Kendall Harmon’s response to the GC 2012 Passage of Rites of Blessing for Same Sex Unions

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This General Convention action is unbiblical, unchristian, unanglican and unseemly. It will further wreak havoc among Anglicans, and indeed Christians, in North America and around the world.

By making this decision, The Episcopal Church moves further away from Jesus Christ and his teaching. It thereby makes it necessary for the diocese of South Carolina to take further decisive and dramatic action to distance itself from this false step.

We in South Carolina must differentiate to stay loyal to Christ, but also to keep our own parish members and not hinder the mission of Jesus Christ who loves all and transforms all by the power of the Holy Spirit to holiness of life, a holiness which has a clear shape agreed by Christians East and West throughout 20 centuries.
--The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon is Canon Theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina and convenor of this blog (and he makes this statement for himself)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* By Kendall* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

Posted July 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Sherri2 wrote:

Thank you, and amen. Lord have mercy on us all.

July 10, 7:59 pm | [comment link]
2. Northwest Bob wrote:

Shades of Romans, Ch 1.  It appears that the Lord is obligingly giving them enough rope (generous pastoral response) with which to hang themselves.  Lord have mercy on them and me!
NW Bob

July 10, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
3. Northwest Bob wrote:

To see the denomination to which I belonged for 30 years come to this makes a grown man cry, namely me. 

NW Bob

July 10, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
4. bob+ wrote:

Northwest Bob I could not agree more.  I just wonder when it will finally hit them that they have brought destruction to the Episcopal Church.  We know what South Carolina will do, I hope we learn soon what other orthodox Bishops and people will do.  I wish I lived in a diocese bold enough to stand up against this madness.

July 10, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
5. Sherri2 wrote:

Northwest Bob - God bless.

July 10, 8:14 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah wrote:

Awesome, Kendall—thanks for your clarity.

July 10, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
7. renee wrote:

Northwest Bob-I cried too. What now?

July 10, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
8. c.r.seitz wrote:

I cannot understand why the Chair was not asked to defend the constitutionality of a category called ‘provisional rite’ over against the plain sense of Art. X of the Constitution.  I am disappointed the Bishops did not raise this issue, and that the Deputies also went a different direction.

If the argument is that ‘provisional’ is better than ‘trial’ because its fate is therefore less clear, a) its fate is probably never unclear and will not prove so, b) Art. X is our friend, written by those who value the BCP and its letter/rubrics, c)  it would be good to show ‘provisional rites’ to be constitutional outliers by having the Chair called on the question.

No one doubted that something called ‘provisional rites’ would pass. It would have been good to have emotional supporters of Gay Marriage be fully apprised that what was passed was designedly crafted so it would not be marriage, and that lacking that, it would be neither marriage nor even a ‘trial rite’—because a supermajority was not available to be deployed.

The entire ‘debate’ was ill informed about what was actually happening in terms of our agreed common life.

July 10, 8:19 pm | [comment link]
9. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Just copied this from the Diocese’s (SC) General Convention FB page.
No surprises here but for the record here is how the deputation feels at the moment.  I don’t know if the link will come through but how they feel is crystal clear.

S.C. Deputation Statement
July 10, 2012

It is with heavy hearts that Bishop Mark Lawrence and the South Carolina deputation to General Convention must report the final passage and adoption of Resolution A049, (link to resolution) the Resolution to Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships. Our deputation, in voting against its passage, remains united and unanimous in our support of the historic understanding of “the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” In the debate prior to the vote being taken, we spoke in favor of the minority report authored and presented by the Very Rev. David Thurlow. The Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, in its statement of June 15 has articulated the clear position of our diocese on marriage. The South Carolina deputation wholeheartedly endorses that position. We grieve that General Convention has further departed from these values and adopted a resolution to permit pastoral license to violate the existing canons on marriage. We believe this decision will seriously wound the Church and ask to you join is in prayers for God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence
The Very Rev. John Burwell
The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis
The Very Rev. David Thurlow
Reid Boylston
Lydia Evans
Lonnie Hamilton
Elizabeth (Boo) Pennewill

July 10, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
10. Karen B. wrote:

Good statement Kendall+
Praying for you and DioSC and all orthodox in TEC that God will encourage and strengthen your hearts, give you His boldness and wisdom in knowing how to differentiate.

