The Letter from some Pittsburgh Clergy Referred to in the Previous Posting

Posted by Kendall Harmon

TO THE PEOPLE AND CLERGY OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH:

We are rectors and clergy in good standing of the Diocese of Pittsburgh who believe the
best way forward for renewal and reformation of the Episcopal Church is support for the
Windsor Report and its recommendations. While we understand the need of many of our
brothers and sisters to leave the Episcopal Church, we have determined to remain within,
and not re-align out of, the Episcopal Church. We intend to “keep alert and always
persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:6).

Dated this 29th day of January, 2008:

The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker
Priest-in-Charge, St Stephen’s Wilkinsburg

The Rev. Dr. Jay Geisler
Rector, St. Stephen’s, McKeesport

The Rev Dr. Daniel Hall
Episcopal Priest Associate, First Lutheran

The Rev. Norman Koehler
Priest, Chaplain

The Rev. Jeffrey Murph
Rector, St Thomas, Oakmont

The Rev. Scott Quinn The Rev. Dr. Don Youse
Rector, The Church of the Nativity

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Robison
Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park

The Rev. Canon James Shoucair
Rector, Christ Church, North Hills

The Rev. Dr. James Simons
St Michael’s, Ligonier

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Smalley
St. Barnabas’, Brackenridge

The Rev. Philip Wainwright
Rector, St. Peter’s, Brentwood

The Rev. Dr. Don Youse
Priest-in-charge, Emmanuel, North Side

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

42 Comments
Posted January 30, 2008 at 8:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Wilfred wrote:

Careerists.

January 30, 10:15 am | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Very far from it. Principled communion conservatives. You are free to disagree with them, but don’t slander those whom you don’t know.

January 30, 10:29 am | [comment link]
3. Richard Crocker wrote:

Wilfred (1)
Knowing some of these people as I do, I can tell you that your charge of careerism is unwarranted.  Rather, this letter is indicative of the differing pressures, principles and possibilities facing faithful people, that create the complexity and confusion of this current time.  We do end up with differing outcomes as we wait for overall resolution.

Richard Crocker

January 30, 10:30 am | [comment link]
4. Sarah1 wrote:

Richard . . . thank you very much for your comment.  As a person who is now outside of TEC, you are gracious and I think clear-sighted too.

I appreciate that.

January 30, 10:37 am | [comment link]
5. archangelica wrote:

This is good news. As a reappraiser I can tell you that I very strongly desire an INCREASED presence of reasserters in TEC. We are so spiritually diminished without these dear ones as to be sick unto death. Minorities have the charism of speaking truth to power. If I wanted to belong to a church that was leftist Christian ad nausem I would join the UCC. If I wanted to belong to a church that was rightest Anglican (i.e. The Reformed Episcopal Church or any of the vast splinters of the continuing church movement). I desire neither. The richness, nuance and giftedness that TEC brings to Christianity is a comphrensive reformed Catholicism in which liberals and conservatives maintain a holy tension of diverse thought, form and piety within the boundaries of the creeds and councils. Break this long held tension and we all of us descend into ease and smugness and decrease in charity and humility. My prayers are with and for these priests who seek to bloom where they are planted so that there aroma of holiness blesses and challenges us all. They are a strong witness to us. May God give them the graces to perservere.

January 30, 10:53 am | [comment link]
6. Virgil in Tacoma wrote:

#5…Someone who stated what I’ve wanted to say, but with far more eloquence. Amen.

January 30, 10:58 am | [comment link]
7. DonGander wrote:

It would seem that the leader of TEC disagrees with those who desire to have a mix oil and water.

January 30, 11:15 am | [comment link]
8. trooper wrote:

Dead on, Don.  TEC wants enough reasserters around to call themselves diverse, but not enough to create a voting block, or cause any real trouble.

January 30, 11:25 am | [comment link]
9. Brad Page wrote:

Fact:  The day of “comprehensive reformed Catholicism” within The Episcopal Church has ended.  What remains to be seen is if that gift will survive in a clarified/reconstituted Anglican Communion (after the Windsor Report and Covenant have run their course).

January 30, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
10. Eugene wrote:

By the end of the year there will be more orthodox rectors in TEC than rectors that will leave.  The same is true of orhodox Bishops.  It is always (well usually) a minority that leave a denomination to form a new one.  In this case it will be between 10 and 20% of the orhodox that leave.

January 30, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
11. Brian of Maryland wrote:

Maybe they see themselves as Hosea, remaining in relationship with Gomer ...

