Friday, July 31, 2009
Pope Palpatine is pissed about an art exhibit in the UK that invited gay folks to "write their way back in" on a bible on display.The exhibit, Untitled 2009, is part of the Made In God's Image exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow and was thought up by local artist Anthony Schrag. The intention was for gays and transsexuals who felt left out of religion to "write their way back in" to the holy book. But visitors offered pens by gallery staff had other ideas, and have scrawled a series of puerile and obscene remarks. One person wrote: “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all,” while another wrote: "Mick Jagger and David Bowie belong in here," and another described the book as "the biggest lie in human history". Some remarks were simply offensive, with one person writing "---- the Bible". The message "I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this,” was written on the first page of Genesis. The subsequent complaints have led to the organisers of the exhibit putting the holy book on show in a locked case and inviting visitors to write their comments on blank sheets of paper instead.The Pope's adviser called the exhibit "disgusting and offensive" and one that the artist "would not think of doing to the Koran."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Please ignore the nay-sayers, or better yet tell them that if you are not for it, you are agin' it. Find a way to go to Washington DC on October 11. This is about showing that there are lots and lots and lots of people who believe that LGBT people deserve the very same responsibilities and rights that every American citizen enjoys. It is nothing more or less.
It is not circuit party, not a lobbying day, not a star-studded event. It is not centrally organized event. Its success is only contigent upon LGBT people and their supporters taking a day to get get to Washington, DC.
Go to equalityacrossamerica.org and find out ways to help you particiapte.
There are many large orgnaizations that are foot dragging on this. They claim that there is not time to organize, the congress will not be in session... etc. Their points are legimate and well taken... BUT: This event trascends the politics, the positioning and the nuance. It is a down and dirty "Show up and support LGBT equality." Remember how many people showed up across the country to protest the passage of Prop 8. It inspired many people and raised the conscieness of many. It got no-name people (like me) on the TV news.
So if the HRC, NGLTF and other large organizations a create a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure for this, what good have they done?
Folks from many areas ARE going to be there. The cast of the Broadway production of HAIR will be there. They are rescheduling a performance to do this. It is being promoted by Cleve Jones, former assistant to Harvey Milk and the organizer who covered the Washing Mall with an AIDS memorial quilt. It is going to happen.
Please join me, Kyle and thousands of others who will be there.
Thanks to Beth for directing me to a new place:
From a reflection "The Thunk, the Gap, and the Six A's"
The Rev. Mark Sargent is pastor of Embry Hills United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA.
If striking up conversations with strangers who don't go to church is too much for you, but if you want to learn something about the reputation that we Christians don't enjoy, then you could just watch the comedy routines of people like Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher and the late George Carlin, three of my favorite theologians, by the way. You'll have to forgive them their unvarnished language, but you can certainly learn a lot about what many people in the world think about us by checking them out. If that's too much, then stay home and order movies like "Jesus Camp" and "Religilous" and see why we have such a lousy reputation in many places and among many people.
It is a sad thing, because we know that there is a brand of Christianity that is better than the widely-practiced, widely-publicized brand of Christianity that is ethnocentric, anti-scientific, homophobic, imperialistic, defensive, condemning, rejecting, and afraid. We know that a different Christianity exists. We know that there are followers of Jesus who are open-minded, well-educated, and accepting. We know that there are followers of Jesus who are spiritually mature, intellectually honest and psychologically savvy. We know that there are followers of Jesus who guard against unfair stereotypes and who attempt to check their ungenerous judgments and who work to eliminate prejudice in their own minds and wherever else they see it.
But there are hosts of people outside of Christianity who do not know that, because people who practice Christian spirituality with spirits and brains and souls fully engaged have sadly become the Christian minority. And when many people think of "Christian" or "church," they often do so with pejorative overtones because the Christianity that is most widely-practiced and mostly widely-publicized is the brand of Christianity that smacks of religious fundamentalism and adheres to the impossible agenda of Biblical inerrancy.