He is faithful and He is STILL on the throne.

BTW, a commenter posted at SF a statement posted to the Diocese SC Facebook page by Bp Lawrence and the entire deputation in unanimous opposition to this action. 


I hope other dioceses and deputies will have the courage to also take very clear stands announcing their opposition.

July 10, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
11. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Oops never mind should have scrolled down the page myself. Anyway. it is posted here as well.

July 10, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
12. NSHANDS wrote:

I agree with Kendall’s statement wholeheartedly !!!

July 10, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
13. Athanasius Returns wrote:

Canon Harmon,

Well and soundly stated. May our LORD richly bless, guide, and defend all in DioSC!

July 10, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
14. David Wilson wrote:

Does anyone have a link to how each deputation voted?

July 10, 8:39 pm | [comment link]
15. Bill+ wrote:

Greater differentiation is certainly required. These sickos fail the “babysitter test.”

You wouldn’t trust these pervs to watch your children for you out of your sight.  How can you break bread with them as “fellow brothers?”


Bill+ (St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth)

July 10, 8:50 pm | [comment link]
16. jpt175 wrote:

I always felt like we in the Diocese of SC could stay in TEC and be a beacon of hope to other orthodox Christians in more liberal dioceses.  But now, I feel we must leave.  From The Great Litany: From all false doctrine, heresy, and SCHISM; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment, Good Lord, deliver us.

July 10, 8:52 pm | [comment link]
17. Milton Finch wrote:

JT, true.  We can see the change we made when horribly out-numbered.  I saw all the tweets from liberals saying that the orthodox were “stalling”.  If all we are going to do is stall, that means things will move even further to the left with greater speed each time we meet down the road.  There wasn’t enough gravity for the liberals after we had fallen off the voting cliff!

July 10, 9:16 pm | [comment link]
18. bob+ wrote:

While I don’t expect whole dioceses to leave again, I do expect a lot of people who have hung on and maybe whole churches just walk away leaving the keys in the door.

Could not agree with you more Fr. Bill. I’m missing Fort Worth a lot right now.

July 10, 9:21 pm | [comment link]
19. Milton Finch wrote:

Are we talking church weddings vs. courthouse weddings also?

July 10, 9:34 pm | [comment link]
20. Chip Johnson, cj wrote:


Could you tell us how you/we really feel?  72 years, plus three prior generations on both sides of my family, and now, this!

From our Psalm readings tonite, “God is much to be feared in the council of the (holy ones), great and terrible to all those round about him”. 89:7 NRSV.  (Emphasis mine)

July 10, 10:55 pm | [comment link]
21. Henry wrote:

Such a sad day for those few orthodox Christians that remain in TEC. This decision was so obviously coming, along with many more…that’s why F.W., Pitts., S.J., and Quin., along with numerous congregations and individuals, have left over the last 30 years.

July 10, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
22. Milton Finch wrote:

Personal choice ( that is felt by the most ) is a hard thing.  I really feel for you, Chip.

July 10, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
23. Brutus wrote:

[Comment deleted by Elf - comments soliciting, encouraging or instructing readers to leave or join any church are not permitted at T19 - guests from other churches are particularly requested to observe these rules and not to make matters worse - thank you]

July 10, 11:28 pm | [comment link]
24. Milton Finch wrote:

We pray and stay close to others that feel the pain we feel.

July 10, 11:41 pm | [comment link]
25. Milton Finch wrote:

It’s a dark, thundery, stormy, rainy night here in the Diocese of South Carolina.  Very fitting.

July 11, 1:08 am | [comment link]
26. robroy wrote:

“We must differentiate…”

The intolerant, hateful left will not allow it.

Christian, do not seek repose.
Cast your dreams of ease away.
You are in the midst of foes,
Watch and pray, watch and pray.Wicked forces, evil powers
Gathered in unseen array:
they wait for your unguarded hour,
Watch and pray, watch and pray.

