create a “metropolitical authority” superior to the diocesan bishop? Bishop Whalon thinks it does. Without citing or alluding to a single provision of the Constitution, he merely asserts: “the metropolitical authority… resides in the General Convention….The General Convention is at the top of our hierarchy.” We disagree. And it is important to emphasize that our disagreement with this conclusion is based fundamentally on an undeniable legal fact: nowhere does TEC’s Constitution state what Bishop Whalon asserts.

“Metropolitical authority” is a very precise and technical ecclesiological term. “Top of the hierarchy” is a very colloquial allusion to a legal concept that is widely used and readily identified in constitutions and legal documents. The legal term most often used to express this concept is “supremacy,” as in the English Act of Supremacy by which the Church of England separated from Rome and the oath of supremacy that all Church of England bishops continue to swear to this day. There are also other terms that are recognized legally as expressing this concept, but none of them is used in TEC’s Constitution. If there were any constitutional article stating that the General Convention is the supreme or highest or metropolitical authority in the church, we can be quite confident that Bishop Whalon would have quoted it rather than relying on mere colloquial assertion.

Again it is important to stress the context of this debate: a legal brief to a civil court. Given the constraints of the First Amendment, secular courts of law can draw conclusions about church polity only when those conclusions are stated plainly in recognizable legal language in the church’s governing instruments—in other words “on the face of it.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsTEC Polity & Canons--Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEcclesiology

0 Comments
Posted October 13, 2012 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first constitution of the church, ratified in 1789, reflects these foundational principles. Parishes were led jointly by rectors and vestries: clergy overseeing worship and education, and elected laypeople managing finances and property, as well as calling new rectors. The tradition of colonial conventions led to state conventions, which were what we now call dioceses, presided by the bishop but that have power to determine the life of the diocese. The annual diocesan convention oversees finances, elects a bishop when necessary and a standing committee and other governing bodies (depending on the dioceses) to exercise jurisdiction.

So far these were not very different than the features of English church life. It was the creation of a “general convention” endued with specific powers that marked the American Episcopal revolution. In short, while the Church of England and most of the churches that came from it have an archbishop who serves as the metropolitical authority, that authority resides in the General Convention.

Thus on the face of it, the seven bishops [signed an amicus curiæ brief submitted to the Texas Supreme Court] are right. In The Episcopal Church, the classic church hierarchy of deacon — priest — diocesan — archbishop ends at the diocesan level. But this is to misunderstand what a hierarchy is.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsTEC Polity & Canons--Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEcclesiology

1 Comments
Posted October 13, 2012 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Earlier this year at its general convention, the national church authorized the provisional use of liturgy to bless same-sex couples. The liturgy can be used beginning in December if local diocese choose to allow it.

“The church says we can use it, but it is under the authority of the local bishops whether to use it,” said Bishop Russell Jacobus of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, which heads Episcopal churches in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Jacobus said he plans to announce his decision of whether to allow clergy in the diocese to use the liturgy at the diocese’s annual convention Oct. 19-20 in Manitowoc.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

4 Comments
Posted October 8, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

That way forward must be deeply rooted in the evangelical imperative, and it must engage scripture, tradition and reason — both in the very pastoral and human dimensions that have challenged the church to address same-sex relationships and, more rigorously, in the theological dimensions that have given a moral grounding for the church over many centuries through the received tradition. Our task will be to help me articulate the boundaries within which we might live together that includes same-sex relationships and those who struggle with the church’s decisions with clarity and substance.

This will be hard work. But it will also be work with unexpected blessings....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

11 Comments
Posted September 26, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We announced last month on August 20th that the Standing Committee and I were in agreement on a course of action regarding the future of the Diocese of South Carolina and the challenges many of us face because of decisions by the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church. However, for many reasons it was then and is now, imprudent to reveal that course of action. Things are progressing—we have not stopped or dropped the ball. Please know that I understand the level of anxiety and concern of many in the diocese. Nevertheless I must ask you all for your continued patience and prayers as we seek to deal wisely and carefully with a fluid situation that requires great discernment and sensitivity on a regular basis. I will communicate to you the details at the very earliest moment such a communication is prudent.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Mark J. Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For months and months this past spring and early summer we of the Episcopal Church heard much about what would happen at our General Convention which ended a couple of weeks ago. Some would have had us believe that the church would collapse. There were all sorts of dire predictions of this or that happening. In the end some of those issues and some of the well-publicized resolutions passed, and some didn't. After the convention there were a couple of well-publicized articles pronouncing the death-knell of the Episcopal Church. And, in my opinion, the demise of the church is very much overstated. The problem with the church is not the church, but many within the church who see only things temporal, and lose touch with the things eternal.

What many in the church these days seem to overlook is that the church is not ultimately guided by the General Convention, the national staff or the Presiding Bishop. At its core the church is not guided by Bishops or laity. At its core the church is eternal and divine -- the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is over. Some were happy with the results, some were not, and some were just confused. For the most part the Convention probably will not have all that much affect on you and me. So, as I say, the convention probably will not affect you or me all that much. So, let's bring our discussion back down to our level....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops

4 Comments
Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Lawrence Meets with Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina Following General Convention may be found here.

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Letter to the Diocese of S.C. to be read in all parishes Sunday morning may be found there.

South Carolina Differentiates Itself from Actions of 77th General Convention may be found at this spot.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* South Carolina

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Posted August 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While a decline in the size of the church is unfortunate, I’m fairly certain that truly liberal Christians are unconcerned.

Many liberal churches, even conservative churches that fall under traditional denominational labels (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran) have seen declines in membership. Bloggers and commentators are scrambling to figure it out. Can we blame the sexual revolution? Busy, two-career families that have no time for church? Consumerism, materialism, multiculturalism and relativism? Mega-churches?
But in decline, and perhaps only in decline, can churches re-discover the true ministry and mission of Jesus, which was to be radically tolerant and helpful to those who are poor, sick, outcast and marginalized.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Data* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

9 Comments
Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops

0 Comments
Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As ENS notes, the defenders of Title IV claimed their February 2011 response to our original critique “conclusively establishes the constitutionality” of Title IV. General Convention must have reached a different conclusion. In any event, we invite all concerned about Title IV to read our replies to their defense of Title IV before accepting the characterization that its constitutionality has been established: “Title IV Unmasked: Reply to Our Critics” (February 2011) and “Title IV and the Constitution” (March 2011). The latter in particular is a comprehensive review of the constitutional provisions for clergy discipline from 1789 to the present. Our own conviction after undertaking this work: “The conclusion that the 2009 Title IV revision is unconstitutional cannot reasonably be denied.” Our critics never answered these papers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Polity & Canons* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 16, 2012 at 7:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

3 Comments
Posted August 14, 2012 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The final choice, of course, rests with the Diocese (speaking through its convention).

And that, it turns out, is a very good place in which to start. Just what is the "Diocese of South Carolina", and what abilities and powers does it have when it speaks through its convention?

Here we must be careful to distinguish the ecclesiastical realities from the legal realities. Dioceses of a Church have dual personalities: they are participants in the Church of which they are a constituent member, and at one and the same time, they are legal entities ("persons") in the eyes of the State(s) in which they exist, and have their boundaries.

The Episcopal Church (USA), as has been discussed many times on this blog, is a rather unique entity in the eyes of the secular law. It formed itself in 1789, as an "unincorporated association." But what do those legal terms actually mean?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted August 14, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lost in this discussion are the developments in theology, science, psychology and other disciplines around this topic that inform the work of academics like as the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, a transman who is the Episcopal chaplain for Boston University and a lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. He notes how those with bodies perceived as “different” can make us feel uncomfortable about our own bodies. But transgender clergy bring embodiment into the conversation in an exploration of “what does it mean to be human?”

