Newark Diocese Addresses Executive Council, Moves Forward on Same-Sex Blessing

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From The Living Church:

The Executive Council agenda for the June 11-14 meeting in Parsippany, N.J., includes a response to the primates’ pastoral scheme. But members of a task force in the Diocese of Newark, where the council is meeting, are firm that a moratorium on same-sex blessings--something also proposed in the primates’ Feb. 19 communiqué--is not a consideration for them.

The state of New Jersey recently legalized civil unions for same-gender couples and a diocesan task force is preparing recommended liturgies for consideration later this year at the diocese's annual convention. At last year’s annual convention, deputies called for the creation of the task force. The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, who was consecrated Bishop of Newark on Jan. 27, previously made appointments to the task force and released guidelines for any liturgical services conducted in the diocese during the interim period.

Members of the diocesan deputation to General Convention made a presentation to council members during a private dinner for council and staff on June 12. Members of the diocesan task force on civil unions, consisting of five clergy, five lay members and Bishop Beckwith, have invited clergy to share questions and concerns. A June 20 meeting at St. Peter’s, Essex Fells, will be the fourth time the task force will have met.

“Bishop Beckwith has already made up his mind that civil unions would be performed,” said task force member Barbara Conroy in an interview with The Living Church. “He just wanted more input as to how the policy would be implemented.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

34 Comments
Posted June 13, 2007 at 10:31 am

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1. TonyinCNY wrote:

There’s no point in further dialogue with Bp. Beckwith; he’s already made up his mind.  Funny, I thought only conservatives were not open to further conversation on issues. 

“Bishop Beckwith has already made up his mind that civil unions would be performed,” said task force member Barbara Conroy in an interview with The Living Church.

Banned by the Head Totalitarian at Stand Firm in Faith

June 13, 11:15 am | [comment link]
2. jamesw wrote:

TonyinCNY - Apparently you are not aware of the definition of “dialogue”  - just Google it and you will see it means “the process whereby conservatives enter into conversation with liberals so that they realize that they are wrong and liberals are right.”  Examples given are these “the conservative was not open to dialogue when she would not agree to change her mind.”

June 13, 11:23 am | [comment link]
3. Craig Stephans wrote:

The name of this Executive Council should be renamed “The Executive Council for the Promotion of Homosexual Behavior and Same Sex Weddings” since the two presentations invited before it have been for that purpose from what I can gather.  They might want to check the status of the Unity or Unitarian church because that is the way they are headed and last time I looked there weren’t too many of them.

June 13, 11:32 am | [comment link]
4. Reactionary wrote:

They might want to check the status of the Unity or Unitarian church because that is the way they are headed and last time I looked there weren’t too many of them.

I am still puzzled as to how homosexuality, a practice engaged in by less than 5% of the population, came to be such an important cause for the bishops.  Even on a tactical level, why cast your lot with a demographic that doesn’t reproduce and has a high time preference?

June 13, 11:38 am | [comment link]
5. Deja Vu wrote:

#4 What is a “high time preference”?

June 13, 12:04 pm | [comment link]
6. Rolling Eyes wrote:

“But members of a task force in the Diocese of Newark, where the council is meeting, are firm that a moratorium on same-sex blessings—something also proposed in the primates’ Feb. 19 communiqué—is not a consideration for them.”

Then they have rejected the Anglican, CATHOLIC, faith.  They choose to walk apart.

“I am still puzzled as to how homosexuality, a practice engaged in by less than 5% of the population, came to be such an important cause for the bishops. “

Because these leftists are not concerned with being Bishops.  They are concerned with being social/political activists.  They mindlessly see them as equal, somehow…

Just sayin’...

June 13, 12:06 pm | [comment link]
7. Pb wrote:

I have previously questioned the tax status of this political action committee. Someone should ask Chancellor Beers to prepare a memo for the HoB.

June 13, 12:08 pm | [comment link]
8. Reactionary wrote:

A preference for consumption now rather than later.  Homosexuals do not have children and have shorter lifespans, so my point was that demographically, it makes no sense to court them.

