Wednesday, July 11, 2012

South Carolina walks out of General Convention

Statement from Bishop Lawrence expected shortly

ARTICLE | JULY 11, 2012 - 4:14PM | BY GEORGE CONGER of Anglican Ink.

The Bishop and Deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina have withdrawn from the 77th General Convention.

On 11 July 2012 the lay and clergy deputies released a statement confirming their withdrawal.

“Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.”

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, was not present at today’s meeting of the House of Bishops. One bishop told Anglican Ink that he could not disclose what was discussed in the bishops’ private afternoon session, but confirmed Bishop Lawrence was not present.

A second bishop said that he expected the South Carolina bishop would be releasing a statement shortly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Episcopal Church becomes biggest US church to bless gay unions []

By Becky Bratu,

The U.S. Episcopal Church became the biggest church in the United States to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions after its House of Deputies gave its final approval Tuesday.

The resolution passed with 78 percent approval in the lay order and 76 percent in the clergy order. The House of Deputies is made up of both clergy and lay people.
In the lay order, 86 deputies voted in favor, 19 against; five were divided. In the clergy order, 85 deputies voted in favor, 22 opposed the resolution and four were divided.

The proposed blessing liturgy was initially approved by the Church's House of Bishops Monday during the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, with 111 votes in favor to 41 opposed and three abstentions.
Deputies of opposite views spoke in
alternate succession Tuesday afternoon, with those against the proposal urging more time to consider a decision of such magnitude.

The Rev. Sharon Lewis, alternate deputy of the Diocese of Southwest Florida, said the liturgy is more than a “pastoral provision.”
"Let us move together in the heart of Christ, not turn this great big old church that I love so much on a dime,” Lewis said.
Speaking in favor of the blessings, Deputy Jenna Guy from Iowa said the resolution is important to the younger generation of Episcopalians, adding that passing the resolution would bring more people into the Church.

"It’s always with great pride that I tell [people] of the inclusive nature of this Church,” Guy said.
A deputy from Alaska added, "There is never anything wrong with celebrating love.”
The new Episcopal same-sex liturgy is called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant."

In the proposed rite, each person would make a vow to the other, exchange rings and be declared "bound to one another in a holy covenant, as long as they both shall live." The liturgy is expected to go into effect for provisional use starting the first week of Advent -- beginning on Dec. 2, 2012 -- and will undergo a review process before the next General Convention in 2015. Congregations and clergy wishing to use the liturgy would need the permission of their bishops.

In states that currently allow same-sex civil marriage, such as Maryland and New York, Episcopalians may already bless same-sex marriages, but there is no formal church-wide liturgy. Commitment ceremonies for gay couples are allowed elsewhere in the church at the discretion of the local bishop.

Episcopal bishops approve resolution to bless gay unions
The Episcopal Church is an independent U.S.-based church affiliated with the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church has about 2 million members, most in the United States.
It is not the only major U.S. denomination considering same-sex marriage issues.
The United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination with about 1 million members voted in 2005 to support full civil and religious marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The U.S. Presbyterian Church on Friday narrowly rejected a proposal for a constitutional change that would redefine marriage as a union between "two people" rather than between a woman and a man.The church, with around 2 million members, currently allows ministers to bless gay unions but prohibits them from solemnizing gay civil marriages.

Omnibus restructuring resolution passed

From Jim Naughton at Episcopal Cafe's, The Lead

The House of Deputies passed the resolution below and sent it to the House of Bishops. It passed unanimously, and following its passage the house sang "Sing a New Church Into Being, to the tune of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, That this General Convention believes the Holy Spirit is urging The Episcopal Church to reimagine itself, so that, grounded in our rich heritage and yet open to our creative future, we may more faithfully:
• Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• Teach, baptize and nurture new believers

• Respond to human need by loving service

• Seek to transform unjust structures of society

• Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth;

and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention establish a Task Force under the Joint Rules of Order, whose purpose shall be to present the 78th General Convention with a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration; and be it further

Resolved, That this Task Force shall be accountable directly to the General Convention, and independent of other governing structures, to maintain a high degree of autonomy; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force shall have as many as 24 members, appointed jointly by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies by September 30, 2012. The membership of the Task Force shall reflect the diversity of the Church, and shall include some persons with critical distance from the Church’s institutional leadership; and be it further

Resolved, That, in order to be informed by the wisdom, expertise, and commitment of the whole body of the Church, the Task Force shall gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and shall invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment; and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force shall convene a special gathering to receive responses to the proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General convention, and shall invite to this gathering from each diocese at least a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under the age of 35. It may also include representatives of institutions and communities (e.g., religious orders, seminaries, intentional communities); and be it further

Resolved, That the Task Force shall report to the whole Church frequently, and shall make its final report and recommendations to the Church by November 2014, along with the resolutions necessary to implement them, including proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of the Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance consider adding $400,000 to the 2013-2015 triennial budget, to enable this Resolution to be implemented energetically and successfully, “…for surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Posted by Jim Naughton on July 10, 2012 6:12 PM | Permalink | Digg this

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Day 2 of GenCon77, in case you missed it....