For now, this appears a question that those commenting about the changes transpiring in the church don’t appear willing to address. After a slight flurry of articles about these trans friendly resolutions in outlets such as the Chicago Tribune and Anglican newspaper Church Times , once a trial rite for same-sex blessings passed, the media coverage shifted to focus solely on this particular LGBT related resolution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Culture-WatchPsychologyScience & TechnologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following the General Convention, most of you heard me read from the pulpit (or have had an opportunity to read) Bishop Lawrence’s letter to the Diocese. In that letter, he stated that The Episcopal Church had now “crossed a line” in terms of changing the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church in such a way that his own personal conscience could not go. Asking for a point of personal privilege, he addressed the House of Bishops, stating the issues on his heart, and then left the Convention floor, returning early with five of the seven Deputies from our Diocese (Fr. John Burwell and Mr. Lonnie Hamilton chose to stay.)

On Wednesday, the Bishop addressed his clergy for the first time directly. We were shown a film giving a pastoral rationale for the changes in Canon Law that allow transgendered persons (those who have been surgically altered from their birthassigned gender) to have full access to all positions in this Church, including ordination to the priesthood (and one would deduce, the episcopate). It seemed to me that this change was far more troubling to our bishop than the proposed rites for same-sex blessing. The same-sex blessing rites are proposed, provisional, and can only be used with the permission of the local diocesan. In other words, Bishop Lawrence is not in any way bound by them. But these canonical changes are permanent, and it was at this point that the bishop simply said to us, I think I have crossed a bridge.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologyScience & TechnologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a statement to his congregation on Sunday, July 29, Fr. McQueen stated that he can no longer remain in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia due to serious theological differences with the diocese and national Episcopal Church. He invited all who were “willing to make a stand for the historic Christian faith” to join him in stepping out in faith to form a new church, St. Mark’s Anglican Church.

“It had reached a point for me personally where I believed that my adherence to the traditional, historic, catholic faith in a number of matters had been so compromised that I could not stay in the Episcopal Church. Though it is painful to leave the denomination in which I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained, I have no reservations about leaving. I firmly believe that God has been preparing me for this very day for a long time,” said Fr. McQueen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Theology

3 Comments
Posted August 6, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The General Convention which took place in Indianapolis in July offered new and creative responses to the call of the gospel in our day. We saw gracious and pastoral responses to polarizing issues, as well as a new honesty about the need for change.

General Convention addressed a number of significant issues that will impact the life and witness of this Church for years into the future – and they include many more things beyond what you’ve heard about in the news. The way we worked together also represented a new reality, working to adapt more creatively to our diverse nature as a Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

6 Comments
Posted August 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While I tend toward the progressive side in this controversy, I am not persuaded by either analysis. My own sense is that we face a crisis of credibility. For those especially under 40, the Episcopal Church (and its companion churches and faith traditions) no longer seems a credible place in which to engage God, learn to pray or to give ourselves in ministry. We seem, to those outside us, exclusive and opaque.

Those of us who love the traditions (and habits) of institutional Christianity might feel somewhat wounded by the seeming disinterest in the practices we have come to live by. But if the Episcopal Church is to thrive in the 21st century, it must do three things. It must develop a clear, missional identity. It must project that identity outward and invite people into it. And it must take seriously the needs and concerns of those who come toward us and adapt to the new life and energy they bring.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Theology

8 Comments
Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Hollerith, what was your reaction to the Episcopal Church’s recent decision to allow the Blessing of Same-gender unions and did you vote in favor?

We have been struggling with this matter for many, many years now - attempting to discern the full place of Gays and Lesbians in the life of the church. In fact, the theological dialogue on a national level began way back in the mid-seventies. And yes, I did vote in favor because I believe the Church needs to move forward now. I do find I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I know that many among us welcome this new reality with great joy and celebration having waited long and patiently for what is seen as a new, grace-filled opportunity. On the other hand, I also know that others among us will be upset and not at all comfortable with this new direction. As I stated in my address to Council, I believe both responses are legitimate expressions of who we are in our diocesan family. I find I have deep respect for both. And this is something that is not easy for me to reconcile. But, in the end, I am joyful about our moving forward and ready to do so.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

11 Comments
Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
On Sunday, July 29, the Rev. Will McQueen resigned as Rector of St. John's, Moultrie. That evening, all seven members of the vestry resigned. They worked out an orderly transition of the property back to the Diocese of Georgia. Bishop Benhase accepted the resignations and has named the Rev. Walter Hobgood as Vicar.
Also, you may find the parish website there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Theology

8 Comments
Posted July 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Note that this post was made "sticky" at the top of the blog for a good while in the summer of 2012.
Dear Brother and Sister Clergy,

On Wednesday, July 25th, the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence met with the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina at St. Paul’s Church, in Summerville, to discuss decisions made at General Convention 2012 and their significance for us as a diocese. In particular, he shared the address he made to the House of Bishops, while in executive session, announcing his decision to depart from Convention with five members of our deputation.

The central purpose of his presentation to the Bishops was to convey his understanding that with the passage of Resolutions D002 and D019 (making all possible variations of “gender identity and gender expression” protected categories in the canons of the church), and the adoption of authorized provisional rites to bless same gender relationships, the doctrine, discipline and worship of this church have been profoundly changed.

He told the Bishops that the magnitude of these changes was such that he could no longer in good conscience continue in the business of the Convention. In fact, he was left with the grave question of whether he could continue as a bishop of an institution that had adopted such changes. It was with that question on the table that he took his leave from the House of Bishops.

Since that time, and in the gathering of the Diocesan Clergy, the Bishop stated that he believes the Episcopal Church has crossed a line he cannot personally cross. He also expressed to the clergy that though he might act one way if he were a priest in a diocese, as a Bishop he feels deeply his vow before God to faithfully lead and shepherd the Diocese of South Carolina. Both dimensions of this dilemma weigh upon him at this time.

The Bishop has asked for a period of grace as he prayerfully seeks the face of the Lord, and asks for God’s direction (Psalm 27:7-9,14 or BCP Ps 27: 10-13, 18). He left yesterday evening, July 29, to begin several weeks of vacation. It will be a time spent on mountaintops and in deserts where the Bishop will seek refreshment and discernment. Upon his return at the end of August he will meet with the Standing Committee and the clergy of the diocese to share that discernment and his sense of the path forward.

In the interim, the Bishop has asked that we hold this process in our prayers and pledge that there will be “no golden calves” or departures during his absence. Those present heartily agreed to both requests. He would also encourage the clergy as they are able to gather in deaneries for prayer and intercession. I commend the prayers below as pillars around which to order your prayers for the Diocese in the coming weeks.

--(The Rev. Canon) Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina

FOR BISHOP LAWRENCE:
O Father, give to our Bishop Mark, in the midst of the stresses of his position, a daily renewal in your presence, that upheld in your peace, enlightened by your Word, and strengthened by your grace, he may be a true shepherd, enabling your church to fulfill the mission you have given us, for Jesus’ sake. AMEN.

FOR THE CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE:
Almighty and everlasting God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift; send down upon our bishops and clergy, and upon the congregations committed to their charge, the healthful spirit of your grace; and, that they may truly please you, pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

FOR THE PARISHES OF THE DIOCESE:
Almighty and ever living God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for our parish families. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF THE DIOCESE:
Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. AMEN.

FOR THE DAYS AHEAD:
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Almighty God, give us a new vision of you, of your love, of your grace and power; and then give us a new vision of what you would have us to do as your church in this nation at this time, and an awareness that in the strength of your Spirit we can do it, to your glory, in Jesus name. AMEN.

Link

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

25 Comments
Posted July 31, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* South Carolina* Theology

6 Comments
Posted July 29, 2012 at 11:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* South Carolina* Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 29, 2012 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* South Carolina* Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 29, 2012 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We’re also investing tremendous resources in our congregations as the foundation of Christian life. Contrary to the conservative critique, it isn’t what we’ve changed that is weakening our congregations, but rather what we’ve been unwilling to change. For all our liberal theology and progressive politics, we’ve remained rather stodgy in worship, wedded to unwieldy structures, and resistant to growth. When I ask young people what keeps them from attending church, the answer, predictably, is that it’s boring. And they’re right! But we’re committed to changing that, both in the Diocese of Washington and across the country, so that all our congregations will be vital centers of Christian worship, learning, community, and service.