Brian

January 30, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
12. AnglicanFirst wrote:

I understand and respect Richard Crocker+‘s comment in #3.  Richard+ was my priest when I was a member of Truro Church.

But I think that these orthodox clergy who wish to remain with ECUSA should consider several things.

Do they think that by remaining that they are going to somehow slow down ECUSA’s nose dive into the waters of faulty reading of Scripture and a pervading Christology that reeks of heresy?

Do they think that if they were to serve under a progressive-revisionist bishop that they would be able to stomach what they and their parishoners would be exposed to?

Have they considered that their acquiesence to remain with an ECUSA led by progressive-revisionist clergy might amount to ‘aiding and abetting?’

Have they heard the old adage,

“Don’t run with sheep killing dogs unless you want to be known as one?”

January 30, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
13. palagious wrote:

I would like to respect the sentiment.  Unfortunately for the orthodox clergy that choose to remain within the TEC, a Canadian-style “loyalty oath” is probably not too far off.  There will come a point at which even the most dedicated, orthodox Episcopal clergy will be forced to deny either Christ or TEC.

January 30, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
14. archangelica wrote:

#13 There will come a point at which even the most dedicated, orthodox Episcopal clergy will be forced to deny either Christ or TEC.

Never. Jesus Christ be praised.

January 30, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
15. John Wilkins wrote:

#13 - palagious - what you say is fantasy. 

I understand, however, as a sinner, the need to make enemies.

Yes, I have called my opponents hateful bigots, pushy, homophobic, sheltered, hypocritical and political.  So I also stand condemned for thinking the worst of my opponents.  Forgive me for that when I do. 

And that is my own shortcoming.  but I call you on your inaccuracy.

January 30, 8:55 pm | [comment link]
16. archangelica wrote:

#13
Very well said good sir!

January 30, 9:01 pm | [comment link]
17. BabyBlue wrote:

Jim Simons is one of my heroes.  If God is calling him to be part of the remnant inside TEC, then I say the remnant will have a mighty warrior. 

We shouldn’t call it a “rift” that there may be some God is indeed calling to stay inside TEC and fight from within.  Hardly!  Remember the French Resistance!  This is a struggle with many many fronts.  To work from within - that’s a very special calling and if God is calling people like Jim to do that - well, peace be with you! 

Les All’mands étaient chez moi
On m’a dit: “Résigne-toi”,
Mais je n’ai pas pu.
Et j’ai repris mon arme.

Personne ne m’a demandé
D’ou je viens et où je vais
Vous qui le savez,
Effacez mon passage.

J’ai changé cent fois de nom
J’ai perdu femme et enfant
Mais j’ai tant d’amis
Et j’ai la France entière.

Un vieil homme dans un grenier
Pour la nuit nous a cachés
Les All’mands l’ont pris
Il est mort sans surprise

Hier encore nous étions trois
Il ne reste plus que moi
Et je tourne en rond
Dans la prison des frontières

Le vent passe sur les tombes
Et la liberté reviendra
On nous oubliera!
Nous rentrerons dans l’ombre.

bb

January 30, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
18. Alta Californian wrote:

I’ve typed several responses but always end in a fit of apoplexy.  AnglicanFirst, they may have reasons you know not of, like being called by God to remain missionaries in the “Unchurched Church”.  Calling them complicit heretics in ungracious and unhelpful.  John Wilkins, interesting how you lob those words even as you apologize for them.  We ComCons are so squeezed by all sides it’s a wonder we get out of bed in the morning.

January 30, 9:21 pm | [comment link]
19. SaintCyprian wrote:

“I desire neither. The richness, nuance and giftedness that TEC brings to Christianity is a comphrensive reformed Catholicism in which liberals and conservatives maintain a holy tension of diverse thought, form and piety within the boundaries of the creeds and councils.”

The Episcopal Church doesn’t “bring anything” to the wider church, as far as the wider church is concerned. To think that somehow the Episcopal Church operates “within the boundaries of the creeds and councils” only serves to illustrate a severe ignorance of the creeds and the councils.

January 30, 9:28 pm | [comment link]
20. archangelica wrote:

#19
In the current state of affairs i.e. a shattered and fragmented Church (and sorry Roman Catholics and the Eastern Churches are not exempt from this reality but like all the other Christian Churches have contributed, some more some less to the centuries old anathemas) All of the divisions within the Church contain both blessing and curse, error and truth, shadow and light. Ecumenism at it’s best is a kind of gift exchange and TEC is not devoid of her own particular gifts and charisms.