June 13, 12:08 pm | [comment link]
9. Larry Morse wrote:

But is Beckwith and New Jersey a momentum that all the comments on T19 cannot stop? For as you can see, by and large, the states are opting for civil unions - if New Hampshire, why not all states? That is, they are increasingly popularn and Calif. is about to join the states with homosexual marriage. TEC is dying - permit me to give the eulogy sometime - but the force which is driving them to extinction does not seem to be a force headed to extinction itself. Is Beckwith not on the winning side on this issue, even though the church itself is losing? For B is speaking as a secular force, regardless of his +, as an agent of secular social change, and in this
role, is he not moving up the scale? LM

June 13, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
10. the snarkster wrote:

In its presentation following dinner with council members Episcopal News Service reported that the diocese is proud to be one of the most diverse in The Episcopal Church.

As well as one of the fastest shrinking.

the snarkster

June 13, 12:36 pm | [comment link]
11. Pb wrote:

#10 Why are the most inclusive the ones that are dying? It seems like bringing in more people would result in growth.

June 13, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
12. Reactionary wrote:

Larry,

I agree with your analysis.  When orthodoxy was respectable among the elites, the Episcopal Church was orthodox.  The elites have changed, and the Episcopal Church has chosen respectability over orthodoxy.  That was how a Chronicles article put it.

I think what is steeling the reappraisers’ hand is the knowledge that the rest of the anglophone churches are all eventually going to follow the US lead.  Once they have Canterbury, and I believe they will unless someone can convince me otherwise, then it will be the Global South on the outs.

June 13, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
13. R S Bunker wrote:

Gee, do you think ++Rowan will get it now?

Rowan, that’s the middle finger that TEC is giving you.  It’s meaning is rather universal.

RSB

June 13, 1:17 pm | [comment link]
14. jane4re wrote:

And this bishop got an invitation to Lambeth?

June 13, 2:37 pm | [comment link]
15. PadreWayne wrote:

Reactionary, I assume, because they don’t reproduce and their lifespans are shorter, the severly disabled should not be ministered to? Developmentally disabled people? Um… people dying of incurable disease?

You may have arguments against evangelisation toward GLBT people, but this one is probably the most insensitive I have ever heard.

June 13, 3:22 pm | [comment link]
16. Words Matter wrote:

because they don’t reproduce and their lifespans are shorter, the severly disabled should not be ministered to?

Define “ministered to”. Is it ministry to tell a diabetic to eat all the sugar he wants? Should a man with severe mental retardation be given the keys and told to drive a car? Is it ministry to give an alcoholic a beer? 

The homosexual inclination is a disordered attraction. “Ministry to” cannot, therefore, include encouraging homosexual acts, which are sinful.

Words Matter

Reasonable people always fear nascent fascism.

June 13, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
17. Reactionary wrote:

#15,

You’re reading too much into my post.  Liberals are drearily lacking in any sense of subtlety.

June 13, 3:32 pm | [comment link]
18. PadreWayne wrote:

#17, Thank you for the sweet snark.
#16, I was responding to this comment by Reactionary (#4 above):
I am still puzzled as to how homosexuality, a practice engaged in by less than 5% of the population, came to be such an important cause for the bishops.  Even on a tactical level, why cast your lot with a demographic that doesn’t reproduce and has a high time preference?
It was the “even on a tactical level” remark that I inferred that “casting your lot” might include “ministering to.”
#16, Words Matter, I’m surprised you didn’t pick up that I actually agreed with you on something (other thread, death penalty)! It appears that we’re back in opposing camps on this one, however. And that is because:
IMO and the opinions of the APA and many, many Christians, homosexuality is not a disordered attraction.
IMO and the opinions of many, many Christians, homosexual activity is not sinful.
That is where our disagreement lies, alas.