And why do all this? Why does it matter for the Episcopal Church to claim its place in the spiritual landscape of our nation?

I believe that the Episcopal Church has something vitally important to offer to our time, that we have particular gifts and unique perspectives on the gospel of Jesus Christ that this culture hungers for and desperately needs. That, in the boldest of affirmations, we have something God needs for God’s mission of renewing the face of the earth. And so on our watch, we are called to change; to turn the trends of decline, atrophy and lethargy around; to assume our place as God’s collaborators in mission; and to help transform this culture by allowing ourselves to be transformed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Data* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

9 Comments
Posted July 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth University religion professor and an Episcopal priest who supports the change, said he expects little fallout from the policy within the American church. Most of the most conservative Episcopalians who oppose blessing same-sex relationships have probably already left the church, he said.

"In many ways, the church is tracking public sentiment," which is increasingly supportive of same-sex relationships, Balmer said ahead of Tuesday's vote. "The Episcopal Church is merely part of that trend."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted July 27, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I experienced profound pride as my bishop was interviewed on CNN and gently explained the position of the Church and some of the pastoral implications of a decision that Convention had taken that would have a direct impact on me. I watched as a democratic deliberative body wrestled with deep theological and pastoral issues on the nature of the Church, its sacraments, and its mission. I watched in awe as members of the official youth presence, including our own David Kilp, stood to address the House of Deputies and Convention commissions and committees with passion, conviction, carefully crafted arguments, and all with aplomb. At their age, I could NEVER have done what I watched them do. And they did it with love for the Church. It gave me hope.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

0 Comments
Posted July 27, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Bishop Howard, in a letter sent to Diocese of Florida communicants before Convention, has stated that he will not authorize the use of the rite in the Diocese of Florida.

From here [link to General Convention Wrap Up at bottom of page]

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

1 Comments
Posted July 26, 2012 at 7:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

There is an intrinsic connection between spiritual vitality and theological integrity. The debate over homosexual practices within the mainline denominations is not the root cause, but only the most visible issue in the devolution Ross Douthat has described so well. At the heart of this issue is a broken doctrine of biblical authority, a loss of confidence in the primary documents of the Christian faith. The patina of pietism, and the lushness of a well-rehearsed liturgy, are no substitute for what the Thirty-nine Articles calls “the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures.” Absent a commitment to this truth, it will not be long before other cardinal tenets of the Christian faith become negotiable, including the Trinity, the full deity and true humanity of Jesus Christ, and redemption wrought through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
.....................
The trajectory from Friedrich Schleiermacher to John Shelby Spong is a well-worn path. As Peter Berger once said, “He who sups with the devil had better have a long spoon.”

The continuing saga and approaching collapse of mainline denominations should prompt us to pray. Within each of the mainline denominations, there are many faithful believers who have not “bowed the knee to Baal.” Often they face harassment, discrimination, and litigation. Pray that they will remain faithful in the face of such assaults, and pray that they will find communities of love and support in what for many will be an increasingly isolated position.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

3 Comments
Posted July 26, 2012 at 6:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our Deputies already reported on the General Convention’s vote to authorize a provisional rite for the blessing of same-sex couples. In both orders our deputation voted 3-1 against the enabling resolution. As I explained before General Convention, I also voted against the resolution, not because I am opposed to a blessing rite for same-sex couples, but because the rite itself is problematic, poorly written, and confusing in terms of the Church’s teaching on Holy Matrimony. The rite, however, was approved by over 70% in both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops.

What will this mean in the Diocese of Georgia? Frankly, I do not know. Since this is a provisional rite and the resolution gives the Diocesan Bishop sole authority to determine its use in his/her diocese, I need more time to consult with our General Convention Deputation, our Standing Committee, and the priests of the Diocese. I plan on doing just that over the next few months. The provisional rite is not officially authorized until Advent, so I have the time needed to consult, pray, and decide. I expect to issue my decision sometime after the fall clergy conference in October.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

15 Comments
Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Dr Tim Stanley in the Daily Telegraph
The other problem is that Americas’ overall belief in God shows no great evidence of decline. What has really fallen isn’t faith but patterns of communal worship. For millions of folks, it is no longer the default to join a church. In fact, giving up your Sunday morning to sit in a cold temple listening to a kazoo band playing Nearer My God To Thee is, for most people, a perverse thing to choose to do. Ergo, it is not enough to get them into the pews by saying, “We've driven out the bigots!” – ministers now how to convince the public that church attendance is in their personal interest. And conservatives are better at doing this than liberals because the product they are selling makes a stronger claim for its value to the individual.

Think of faith as operating within a highly competitive marketplace of ideas. Faith is no longer a product that people presume they need and are looking to buy (soap or shoes). Instead it has become a luxury item, or something that they have to be convinced that they might want (a sports car or a puppy). What kind of luxury is more likely to sell? Liberal Christianity is wracked with doubt, ducks strong conclusions and often seems to apologise for its own existence. Its liturgy is a confusing blend of styles and belief systems – just take a look at this colourful consecration of an Episcopalian bishop in Los Angeles. What do these people believe, and how is it relevant to me?

By contrast, the conservative Christian product is a zinger....

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

2 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

I know these actions will be a source of joy for some and of grief for others. I hope you will not be surprised that I argued against authorization of this rite, and I refer you to my brief remarks from the floor of the House of Bishops posted elsewhere for my theological reasoning. Along with some others I have signed a statement of dissent. I have no plans to authorize use of these liturgical rites in our diocese, which I know is a source of sadness to a number of our members. I know that in difficult times in our church I do not bear the most heavy load. I also know that this conversation will continue in The Episcopal Church, in our diocese, and most significantly in the society in which we live. It is most important that we remain together and not retreat into our separate corners as in times past. I am encouraged to think that we will not do so.

From here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

h/t Stand Firm
Bishop Gray has indicated that he will not authorize the use of the liturgy
within the diocese.

From here and there is a news report here. There will be a Diocesan Day on August 11th

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

With thanks to Jill Woodliff at Lent & Beyond for this call to prayer
Bp Mark Lawrence met with his clergy on 25th July 2012, in regards to the actions of General Convention.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate, pronouns modified

We bind unto the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

We bind this day to them forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for our salvation;
...Please pray it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

5 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 9:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Finally, General Convention approved provisional rites for the blessing of same-sex unions with the permission of the diocesan bishop. As your bishop I do not authorize use of these rites in this diocese. However, I do not make this decision from a posture of condemnation. Many of us have beloved gay and lesbian friends and relatives, and there are many gay and lesbian individuals and couples in our congregations. Their devotion to our Lord is sincere and their ministries enrich our church. I encourage us all to welcome everyone in the Name of the merciful Lord Jesus Christ.

Although I am only newly seated as your bishop, the Holy Spirit has already filled my heart to bursting with love for you. I give thanks to God for each of you and the faith he has poured out to you. I can hardly wait to meet and get to know each and every one of you. Please know that I am always open to hear from you and seek to serve you in any way that I can. In Christ's love,

Read it all on Page 2

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How could anyone attend General Convention, where soaring worship, beautiful music and uplifting preaching marked daily worship, and note only the size of the Presiding Bishop’s crozier? And to pick two pieces of legislation out of more than 400 pieces presented (and then to mischaracterize one of them) is grossly unfair.

At this convention we decided to embark upon significant changes in our Church’s structure, agreed to trial use of a same-sex blessing policy and passed substantive resolutions in a variety of areas of our common life. Failing to address any of these key topics is to have missed the lede.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

3 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...as a Christian theologian, I believe that the soundness of theological teaching does indeed manifest itself over the long run. That doesn’t imply that the churches should teach only what has been handed down from long ago; the church has changed its mind, and the church has erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith. There is no way to guarantee that you’re not off-base. On the other and, if you adhere to what millennia of the saints have taught and believed, you’re a least somewhat less likely to be found in error than if you decide that you’re going to think it all up on your own, taking as fundamental a set of political and philosophical ideas developed over the last couple hundred years. The Enlightenment wasn’t A Bad Thing, but neither was it the dawning of the messianic era. If there’s something you want to identify with Jesus, or Christianity, then your argument is stronger if you can actually give numerous reasons for making that identification; and the more such reasons that you can provide, the stronger the theological argument. And if you want to repudiate a great deal of what is plausibly associated with Jesus and Christianity, it’s not unreasonable for people to question the extent to which your enterprise is still ‘Christian’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

1 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a sense, this was probably to expected. Just view the language now used around issues of sexual identity. Whereas gay and lesbian — or even just gay — was once considered fine it is now necessary to add a whole bunch more of sexual identities.