Read it all here
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Excerpted from a letter I wrote to a group planning an interfaith service for Oct 10 on the eve of the March on Washington.
If the Holy One is calling us to to this thing we need to trust in that and let our egos go. Too many opportunities to bring us together as people of faith, let alone as people with a common cause have been lost to quibbling.
Someone asked for my approval [of idea for a liturgy/order of worship]. I cannot give my approval only my reaction as a person raised in a particular tradition in a particular time. Communion is a concept that, no matter how it is couched will offend someone who is not Christian. Altar Call has a very specific connotation that will send some LGBT screaming, particularly those raised in the pentecostal tradition or those who may have been subjected to reparative therapy...
Does any of this mean that I believe that the concept should be sacrificed because it may offend my sensibilities. NO! I believe in a God that speaks to me through the Episcopal Tradition and to others through their own traditions...
So let's build on those things which we hold in common. There are Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scriptures and Hindu, Buddhist and Daoist writings that can be used to support the basic tenets of human dignity and love for one another. That is what is at the foundation of our faith and our movement. Let us celebrate that.
I have shared before that Bishop Steve Charleston, former bishop of Alaska and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge preached a message of environmental stewardship with passion and fervor that some would call pentecostal. I would call it spirit driven. He held a group of Episcopalians, often called the "Frozen Chosen" in his hand and poured out his heart. He called "Am I telling you the truth?!" and the response was, "Yes!" Remember, these are Episcopalians who many would say were probably worried about whether they used the correct fork during the fish course at brunch. Every word he said would be as powerful in a mosque or synagogue.
He could as easily have delivered the message of religion's abuse at the hand of bigots. I know because he did at the Integrity Eucharist in Denver in 2000. It changed my life.
We need a preacher/rabbi/imam with passion to deliver the message that many LGBT are hungry to hear. God loves you. You are missed in the faith that raised you or your parents. There is a place of worship that is less because you are not there. There are people who's love will never be whole until you are a part of their circle. You may have to force your way back in to some of these places, but in the days, months and years to come they will rejoice and celebrate your return.
Folks, I am lay person. I am not trained in homiletics. But I do know the message that must be delivered.
NOW... we must work together, without regard for ownership or ego to see that in one place in Washington DC at one time at least one new person hears that message.
Let the people say, "Amen."
Local Episcopalian a National LGBT Activist
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Honeoye Falls is the home parish for a nationally involved activist in Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender issues. Neil Houghton, who lives in Mendon, is a Vice President of Integrity USA (integrityusa.org), the national organization that works within the Episcopal Church to advocate for LGBT people.
This summer, Houghton will be a deputy at the church’s national convention in Anaheim, where many of these issues will be addressed.
“This parish has been extremely supportive,” says Houghton. “Many parishioners actively support our cause and participate in local LGBT Pride events. We are a community that 'take the Bible too seriously to take it literally.' When my husband and I were married in Toronto in February 2008, Bishop McKelvey and his wife were our witnesses. They gave us a brick in the Frontier Field 'walk of fame' as a wedding present. Our current bishop, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Prince Signh, spoke on behalf of marriage equality at a lobbying day in Albany in April.”
Regarding being Christian and gay Houghton states, “My sexuality is a morally neutral gift from God. How I use that gift involves moral choices that my faith informs. I face the same choices in my marriage that everyone does. My husband Kyle (Crawford) and I deserve the same rights and should live up to the same responsibilities as all married couples.”
Houghton is also a co-chair of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester Committee for Gay and Lesbian Ministry, New York State United Teachers Committee on Civil and Human Rights and National Education Association Committee on Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identification
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Link to the whole text of the blessed Bishop Barbara Harris' sermon at Integrity's Eucharist in Anaheim at Walking with Integrity. For the fledgling Episcopalians among you, Barbara was the first woman consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church (seen here with the first openly gay man to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church).
