Monday, November 15, 2010

International campaign launched against Anglican Covenant

 The campaign against the Anglican Covenantwas stepped up a gear on Nov. 3 with the formation of an international coalition that says the covenant would constitute "unwarranted interference in the internal life of the member churches of the Anglican Communion, would narrow the acceptable range of belief and practice within Anglicanism, and would prevent further development of Anglican thought."The coalition -- made up of Anglicans in Canada, England, New Zealand and the United States -- has launched a website, called "No Anglican Covenant" that it says provides resources "for Anglicans around the world to learn about the potential risks of the proposed Anglican Covenant."
"We believe that the majority of the clergy and laity in the Anglican Communion would not wish to endorse this document," said the Rev. Lesley Fellows, the coalition's moderator and a member of the Church of England. "Apart from church insiders, very few people are aware of the covenant. We want to encourage a wider discussion and to highlight the problems the covenant will cause."
The covenant first was proposed in the 2004 Windsor Report as a way that the Anglican Communion and its 38 autonomous provinces might maintain unity despite differences, especially relating to biblical interpretation and human sexuality issues.
But some Anglicans, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, have raised concerns about the covenant being used as an instrument of control, particularly in section 4, which outlines a method for resolving disputes in the communion.
Two progressive U.K.-based Anglican groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Churchjoined together in late October to campaign against the covenant, which they say is "an attempt by some leaders of the Anglican Communion to subordinate national churches to a centralized international authority, with power to forbid developments when another province objects."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Liturgy and Music commission hears call for openness, equality for same-gender couples

From ENS, here.
By Mary Frances Schjonberg, October 20, 2010
[Episcopal News Service, Concord, New Hampshire] Ministering in the "middle of this cauldron of multicultural activity" that is Harvard Square, the Rev. Joseph Robinson, rector of Christ Church Cambridge in the Diocese of Massachusetts says he wants to be able to welcome everyone, including same-gender couples who want their relationships blessed.
"And what they're asking of me is that it's the same for everyone, that it's done with intention, truthfulness and that it begins with the words 'dearly beloved,'" Robinson told the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music Oct. 19 during a hearing here. "It needs to sound like something that's recognizable."
"Whatever we do, whatever we offer our people, let it be eloquent, let it be truthful, let it be prayer and let it be common because those are the things which are the strengths of our church," Robinson added.
Robinson comments came as SCLM met for five hours with representatives of Province I to hear about their experience with same-gender blessings. 
In all, the commission devoted a day and a half of its Oct. 18-20 meeting to work on General ConventionResolution C056 which authorized it to work in conjunction with the House of Bishops to collect and develop theological resources and liturgies for blessing same-gender relationships. The commission is to report to the 77th General Convention in 2012 in Indianapolis.
"It will be up to the General Convention [to decide] what to do with those resources," the Rev. Ruth Meyers, SCLM chair and Hodges-Haynes professor of liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, told the commission Oct. 19 before the hearing began.
C056 said that bishops, "particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church." The SCLM hearing was meant to hear how a group of Episcopalians, most of whom live in civil jurisdictions that recognize same-gender unions in some way, provide that pastoral response.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Episcopalians Against Bullying - Take Action Now!

In light of recent suicides of LGBT youth and attacks on LGBT people, especially the death of Texas resident Asher Brown, Integrity Austin calls on the clergy and vestries of the Diocese of Texas to read and join the following statement opposing violence, sponsored by the National Council of Churches.  Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori said as she signed the statement, “The Episcopal Church abhors the persecution of any group of human beings and seeks the just and dignified treatment of all.”  You may sign on to the statement at:

Released: 13 October 2010
Today, as leaders of Christian communions and national networks, we speak with heavy hearts because of the bullying, suicides and hate crimes that have shocked this country and called all faith communities into accountability for our words or our silence. We speak with hopeful hearts, believing that change and healing are possible, and call on our colleagues in the Church Universal to join us in working to end the violence and hatred against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.
In the past seven weeks, six young and promising teenagers took their own lives. Some were just entering high school; one had just enrolled in college. Five were boys; one, a girl becoming a young woman. These are only the deaths for which there has been a public accounting. New reports of other suicides continue to haunt us daily from around the country.
They were of varying faiths and races and came from different regions of the nation.
The one thing these young men and women had in common was that they were perceived to be gay or lesbian.
Each in their own way faced bullying and harassment or struggled with messages of religion and culture that made them fear the consequences of being who they were.
In the past two weeks, cities like New York have seen major escalations in anti-gay violence. Two young men attacked patrons of the Stonewall Inn, legendary birth place of the LGBT rights movement in the United States, locking them in the restroom and beating them while hurling anti-gay epithets. Men on a Chelsea street, saying goodnight after an evening out, were attacked by a group of teens and young adults, again hurling anti-gay slogans and hurting one person badly enough to require emergency treatment. And nine young men in the Bronx went on a two-day rampage beating, burning, torturing and sodomizing two teenage boys and their gay male adult friend for allegedly having a sexual relationship. “It’s nothing personal,” one of the now arrested said. “You just broke the rules.”