The simplest is LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — but it is not uncommon to see LGBTTIQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning.

Use these terms enough and no longer is it right question why these various groups are being jammed together — even though being transgender has nothing to do with being gay and I still have no idea how two spirited became a category. The decision that they are related comes from interest groups and not common sense. And now politicians, journalists and social scientist feel obliged to repeat this litany as if it was the law of the land.

This is nothing to do with liberalism but with group-think.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* International News & CommentaryCanada

9 Comments
Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The bottom line is that we at the Advent will do our best to remain true to the teachings of the Bible. That means we’re all sinners; no one person is above another. That also means we cannot bless any sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. The Bible is clear about this. If anyone who declares the Bible teaches otherwise, then I wouldn’t doubt his or her sincerity, but I would have to question their training in biblical interpretation. (Again, if you would like an overview of the many passages that deal with sexual morality, let us know by using the aforementioned email or telephone number.) While we love one another and reach out to all sorts and conditions of people, and while homophobia by any person on our staff will not be tolerated, we cannot bless same-sex relationships.

Bishop Sloan knows exactly where we stand. He and I have talked openly about our differences. While we do not agree, he not only “tolerates” the Advent’s position, he accepts and respects our position and sees that we have a legitimate voice within his diocese.

Some of my colleagues have long left The Episcopal Church. We respect their decision. But we do not feel called to leave. We feel called by God to be a faithful witness within, but without being in collusion with flawed theology that lies at the heart of this presenting issue. But the presenting issue shall not sidetrack us. Our preaching and teaching ministry will remain focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bearing witness to the Light. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it” (John 1:5). We will not waver in our conviction. In all that we do, say and think, may God alone be glorified.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

3 Comments
Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Bishop Kee Sloan, the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, voted in favor of a new ritual of blessing for same-sex unions that the Episcopal Church approved July 10 during its General Convention.

But he won’t allow priests in the Diocese of Alabama to perform it, he said.

Read it all

See also Bishop Sloan Kee's video report on the theological basis for his vote here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

4 Comments
Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

As you are aware, both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops passed by wide margins a resolution that gives Episcopal clergy the opportunity to offer an authorized liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions (A049). The liturgy is entitled, “The Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant.” One can only preside using this liturgy with the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority- in our case, the diocesan bishop. This liturgy also has the status of being only in “provisional” usage- meaning that it has no constitutional or canonical status. It is presently temporary.

While the title of the liturgy might indicate that something is happening other than a marriage service, the rite itself contains the same structure and components of the marriage rite found in the Book of Common Prayer: Scripture readings, vows, rings, a pronouncement, prayers and a blessing. Consequently, it is clear that such a service is a step towards redefining Christian marriage as clearly expressed both in the Scriptures and in the Book of Common Prayer. As such, I cannot endorse or extend permission for the use of this rite by the clergy under my care in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. As I wrote to the Diocese during the election process for bishop: I see nothing in the Scriptures or in our Anglican tradition that give me permission to expand or redefine the institution of marriage. The Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer are clear that God established the bond and covenant of marriage; and it is my responsibility as a bishop to uphold and maintain what God has created.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In my address to the 113th Convention of the Diocese of Northern Indiana last October, I recognized both the diversity of conviction and the necessity that I now face of articulating a policy in the diocese regarding the provisional liturgy. I said:

General Convention in 2009 passed a resolution (C056) that asked the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to assemble and develop theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions. As I mentioned in earlier addresses, I voted against this resolution, though with some sadness. I am very grateful for the gay and lesbian Christians who are members of our diocesan family. Their presence is a gift to their parishes and a gift to me. And I realize that they may understand my “No” vote to be a negative word about them. That, however, is far from my intention. Rather, I believe that such a development violates an important Anglican principle: Lex orandi, lex credendi – “the law of praying is the law of believing” – or, more colloquially, you can tell what people believe by listening to the content of their prayers. Anglicans enshrine their doctrine in prayer. We simply do not have the consensus of the Anglican Communion, or of our ecumenical partners, in making such a change in doctrine. A liturgy for blessing same-sex unions will put the Episcopal Church out of the Anglican mainstream and indeed out of the Christian mainstream more generally

.....

In light of the actions of General Convention, and of the convictions and pastoral concerns articulated last fall at our diocesan convention, I make the following response.

First, the provisional liturgy entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” is not authorized for use in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

Second, priests of the Diocese of Northern Indiana who, for pastoral reasons, wish to use “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” may travel to a neighboring diocese to do so. I have spoken with the bishops of Chicago, Western Michigan, Michigan, Ohio, and Indianapolis (dioceses that border our own), and they have agreed that Northern Indiana priests may request permission to use a church in their dioceses for such a liturgy. Those priests should also apply for a “license to officiate” from the bishop of the neighboring diocese, since the liturgy would be under that bishop’s sacramental covering rather than mine.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops

4 Comments
Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

***We conclude: taken as a whole, Resolution A049 is not just a legal nullity and theologically incoherent, although it is that. It is also profoundly unconstitutional in that it purports to do something General Convention is not authorized to do and encourages clergy to violate the canons, the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer and their vow to conform to the worship of the Church***
Some extracts From here:-

.......But there is a more ominous aspect to these resolves. They clearly purport to “authorize” something General Convention has no jurisdiction to authorize, thus usurping the authority of the very bishops they purport to authorize. And they invite (using the permissive “may”) bishops to use or adapt this rite in “civil jurisdictions where same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal.” This calls on bishops to ignore both the rubrics for marriage (including civil marriage) defining it as between a man and a woman and the marriage canon, which as the resolution itself acknowledges “applies by extension.” The House of Bishops was expressly advised that the intention of this resolution was to encourage clergy to perform same sex marriages.

One diocesan bishop has already reversed his position and will now allow clergy to perform same sex marriages, concluding “we are left with a situation in which the mind of this recent Convention appears to be to allow such services. However, The Constitution and The Book of Common Prayer still say something else.” For him “the mind of this General Convention” trumped both of these foundational instruments.

The incoherence of this position is demonstrated by the liturgical materials that were approved, which simultaneously opine that the rite can be used in connection with civil marriages and that “A bishop, priest, or deacon who violates the rubrics or the Canon risks disciplinary action under Title IV.”...

....................................
Every bishop, priest and deacon undertakes at ordination “to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.” The recent action by General Convention purporting to authorize bishops to authorize a rite for blessing same sex couples raises in an acute way the question of what exactly is the worship of The Episcopal Church to which all clergy promise to conform. We look carefully at this question below. Our conclusions can be summarized as follows:

• The authority to define the worship of the Church is spelled out with precision in Article X of the Constitution.

• Subject to the exceptions in Article X, the worship of the Church is that found in the Book of Common Prayer, which is to be used “in all the Dioceses.”

• General Convention has authority only to amend the Book of Common Prayer or to propose revisions to the BCP and authorize them “for trial use throughout the Church” “at any time” “as an alternative” to the standard Book of Common Prayer.

• Diocesan bishops, not General Convention, have authority to permit supplemental forms of worship under defined conditions.

• The proposed rite was not conceived as a revision to the Book of Common Prayer and therefore General Convention had no authority to authorize its use by any majority or supermajority vote.

• The action of General Convention was theologically incoherent in that it assumed that God’s blessing can be invoked provisionally and in some dioceses but not others.

• The resolution passed is unconstitutional because it exceeds the authority of General Convention and invites clergy to violate BCP rubrics.

