The Episcopal Bishop of Virginia’s Pastoral Address to Diocesan Council

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I realize that there are presently clergy and congregations who have addressed these questions of blessing, community, society and Scripture in ways that could be deemed thorough and conclusive. Furthermore, you may remember that I have always affirmed that committed, monogamous same-gender relationships can indeed be faithful in the Christian life. Therefore, I plan also to begin working immediately with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the “generous pastoral response” that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches. Personally, it is my hope that the 2012 General Convention will authorize the formal blessing of same-gender unions for those clergy in places that want to celebrate them. Until then, we might not be able to do all that we would want to do but, in my judgment, it is right to do something and it is time to do what we can....

We all know that the litigation has been expensive, but I will remind you that these costs are being covered by a line of credit secured by unconsecrated, non-strategic real estate. No pledge dollars given to the diocese’s annual budget are being used to fund this legal battle. And this reminds me . . .

I remain shocked and grievously troubled by the lack of adequate funding for our diocese. Make no mistake: this is not about sexuality or any other controversy. Virginia has been dead last in the Episcopal Church in its percentage funding for the diocesan budget for decades. Our congregations’ average giving to the Diocese is a less-than-modest 6.5 percent of plate-and-pledge, and only 5.4 percent of all unrestricted operating revenues. Only 18 of our 183 congregations give at least 10 percent of their revenues to the Diocese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

3 Comments
Posted January 27, 2011 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br. Michael wrote:

And, finally, the nature of Scripture is raised.  Is Scripture clear in its teachings about same-sex relationships?  What is the place of interpretation and contextualization based on scholarship?  What does it mean that there are other parts of Scripture (for example, the teachings about divorce and remarriage) that we no longer apply to Christian ethics so strictly?

 

Now having gotten rid of that pesky scripture:

I realize that there are presently clergy and congregations who have addressed these questions of blessing, community, society and Scripture in ways that could be deemed thorough and conclusive.  Furthermore, you may remember that I have always affirmed that committed, monogamous same-gender relationships can indeed be faithful in the Christian life. Therefore, I plan also to begin working immediately with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the “generous pastoral response” that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches.  Personally, it is my hope that the 2012 General Convention will authorize the formal blessing of same-gender unions for those clergy in places that want to celebrate them.  Until then, we might not be able to do all that we would want to do but, in my judgment, it is right to do something and it is time to do what we can.

January 27, 8:45 am | [comment link]
2. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

...“I plan also to begin working immediately with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the “generous pastoral response” that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches”.

Said “generous pastoral response”(and btw, who gets to define that?  Maybe a clergyman’s “generous pastoral response” would include a referral to Redeemed Lives) was reserved for dioceses in states where gay “marriage” was legal, or at least in states that provided civil unions for gay couples.  Have I missed something in Virginia?

January 27, 2:00 pm | [comment link]
3. RomeAnglican wrote:

He sure has trouble connected the dots, doesn’t he?

January 27, 2:45 pm | [comment link]
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