Diocese of Texas passes council resolution according legitimacy to same-sex relationships

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is an update to the entry immediately below, which commented on a then-proposed Annual Council resolution according honor to same-sex relationships and stating that God is made known in and through such relationships. The resolution, modified in some details from the version proposed by the diocese’s resolutions committee but still to the same effect, was approved by vote of the Council on February 13.[1] Somewhat surprisingly, it passed with the support of several clergy generally identified as having a conservative view, who signed on as named proponents of the resolution alongside the five proponents (three clergy and two lay) of the original resolutions submitted to the committee. All five of these new proponents are clergy from Houston, two of them being rectors of the Diocese’s largest two parishes. Four of the five are listed on the Communion Partners web site as Communion Partner Rectors[2]and one of these four is listed as a member of the Communion Partner Clergy Steering Committee. These new named proponents of the resolution do not include any laypersons, and accounts of the Council meeting published on the diocese’s web site do not indicate that any laypersons identified with the conservative side spoke from the Council floor in support of the resolution. The text of the resolution, the names and parish identifications of the proponents and a summary of statements made from the floor appear at http://161council.blogspot.com/2010/02/final-council-actions-and-elections_16.html (scroll down to Resolutions).

Read it all and please follow all the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

11 Comments
Posted February 25, 2010 at 7:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ian Montgomery wrote:

Interesting and for me very sad.  I well remember the way D039 was welcomed by some naive and more conservative folk.  They thought the ambiguity was helpful - NOT.  It became part indeed of the groundwork incrementally to lead us to today’s situation.  I am very sad to see the more conservative folk and CP leaders/participants put their names to this.  I suspect some my lose their tenure as folk in the pews learn of, what for them will sound like, caving in to the left.

February 25, 9:20 am | [comment link]
2. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

2/24/10 - “I prophetically predict increasing alignment with the EcUSA/TEc failure to adhere to the Anglican Communion, increasing incursion of the General Convention gozpell, and continued monetary support of the Episcopal Political Action Committee headquartered at 815 to the detriment of the diocese and mission work.”

I rest my case.

February 25, 9:22 am | [comment link]
3. Sarah wrote:

The resolutions sponsors:

Submitted by: The Rev. Chris Bowhay, St. Thomas, Houston;
the Rev. David Boyd, St. David’s, Austin;
the Rev Russ Levenson, St. Martin’s, Houston;
the Very Rev. Joe Reynolds, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston;
the Rev. Larry Hall, St. John the Divine, Houston;
the Rev. Lisa Hunt, St. Stephen’s, Houston;
the Rev. Stuart Bates, St. Francis’, Houston;
the Rev. Dick Elwood, St. Martin’s, Houston;
Laurie Eiserloh, St. David’s, Austin;
Jim Cowan, Trinity, Houston

February 25, 10:06 am | [comment link]
4. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

I would contrast the diocesan resolution:

Resolved, that all sorts and conditions of humanity, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, or sexual orientation, and especially all of God’s children entrusted to our care, are loved beyond measure by God in Christ, are welcomed and valued in our institutions, mission, ministries and parishes, and are a blessing to our collective life as we engage together in mission and ministry; and, be it further,

Resolved, that all people in our communities and their relationships receive the pastoral care, time, attention and honor they are due as God is revealed in and through them and as God works to change us all into a holy people.

And Resolution I.10: 3-5

3. recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
  4. while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
  5. cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions

I suppose the stumbling block is the “mission and ministries” portion of the Texas resolution, because it might imply that teaching and leading cannot be constrained by any aspect of mode of life. I assume people like Levenson signed it because they wouldn’t read it that way.

Catholic and Reformed

February 25, 10:21 am | [comment link]
5. Mike Watson wrote:

Jeremy Bonner, I do not see the problem as limited to that.  The second resolve accords pastoral care, honor, etc. not just to people, but to relationships as such, which I don’t believe 1.10 does and which seems quite intentional.  (The reference to ordering of relationships in 1.10 can’t reasonably be read to do this.)  In addition, there is the extrinsic evidence referred to in the post.

February 25, 10:40 am | [comment link]
6. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Fair point, Mike, although I’m not sure how you do pastoral care in such circumstances without reference to the other party.

Might not pastoral care sometimes include a recommendation that certain relationships be transformed into purely platonic friendships?

February 25, 10:46 am | [comment link]
7. seitz wrote:

For the life of me, resolutions as presently written inside TEC-dom just seem incoherent. What does it mean to ‘describe reality’ and call it a resolution? In addition, at General Convention level, resolutions have no legislative force anyway, and are canonically stated as non-binding. TEC is inside a vortex of confusion and disorder and it breeds more of the same. A non-legislative GenConv produces resolutions that are non-binding (and are or can be against the constitution or BCP) and the dioceses receive these with understandable degrees of woe and consternation, and then react by permitting the same exercises to go on in their own ranks. I cannot see how this is anything but a recipe for bitterness, protracted acrimony, and the slow-drip of ‘we will put facts on the gorund’ and then back-fill them with ‘resolutions’ of various kinds. I used to think TEC was in the latter chapters of Judges, but it is more entrenched and less plain-spoken than all that.

February 25, 11:02 am | [comment link]
8. Philip Snyder wrote:

Dr. Seitz,
The resolutions seem incoherent because they are.  Sin brings darkness and incoherence rather than light an coherence.
This type of behavior is the end result of relying on political processes and political activism to take the place of theological discernment.
YBIC,
Phil Snyder

February 25, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
9. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Deacon Snyder and Dr. Seitz are correct, and what else would anyone expect out of the Houston/Austin show? 

Didn’t Dr. Turner stand up at Dallas’s Convention in October and state that his problem with Austin is that it now acts more like the People’s Republic of Massachusetts than anything else?  He’s not wrong, and if for any reason they’re emulating Massachusetts, they’re learning serpentine tactics from a master.  YUCK

February 25, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
10. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Thanks to Mike Watson for calling our attention to this troubling resolution.  I hope that Fr. Russ Levenson of St. Martin’s and Fr. Larry Hall of St. John the Divine in Houston will forthrightly explain why in the world they joined in sponsoring such a seemingly senseless resolution that certainly appears to concede far too much.

David Handy+

February 25, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
11. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Dr. Handy, maybe it’s simply a hallmark of even the giants drinking the Kool-Aid.

February 25, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
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