June 13, 3:42 pm | [comment link]
19. Larry Morse wrote:

#18. Let’s assume for a moment it is not sinful. Shall we conclude that therefore the practice is acceptable/desirable/normal, or are there other grounds beside religious ones that make homosexual practices unsavory and socially unacceptable? I have argued the latter, that homosexuality is a severe handicap by federal standards, and that limitations should be placed on those jobs, for example, that homosexuals may legitimately be excluded from - as we excluded other handicaps from certain other occupations.
Moreover, I will continue to argue that sodomy, whether as a result of homosexuality or not, is unclean at every level, from the most literal to the most abstract, and at the deepest level, it violates the oldest laws of evolution, that the earth and all that lives thereon is molded by the fact and the concept of fertility. The homosexual is the very paradigm of sterility, and all our evolutionary history
denies sterility at every level. The handicapped like the poor we shall always have with us,and we must treat them with pity and justice,  but this is not a mandate to encourage and foster their increase. Is this an unsound argument? LM

June 13, 4:49 pm | [comment link]
20. Br. Michael wrote:

I am glad that God is influenced by public opinion and what the APA decides what is disordered or not.

June 13, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
21. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Is this one of the group that published that they would not be sending that letter because of moves behind the scenes with Canterbury?

Not sure why they bothered.

Some days I sit and think. Other days I just sit!!

June 13, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
22. art+ wrote:

Larry Morse wrote:
“But is Beckwith and New Jersey a momentum that all the comments on T19 cannot stop? For as you can see, by and large, the states are opting for civil unions - if New Hampshire, why not all states?’

According to Wikepedia most states by and large are not opting for civil unions. “In contrast, twenty-six states have constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, confining civil marriage to a legal union between a man and a woman. Forty-three states have statutes restricting marriage to two persons of the opposite sex, including some of those that have created legal recognition for same-sex unions under a name other than “marriage.”
And more states are planning on putting the issue on the ballots next year to let the voters determine whether the courts or legislature were right or wrong in allowing civil unions and/or voting for a constitutional ban on same

June 13, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
23. Words Matter wrote:

#18 -

Not sure what agreement on the death penalty has to do with this subject.  Anyway, the bases of our agreement are vastly difference.

In fact, the APA, some 30 years ago removed the homosexual condition from the DSM on a vote of 54% to 46% (the figures may be a bit off).  One suspects that a generation of propaganda has changed the numbers, but no matter, since I am not speaking of a psychiatric disorder (though 30 years ago nearly half of all psychiatrists did consider same-sex attractions a psychiatric disorder).  FWIW, I would not place same-sex attractions in the realm of psychiatric disorder.

In any case, people who consider themselves Christians certainly do believe a variety of interesting things, and have throughout the past 2000 years.  The question is always upon what authority we base our opinions.

Words Matter

Reasonable people always fear nascent fascism.

June 13, 9:02 pm | [comment link]
24. Ross wrote:

#19 Larry Morse:

Moreover, I will continue to argue that sodomy, whether as a result of homosexuality or not, is unclean at every level, from the most literal to the most abstract, and at the deepest level, it violates the oldest laws of evolution, that the earth and all that lives thereon is molded by the fact and the concept of fertility. The homosexual is the very paradigm of sterility, and all our evolutionary history denies sterility at every level.

Do you make the same argument against the RC priesthood?

There is always a certain percentage of a population that does not breed, for one reason or another.  In some species, it’s quite a large percentage—honeybees, for instance.  Individuals that do not reproduce often contribute to the well-being of the next generation in other ways, and it’s a perfectly viable evolutionary strategy.

If the majority of people were exclusively homosexual, then yes, we would have a problem with propagating the species.  But 3-5%?  Not a big deal.  A quick google suggests that about 80-90% of all people in the U.S. eventually have children, so 10-20% of the population is childless.  If you’re going to condemn “sterility,” then obviously you have to spread your condemnation over a wider spectrum than just homosexuals.

———————————————————————-
Who am I?  Visit my web page or my blog  to find out.