• Bishops cannot constitutionally permit use of this rite in connection with civil marriages.

We conclude: taken as a whole, Resolution A049 is not just a legal nullity and theologically incoherent, although it is that. It is also profoundly unconstitutional in that it purports to do something General Convention is not authorized to do and encourages clergy to violate the canons, the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer and their vow to conform to the worship of the Church.
But this is only one instance of the proliferation of unconstitutionally authorized liturgical materials for a church in liturgical, theological and canonical chaos. General Convention itself has called attention to this problem and concluded “it is time…to honor the spirit of the prayer book rubrics.” We agree.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Polity & Canons* TheologyEcclesiology

20 Comments
Posted July 20, 2012 at 8:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was the church of George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, George Bush Sr and seven other United States presidents. The Episcopal Church is the US branch of the Anglican Church and it was once very influential. More than a third of Supreme Court justices have been Episcopalians. It was one of the first mainstream churches to ordain women; the first to consecrate an openly gay bishop. But over the past 20 years, the church has lost more than a third of its members, falling from 3.4 million in 1992 to 2.3 million in 2012. Now, following its convention in Indianapolis, the Episcopal Church appears on the brink of collapse. Beliefnet.com reports 46 members of the synod have spoken out in support of seceding from the Episcopal Church; six bishops have petitioned the Archbishop of Canterbury for permission to leave the Church but remain part of the worldwide Anglican communion. Not all the tension is over liberal policies on sexuality. There's also deep disagreement on fundamental matters of Christian doctrine. Author, journalist, and Episcopal minister from Florida, George Conger, explains the developments at the convention that sparked the latest crisis.

You can find the whole transcript here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

5 Comments
Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Supporters of the resolution have hailed the vote as a victory for “justice” and “inclusion” while critics charge the church has turned its back on the undivided witness of the universal church. However, one deputy noted the vote was more symbolic than practical.

The Archdeacon of Albany (New York) the Ven. David Collum told the convention that the “resolution would not change what is happening on the ground.” Those who support gay blessings and gay marriage are already using these rites, while those who opposed gay blessings as un-Scriptural will never use these rites.”

“What will happen is that more will leave the Episcopal Church,” he said, adding that “this really is about the majority wielding power – saying ‘we don’t care’ to the minority.”

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

1 Comments
Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

2 Comments
Posted July 20, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Things at the General Convention, from a certain perspective, certainly didn't look good. My fellow deputies — I admit to serving as an elected member of this naughty assemblage — endorsed pretty much the same menu that hooked Episcopal appetites during the wild and woolly '60s. We're a church whose worship and formularies presuppose the ancient Christian truths; except the way we have come lately to express these truths often makes it seem our principal interests are "social justice," cultural diversity and the liberalization of sexual norms.

We slammed "colonialism," patted the Palestinians on the head, urged new government programs to create jobs, called for a carbon-unfriendly energy policy and instructed priests desirous of doing so to confer the church's blessing upon same-sex unions. I mean, are we the churchy version of The New York Times editorial page or what? Can't you see millions of Americans beating our doors down to hear us address the worst of modern anxieties — family disintegration, the loss of meaning in life, the burgeoning of government supervision and control over daily existence?

Actually, that's not what the church itself, at a slightly less exalted level, was saying. A report by the Standing Commission on the Mission and Evangelism of the Episcopal Church noted bleakly....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

8 Comments
Posted July 20, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence, the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina, fears for the future of his church.

One week after the U.S. Episcopal Church overwhelmingly voted to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions and the ordination of transgender people, Bishop Lawrence said in an interview with NBC News that his denomination is moving too far out of the mainstream.

"Do I think that these two decisions will cause further decline? I believe they will," Bishop Lawrence said. "I think we've entered into a time of sexual and gender anarchy."

Lawrence's comments come amid a growing debate over the future of so-called mainline Christian churches: Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, some Lutherans and more. These denominations, which are generally more liberal than their evangelical counterparts, have been in decline for decades, a trend some observers attribute to their supposed leftward drift.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSexuality* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistPresbyterian* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 20, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leader of Midlands and Upstate Episcopalians said this week he remains in prayer and open talks with his fellow bishop in the Lowcountry in hopes of staving off a fracture within the state and the national church over gender issues.

The national church earlier this month approved a same-sex blessing rite and expanded ordination to include transgendered persons.

Bishop W. Andrew Waldo has tried to keep his diverse Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina unified despite theological differences over the controversial issues. He said this week he hopes that his friend, Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, leader of the more conservative and traditional Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, in the Lowcountry, will remain on that same path.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

5 Comments
Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

...I want to single out two considerations in my own words that lead me to a conclusion I will draw momentarily.

My first consideration is theological: Is this rite true? When I or any member of the clergy bless anyone, we use the form, “I bless you in the Name of God.” This is what may be called performative language: it performs the action that the words imply. We do not say, “I pray for,” or “I wish,” or “I think that” ... God will do so and so. We are only authorized, however, to bless what God, in fact, blesses. And when we use these words, we had better have a clear warrant from Scripture or the theological tradition of the Church to back us up. No individual is competent to decide what God blesses, and no congregation or denomination is competent to do so either. Otherwise, we are merely guessing at best, and misleading people at worst.

My second consideration is closely related to the first: is it really pastoral? How may we give to people the assurance, the comfort and the strength of God’s blessing without the warrant of Scripture or the great Tradition, or even the agreement of our closest brothers and sisters in the Communion to which we maintain we belong? Indeed, how can we do so given the “theological diversity of this church” itself in “matters of human sexuality”? This seems to me to be an incoherent act. A pastoral blessing must rest on a more solid foundation than this. Furthermore, I must point to the “provisional” character of this blessing rite: I must ask our brothers and sisters in Christ who seek this rite if they are really satisfied with a “provisional” blessing? What happens if, or when, this rite is modified, or perhaps even rescinded? What General Convention gives, it can also take away! What kind of blessing is it that is subject merely to majority human vote?

Given these two considerations, my conclusion is predictable: I cannot give direction or permission for the use of the rite in this Diocese. I trust that this conclusion will not be understood to be either capricious or stubborn. The theological and pastoral stakes here are very great indeed. A bishop is ordained to “guard the faith, unity and discipline” of the Church. Given the teaching of Scripture, the Tradition as set forth in our own Book of Common Prayer, the witness of our Communion, and my own theological and pastoral concerns, I find no other alternative.
...........
Where do we stand now after July 12? I answer that we stand where we did on July 3. Our God-given mission remains the same. Our churches welcome all people into our fellowship, proclaim God’s Word, form disciples, strengthen our people for service and ministry, nurture one another in trust and commitment, and pray for one another and our world. We honor one God: the Father who created us, the risen Jesus who calls and transforms us, and the Spirit who strengthens us for mission and enables us to bear fruit that will last.

When people come to us, they rarely ever ask what our General Convention did. Instead they will ask, “Is God real to these people?” And then they will ask, “Is there a place for me here?” By our worship, our study, and our action together we answer that first question. By our openness and welcome we answer the second. “Welcome one another,” St. Paul wrote, “as Christ has welcomed you.” That is our mission. Now, and always.

Read it all and pdf is here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

6 Comments
Posted July 19, 2012 at 8:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am utterly serious when I describe myself as a radical centrist. It means that my very first principle as bishop when it comes to life and change within the community of faith is Jesus’ command to the disciple community to love one another as we have been loved, and to be willing to give up even our very lives for one another (John 15:12-13). To be a disciple is to be disciplined: disciplined in discernment, disciplined in theology, disciplined in action, disciplined in love. In his second letter, Peter writes, “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.”

My discipline is this: to listen deeply to the challenges and questions of all, from my position in that radical—and, I’m discovering, somewhat dangerous—center. My long-held and still-present desire to move forward on same-sex blessings has been given a new discipline upon listening to the questions of those who object to it and the questions of those who support it. Being the bishop of all requires of me an internal discipline that I am not free to ignore.