If you want Day 2 of General Convention in an absolute nutshell, click the link below to catch the video version provided by Center Aisle, your complete General Convention coverage blog with attitude...heh.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

"Healing is not words, it is action." DoD Lament: participate from your home

Come into the circle of prayer and transformation - Doctrine of Discovery Lament
Prayer Event
- July 10 at 7 - 10 pm EDT - JW Marriott Ballroom
with the Red Leaf Singers, traditional Lakota singing and drum group from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, S.D. House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori have both confirmed their presence at this event. Resources to help with your own participation are below in the links.

Vigil begins at 7 pm Mid-West time with the prayer event beginning at 8 pm concluding 10 pm.

In regard to the grievous past and present for many Native people in the Americas…

“Healing is not words, it is action.”
The Rev. John Haskell (Ojibway)

➢ In an unprecedented step of significance for Christian response to the European invasion and settlement of the Americas, the Episcopal Church is the first Christian denomination to publically repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery through the actions of D035 taken at General Convention 2009.

➢ The Episcopal Church demonstrated the courage of our convened leadership to offer that repudiation in 2009, along with a Pastoral Letter from Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, and oral intervention to the recent United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues about the implications of the Doctrine of Discovery.

➢ These actions of faithful response and accountability are being shared with the entire church through the offering of a Lament Over the Doctrine of Discovery, at General Convention 2012, with a 3 hour prayer event held in the General Convention worship space.

➢ All of these actions – resolutions, resources, and the Lament over the Doctrine of Discovery -- are made possible by a collaboration of the offices of Indigenous Ministries, Lifelong Faith Formation, Justice and Peace, and with the support of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies.

➢ Complete resources for these local laments may be found at:

➢ Twitter #episcopalDoD @indigepiscopal @iamepiscopalian

Doctrina del lamento del descubrimiento
Con los Cantantes de la hoja roja [Red Leaf Singers] un grupo tradicional Lakota del tambor de la tribu Rosebud Sioux
Patrocinado por la Oficina del ministerio indígena, la Oficina de formación cristiana permanente y la Oficina de justicia social y económica | | El martes, 10 de julio, de las 7 a las 10 de la noche, en el salón JW del Marriott | | Abierto a todos
En 2009, la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal adoptó una decisión sin precedentes de repudiar la doctrina del descubrimiento, lo que supone un compromiso público hacia una mayor comprensión de los Pueblos Indígenas. La doctrina es un doloroso ejemplo de cómo la Iglesia ha estado incorrecta y cómo esos errores contribuyen a las cuestiones sociales y económicas contemporáneas. El lamento es una invitación a entrar en un proceso de comportamiento colectivo espiritual y de transformación, de conversiones, de sanación y esperanza. Ambas ofrecerán oraciones durante el evento, La Obispa Presidente Katharine Jefferts Schori y la Presidenta de la Cámara de Diputados Bonnie Anderson.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Interfaith leaders work toward Middle East peace

And now for some GOOD news...

[Episcopal News Service, Beirut] A landmark three-day Christian-Muslim peace conference concluded on a hopeful note here by issuing an appeal to religious leaders and institutions to collaborate on promoting human rights, self-determination, peaceful co-existence, and non-violence, particularly in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

“There are over five billion Christians and Muslims throughout the world, and although we do not speak for all of them, we are here to say that violence has no place in the teachings of Mohammed nor Jesus. We are here to say that no one, no one has the right to take the life of another in the name of God,” said the Rt. Rev. John Chane, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, in announcing the agreement to the more than two dozen delegates representing Episcopalians and Anglicans; Roman, Armenian, Melkite, and Maronite Catholics; and Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.

The meeting, second in a planned series of four, broke new ground on several fronts including the presence of high-ranking Shi’ite ayatollahs who flew from Iran to meet with an international Sunni delegation led by Mufti Malek Shaar of Tripoli and North Lebanon, along with Vatican officials and Catholic leaders, including Patriarchate Emeritus of Jerusalem Michael Sabbah and Archbishop emeritus of Washington Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the 103rd archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. George L. Carey.