Here are some highlights:
Unfortunately, many of the people who need to be reminded of these truths are not here, (Laughter) nor are they any longer a part of this Episcopal fellowship. And indeed, such truths may not resonate with many who are here. One such truth is Peter’s assertion and his understanding that indeed God has no favorites, but that anybody who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to God, or in more traditional language, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” So that neither the self-proclaimed orthodox, the selective traditionalist, the evangelicals, nor the progressives and the reformers have any special claim on God’s favor or God’s approval. If indeed God, who doeth all things well, is the creator of all things, how can some things be more acceptable to the Creator than others? (Applause) It follows, for me at least, that if God is the Creator of all persons, then how can some people be more acceptable to God than others?
More importantly, if indeed the church honestly believes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folk should not be bishops, then the church should not ordain them to the sacred order of deacons. For certainly, if one is deemed fit to be ordained a transitional deacon, then one should be deemed eligible to move into the sacred order of priests and to be elected and consecrated to the episcopate. If you don’t want GLBT folks as bishops, don’t ordain them as deacons. Better yet, be honest and say, “We don’t want you, you don’t belong here,” and don’t bestow upon them the sacrament of Baptism to begin with. (Applause)
How can you initiate someone and then treat them like they’re half-assed baptized? (Cheers and applause)
And, and let me ask, (Laughter) that since we don’t have any say in who gets see-lected as bishops in some other provinces of the Communion, why should those in other provinces be able to dictate who can or cannot be ee-lected by (Applause) – Oh, let me finish the sentence – who cannot be elected by the laity and clergy who they will lead in this branch of Christ’s holy and catholic church.
Again, read it all here.
The General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) is just now concluding its triennial meeting in Anaheim, California. TEC was once a great church, a denomination that, as people moved up the social ladder, they wished to join. Many of the presidents of the United States were members, and many Congressmen, Senators, judges and leaders in the business world were members as well. At least a generation ago, perhaps two, things began to quietly change - but few noticed. A new Prayer Book was adopted with changes in liturgy, women were ordained as deacons, then priests, then finally bishops, and the exclusivity of the Christian Gospel began to be challenged by a few priests and bishops. The changes, however one felt about them then, or feels about them now, caused a division to develop in TEC. Not a neat, clean division, because people responded positively to some changes and negatively to others, but a division none the less.
Let the wrangling begin. We undid B033. We didn't undo B033. Marriages will be blessed in those states where they are legal. No they won't. Somehow it doesn't seem very ubuntuish.
On the floor of the House of Deputies it was perfectly clear that what we were doing undid B033. Those speaking for it implied it. Those speaking against asserted it. The way is clear to consecrate openly gay and lesbian bishops. That is in theory. There is still a requirement to get the consents of a majority of standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction.
On the floor of the House of Deputies it was clear that the door was open for bishops to allow the blessing of any legal marriage. This still requires them to do that (and the Bishop of Western Massachusetts has already said he won't) and it requires the clergy to be open to it.
So now the rubber hits the road at the local level. We need to do the mission work of the church that we have always done on the local level and be the incarnational presence for why these two resolutions must be more than words on paper.
"Can you hear the heartbeat of the church? Mission... mission... mission... " the Presiding Bishop ended her homily opening the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. It is clear that gay men and lesbians, bisexual and transgendered Episcopalian will bear more than our proportional share in accomplishing that mission and not only as it pertains to us but to the Great Commandment.
Mission... mission... mission...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The full text of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's
"Letter to the Church" can be found here
The full text of both resolutions is available here:
I urge you to read them for yourself. Some have insisted that these resolutions repudiate our relationships with other members of the Anglican Communion. My sense is that we have been very clear that we value our relationships within and around the Communion, and seek to deepen them. My sense as well is that we cannot do that without being honest about who and where we are. We are obviously not of one mind, and likely will not be until Jesus returns in all his glory. We are called by God to continue to wrestle with the circumstances in which we live and move and have our being, and to do it as carefully and faithfully as we are able, in companionship with those who disagree vehemently and agree wholeheartedly. It is only in that wrestling that we, like Jacob, will begin to discern the leading of the Spirit and the blessing of relationship with God.
