Press Release from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado on Yesterday’s Action

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Saturday, Jan. 10, The Right Rev. Robert O’Neill ordained Mary Catherine Volland to the sacred order of priests, along with Heather Leigh Payton, Michael David Scott Demmon and Bret Bowie Hayes. All four ordinands will be serving congregations in Colorado.

Volland, a long-time resident of Colorado, was a candidate for ordination from the Diocese of Minnesota where she was ordained to the transitional diaconate this summer. She has been called to serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver, and was ordained here by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of the Bishop of Minnesota, the Right Rev. James Jelinek. (Hayes, a candidate for ordination from the Diocese of Connecticut, is serving as a curate at St. John’s Cathedral, and was also ordained here by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of the Bishop of Connecticut, the Right Rev. Andrew Smith.)

Volland is a partnered lesbian. The Episcopal Church does ordain partnered gay and lesbian persons. Several Colorado congregations have been and are served faithfully by gay and lesbian clergy. Although there is a clearly range of opinion among clergy and lay people of the diocese about the ministry of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, one of the gifts of Anglican Christianity is its tradition of holding widely divergent points of view in a context of orthodox Christian faith.

“The Diocese of Colorado is perhaps the most politically and theologically diverse diocese in The Episcopal Church,” says Bishop O’Neill. “Our faithful walking together as sisters and brothers in Christ is at once challenging and a great gift that we have to offer to a broken and divided world. I am grateful to all in this diocese who faithfully come to the table to offer their many gifts to God’s service, including the gay and lesbian Christians among us who so generously contribute to our common life and ministry.”

I tried in vain to find this on the Diocesan Wesbite, if anyone else can help with this please let me know--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process

Posted January 11, 2009 at 9:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. robroy wrote:

Scottsoup+ wrote this about the press release over at SF:

I’m a clergy person in CO; I was informed by the Bishop at a clergy gathering earlier in the week that this was going to take place. The bishop asked us, out of pastoral consideration for the remaining clergy he is going to speak with next week, to not say anything. It was noted this put many in a pastorally untenable situation with their congregations; the Bishop indicated he may provide a pastoral letter to clergy to help with this. We have not received this, but the media statement pasted below. Too little, too late.

January 11, 12:53 pm | [comment link]
2. William P. Sulik wrote:

In good faith,  I am sorrier for the Bishop’s perfidy than our peril.

January 11, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
3. Jim K wrote:

One wonders, I suppose, just what O’Neill was proposing to say in his pastoral letter that would “help with this.”  Having made his own clergy complicit in his deception (that’s the least serious effect of his actions in this case, but one I hope few on this blog would deny.), what comforting or encouraging words would he emit?

January 11, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
4. Harvey wrote:

Will this action result in the case of “..the blind leading the blind and they both shall fall in the ditch…”??  Lord have mercy upon us; Christ have mercy upon us; Lord have mercy upon us.

January 11, 5:39 pm | [comment link]
5. Adam 12 wrote:

Whenever I see the word “diverse” my brain somehow reads “divisive.”

January 11, 6:14 pm | [comment link]
6. Jeffersonian wrote:

Will this action result in the case of “..the blind leading the blind and they both shall fall in the ditch…”?? 

Most certainly not, as the blind are actually attempting to stay out of the ditch.  Enlightened thought within TEC today says that there is no difference between the road and the ditch, so doing a swan dive into the latter is nothing more than celebrating the diversity of those who wallow in the mire and those who do not.  Just make sure not to point out the soiled state of the former, however, if you know what’s good for you.

January 11, 6:41 pm | [comment link]
7. Ann McCarthy wrote:

Sadly funny, Jeffersonian, and terribly accurate.

January 11, 7:18 pm | [comment link]
8. AnglicanFirst wrote:

This act of Bishop O’Neill is an outright act of schismatic intent. 

It is an act in defiance of the collegiality of the Anglican Communion.  It says,essentially, “I do not care what you believe, I am going to do what I want to do regardless of your beliefs.”

From the point of view of ECUSA, this is a tactically and strategically unwise act.  It will only serve to force those those traditional/orthodox Anglicans within ECUSA to re-examine their thoughts about ‘working things out’ within ECUSA while remaining loyal to a national church that permits such actions.

It is a portent of the very near future, i.e., that which might likely happen at GC2009.  It could force many ‘fence-sitters’ to make choices prior to the convention. 

It seems to portend that the outcome of GC2009 will be a triumphant march of the revisionist forces over the bodies of the remaining traditional/orthodox ECUSA loyalists within ECUSA.

For instance, the Diocese of Albany may be under direct assault at the convention for its prohibition of same-sex partnership blessings/marriages on diocesan properties and its prohibition of non-chaste clergy of any sexual orientation serving as clergy in the diocese.

If ECUSA tolerates, does not disown, O’Neill’s action, what is the future for those whold hold to “...the Faith once given…” in ECUSA.

January 11, 7:27 pm | [comment link]
9. w.w. wrote:

I feel sorry for the biblically faithful clergy in this diocese who will have to live and work with the consequences: good people quietly leaving the church for a less encumbered elsewhere (that is safer for the nurture of their children and young people, among other things), a shaggy public image, and a huge impediment to evangelism and church growth.


January 12, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
10. athan-asi-us wrote:

The biblically faithful in this diocese have already left.

January 12, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
11. Pb wrote:

He feels for the broken and divided world and cares nothing for the broken and divided church. This is telling and shared by many in leadership in TEC.

January 12, 6:23 pm | [comment link]
12. ServantPrep wrote:

w.w.  Your judgmental and inaccurate statement #10, is both inaccurate and very hurtful to those biblically faithful within Colorado that have felt His call to continue a Gospel witness within the Diocese. 

“Are there any within Israel who have not bowed the knee to Baal?”

January 12, 11:49 pm | [comment link]
13. libraryjim wrote:

I have to agree with servantP here.  I know several very orthodox people who remain in the Episcopal Church in Colorado, who continue to feed and nurture their fellow Christians there. Their churches are thriving (because they do preach and teach the Gospel).  I pray for them daily.

January 13, 12:41 am | [comment link]
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