Hear, above all, hear your Lord,
Love Him, serve Him, and obey:
Treasure in your heart His Word,
Watch and pray, watch and pray.
Watch as if on that alone
Hung the issue of the day.
Pray that victory shall be won,
Watch and pray, watch and pray.

July 11, 1:14 am | [comment link]
27. Big Vicar wrote:

Next Sunday, when the plate is passed and you are about to drop that crisp $20 bill into the vast heretical compost heap that is TEC 2012, stop! Stop and consider a better destination for that money.

Is there a mission somewhere struggling for funding as it brings the true Word of God to a hungry and ailing world? See that your gift goes to those doing the work you admire. It is time to vote with your dollars AND your faith.

July 11, 1:21 am | [comment link]
28. Northwest Bob wrote:

$20?  TEC is going to be losing a lot more than that.  For a really faithful believer in the median income range that is probably more like a crisp $100 bill.  If they have financial problems now, just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait.
With apologies to My Fair Lady,
NW Bob

July 11, 4:44 am | [comment link]
29. MichaelA wrote:

It is even more important now that ACNA and other Anglican groups do not lose their focus on evangelism and church planting.

TEC is still the largest anglican entity in USA, and its self-destructive actions are denuding many places of any Anglican witness.  TEC parishes have to struggle with the image of their leadership and GC, who through bizarre actions such as this invite public scorn and derision on the whole organisation.  At the same time, 815 through its budget strips support from parish and diocesan ministry and diverts it to sustain the central bureaucracy. 

As a result we read of more and more US communities where the TEC church closes down and nothing takes its place.  Of course there are churches of other denominations and that is a good thing, but the Anglican witness should be there also. 

Pray that the Lord sends workers into the vineyard to plant more Anglican churches in those places abandoned by TEC.

July 11, 6:29 am | [comment link]
30. c.r.seitz wrote:

I responded in this way to the Church of England’s ‘Thinking Anglicans’, FWIW.

“It appears that TEC has made provision for something called a ‘provisional rite.’ Article X of TEC’s constitution has no rite so-called. It does have provision for what it calls a ‘trial rite’ and this newrite was called that until at last minute a change was proposed to ‘provisional.’ A ‘trial rite’ requires a supermajority of Bishops to approve and people saw that was not going to happen. Rites like this one called ‘provisional’ must according to Article X conform to the rubrics of the BCP. The BCP is after all a constitutional document, not a loose leaf binder or Etch-a-Sketch. I’m not sure anyone voting Yes yesterday knows that or even much cares. After all, each Bishop in each Diocese may ban the use of such a rite. So now we have Uncommon Prayer. The only way this rite is in conformity with the rubrics of the BCP is by thinking about it as something sui generis—but Art X and the BCP were crafted so as to comprehend and order all the rites of the church. So there is now an obvious question mark over the status of the constitutional Art X and BCP.
I accept that those in favor of these rites don’t care about that or disagree with it. But the fact remains that for many Bishops and Dioceses this newrite is not only not to be used but is constitutionally questionable.
Conservative also means ‘in a fellowship of saints’ who have gone before and who have helped order our life of Common Prayer and Worship, where we await the Coming of our Lord in love and hope.”

July 11, 9:36 am | [comment link]
31. Tom Hightower wrote:

My entire family had been members of the Episcopal Church since the Revolution and Anglican before that.  That was the Church that formed me and I served for 30 years.  It is no longer a church that I recognize.  At this point, I have no stake in that future. I have tremendous sympathy and appreciation for Canon Harmon, whom I have met and continue to read for his insights. I worked with him at four previous GC’s. Even more, I understand his grief.  I pray that he and the Diocese are successful in finding a way to separate from the decisions and directions of the General Convention.  May our Lord Jesus Christ bless them in their struggles and in their search.
Fr Tom Hightower
Diocese of Fort Worth

July 11, 9:48 am | [comment link]
32. BlueOntario wrote:

Jesus calls his own to take up their crosses and follow him. In this statement all y’all have done that in witness of he who sacrificed his all for our sins. God keep you close to him.