Above all else, this Convention claimed God's mission as the heartbeat of The Episcopal Church. I encourage every member of this Church to enter into conversation in your own congregation or diocese about God's mission, and where you and your faith community are being invited to enter more deeply into caring for your neighbors, the "least of these" whom Jesus befriends.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
The budget that was passed was a brutal experience. It cut some 38 positions at 815 2nd Avenue, the central office for the Episcopal Church. It cut evangelism and communications which seems counter-intuitive to what we need to be working on in a era where we have created, or rather uncovered a church that needs to reach out to an entirely new audience.
It cut "Lay Leadership" completely. What that means, I am not sure. I missed a chance to ask during the 10 mins available to the 880 deputies to ask questions after one night to review the document.
The process was that a committee took several days to review and work through the budget as presented by the office of PBandF. This "perfected" version then came to the floor of the house. A document which we had never seen before with 18 pages or so of spreadsheets was given to us. We were initially admonished that we could not restore funds unless we could remove them from somewhere else. After 10 minutes of explanation and 10 minutes for questions we were then sent home for the evening knowing that we would have 10 more minutes of questions and 60 minutes to propose amendments the following day.
When the above process unfolded it was clear that the body was expected to put a rubber stamp on the budget with the prevailing feeling that the committee had worked long and hard. Undoubtedly they did. The process was painful and compounded by frustration. Only the morning of the vote was it clarified that the admonishment about where money for changes would come from was a suggestion, not binding. This I am sure put a chill on many who might have suggested changes. I might where I want the money tp go, but not understand the effects of its loss in another area. The only amendment that came close to being made was to restore travel money for the President of the House of Deputies. Her job is volunteer, like many of ours, and her incarnational presence has been very valuable in these times of turmoil. It is still hard to imagine that this area would have been targeted for change were she not chairing the meeting.
There was prayer for the personal pain that this budget would cost many.
Now much of what 815 has coordinated is on the Dioceses to continue. What is done is done and we have a more inclusive church to "sell." Prayers for that are in order.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
This convention was a turning point for the Episcopal Church. We have affirmed our commitment to bear witness to the Anglican Communion and the world that we believe that God's inclusive love includes all. There was wonderful spirit. There were some who would not allow that spirit in. We all pray for them that they will continue in dialogue, as those of us who are LGBT Christians have for over 33 years.
There were two last day regrets, but for me not as brutal as B033. The House of Bishops rejected a vote in the House of Deputies to support the repeal of DOMA. More disturbing we were offered a Sophie's choice by the bishops. The attempt to add sexual expression to the list of protected classes was returned to the deputies with language that would have removed all protected classes. All lay orders would be opened to "all baptized." A very clever move. But we are not in a place where we yet have seen that ALL means ALL.
So the trans people were safriced on the altar of keeping "sexual orientation" in the Canon. They graciously agreed that the loss of this language would be not worth the price of their full inclusion and spoke against accepting it on the floor. It was rejected and the current language stands.
Pary for our trans folks, many of whom must be feeling hurt.
Pray for those who now feel excluded that their hearts may be softened,
back to Rohester, by beloved and the best dogs in the world.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We could gripe about what we didn't get or we could work with the church to spread the good news about what we have done. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Integrity's role in the next triennium will be to redefine our role in the church laying the groundwork for more advances in 2012.
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consulation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological, and liturgical resources and report to the 77th General Convention and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consulation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further
Resolved, 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; and be it further
Resolved, That this Convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further
Resolved, That the members of this Church be encouraged to engage in this effort.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Having been so incredibly busy I could not have the luxury of savoring the reality of where we are now. After the HoB passed D025 with amendment, I called my husband. "Why aren't you more excited?" he asked. At the time I was not sure. Perhaps it was the injunction against celebration that was laid on us at Gene's consent. Now as I watch MSNBC and write this, the tears are finally welling up.