June 14, 1:32 am | [comment link]
25. PadreWayne wrote:

I’m unclear why the expression intimacy between two people of the same gender within the context of a faithful, monogamous, committed, and blessed relationship is nearly always reduced to genital contact. Is heterosexual marriage so reduced? If so, I am sorry for that… But no, it is generally not—but the argument so frequently comes down to “sodomy,” which is, according to most dictionaries, wikipedia, etc., any sexual activity except coitus. Therefore, heterosexuals, be very careful when pointing fingers. Yes, I realize the word is used as a veiled reference to one sort of sexual activity (practiced by both homo- and heterosexuals), and referring to it as the modus operendi of homosexuals raises the ick factor and therefore wins votes.

It is a red herring.

June 14, 8:40 am | [comment link]
26. Hursley wrote:

Well Fr. (#25), I can’t quite follow the argument here. The reason genital contact is at issue for homosexual relationships in this context is that those who propose the blessing of these relationships are explicit that the genital contact part of it is being blessed as well. If the genital contact part were dropped from what is being held up before God, most objection would drop out as well. Actual marriage is not “reduced” to genital contact in most arguments I know of…rather, it is in part based on it. It is one of the key understandings of many of us (this writer included) that the sacramental sign of the union of man and woman in marriage is not only the joining of hands in the liturgy, but of bodies in marriage-bed. The capacity for generativity in basic biological terms (male/female) is a sign of God’s blessing on the Created Order. This also shows forth the common basis of human being between man and woman as told us in Genesis, and as referenced by Our Lord in the Gospel. It isn’t about genital contact itself but about restoration of union in the only true “difference” between humans. This is not a reduction but a foundation, I think. This is why the matter of sex (gender) is so central to many of us.

June 14, 10:21 am | [comment link]
27. Stuart Smith wrote:

#25: I believe the origin of “sodomy” is not the “ick factor” as you assert…it is biblical:  the sin of sexual licentiousness present at the city of Sodom.
Homosexual acts are contra-nature.  The Lord built our bodies so obviously for sexual communion between male and female, that even the acts of homosexuals mimic it…with one “male” actor and one “female” actor involved those acts.
More significantly, the distortion of affection between men and men, women and women involved in homosexuality testifies to the presence of Sin’s power to corrupt God’s creation.  Of course, so does gossip, slander, theft, dishonesty, adultery, etc.  Whenever Scripture speaks of sexual sins it is usually in the context of the longer list of sinfulness having nothing to do with sexuality per se’.
So, of course, the church errs when it obsesses over one particular expression of unfaithfulness and sin.
But, never should the church be cowed into calling sin either an inborn fait accompli or a holy choice!

June 14, 10:22 am | [comment link]
28. Rolling Eyes wrote:

PadreWayne: “IMO and the opinions of the APA and many, many Christians, homosexuality is not a disordered attraction.
IMO and the opinions of many, many Christians, homosexual activity is not sinful.”

Luckily, your opinions matter VERY little when it comes to Church teaching.  You refuse to accept Church teaching on sexuality, therefore it is reasonable to ask how you can consider yourself a Christian, especially a Catholic/Anglican.  THAT is what is “unclear”.

Just sayin’...

June 14, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
29. the snarkster wrote:

IMO and the opinions of the APA and many, many Christians, homosexuality is not a disordered attraction.

Om mani padme Padre: I would suggest that you go back and read the true story of how the APA removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders. It is a sordid tale of behind the scenes machinations, manipulations, deceit, strongarm tactics et cetera. Kind of like a TECusaCORP general convention. In the end, the facts were disregarded in favor of political correctness.

the snarkster

June 14, 12:57 pm | [comment link]
30. john scholasticus wrote:

#28

PadreWayne: “IMO and the opinions of the APA and many, many Christians, homosexuality is not a disordered attraction.
IMO and the opinions of many, many Christians, homosexual activity is not sinful.”