January 30, 10:04 pm | [comment link]
21. SaintCyprian wrote:

#20 - Roman Catholics and Eastern Churches don’t believe that the church is fragmented, nor that it even can be. The plain truth is that the Episcopal Church isn’t listened to in matters of the Christian faith because it doesn’t really concern itself with matters of the Christian faith.

January 30, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
22. archangelica wrote:

#21
This just isn’t true.

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew Call for Unity
Pope Benedict and the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians Patriarch Bartholomew held a solemn prayer service together on Thursday and re-committed their Churches to the quest for unity to patch up a nearly 1,000-year-old schism.

“The divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world and an obstacle to the proclamation of the gospel,” Benedict said in his homily at the colorful service in the incense-filled Church of St. George.

Benedict’s service with Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians, was held on the feast of St. Andrew the apostle, who is said to have preached in what is now Istanbul after Christ’s death.

Benedict’s visit has been marked by the tightest security ever seen for a foreign visitor. A few dozen supporters of a nationalist Islamist party protested against the Pope outside Istanbul University under heavy police guard.

By Public Radio of Armenia

January 30, 10:27 pm | [comment link]
23. archangelica wrote:

“Never grow tired of praying for Christian unity”, Pope tells crowd
Vatican City, Jan 20, 2008 / 12:03 pm - After greeting a throng of some 200,000 people who came to St. Peter’s Square to prayerfully support Pope Benedict, the Holy Father turned to the subject of his Angelus address, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Pope exhorted the faithful in his reflections to “never grow tired of praying for unity among Christians!”

During this week of prayer, Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants, “implore the Lord together, in a more intense way, for the gift of communion,” the Pontiff reminded the faithful.

The Pope acknowledged the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, the “spiritual sons and daughters” of Fr. Paul Wattson, who began the initiative 100 years ago and who was dedicated entirely to the work of healing divisions between Christians.

This year’s theme for the week of prayer for Christian unity, “Pray always,” is a “biblical theme that is dense with significance.”

The Holy Father said, “With this appeal, St Paul wanted to make it understood that new life in Christ and in the Holy Spirit brings the capacity to overcome selfishness, to live together in peace and fraternal unity, and to bear willingly the sufferings of others. We must never grow tired of praying for unity among Christians!”

He continued, “When at the last supper, Jesus prayed that “they all might be one”, he had in mind the precise end, “that the world believe.” The evangelical mission of the Church is thus an ecumenical walk, a journey of unity in faith, in evangelical witness and authentic fraternity.”

Concluding his Angelus reflection, the Pope invited everyone to participate in solemn Vespers on January 25, the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, at the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

January 30, 10:29 pm | [comment link]
24. SaintCyprian wrote:

The pope doesn’t see the catholic church as existing in schism, though. Instead everyone outwith the catholic church has broken away and lacks the full participation in the body of Christ which can only be experienced within the catholic faith.

“The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.””

January 30, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
25. SaintCyprian wrote:

“Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.”

This passage and the last are taken from the catechism of the catholic church.

January 30, 10:51 pm | [comment link]
26. palagious wrote:

#15.  Two sentences do not a fantasy make.  If you are upset about the second sentence of my post, I understand. 

To clarify, if an orthodox clergy member, within the TEC structure, and opposed to SSB, we “required” to perform SSB by cannon or otherwise, and confronted with a situation in which he would be canonically required to fulfill his clerical duties, that would place him in a position of conflict.  In this instance, he would have to chose between HIS INTERPRETATION of what Christ was calling upon him to do and what clerical duties TEC might mandate from him based on TEC INTERPRETATION and canons.  I find this a curious and conflicted place for orthodox clergy. 

I hope I am not those things that you ascribe to me by transference to yourself, but stand ready for the accusations of bigot and all the other names.  I also must say that I am more understanding of these issues among the laity but much less so for the clergy who we count on for sound spiritual guidance.

January 30, 10:52 pm | [comment link]
27. archangelica wrote:

#26 This is conjecture of the worst kind. Episcopal clergy (raging liberal or lunatic fringe conservative and all points in between) are not “required” to marry or bless anyone. Nor is there any movement to force them to do so. Therefore, you have indeed created a most wild fantasy.

January 30, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
28. archangelica wrote:

#25
Since the one who changed was the Catholic Church, I think the Orthodox consider themselves the ones who retain the original ecclesiastical framework. The Catholics changed the creed and made the Pope infallible.