We have done it. We have started on the road that will certainly still be rocky. We have taken that first step toward true full inclusion.
Thanks to Kyle for his support of me in my ministry. Thanks to my wonderful deputation who really, really get it. Thanks my Bishop, Prince Singh, who joyously celebrated an amazing Eucharist at mid-day. The bread that was broken truly was "food for the journey," with homage to Jack McKelevey and Robert Spears. That food fueled what was, by all accounts, show-stopping testimony on the floor of the House of Bishops.
He talked about being a product of the "global south." He spoke of the irrelevancy of the Anglican communion in our decision to move on, for indeed the Anglican communion has been complicit in oppression which he knows too well as a native of Southern India. Talk about "street cred."
And of course thanks to the Holy Spirit, moving among us!
I am so GLAD that there was an amendment. It was a positive, clarifying amendment. I will now be in the House that enacts this ground breaking legislation. All this talk of "moving beyond" B033 makes perfect sense.
Share my joy. Thanks be to God.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Lay Order needed to pass 50 yes 77 no 31
Clergy Order needed to pass 49, Yes 74 No 35
Some of the the No votes were "divided." Under our rules a divided vote counts in the negative. It is therefor possible that the house actually supported the resolution by anywhere between 60% and 80% or higher, Those details will be available later
Now it must pass the House of Bishops. There are no guarantees, but should it fail it will demonstrate a lack of respect the sense of the senior house.
It was a surprisingly calm feeling in the house. When it passes the HoB it will be time to celebrate.
Integrity President Susan Russell said that she felt that we had joined the ‘guild of the persistent widow’ as we came again and again to ask for full inclusion. Susan reminded the hearing of the 1976 Convention when women's ordination was no longer theoretical but a reality--in the same way this year, she said, the marriage of same-sex couples is no longer theoretical, it is ontological. In her view CO19 offered the ‘best, brightest and most focused attempt’ to provide equality in our rites and will give the church clarity to move forward.
The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, bishop of the Diocese of Lexington advocated for unions for same gender couples. The Church has already made a pastoral exception to allow divorced people to be married in a spirit of grace, compassion and pastoral mercy. CO41 he said, was asking for same gender couples no more than heterosexuals have already done for themselves.
Supporting changing the Prayer Book language to make it gender inclusive (C028), Katherine Ragsdale, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, said that using the resources of the church she can teach her students to bless the candlestick on the altar, but not the relationship of a same gender couple in the pew.
Many other speakers talked of the way their lives had been touched or changed by their LGBT friends and family members. Hannah Anderson, a 17 year old from North Carolina shared the story of Arthur, a gay teenager whom she knew from summer camp. When he committed suicide in junior high, Arthur wrote that he loved summer camp but that he couldn’t bear being alive in a world where he could only be accepted one week a year. She asked for the Church to be fully inclusive so that people like Arthur would know the love of God.
Deputy Matthew Lawrence, also from North Carolina, pointed out that despite the Anglican Communion’s promise to listen to the LGBT people, but has tended to hear only those who have found their voices. He praised Voices of Witness Africa as providing a way to hear the voices of those people who live under the real threat of beatings and death. He suggested that they were listening for the voice of this Church saying that there is a place of inclusion.
It was a long hearing, and now the committee must sift through all the submitted resolutions to find the one or two that will best meet the concerns that they heard this afternoon. There are many ideas about how to move towards equality in the marriage rites of the church.
It is time…
Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA
Again, my posts will be personal reflections. New can be found at Integrity here and at the Episcopal Church media hub here and in many blogs, tweets and Facebook groups.
Go to the media hub and click "on demand" to see Ray Suarez who gave homily today and find the brilliat homily form The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris at Integrity's Eucharist.
New catch phase, "No more 'half-assed' baptisms.'"