To those who object to same-sex blessings, my questions are these, among others:

- How, exactly, is Christian marriage threatened by the blessing of a relationship between two persons of the same sex?...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

14 Comments
Posted July 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Kendall] Harmon’s comment on holiness is surprising given the recent admission of Alan Chambers, president of Exodus international, that they cannot “cure” homosexuality after all. If I understand Harmon correctly he is saying that Jesus Christ transforms us to a holiness which is defined by the norms of the last two thousand years of Christianity. The problem with that statement is that the Holy Spirit hasn’t done that for me. And I know an awful lot of other people who haven’t been transformed into the shape defined by two thousand years of history; twenty centuries that have been wrought with conflict, war and oppression (I’m thinking Crusades, Inquisition, Thirty Years war, slavery). I have stopped trying to be heterosexual, I have stopped trying to be changed into that restrictive shape of holiness. Instead I look for the fruits of the Spirit in my life and ministry. And I see them.

So does the Episcopal Church. “To Set Our Hope on Christ”, an important theological statement written for the Nottingham meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2005, says, “we note that members of our Church have begun to discern genuine holiness in the lives of persons of same-sex affection”. How much more so now we have experienced the gifts of ministry in the life and person of two bishops, as well as in the lives of the LGBT people we know and love.

We cannot and will not go back into the cookie-cutter holiness that demands that we conform to the social norms of a bygone era. Wasn’t that why Jesus constantly challenged the Pharisees? Wasn’t that why Paul was so opposed to circumcision and a return to the Jewish law?


Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Theology

12 Comments
Posted July 18, 2012 at 8:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although the spiritual leader of Pensacola-area Episcopal churches is conflicted, he has decided to authorize blessing same-sex unions.

The Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, bishop of the 63-congregation Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, stated in a letter to his flock of about 19,000 people: “I will consider each request for blessing individually, and I shall permit it where it has pastoral warrant.”

Duncan’s statement followed a decision by bishops at the Episcopal General Convention in Indianapolis this month to approve rites for gay and lesbian relationships....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted July 18, 2012 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Jeffrey Miller, rector of The Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort, and the Rev. Charles Owens III, rector of The Church of the Cross in Bluffton, said they fully support and approve of Lawrence's letter and views.

"Where we stand is very simple," Miller said. "We stand foursquare behind the bishop, and we're in total agreement with the letter that he wrote...."

The fourth area church, All Saints Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island, staked a more moderate stance, but the Rev. Richard Lindsey, the church's rector, said the congregation will comply with Lawrence's views.

"I stand solidly behind the (national) Episcopal Church," he said. "That's not to say I'm not loyal to my bishop, but I tend to disagree. ... We will honor where he stands because we are part of his diocese and he is our bishop."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2012 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My Dear Brother and Sister Clergy in the Diocese of South Carolina,

The 77th General Convention embraced canonical changes and authorized rites that I, as bishop, felt I could not in good conscience embrace, assent to or pretend in the aftermath that a line had not been crossed. I believe it is important for you, the clergy of this diocese who are actively serving in parishes, to hear from me personally regarding this decision and particularly to know what I shared with the House of Bishops in our Private Session in Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon July 11th. Certainly it is not for me to reveal what others may have said, as such matters are to be held as confidential. But I believe you are entitled to know what I shared in that session. These are demanding times within the life of the Episcopal Church and increasingly so for this Diocese of South Carolina. Therefore, I believe we need to meet—bishop and clergy to engage in pastoral conversation. I have scheduled a clergy day for this Wednesday, July 25th from 1:00—4:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Summerville. Please make every effort to attend. I would not summon you on such short notice and during the summer if it were not of high importance. That does not mean, however, you should cancel your vacation plans.

Yours in Christ,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Mark Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina

2 Comments
Posted July 18, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a decision that could strain relations with the Catholic Church and within its own Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church has approved liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The church's House of Bishops voted 111-41 July 9 in favor of provisional use of the resources until the next General Convention, held every three years. About 80 percent of the church's House of Deputies gave their approval July 10.

The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity called the decision "a huge obstacle on the path to Christian unity," saying it would affect the Catholic-Episcopal dialogue in the United States.

Read it all. I trust everyone reading the blog to keep up with some basic aspects of General Convention. The phrase "not being on the floor during the vote" is not accurate in reference to the "vote" in question. The majority of the South Carolina deputation and the bishop left General Convention on the second to last day--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

4 Comments
Posted July 17, 2012 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts will allow its clergy to bless same-sex couples, beginning the first Sunday of Advent.

Bishop Gordon P. Scruton and Bishop Elect Douglas J. Fisher made the announcement in a recent letter to clergy and laity.

“Our church has prayed, debated, and sought guidance for this decision for a number of years,” wrote the two bishops. “Same gender couples, committed in love, may now be blessed to enter into a lifelong covenant of fidelity with one another and the living God.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

8 Comments
Posted July 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Culture-WatchMedia

2 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Make sure to bookmark it and be ready to use it.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

4 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, Bishop Wayne Smith, said in a statement that under his direction "the rites will be implemented carefully and pastorally, parish by parish, person by person." The diocese, with about 14,000 members, encompasses the eastern half of the state.

Bishop Daniel Martins leads the 5,000 Episcopalians in the Springfield, Ill. diocese, which encompasses southern and eastern-central Illinois and includes congregations in Alton, Belleville, Carbondale, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Granite City and O'Fallon.

Martins voted in the minority against the resolution, and told the Post-Dispatch in an e-mail Wednesday that he had been "clear all along that anything like what we just passed" would not be implemented in his diocese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

4 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We voted on a number of note worthy things[at General Convention 2012]," Jefferts Schori said. "We passed a trial right for blessing same-sex unions. It will be used on a provisional basis in some dioceses, with the Bishop's permission only, for three years, and then we will consider something like that again."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

5 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yesterday the House of Deputies concurred with the decision of the House of Bishops to approve resolution A049, “Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships”. There was a roll call vote in the HOB where I voted “no”. In the HOD vote by Orders, the majority in both Orders from Fond du Lac voted against the resolution. However, the resolution passed by about a 75% majority in each of the Houses.

I would suggest you go to the web site and read the text of the resolution yourself, but let me make a few comments here.

The liturgy referenced in A049 is clearly a service of “Blessing”. It may look similar to the marriage service but it is not and cannot be used as a marriage liturgy. In Genesis God created us male and female; at Cana in Galilee Jesus recognized and honored the covenant of the marriage between a man and a woman; and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin says that marriage is between one man and one woman. The General Convention is clearly stating this is not a marriage, but a blessing of a life-long relationship between two persons of the same sex.

The wording of the resolution was changed to read that this is not for “trial use” but for “provisional use”. “Provisional is defined as “temporary”, “short term” and “conditional”. My understanding is that this means the use of the liturgy is for a period of time, during which it will be studied. It is also conditional in that the use of the liturgy requires the approval of the local Bishop for use in that Diocese. Regarding the approval of the Bishop, the resolution states the liturgy be used “under the direction and subject to the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

7 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 4:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Finally, there is potential for a constitutional crisis of major proportions should anyone in the Church even try to proceed under the new Title IV with respect to anything that the Diocese of South Carolina or any of its clergy may do. The reason for that statement is simple: the Diocese of South Carolina has not adopted, and will not adopt, the new Title IV because it regards those Canons as beyond the powers of General Convention to enact and remain consistent with ECUSA's Constitution. And as noted many times before on this blog, the Canons of General Convention are without any binding force on any Diocese that refuses, on constitutional grounds, to recognize their validity.

And short of a Constitutional amendment to make General Convention the supreme legislative and judicial authority in the Episcopal Church (USA), there is nothing that anyone in ECUSA can do about that situation. It is the same situation we had in the United States when it was under the Articles of Confederation; Congress had no power to impose any of its laws on an individual State against its will -- because there was no Supremacy Clause in the Articles. (It was by reason of their experiences with the stalemates thus generated between Congress and the several States that the Founders included a Supremacy Clause in the new Constitution drafted in 1787, and finally ratified in 1789. And tellingly, some of those same Founders chose not to include a Supremacy Clause for General Convention when they participated in 1789 in drafting ECUSA's Constitution, also adopted by the several Dioceses in that same year.)