However, truth be told, if two people divorce, the question is not is Mary divorced from John or is John divorced from Mary. The fact is that they’re divorced from one another. And such are all the branches and twigs of the Church.

January 30, 11:10 pm | [comment link]
29. rorymccorkle wrote:

Elves, could this thread be kept on topic? We seem to be dramatically veering…

January 30, 11:20 pm | [comment link]
30. Fr. Russell M wrote:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you in the name of our most sovereign and glorious Lord Jesus Christ and I pray that His grace and peace would be with you. I am writing out a profound sense of sadness and concern for the open letter, which you so recently published (DATE). I am known to some of you personally and several of you I have counted as friends and even in one case a mentor. I was deeply troubled by both your decision and your missive. I ask you in all humility to please sincerely and prayerfully consider what I put before you and ask that you please reconsider your decision not only for your own sakes but also for those under your spiritual charge.

I write to you as a friend in the Lord and under no illusion that I have all the answers or in this specific case, any specific word of knowledge. Nor do I write believing that any of you are anything other than people who are truly sincere in their convictions. I simply write to you because my spirit was deeply grieved by what I read. I must say in fairness to you that I myself was a priest in the Episcopal Church but due to the theological environment of my former diocese and the intransigence of my former Bishop my congregation and I left and we’re blessedly received in the Diocese of Argentina, in the Province of the Southern Cone. This past Advent we celebrated our first anniversary as an Anglican Church plant in San Diego. I share these things with you not in a presumptive way, but in a spirit of kinship. Our congregation understands the pain and the anguish required to prayerfully discern both one’s relationship to the Episcopal Church and God’s unique call to us in these uncertain times. 

I have decided to write to you in the format that you yourselves have elected an open letter. It is not intended as a personal attack or affront but rather a collegial concern. I do not expect nor require response but would gladly dialogue with you any or all of you if it were so desired. Thus, I would again ask you to please pray about the following things and if you so desire contact me in person to discuss my thoughts.


1.  I urge you to consider the cost of staying in what one can only describe as a theologically toxic relationship, not only for you undersigned (that is the authoring clergy) but more importantly the souls of the faithful in your care. It is one thing for you to feel a need to be on the frontline but quite another to place one’s sheep needlessly before wolves.  Have you truly counted the cost to your flock not only of leaving but also and perhaps, more significantly of staying? What are the risks of leaving as compared to the significant danger to staying within TEC?


2.  It seems to smack a bit of hubris to think you can witness or hope to effectively do so when so many before you have faithfully done the same for nearly forty years to no avail. Likewise, it seems as if all those of us who have left have variously made attempts to renew and change TEC from within, again to no avail. It seems to me if they are clear, and I believe they are, that they do not wish to change course then perhaps we need to respect their decision and quit trying to woo them away from something so plainly believe is right. To continue to dog them, TEC’s progressives, with calls to reform and renewal from within seems to me have now moved into a distressing form of institutional codependence. They do not wish to change and we conservatives should respect their decision and release them into it with our prayers. Even Jesus, told his disciples there would be times they were to shake off the dust and move on (c.f. Matthew 10:14).


3.  Many in my mind, including Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh, whom I also know, have clearly attempted to fulfill the injunctions to seek reconciliation Jesus outlined in Matthew 18:15-18. Jesus clearly points for the sad necessity for separation if repentance is not forthcoming. How then do you justify remaining when you God given Bishop and others have fulfilled such moral and theological imperatives and yet have not met with change of course or conduct?


4.  Since you have invoked the public with your letter, informing them of your decision, I for one feel that as clergy and leaders you need to provide a clear and biblical rationale for your decision. Your citation of Ephesians 6:6, does not adequately address my concern here; if for no other reason there is nothing in the inherent in that verse or its immediate context to suggest you must remain within a specific human denomination in order to intercede for the Saints. By the way you may wish to review your choice of citations which actually reads:

“6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.” (NIV)

One might argue that verse in fact might prompt you to stay under the authority of your present Bishop rather than to bolt.

Additionally, in is incumbent upon you as leaders not only to give biblical and theological rationale for your staying but also to finish that logical equation and offer said reasons for why leaving is NOT truly an appropriate response.  This is something you owe yourselves, your congregations and the universal church collectively.