I had great Indian food with our Bishop and his family and Carl and Leslie.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Karen Hanson was elected on the first ballot. The process for electronic voting was so incredibly tedious and draconian.... just get us paper ballots and let the vote fairies count them. With the machines it was "seat one elipsis equals 10 seconds, each seat equals 1 minute or more. There were twelve seats. AAAAAARRRRGH.
The pigeon started flying around the hall at seat one.
Then there was the positively amazing Integrity Eucharist. Kudos, kudos to Randy Kimmler and Barbara Harris transported us,
And the morning and the evening were the 3rd day,
Friday, July 10, 2009
Rowan Williams opened his reflections at communion with a statement that he knows that everyone will be digging for messages in everything he says and so he said "I will be direct." He expressed how important the Episcopal Church is to the Communion. He also expressed his hope that we would "take no actions that would further move us apart."
Seems to me that we are who we are because of our polity... and people that are grateful for our presence need to not only honor, but celebrate that. His two statements fall into the category of having his cake and eating it.
The homily (which I am sure you can find at integrityusa.org or at the Episcopal Church website) offered much that encouraged us to be the witness that we are called to be.
Let me apologize for not posting more often. There is very little down time for a Deputy.
I shall try to catch a break here and there and offer personal responses... I know that others are dedicated to communicating. Trust, but verify.
Off to day 3.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Starting with Co19, the testimony was 1 against and 5 in favor Only Charlie Holt (Central Florida) spoke against. Bishop Andrus, Susan Russell and others spoke in favor. Susan said, "Like 1976 when women's ordination was adopted, same-sex marriages are no longer theoretical. They are ontological."
No speakers commented on C025.
C041 amend canon to define marriage as between 2 adults.
Bishop Sauls spoke as a "pastor and a Canonist. We voted in 1964 to allow divorced people to be remarried as an inclusive and pastoral response." (Now we can) "free our church of the hypocrisy which it has been bearing."
Opposed was Phyllis Bartel of Central Florida "How do we teach our kids about a traditional marriage" if our canons don't reflect it she aked.
The mother of two young sons, "only one of which happens to straight" spoke in favor of moving toward marriage inclusion. "It was apparent that my adopted son was gay from his early years. We moved him from the Roman Catholic tradition and found an accepting community in the Episcopal Church." she begged us not to back away from full inclusion.
Bishop Andrew Smith took over the chair and opened seeking testimony on C004 which lifts restrictions on Bishop's authorization of liturgical blessing. Deputy Runkle, a straight 72 year old man who wants his friends to enjoy the same rights he and his wife enjoy.
The one negative comment on this resoltion was from an recovering alcoholic who fought against God's call to fight his temptation and wants LGBT people to do the same.
A lay Deputy alternate from VA said, "We are afraid that if we go forward we will damage our relationship with the communion." In his parish however there are six same sex couples that members of the parish already see as married in the eyes of God. He told us that we don't have to be afraid ot speak the truth.
Brad Hinton, preist from Delaware spoke eloquently. "I thank the church for standing with me." he said, through his baptism and his ordination. He asked the church to "walk one more step with me."
The Rev, Ed Bacon from Pasadena said, "I trust this committee." He spoke of Aexperience with the group that were married during the window in California. From June to November All Saits married 46 couples. The couples had already been together from 8 to 32 years. It brought new levels of understanding through his pre-marital counselling. "I trust you to end the second class citizenship of lesbians and gay men."
Another speaker from Central Florida said the issue has not been accepted, "(action to advance inclusive marriage) will further alienate others in the communion."
From a 17 year old young woman "My friend Arthur is gay. He found a safe haven at an Epsicopal camp. Please offer the same safe haven to all gay and lesbian Episcopalians."
C028 (from Rochester) asked that gender neutral rights for marriage be developed for the Book of Common Prayer.
Retired Bishop Otis Charles said "This is the most direct and immediate way to end the 30 year coming out process for the Episcopal Church... It will be a gift to the Anglican Communion."
One priest called it poorly crafted and asked that we approach it in another way and allow him an out.