If a collision is coming, it will have to be one that the national leadership has actively sought by its actions to date, and that it will seek by its actions to come. Will that leadership be wise enough to pull back before it commits itself to still more? We shall have to bide our time, and see.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 4:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yesterday Bishops Mark Lawrence and most of the South Carolina deputation left the Convention....

Bishop Mark is a dear friend of our diocese. Our prayers go out to him and his wife Allison and all of our friends in South Carolina. We met and counseled with them often in our Communion Partners caucus, and they were of great help in planning our legislative work. Their deputation spoke eloquently and with great conviction. We miss them today....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 4:17 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina circulated a letter to his Lowcountry congregations today condemning the actions of the national Episcopal church on same-sex blessing and gender issues and said he would open talks this week about the future of the diocese in the U.S. church.

The letter from the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence is the clearest indication yet that he does not believe the conservative diocese can tolerate the latest changes in church doctrine approved at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that just concluded in Indianapolis....

...[The South Carolina diocese] had earlier sought alternative leadership... contending U.S. leaders did not represent the beliefs of [their] congregants. The Sunday letter seemed to significantly heighten that unease with the U. S. church. [Bishop Lawrence] said he plans to meet Monday with his Council of Advice and on Tuesday with the Diocesan Standing Committee. Beginning July 1, Lawrence said he would open meetings with deans and clergy.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 3:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[This post was originally'made 'sticky' at the head of the blog list of posts - with new posts below it - for a good while during the summer of 2012 (see also index)]
July 15, 2012
7th Sunday After Pentecost

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Some of you have actively followed the decisions of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Others have been blissfully unaware that our denomination even had a General Convention. We have. And the actions taken mark a significant and distressing departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.

In conversations with clergy, and from the emails I have received, I know there is much uneasiness about the future....

Some of us are experiencing the well-known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. And, of course, I must acknowledge there are those for whom the recent decisions are a cause for celebration. For me there are certainly things about which I was thankful at the convention in Indianapolis. I might even have taken encouragement from the resolutions that were passed regarding needed structural reform, and for the intentional work in the House of Bishops on matters of collegiality and honesty. Unfortunately, these strike me now as akin to a long overdue rearranging of the furniture when the house is on fire. Why do I say this?

There are four resolutions which were adopted that bring distressing changes to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church that every ordained person in this church has vowed “to engage to conform,” and which stand in direct conflict with the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them.

First, let me mention resolution C029. While this was amended during the debates in a more temperate direction, it still moves the Church further down the road toward encouraging the communion of the unbaptized which departs from two thousand years of Christian practice. It also puts the undiscerning person in spiritual jeopardy. (I Corinthians 11:27--32)

Plainly, the resolution that has received the most publicity is A049 which authorizes rites for Same-Sex Blessings. This resolution goes into effect in Advent 2012, but only upon the authority of the bishop of each diocese. It hardly needs to be said, but for the record let me say clearly, I will not authorize the use of such rites in the Diocese of South Carolina. Such rites are not only contrary to the canons of this diocese and to the judgment of your bishop, but more importantly I believe they are contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture; to two thousand years of Christian practice; as well as to our created nature. Many theologians down through the centuries speak of what we are as human beings by Creation; what we are by the Fall; what we are through Redemption (that is in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ); and what we shall be in our Glorification. Our marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer is rooted in this understanding. Because of this, it is biblical, it is Christian, and it is Anglican. I would also add, it is beautiful and it is true. Therefore the Episcopal Church has no authority to put asunder this sacramental understanding of marriage as established by God in creation and blessed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. It has no authority to do this either by revising the marriage rite to include same sex partners or by devising some parallel quasi-marital sacramental service. I remind you of the elegant words of our Prayer Book which echo the teaching of our Scriptures:

“The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.”
This speaks of a “given-ness” in this age that is good, and is emblematic of our Christian Hope. It prepares us for the age to come; when God the Father summons his Church to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

There is however an even more incoherent departure from the teaching of Holy Scripture and from our Episcopalian and Anglican Heritage to be found in the General Convention’s passage of resolutions D002 and D019. These changes to our Church’s canons mark an even further step into incoherency. They open the door to innumerable self-understandings of gender identity and gender expression within the Church; normalizing “transgender,” “bi-sexual,” “questioning,” and still yet to be named – self-understandings of individualized eros. I fail to see how a rector or parish leader who embraces such a canonical change has any authority to discipline a youth minister, Sunday school teacher, or chalice bearer who chooses to dress as a man one Sunday and as a woman another. And this is but one among many possibilities. Let me state my concern clearly. To embrace an understanding of our human condition in which gender may be entirely self-defined, self-chosen is to abandon all such norms, condemning ourselves, our children and grandchildren, as well as future generations to sheer sexual anarchy. So long as I am bishop of this diocese I will not abandon its people to such darkness.

Some have said to me, “But bishop the culture is accepting this. To continue to resist these innovations is to put ourselves on the wrong side of history.” I say to such thinking, you cannot be on the wrong side of History if you are on the right side of Reality. Archbishop William Temple was correct when he wrote over 70 years ago: the Church needs to be very clear in its public teaching so it can be very pastoral in its application.

This Monday afternoon I will be meeting with my Council of Advice. On Tuesday I will be meeting with our Diocesan Standing Committee. Then during the remainder of July I will be meeting with the deans and with clergy in various deaneries. Given these changes in the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church the question that is before us is: “What does being faithful to Jesus Christ look like for this diocese at this time? How are we called to live and be and act? In this present context, how do we make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age?”

On the penultimate day of General Convention, in a Private Session in the House of Bishops, I asked for a point of personal privilege and expressed my heartfelt concerns about these changes. I listened to the words of others and then departed with prayer and charity. I left at that time because at least for me to pretend that nothing had changed was no longer an option. Now that I have returned to South Carolina it is still not an option. I ask that you keep me and the councils of our diocese in your prayers as you shall be in mine. We have many God-size challenges and, I trust, many God-given opportunities ahead.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Mark Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina

(Please note that if you wish to see a signed copy of this letter, you may find it there)--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

48 Comments
Posted July 15, 2012 at 2:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oklahoma Episcopal Bishop Edward J. Konieczny will take no action on the Episcopal Church's approval this week of same-sex ceremonies until he meets with state priests and leaders.

The Episcopal Church, which has been a leader in the movement for full inclusion of gays and lesbians, on Tuesday approved an official liturgical rite to bless same-sex unions. The rite includes the exchange of vows and rings but is not being called a marriage ceremony.

"Once I return to Oklahoma, my intention is to gather the diocese, and we will discern together how we will respond to this resolution," Konieczny said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Linked in the Christianity Today article below. Jaweed Kaleem, national religion reporter for the Huffington Post uploaded this liturgy on 10th July 2012 which appears to conform the SCLM liturgy appearing in The Episcopal Church General Convention Blue Book as it was enacted and amended by Resolution A049 on 10th July 2012 by General Convention but please be aware this is not an officially released version so should be treated with caution until the official version is released.
The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant
Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Note: the resource "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant" linked in this article [more on this to follow]
The Episcopal Church approved church-wide blessings of same-sex unions, stopping short of approving rites for same-sex marriage but approving liturgy for official rites for same-sex couples. Bishops can begin using "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant" on December 2, when same-sex couples can exchange vows and rings. Each bishop will decide whether to allow the rite within each local diocese, and a conscience clause bars penalties for bishops who oppose the rite.

Tuesday's debate lasted for about 90 minutes. Proponents offered stories of gay friends who would benefit from the rites, while opponents suggested the denomination was contradicting its own doctrine.

Some predicted that General Convention would not be able to legally authorize the trial rite because it would require a supermajority vote in the House of Bishops. Denominational leaders changed the wording in the resolution from "trial rite" to "provisional" rite, where a simple majority vote was needed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first mistake the author makes in this story is in not defining his terms. What is a General Convention? What are its powers? This question currently is the subject of litigation before the Texas Supreme Court and lower courts in California and Illinois. Grounding the article by stating the powers exercised by this gathering are in dispute amongst Episcopalians would have been a better start.