5.  My final concern is simply this why would you buck the wisdom of your Bishop, Bob Duncan, the other Clergy and laity of your diocese, not to mention that of countless of other saints from around the USA, who have left and stay? This I especially true when you consider the number of outside primates and authorities who recognize the validity of Bishop Duncan’s position and in fact support him in it. Why would you willing refuse the anointed and godly leadership of Bishop Duncan who is committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for an institution whose motives no matter how they are couched in the language of inclusively and justice are at best dubious in and of themselves, and at worst, antithetical to historic creedal Christian belief?

I pray you will consider my words and pray for the wisdom of God as you move ahead. Likewise, I bear you no ill will and in fact greatly respect those of you whom I know personally but I honestly believe that your are greatly mistaken in this case and ask you both for your own sake and those of your flocks to reconsider your choice. May the Lord Jesus grant you all wisdom and peace as you move forward in His service.


In Grace & Peace,

Russell+

The Rev. Russell E. J. Martin, MSW/MDiv,
Rector of Anglican Church of Sts. Timothy & Titus, San Diego
http://www.st-tnt.org

January 31, 4:44 am | [comment link]
31. Br. Michael wrote:

Archangelica, I just want to remind you that those are the same arguments and assurances that were made concerning forced acceptance of Women’s Ordination.  As we now know it took about 20 years from those solumn assurances until it was mandated and conscience provisions repealed.  Simply put, history argues against you.

January 31, 7:44 am | [comment link]
32. archangelica wrote:

#31
There is no forced mandate for anyone to accept women’s ordination. In TEC individual churches choose, call and hire clergy. Unless a church WANTS a woman priest as her pastor no church need ever have one. Thus, conservative churches are always free to hire one they feel best suited to lead them. What TEC does require is that a woman in a diocese or parish opposed to ordination who experiences a call to discernment for ministry, be provided a way to pursue her vocation. Fort Worth has just such an arrangement with Dallas and many women have followed that path including my Vicar.

January 31, 9:43 am | [comment link]
33. PadreWayne wrote:

#32, What archangelica said, refuting what #31, Br.Michael said. “As we now know…” is misleading, Br. Michael. Get it corrected.

January 31, 10:23 am | [comment link]
34. Br. Michael wrote:

Sigh, All right let’s find the resoluutions.  Here is is a news article for GC 2000:

Episcopal convention does the right thing
By Lauren R. Stanley
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

Every once in a while, the Episcopal Church stands up on its own back legs and does something that makes me proud to serve as one of its priests.

Last week, the Church twice stood up and made itself—and me—pretty proud, although first it came close to making me want to hide my head in shame.

That’s part of the darned thing about being an Episcopalian. We strive so very hard to walk the middle line, not because we don’t want to make up our minds, but because we know that we can’t always agree on issues, and we won’t let issues break us apart. But in doing so, sometimes it gets hard to walk in public with a collar on.

But after vociferous debate about how exactly mid-line we were going to be, the Church twice said, OK, we’ll go this far, which turned out to be far enough not only for me but for most of the Church.

First, the Episcopal Church took a step forward—how large or small remains open to debate—in finally recognizing that there are people in our Church who are living in non-traditional relationships, both gays and lesbians as well as heterosexuals, and that we are going to support them pastorally and hold them accountable for living infidelity and holiness in those relationships.

As a church, we could have gone farther. We could have said we would bless these unions, including same-sex ones, so that those who were living together could have the blessing of God upon them to help them through good times and bad.

But we didn’t take that extra step, because no matter how much some of us want this, the rest of the Church isn’t ready, and regardless of whether we like this go-slow approach, going slowly sometimes is the only way to hold the Church together.

Watching the debates on human sexuality—watching deputies to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention struggle to decide how to vote—watching some of those same deputies cry afterwards, because they were experiencing what one called “spiritual and emotional whiplash”—it became clear to me that this Church that I love still hasn’t reached the point of saying yes to same-sex blessings. And I realized that as a Church, we simply could not move any faster, or go any farther, than we did.

So I look at what was accomplished and I say, “Thank you, Lord, for giving us the ability to at least take a small step forward.” And I am more or less proud to be a priest.

Less than two days later, however, as I sat listening to 160 of our bishops debate the issue of women’s ordination, I came closer than I ever have to leaving the Church altogether.

The issue under debate: What to do about three dioceses—San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Quincy, Ill.—that will not accept ordained women in their midst? For 26 years, the Episcopal Church has been ordaining women. We’ve been fighting this battle for far longer. And yet, at the beginning of the new millennium, here we are, still debating what to do with all these women we’ve ordained.

True, the battle actually was about what to do with the three dioceses that will not comply with the canons of our Church.