One person testified that he did not know whether his daughters would grow up straight or gay. "I want [an inclusive marriage rite] in the prayer book so someone will come to ask for the hand of my daughter in marriage. I want to see [that person] squirm. Asking for her hand in 'civil union' just doesn't seem the same.'
"I am Filipe Sancho Ruiz CHARLES," the next speaker declared, "I am the husband and wife.. spouse of Bishop Otis Charles."
A woman spoke, "I come from an Irish-Catholic where they might not understand my sexuality but they do understand 'wedding.' We party best at weddings and wakes. Please make this decision in time for my wedding and not my wake."
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Some members of the committee expressed angst. One went weepy. I felt sorry for her, but she talked about a struggle not an entrenched position.
I testified: I want to be able to evangalize to people who have left the church and to a generation that not only supports marriage equality, but does not have a clue how anyone COULD be opposed.
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That this 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church acknowledge the pastoral concerns facing those dioceses in states where the civil marriage of same gender couples is legal; and be it further
Resolved, That in those dioceses, under the direction of the bishop, generous discretion is extended to clergy in the exercise of their pastoral ministry in order to permit the adaptation of the Pastoral Offices for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage and The Blessing of a Civil Marriage for use with all couples who seek the church's support and God's blessing in their marriages; and be it further
Resolved, That in order to build a body of experience for the benefit of the church, each bishop in those dioceses where this pastoral practice is exercised provide an annual written report on their experience to the House of Bishops each March and to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for its report to the 77th General Convention.
There are now six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont) where the civil marriage of same gender couples is legal, and other states may follow in the coming triennium. This has created unique pastoral challenges for The Episcopal Church because the definition of marriage held by these states and the language used in the Canons and the Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church is not the same. In all six states, faithful Episcopalians are asking that their church provide the pastoral support and blessing of the church for their marriages. Clergy in those same states are caught between the authority given them by the state and the discipline of The Episcopal Church as it's currently described. The rubrics of the BCP require that "marriage conform both to the laws of the state and the canons of the Church (BCP, 422)."
This situation requires a generous and flexible response that offers clergy the ability to make appropriate pastoral decisions in consultation with the bishop and their members. There may be many clergy and congregations that have no desire to participate in the blessing of a civil marriage. But in those places where there is such a will, the freedom to explore that option is vital.
The Book of Common Prayer makes provision for special devotions that may be used when services in the Prayerbook do not address the needs of the congregation (BCP, 13). Such devotions are subject to the direction of the bishop.
There is also a need for the Church to hear the experience of those dioceses and congregations where good faith efforts are being made to respond to the pastoral needs of faithful same sex couples. This resolution would create annual reporting to the House of Bishops, with a summary report to be made to the 77th General Convention.
While this resolution addresses the special circumstances in states with full marriage equality, there is also a need to support other efforts to provide pastoral care (including blessings) to same sex couples in all dioceses of The Episcopal Church.
My assigned seatmate was Frank. On his way to the Michael Jackson's funeral without a ticket. The girl that was travel with him had just left the train to take the bus for the rest of the trip. Wonder why?
Can you guess why we spent 4 hours with this view, not moving and inch?
If you thought, I'll bet someone walked in front of the train in order to kill himself and the train couldn't move until the Oakland Police, coroner and Union Pacifc gave you clearance to leave... YOU'D BE RIGHT.
Did I say weird?
And then we stopped by the little tanker that was NOT in the mood:
But also a chance to spend time with a very special guy. Kyle has know Mike for a long time and I met him once before Kyle left Atlanta. I have grown to know him by chatting on the phone.
Mike welcomed me for July 4 evening, and got me to the train station at 6:30 AM on the 5th. It was a joy to spend time with this great guy.
I met JAKE...
..slept in the Redskins room.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
This is in Greeley, CO:
And as we went west in Wyoming the high prairie morphed into buttes.
I was hoping for dinner with a Rocky Mountain view on this stretch. But I was invited to join Jim and members of his family who were coming from around the country for a reunion at Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone.
