Central Pennsylvania bishop faces decision on blessing same-sex unions

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Nathan] Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, will announce his decision this weekend at the 142nd annual diocesan convention in State College. Three-hundred people from the 66 parishes in the 24-county diocese will attend.

Although the Episcopal Church has ordained openly gay bishops in the United States, it has not taken an official stand on gay marriage.

“The Episcopal Church says that homosexuality in and of itself is not a sin,” Baxter said. “We are called to love and respect all persons as being loved by God. I am listening to all views as I discern whether to approve blessing same-sex unions.”

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



1. Pigeon wrote:

Bishop Baxter announced today that he WILL allow same-sex unions in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. 

For details, see here for the Bishop’s presentation slides.  After confirming that he will allow the blessings, he adds that same-sex blessings are “Where the Church is in its current discerning” and “The strongest sense of where God seems to be calling us.” 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/dfc_attachments/public/documents/3159918/Bishops_Address_powerpoint_2012.pdf

June 9, 6:07 pm | [comment link]
2. Ralph wrote:

As far as I can tell, TEC has never made a written doctrinal statement that homosexual practice “in and of itself is not a sin.”

Some excepts from the slides (with some comments):
“We Will…Honor the discernment of each and respect the fundamental integrity of all the baptized.” (Let’s remember that Hitler was a baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic.)

“We are Episcopalians and we discern in a different way.” (I wonder what he meant by that.)

The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant is NOT
- A marriage rite (We don’t know that yet. The resolution coming to General Convention seems to make provision for that, and can be amended to make it explicitly so. That’s what the activists want.)
- An official liturgy (It would be an official liturgy for Black Mass.)
- A sacrament (But, the activists think that it is.)
- A required service (Just give them time.)
- Where the Church is in its current discerning (Not “the Church.” Only a tiny minority of “the Church” actually. TEC has no authority or power to act on this unilaterally.)
- The strongest sense of where God seems to be calling us (I don’t think it’s God who’s calling.)

Anathema! Another bishop has made a de facto resignation from Holy Orders.

June 10, 6:41 am | [comment link]
3. CJ wrote:

I heard the news myself, in church this morning.
Worse still, our pastor used this morning’s gospel (Mark 3:20-35, where Jesus warns against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and later says that those who do the will of His Father are His mother and brothers, as much as are His earthly family) as a lead-in to suggest that that the model of the traditional family is somehow Pharisaical and should take a back seat to more inclusive ideal of family. She followed this with an invitation to the congregation to reflect and pray about whether or not St Andrew’s Church should be a place where “families” and “marriages” of all types are welcomed, warning that we may be in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit if we call something that is a movement of the Holy Spirit evil.

June 10, 6:55 pm | [comment link]
4. CJ wrote:

A number of us are upset (to put it mildly) about this development, but there are no Anglican churches within driving distance of our area, and we’d rather not join the Roman Catholics. Does anyone have any suggestions for us? It would be nice if somebody planted an orthodox-believing Anglican church in our area.

June 11, 8:33 am | [comment link]
5. Don C wrote:

CJ, what about the Lutherans? the ELCA is similar to the EC(USA) but the NALC or perhaps the LCMS might be more your speed.

June 11, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah wrote:

CJ—I know one thing; the Diocese should not get a dime more of your pledge, which means your parish should not get a dime more.

That’s the *only*—and I do mean the only—lay voice that TEC bishops will listen to.

June 11, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
7. CJ wrote:

Well, Don, the Diocese isn’t getting pledge money from us anyway - my husband’s health and our circumstances are such that we have nothing to give, and are instead are all too often on the receiving end (and our parish has helped us a number of times, too ; if it weren’t for this gay-union heresy that the TEC is pushing down everyone’s throats, wild horses couldn’t drag me away from this parish - they are the kindest, most loving, most Christ-like group of people I have known in 50+ years of living, and that’s why this is breaking my heart.)
And as for the Lutheran Church, all of the Lutherans in our area are moving in the same direction as the TEC, and without benefit of the Apostolic Succession and five of the Seven Sacraments, too.

June 12, 8:49 am | [comment link]
8. High_Church wrote:

“The Episcopal Church says that homosexuality in and of itself is not a sin,” Baxter said.

What insolence, what arrogance, what outrageousness…

From the church that also decided murder….I mean abortion…what not a sin.  Great moral track record.

June 12, 12:30 pm | [comment link]
9. CJ wrote:

“The Episcopal Church says that homosexuality in and of itself is not a sin,” Baxter said.”

Could Baxter simply be saying that the condition of being a homosexual isn’t a sin, or is he trying to convince people that engaging in homosexual activity isn’t a sin?

The two things are rather different - I was always taught that while homosexual activity is always gravely sinful, simply being homosexually inclined isn’t sinful, provided the person remains celibate - choosing to “make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”, as Jesus says in Matthew 19:12.

June 12, 9:20 pm | [comment link]
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