However, the problem with the Episcopal Church is not cocktail swilling bishops or a power-mad gargoyles peering down at the church from a penthouse in Manhattan. Problems with alcohol and homosexuality, money and power are derivative issues that arise from the divide over the interpretation of Scripture and an understanding of the person of Jesus Christ. The fight may take the form over secondary issues such as morality of homosexual behavior or the role of women in the leadership of the church, but it is based upon a division over who Jesus Christ is and how Christians read, interpret and live out the teachings of the Bible.

While I am sympathetic to much that has been said, the article was a wasted opportunity to explain what really is going on. Reading “What Ails the Episcopalians” will not leave you any the wiser — and that is a shame. Just think what could have been done with this story, and was not.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 9:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At The Episcopal Church General Convention in Indianapolis on Monday, the full delegation approved new anti-discrimination language for transgendered clergy candidates and church members. This action comes after years of schism in the denomination over its teachings on same-sex relationships.

By adding “gender identity and expression” to its nondiscrimination canons, the denomination made clear that people who undergo sex-change operations or otherwise behave in a fashion contrary to their biological sex are welcome to the ordination process and shall not “be denied rights, status, or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this church.”

Some Episcopal dioceses already ordain transgendered people or elect them to positions of parish leadership.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2012 at 9:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Bishops* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture

18 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

July 12, 2012

On July 10th, 2012 the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church authorized A049, the Resolution to Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships. Bishops William Love and Daniel Herzog and the Albany Deputation to General Convention were united in voting against this Resolution. By both our vote and the testimony we sought to graciously oppose this resolution while at the same time speaking the truth in love as the Church has received that truth. (Ephesians 4:15).

The Diocese of Albany, through its Bishops and Deputation, sought to uphold the biblical and traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In doing so, we were obedient to Holy Scriptures, The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons, and own our Diocesan Canons. It is important to note that the new rites are not to become part of the Book of Common Prayer or any other liturgical publication of the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Love and other bishops, traditional and liberal, worked to include provisions in the resolution that protect bishops and priests who cannot for the sake of conscience authorize or use the liturgy. Dean David Collum was able to speak to the resolution in the House of Deputies before the limited debate was terminated by pre-arranged parliamentary rules. In his comments Dean Collum offered that, among other theological problems created by the resolution, its adoption by the General Convention would further divide the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion and compromise our ecumenical relationships.

On July 11th, 2012 a group of bishops including Bishop Love and Bishop Herzog issued a statement which was read on the floor of the House of Bishops. This same statement was read from the floor of the House of Deputies on July 12th, 2012. Those deputies who supported the statement stood in place as it was read.

For over a decade the Diocese of Albany has been working to persuade theological traditionalists to remain in the Episcopal Church and to persuade theological liberals to remain in the Anglican Communion. We remain committed to these efforts, though they are made much more difficult by the adoption of Resolution A049. We ask you to join us in prayer for God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

2 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The level of support for C029 when it was presented to the House of Bishops on 12 July 2012 was markedly different. The Rt. Rev. William Gregg, Assistant Bishop of North Carolina, was the first to rise and offered a strong statement of rejection of the resolution.

It was “not up to one denomination” to change the universal church’s teaching on baptism, Bishop Gregg said.

The Bishop of Southern Ohio, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal, agreed the issue needed further study and urged defeat of the resolution....

The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, urged his colleagues not to refer the matter to committee but to vote for adoption. There were large numbers of non-baptized people in Europe, he noted, and by recognizing the need for pastoral sensitivity this permitted bishops to address local needs. Without this recognition the hands of bishops were tied, he said....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptismEucharist

7 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the party may be over for the Episcopal Church, and so, probably, its experiment with democratic governance. Among the pieces of legislation that came before their convention was a resolution calling for a task force to study transforming the event into a unicameral—that is, a one-house—body. On Wednesday, a resolution to "re-imagine" the church's governing body passed unanimously.

Formally changing the structure of General Convention will most likely formalize the reality that many Episcopalians already know: a church in the grip of executive committees under the direct supervision of the church's secretive and authoritarian presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. They now set the agenda and decide well in advance what kind of legislation comes before the two houses.

Bishop [Jefferts] Schori is known for brazenly carrying a metropolitan cross during church processions. With its double horizontal bars, the metropolitan cross is a liturgical accouterment that's typically reserved for Old World bishops. And her reign as presiding bishop has been characterized by actions more akin to a potentate than a clergywoman watching over a flock.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

13 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church in the United States has voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing the ordination of transgender people.

At its 77th General Convention, it approved an amendment to its non-discrimination canons to include "gender identity and expression". The amendment makes it uncanonical to bar "transgender" people from the priesthood....

A member of the delegation from the UK, Christina Beardsley, said that the debate was "wonderful". One of the most "profound" contributions, she said, came from the Bishop of Rochester, New York, the Rt Revd Prince Singh, who said: "Just by being people of faith we inevitably occupy liminal space and identity, and so embracing trans people would take us into deeper depths of what it means to be a pilgrim people."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012* TheologyAnthropology

5 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of Central Florida is committed to making disciples of all nations and loving one another as Christ loves us.

The Deputation from the Diocese of Central Florida has an extraordinary sense of sadness and disappointment that the Episcopal Church has chosen to adopt a provisional rite for same-sex blessings.

We recognize that to the vast majority of those members participating in the councils of General Convention, this represents progress. To us, it represents a step back from the clear teachings of Holy Scripture and a disregard for the unity and teaching of the Church.

Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized marriage between a man and a woman as a divine ordinance for the ordering human relationships. For that reason, he sternly warned against human interference with marriages. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)

The 77th General Convention’s decision represents denominationalism. In matters of ethics and morals, we have shown blatant disregard for the unity of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. However, we in the Diocese of Central Florida stand in solidarity with our communion partners within the Episcopal Church and within the Worldwide Anglican Communion who “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) . We deeply lament the costly repercussions that these decisions will have within the Episcopal Church and for Anglican Christians around the world especially those under anti-Christian totalitarian regimes.

The actions of General Convention also represent a departure from the rubrics and worship of the Book of Common Prayer and the stated Canons of the Episcopal Church. These liturgies are not recognized in the Diocese of Central Florida as being consistent with either the laws of the State or the canons of this Church on Marriage. The Book of Common Prayer says, “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that … the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church.” (p. 422)

While we are greatly saddened by the General Convention’s action, we are not discouraged. We know that we are called by God to “stand firm”. If any are discouraged, let us bear one another’s burdens and cast our cares on the Lord in prayer for one another. Our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord gives the strength and hope needed to serve without compromise within the Episcopal Church and the world, “for our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh”. (Ephesians 6:12) Our faith is not in the human institutions of the Church, but in the unwavering faithfulness of Jesus Christ our Lord—his grace is sufficient.

We stand behind our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Gregory Orrin Brewer, in his endorsement of the minority report known as the Indianapolis Statement.

The Rev. Charles Holt, Chair
The Rev. Phylis Bartle
The Rev. Danielle Morris
The Rev. James Sorvillo
The Rev. Eric Turner
Mr. Charles Armstrong
Mrs. Anneke Bertsch
Mr. Sid Glynn
Mr. William Grimm, esq.
Mrs. Sonya Shannon

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral Theology

8 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 30 deputies stood in silent protest July 12 of the Episcopal Church’s provisional rite for blessing same-sex couples. After the Rev. Canon Neal Michell read The Indianapolis Statement to the House of Deputies, about three dozen deputies rose in solidarity.

Signed by 14 current and retired bishops, the statement says the rite is for all practical purposes a wedding service and contradicts biblical theology and the Book of Common Prayer. The statement also reaffirms the dissenting bishops’ commitment to gay and lesbian Christians, to their dioceses, and “to the Anglican Communion of which the Episcopal Church is a constituent member, and to the historic See of Canterbury with whom we are in communion.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

4 Comments
Posted July 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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