This is Jim and his sister, the Sister:
And his niece:
They were all teachers of some sort and Jim's sister the nun and I chatted about General Convention to which I was headed. She is a treasure. I asked for her prayers.
Now my disappointment in not eating in the Rockies was replaced by joy in meeting these wonderful people and the scenery did not disappoint as we descended into Utah. A real highlight of the trip!
Approaching Salt Lake City the Wasatch Range loomed...
A quick glimpse of the Utah Capitol (and the Mormon Temple, which alluded the camera)
We pulled into SLC about 2 hours early and did not depart until 11:30.
When I passed the Great Salt Lake it was dark. Apparently the station has been moved to be closer to the center of town, but it is still no more than a sad little trailer. The route no longer crosses the lake on the causeway to the north, but skirts the lake on its southern shore.
Last night Integirty held a well attended reception and Susan did a bang-up job of presenting that message. We are optimistic but not complacent.
I am very proud to be a Deputy from Rochester! Here is a report from the Diocese of Fort Worth website:
As we checked in at the Red Lion Hotel, each deputy was handed a personalized gift bag that said, "Welcome [deputy's name], Diocese of Fort Worth, From Your Friends and then a sticker that read "The Diocese of Rochester" with a picture of a dove and the words, "Beloved of God."
The bag contained a card that said, "Your friends in Rochester NY pray for your journey through "New Beginnings." We pray this assembly to be a place where new friendships are born and old friendships strengthened. May it be a source of grace and blessing to our neighbors and community. May all of us here today, and all those in days to come, be united in a spirit of peace, good will and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."
The bag also contained a CD of the Schola Cantorum of Christ Church in Rochester, a hot salsa mix from the Healthy Sisters' Soup and Bean Works of Rochester [a program of Catholic Charities Restart Substance Abuse Services, which provides a work experience program for women who have never worked], a packet of Harney & Sons Orange Pekoe tea and a lovely bookmark, a braided Anglican rosary, a sticker of the seal of the Episcopal Church, a ballpoint pen, some Tic Tacs and hard candy.
Volunteers from the Diocese of Rochester also registered us as deputies. The volunteer greeted each one of us with a warm handclasp and the words, "Welcome, welcome, welcome. We are so glad you are here."
The Cardinal pulled into Chicago's Union Station
We were late getting in so I had no time to see anything but the station... But we left on time. Here's a snap of rural Illinois:
As we approach the Mississippi we pass over the broad area of wetlands that seem to be typical of its eastern bank.
On the west side in Iowa, there a ball game in this field on the banks of the Mississippi:
Grandma waits to board in Mount Pleasant, Iowa:
The stretch across the heartland was mostly during the night. I was grateful to sleep through Nebraska... and NOT be driving.
Then another MLB park, the Home of the Rockies.
I also passed the beautiful sports complex in Cincinatti, but it was dark.
In Denver we stopped for a stretch and a window wash...
... making the view from the domed lounge car better:
Hanging out of the car is my newest friend, Tom.
Tom was from Chicago and recently married his partner. He works the snack bar, 3 days from Chicago to San Francisco, turns around and 3 days back, working from 6 AM to 11 PM.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Leaving Penn Station on July 1:
Not the best view of most cities... starting with Trenton:
And soon to the gloriously restored interior of DC's Union Station:
Between building a peek at the Washington Monument:
And in Alexandria the Masonic Temple
A Farm Market in Massassa. Very attractive Town.
A typical train-side view...
And the view inside:
Stopped in Virginia for some mechanical thingy:
And a stop in Hinton WV
The reason I took this leg was to see the New River Gorge in WV. The train was running late (often a pattern) and it was too dark to see well, but I did pass beneath the New River Gorge Bridge. It is the the longest single span arch in the world. Quite spectacular!
Early Morning in Indianapolis. The construction surrounds the Convention Center and is on the site of the former dome where the Colts played. My first GC was in Indy and GC 2012 will be meeting here.