The Shi’ite delegation’s leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, praised the “beautiful moments of the past two days, moments of compassion, understanding, and freedom. We are all sons and daughters of God, children of God. I felt in these moments that religious leaders have a great role they could play in society. They could be the greatest players to help society reach very high places.”

The conference, “Christians and Muslims Building Justice and Peace Together in a Violent, Changing World,” was headquartered in a just-opened seaside hotel in newly reconstructed downtown Beirut, an area left in rubble after Lebanon’s civil war. The delegates met in the city’s rebuilt Maronite cathedral and deliberations took place next door in a modern mosque built as a powerful symbol of mutual tolerance – and yet a reminder of the ever-present threat of Middle East violence. The mosque was under construction when its patron, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated nearby in 2005, and conference-goers walked by his adjacent tomb several times a day to and from their meetings.

The opening session included hundreds of Lebanese religious and government officials, representing the nation’s sectarian polyglot. Public sessions were attended by former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, a Maronite Christian leader whose brother and son were both assassinated while holding political office, as well as by former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

Summit participants found many areas of common cause, including the need to promote freedom of religion and religious education, to halt Christian emigration from the Middle East, to include greater roles for women, and to condemn the “massacres and bloodshed” in nearby Syria, where they sought “to grant the Syrian people their rights to live in dignity and self-determination.”

Please read the rest of the story at Episcopal News Service here.

– Eileen Read is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles.

Episcopal News Service confirms charges

The Episcopal News Service has confirmed that charges have been brought against seven current and retired bishops due to their support of an Amicus brief in support of the former bishop of Dallas-Fort West, Jack Iker's counter suit against the Episcopal Church in an attempt to appeal the ruling that returned the legitimate property of the Church to the Church. You can read the news story here at ENS.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Retrograde bishops charged with misconduct against TEC

Seven more TEC bishops charged with misconduct

Support for ACNA pleading is grounds for discipline complaint alleges

George Conger is Priest in charge at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and
Senior Correspondent at The Church of England Newspaper. He is editor of Anglican Ink news blog, which covers news in the Anglican Communion worldwide. The following is his news story on seven rogue bishops who desire more reactionary conservatism in the Episcopal Church USA.

Seven bishops have been charged with misconduct for having endorsed a friend of the court brief prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute in the Diocese of Fort Worth case.

On 28 June 2012, the Rt Rev Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas, the Rt Rev John W. Howe, retired Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev Paul E. Lambert. Suffragan Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, the Rt Rev D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt Rev Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, and the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas were informed they had been charged with misconduct.

“As the Intake Officer for the Church, I am obliged to inform you that a complaint has been received against you for your action in filing of Amicus Curiae Brief in the pending appeal in the Supreme Court of Texas in opposition to The Episcopal Diocese of Texas and The Episcopal Church. In the next few weeks, I will initiate a disciplinary process according to Title IV Canon 6 Sec. 3 & 4 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop F. Clayton Matthews wrote to the seven bishops.

The bishops have not been notified with violation of the canons they have committed, but Bishop Matthews’ notice refers to the pleading they endorsed in the Diocese of Fort Worth case presently before the Texas Supreme Court.

In an amicus brief filed on 23 April 2012 the seven bishops and three scholars from the ACI – the Rev. Christopher R. Seitz, the Very Rev. Philip W. Turner, and the Very Rev. Ephraim Radner -- argued a Tarrant County, Texas trial court misconstrued the church’s constitutions and canons by holding that the Episcopal Church was a hierarchical body with ultimate power vested in the General Convention.

The 29-page brief stated that attorneys for that national Episcopal Church sought “to establish an alternative authority to that of the diocesan bishop” in their pleadings, which they said was contrary to the church’s Constitution and Canons. Attorneys for the national church have argued the Episcopal Church possesses a unitary polity, where dioceses are creatures of the General Convention.

The ACI disagreed, citing the church’s history and constitution and canons. Its friend of the court pleading follows upon their 22 April 2009 paper endorsed by 15 Bishops entitled Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church that stated the “fundamental structure of the Episcopal Church from the outset has been that of a voluntary association of dioceses meeting together in a General Convention as equals.”

In its pleadings the national Episcopal Church asked the court to follow the "deference-to-hierarchy" standard, set in the 1872 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Watson v. Jones. Bishop Jack Iker and the Diocese of Fort Worth argued that the legal theory put forward by the national church was misguided as its deeds, its charter from the State, and its governing documents are unambiguous that it owns its property and not the national church.

In March the final briefs were filed with the Texas Supreme Court in the Fort Worth case and the litigants are presently waiting upon a date for oral argument.