But as I listened to the bishops discuss the issue, I realized that for the most part, THEY DIDN’T GET IT.

Rather than say to these recalcitrant bishops, “The time has come, get on with it, obey the canons,” the first hour of debate centered on how not to hurt these bishops’ feelings!

And the more pastoral we tried to be with these bishops, the more frustrated and hurt I became. I kept looking around the room at the other women present, watching their reactions and realizing I was not alone in my disgust.

During a break, many of us gathered outside the House of Bishops to challenge, discuss and even harangue bishops into realizing that canons were canons, that the law must be obeyed, and that being pastoral to three men who for whatever reason don’t like women wasn’t going to do a lot for the women in the church, lay OR ordained.

And truly I wondered, How could I stay a priest of the Church if the Church was willing to tell me, over and over again, that despite its own rules and laws, I still was a lesser creature?

I am a second-generation priest, as it were, in that I only was ordained three years ago and thus am not in the vanguard of women being ordained as priests. By the time I came into the Episcopal Church, the ordination of women was a fairly accomplished fact. So I haven’t had to fight as many fights, or battle as much to have my ministry recognized.

Or so I thought.

Until last week, when the bishops of the Church came way too close for my comfort to saying, Wait some more. It’s OK for your ministry to be denied because of your gender, just so we can be pastoral to our fellow bishops.

But then, thank God, the tide was turned, and the bishops voted to work with the three dioceses to bring them into compliance on our canons, and suddenly, it felt good to be a priest of the Church again.

I have a hard time understanding why men think it is OK to judge a woman by her gender when not one man I know would allow that to happen to him. I have a hard time understanding why three bishops of this Church are allowed to disobey—flagrantly so—the canons of the Church when I as a priest am not given that option. And I have a hard time understanding why it is so important to be pastoral, when the examples we have from Jesus so often focus on accountability.

All in all, those are issues for another day.

Right now, I choose to focus on the fact that this Episcopal Church, which has given me sanctuary and lifted me up to priesthood, indeed has stood up on its own two feet on two very controversial issues.

I can give thanks for that.


Distributed by The Associated Press (AP)

And PW I don’t appreciate being called a liar.  Everyone knows the WO went from being permissive to mandatory in the Canons.  But hopefully someone here can help me out and come up with the history.

January 31, 10:32 am | [comment link]
35. PadreWayne wrote:

Br. Michael, thanks for the input. I suggest, however, that you speak directly with the “no-on-WO” bishops and ask directly: “Have you ever been coerced into ordaining women?” which is what you imply in your previous post. Again—see archangelica’s reference to the situation in Dallas and Fort Worth. A pastoral arrangement was reached, and the non-ordaining bishop is still a bishop (and has not been inhibited nor threatened with being deposed over this issue, even though he does not comply with the canon).

And there is a subtle difference between calling someone a liar (which I did not) and saying that a statement is misleading (which I did and do).

January 31, 10:48 am | [comment link]
36. Br. Michael wrote:

Here is a timeline taken from http://www.religioustolerance.org/femclrg14.htm:

History of female ordination in the ECUSA:
1855: The Bishop of Maryland “sets apart” two deaconesses.
1935: A commission of the Church of England found no reason for or against the ordination of women, but affirms that women would continue to be excluded “for the church today.”
1970: The General Convention voted on a measure to authorize female ordination. It was approved by the laity but narrowly defeated by clerical deputies.
1973: The General Convention rejected female ordination for the second time.
1973: Qualified women deacons were presented alongside men for ordination to the priesthood in New York. The bishop refused to ordain the women.
1974-JUL-29: The “Philadelphia Eleven” were “irregularly” ordained as priests in Philadelphia, PA by two retired and one resigned bishop. “The event caused great consternation among the church hierarchy. On August 15, the House of Bishops, called to an emergency meeting, denounced the ordinations and declared them invalid. Charges were filed against the dissident bishops. Attempts were made to prevent the women from serving their priestly ministries.” 1
1974-OCT-27:  Revs. Allison Cheek, Carter Heyward, and Jeannette Piccard celebrated their first public Episcopal service at Riverside Church in New York, NY. 1
1974-NOV: The Rev William Wendt invited Alison Cheek to celebrate at St Stephen’s and the Incarnation in Washington, DC. He is later charged, tried and disciplined for violating canons.
1974-DEC: Rev Peter Beebe invited Alison Cheek and Carter Heyward to celebrate at Christ Church, Oberlin, OH. He is charged and tried for violating canons.
1976-JUL: After much heated debate, the 72nd General Convention in Philadelphia passed a resolution declaring that “no one shall be denied access” to ordination into the three orders of ministry: as deacons, priests or bishops, on the basis of their sex. A second resolution declared that no one could be barred from participating in the life and governance of the church, either because of their gender, or because of their theological beliefs concerning the ordination of women. They asked that non-conforming dioceses report in 1979 on their progress towards female ordination to the House of Bishops and Executive Council. They were asked to also report to the next General Convention in 2000. If they don’t, they faced the possibility of a church trial. One of the four bishops, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker of Fort Worth, said that he planned to undertake “active resistance to the directive…I cannot compromise my conscience because I have serious theological reservations.” He decided to continue to refuse to ordain women, referring them to another diocese instead. 
1977: The priests who were irregularly ordained at Philadelphia and Washington were “regularized.” One hundred women are ordained by year end. 
1978: The Lambeth Conference accepted female ordination as an option at the discretion of the local province.
1988-SEP-24: The Rev. Barbara C. Harris was elected Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts. She was consecrated on 1990-FEB-11.
1997: Only four dioceses still refused to ordain female priests: Eau Claire (WI), Fort Worth (TX), Quincy (IL), and San Joaquin (CA). 3
2000-JUL: By the time of the 73rd General Convention, Eau Claire diocese had accepted women as priests, San Joaquin had made some progress in that direction, but Fort Worth and Quincy had not budged. The sense of the convention was that “the time had come.” 24 years had passed since female ordination was permitted. Deputies from the three dioceses pleaded for “tolerance.” Task force A045 was created by the Convention to “visit, interview, assess and assist” the three dioceses in their efforts. They were asked to make semi-annual reports. “A substitute motion by Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida, calling for a less adversarial approach under the direction of the presiding bishop, drew strong support across theological boundaries, including several women bishops. It was defeated narrowly, but later passed as a ‘mind of the house resolution.’ ” 4

to be continued

January 31, 11:03 am | [comment link]
37. Br. Michael wrote:

from the previous:

The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris of Boston, ordained as the first female Episcopal bishop in 1989, successfully called for defeat of an amendment that would have allowed the four dissenting bishops to continue denying ordination to women as long as they hold office. She said: “The message such an amendment would send to the women of this church and those who support the ordained ministry of women in this church is that once again this house is engaged in a delaying tactic…To engage in further delay says to the women of this church, ‘We do not value your ministry, even though God has called you.’ ”

2002-FEB: The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council heard a “mid-process report” from a task force which had been created to use “sensitivity and flexibility as it monitors progress toward full access of women to the ordination process, as required by the canons.” They visited the three dioceses which still refused to ordain women: San Joaquin, CA: The task force met with Bishop John David Schofield and a dozen other representatives from the diocese. Task force Co-chair Sarah Harte reported that some of the latter were concerned that the task force might “dig up information to be used to bring charges against the bishop.” Many of the clergy support the bishop, even though they disagree with his position on female ordination. The task force learned that the bishop “has been supportive of women in the process of pursuing ordination and that there are several women currently in the process.” He states that they will be ordained in the future; but if they were eligible for ordination today, it is not likely that he would do it. He stated that “he is not currently convinced that the work of the General Convention in revising the canons was, in fact, reflective of the will of the Holy Spirit. Therefore he is not convinced that women who go through ordination are truly ordained.”
Fort Worth, TX: Harte reported on their meeting with Bishop Jack Iker and members of the diocese: “We were received by the bishop and graciously welcomed as brothers and sisters in Christ—but not as members of the A045 Task Force. Bishop Iker sees our work as intrusive and negatively reflecting on the life of the diocese. However, the bishop agreed to have a conversation with us in which the primary focus was for us to learn about the ministry of the diocese…. The bishop and other leadership described with passion some of the ministries in the diocese, including women’s ministries, [which are regarded as a] supportive and essential role…The role of women in the church was described to us as analogous to the role of a woman in the family—supportive and nurturing…They feel the work of the task force is damaging the health of the diocese and causes a further disconnect between the members of the Diocese of Ft. Worth and members of other dioceses. They request the national church to give them ‘space, freedom and respect’.” Three women who are testing their vocations in Ft. Worth have been transferred to the Diocese of Dallas. 
Quincy, IL: Task force members met with Bishop Keith Ackerman and representatives from his diocese.  He has allowed three female priests to enter his diocese on three occasions to officiate at a wedding, baptism and funeral. There are two women deacons in the diocese, but there have been no female candidates for ordination since he became bishop. 5

2002-Summer:The A045 Task force issued their final report. They “...found that the intrusion of an unwelcome and uninvited group made it impossible ‘to assist’; we are a diverse church, committed to inclusivity, but some of our behavior sends to self-described traditionalists a message of unwelcome.” They found that Bishop John-David Schofield Diocese of San Joaquin is concerned that women who go through ordination are actually “make-believe priests” whose administration of the sacraments would lead recipients to be “barred from grace.”