July 11, 11:20 am | [comment link]
33. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of the diocese of South Carolina and their deputation, and with gratitude for the Christian witness they show the rest of us, including through this weblog.

July 11, 11:28 am | [comment link]
34. Cennydd13 wrote:

31.  Fr Hightower, there is a way out of the TEC quagmire; it’s called “shaking the dust from one’s sandals and moving on.”  I needn’t tell you the destination.  We’re here in strength and in purpose, and our mission is to preach and teach the Word of God by going out into the world on Christ’s Great Commission…....and we’re doing just that.

July 11, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
35. Cennydd13 wrote:

27.  BigVicar, you sure nailed it!

July 11, 1:08 pm | [comment link]
36. Publius wrote:

The Presiding Bishop, Bp. Sauls, and their advisors will not allow South Carolina’s defiance to go unchallenged. As someone posted over at SF, the Eye of Sauron will soon refocus on South Carolina.

To all the Faithful in South Carolina: take cover! Incoming…

July 11, 1:46 pm | [comment link]
37. CharlietheCook wrote:

[Comment deleted by Elf]

July 11, 2:10 pm | [comment link]
38. Big Vicar wrote:

Charlie, as a passionate soldier for Christ I am girding for this battle. And this battle can be better fought from within my church than without. I don’t know how long this conflict will continue nor how many indignities I will be forced to endure, but I will take my church back. This is not a battle of wills. It is a war against evil.

July 11, 2:20 pm | [comment link]
39. Teatime2 wrote:

Big Vicar, I agree with you on all counts. I’m not going anywhere, either. I hope this isn’t too crude but I see it as a conflict between those whose hearts and minds are on heavenly things and those who think with their genitals.

I’m sorry, but I mean that. I don’t understand it, though. When individuals and groups turn so self-centered, I consider whether it is from mental and/or emotional trauma or it’s diabolical in origin. In this case, I thought it was the former but now I’m not so sure. When I read VGR’s comments and Glasspool’s “prayers” at their “liturgy,” it made me think of the ugliness and evil surrounding Aslan when he was bound to the stone table. There may be evil here.

But the benefit of thinking clearly and holding firm is that it wins out in the long run. How many fads and odd schools of thought have come and gone, how many people have risen and fallen from favor in the blink of an eye. Jesus Christ remains the same and it is our duty to witness to him wherever we find ourselves. And, indeed, we are often called to remain and witness where it is most uncomfortable. That is the price of discipleship.

My money won’t be going in the collection plate, either, and I will be sure to tell my rector why. I will also ask him how I can contribute directly to the upkeep and mission of the parish, instead.

July 11, 3:38 pm | [comment link]
40. magnolia wrote:

i left texas ec long ago because i couldn’t stand the blatant lies anymore. on high holidays i make a special trip to my old conservative church because i miss the building and the music but i give money to the discretionary fund; just write it on the cheque and it will go to other projects.

July 11, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
41. MichaelA wrote:

“To all the Faithful in South Carolina: take cover! Incoming…”

True, however Ms Schori is said to have been stony-faced when her measure to permit deposing of bishops by a simply majority was rejected on 11 July.  +Gene Robinson and Ms Mary Glasspool spoke strongly in support of it, but many other bishops attacked it and it was voted down (or rather amended to stipulate that a super-majority is required, both at the diocesan convention and in the HOB).

Whatever plans Ms Schori had for South Carolina will now require to be rethought.

Mind you, I am sure that the vast majority of bishops who voted against Ms Schori’s measure had no interest in the welfare of South Carolina.  Rather, it is their own hides they are worried about - they understand that the same methods that Schori and her cronies have used on the orthodox can just as easily be turned on liberals who don’t toe the central line.

July 12, 5:52 am | [comment link]
42. Northwest Bob wrote:

#41. That is at least one ray of hope.  I was not aware of this issue.  Thanks for sharing.  I am sure you analysis of episcopal self interest and preservation is correct.  Eventually, what is sauce for the goose becomes sauce for the gander.  They were at least smart enough to recognize this and protect their hides and pensions.
NW Bob

July 12, 11:18 am | [comment link]
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