PW is right, at least in my part of the world (the UK). The general public thinks this. Most Christians think this. ‘Most Christians’ includes many very evangelical people. And many very Evangelical churches which are vociferous in their opposition to homosexual behaviour number numerous members of their congregations who don’t agree with them in this respect. I can vouch for this: I frequently ask such people how they can attend such churches and they immediately make it clear that they dissociate themselves from this particular aspect of the teaching.

June 14, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
31. Larry Morse wrote:

Why is your argument always preceded by “faithful, monogamous, committed and blessed…”? Does this suppostitious condition somehow alter sodomy’s sheer grossness, sheer uncleanness, obvious violation of biblical principle? These modifiers suppose that such pairs exist, although obviously their numbers must be miniscule. But what of homosexual relationships that aren’t monogamous - as homosexuals themselves say they commonly are not? Or belong to the class “sort of committed?” They don’t count somehow?
  Your dismissal of sexual congress is actually rather silly, as you well know. Sodomy is in reality coitus. This is one of the pleasures of homosexuality as they themselves say. Evolution has designed men for women both physically and psychologically when it comes to sex - and we all remark that sex is not simply the bumping of bodies in the night, but a complex phenomenon that is as much in the head as it is in the hormones. Sodomy violates in a fundamental way this entire evolutionary pattern.
  But do homosexuals contrubute to a society? Sure. They are a large part of the artist community. Should they be encouraged to do so? Sure. And you point is? That the church and other bigots and homophobes are denying them this function? That therefore they should marry? LM

June 14, 6:32 pm | [comment link]
32. PadreWayne wrote:

LM 31:
I’m not going to continue the conversation about what you call “sodomy” when what you really mean is male-male intercourse. It exists as the only mode of sexual expression between two men only in your mind. It also negates the experience of homosexual women, or don’t they count?
And yes, the modifiers “faithful, monogamous, committed, and blessed” do suppose that such pairs exist, because they do, and because it is those relationships, like faithful, monogamous, committed, and blessed heterosexual relationships, that we want the church to bless. I do not think you will find Integrity, Inclusive Church, or Via Media arguing for the blessing of non-monogamous relationships (how would one do that, anyway?!?), but for the public and sacred acknowledgement of the blessing of both God and Church of our relationships which approach, as best we can, the model of marriage.
“They are a large part of the artist community”?!? Good Lord, what decade are you living in? We are also: teachers, fire fighters, police, lumberjacks, hairdressers, actors, architects, mothers, fathers, priests, and—thanks be to God—bishops.

June 14, 8:45 pm | [comment link]
33. Barry wrote:

“IMO and the opinions of the APA and many, many Christians, homosexuality is not a disordered attraction.
IMO and the opinions of many, many Christians, homosexual activity is not sinful”
..................................................................
The APA has made 2 attempts to remove pedophilia from the DSM.  They thought homosexual activity was OK in 72-73 when they voted to remove it from the DSM.  Obviously they think pedophilia is OK now.  You can read the whole article at the site below:

http://www.narth.com/docs/whatapa.html

An excerpt:
APA spokeswoman Rhea Faberman defended publication of the article as part of the scientific work of the organization, saying, “We try to create a lot of dialogue.”

There is a real and growing movement to legitimize and also legalize sexual relations between boys aged 10 to 16 and adult males;
Robert Bauserman, one of the authors of the article, has associated himself with the pedophilia movement through a previous article;
The movement’s strategy is to promote the “objective” study of child/adult sex, free of moral considerations;
...................................................................
Gal 6:7-9
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
ESV

We are of either the flesh or of the spirit.Everyone must choose.
Peace,
Barry

June 14, 10:58 pm | [comment link]
34. john scholasticus wrote:

#31
As you must know, sodomy has been most commonly practised in societies where excessive emphasis is put on the woman’s virginity before marriage (forget about the man’s - all institutions, including the Church - have always been much more indulgent towards him). For example, ‘Greek style’ is the euphemism for sodomy between heterosexuals in Greece. But the Greek Orthodox Church is hardly the repository - or suppository? - of revisionist Christianity.

June 15, 4:38 pm | [comment link]


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