The task force had sent questionnaires to each of the denomination’s dioceses. They found that: Approximately one in four Episcopal clergy is a woman.
In 27 domestic dioceses, at least one in three is a woman; in 34 dioceses, fewer than one in five is female.
One diocese reports that 62.5% of their clergy are female.

The ECUSA Executive Council “...voted to present a resolution to General Convention asking for a ‘national conversation’ to assist the whole church to ‘promote, explore, and develop ways to facilitate the ordination of women in every diocese and their full and equal deployment throughout the church,’ with a eye towards a ‘day of dialogue and reflection’ at the 2006 General Convention.” 6

2003-MAR: At the House of Bishops’ spring meeting at Kanuga, NC, the bishops discussed and received an 11 page report “The Gift of Sexuality: A Theological Perspective,” written by the House of Bishops Theology Committee. The report dealt entirely with homosexual issues: whether to recommend that the denomination create rituals of blessings for same-sex unions and/or ordain sexually active gays and lesbians. The sexually-related topic that caused such chaos three decades earlier—that of female ordination—wasn’t even mentioned. The bishops did not adopt the report. They simply offered “...it to the Church for study and reflection.”  7
2003-JUL: The 2003 General Convention was held in Minneapolis, MN. The delegates were overwhelmingly distracted by the confirmation of Gene Robinson’s election as bishop of New Hampshire. He is a gay male in a long-term, committed relationship. He is definitely not the first gay bishop—only the first openly gay bishop. No action appears to have been taken on the topic of the three bishops which still refuse to ordain women.
2004-AUG: The drive for full access to ordination by women within the Episcopal Church, USA is almost complete. Only three of the 100 domestic dioceses now refuse to ordain women. It appears that the denomination is simply ignoring the issue, expecting that the problem will dissipate as the three bishops retire.
2006-JUN: The Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected the 26th Presiding Bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church, USA on June 18. This places her at the highest level of power in the Anglican Communion: status as Primate of an Anglican province. Her election was confirmed by the House of Deputies, as required by church canons. She will serve a term of nine years that are almost guaranteed to be among the most tumultuous in the history of the denomination, rivaling the conflicts over human slavery, contraception, female ordination to the priesthood, and female consecration as bishop. 10 More details.
Although most provinces in the Anglican Communion do recognize female priests. Few allow female bishops. None before have ever elected a woman as Primate. 12

I view the work around that a non-dissenting Bishop do the actual ordination is a distinction without a difference.

January 31, 11:04 am | [comment link]
38. archangelica wrote:

#37
Nothing you cite refutes my position i.e. access to ordination for women in TEC is not the same in any way as forcing a bishop to ordain a woman. And again, churches that do not want or recognize the validity of a woman priest need never call and hire one as their Curate, Vicar or anything else.

January 31, 11:12 am | [comment link]
39. The_Elves wrote:

Oops. This thread has veered off topic to WO. Please return to the original thread or get annoyed with me for deleting your comment.

January 31, 11:23 am | [comment link]
40. PadreWayne wrote:

#39: Acknowledged and respected. Topic closed. grin

January 31, 11:26 am | [comment link]
41. archangelica wrote:

Done. Thank you elves for your gentle navigation.

January 31, 11:29 am | [comment link]
42. MJD_NV wrote:

What a strange thread - I find it odd that people would argue that making a thing thoroughly illegal under law which is a part of the Traditional Faith is not persecution unto itself. 
And of course, such a trend will indeed happen to those who stand for the view of sexuallity of Scripture and Tradition, as well.  Those who say otherwise hold to foolishness.
However, as BabyBlue points out, some of these guys are well versed in church politics, and some of these priests may be “crazy like a fox.”  Remember, these strong faithful will be the remnant and ecclesial authority in Pittsburgh after +Duncan goes to the Southern Cone.
You may be looking here at the ‘Burgh’s rear guard…

February 1, 11:41 am | [comment link]
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