Comments: News from around the USA

Wooohooo for the Standing Committees!

Someone I know who is more savvy about how these things work out than I says usually Standing Commitees and Bps vote the same way.

On another note, here in the States, ABC News has run a strong piece about proposed antigay legislation in Uganda, and the later night show Nightline is going to run a longer piece. The ABC News I saw clearly showed the influence of an American evangelical in stirring up hate.

I suspect the ABC is sitting in a corner of Lambeth and rocking back and forth and mutterinig.

But YAY for Dio of LA!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 3:47am GMT

The South Carolina resolutions are profoundly depressing. Here is a state with extremely high unemployment and a host of other major problems. It is near enough to Haiti to have a large Haitian immigrant population whose relatives are in great need of relief and compassion. Not to mention South Carolina's long history of poor governance, poor education, and poisonous race relations, about which some pulpits might once in a while have something to say.

Oh no. What are the South Carolinians spending all of their time on? These crazy, hostile, spit-in-yer-eye symbolic resolutions ratcheting up the squabbles with the Presiding Bishop to yet another level, because that's all these people care about or can think about.

That's why I no longer worship in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. Same pattern. Same craziness. They are located in an area that has one of Florida's highest unemployment rates, plenty of hunger, plenty of misery, and more than a few governance problems of its own, and what does that diocese spend all its time and energy on? You guessed it. Certainly not feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and the elderly, relieving the distress of the poor. Why, that'd be lib-rul and they're no lib-ruls. So Central Florida spends all their time passing depressing resolutions just like these and swooping down on rectors and vestries who don't toe the party line.

Total craziness, total irrelevance, total waste of time.

Posted by Charlotte at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 3:47am GMT

There is rejoicing in Los Angeles today as we receive this great news. I have never known a person better qualified to be bishop than Mary. Her experience, her skills and her temperament are just what we need. Mary and Diane Bruce will make wonderful bishops. In LA we don't often go outside the diocese for our bishops. We have this odd notion that Los Angeles is so diverse and such a unique place, that we are hesitant to look elsewhere. It is a testament to Mary's outstanding qualifications that we took her candidacy so seriously.

In the final analysis, for me as a delegate to her electing Convention, it was Mary's ability to communicate the love of Christ in her genuine warmth, openness, and grace that made her stand out, with Diane, as the choice for Los Angeles.

The fact that Mary is a lesbian in a long term faithful relationship with a wonderful woman, accomplished in her own right, only added to her appeal. Mary can relate in a particularly effective way to the large number of LGBT persons who are members of our diocese, as well as to the many people who have faced discrimination because of gender, ethnicity, or color. The fact that Mary has maintained a flourishing loving relationship in the face of the historic opposition of the Church she loves so much and the society that she and Becki have to live in only speaks to the power of her faith and the strength of her character. We pray for her strength as some in the Churches, including perhaps the ABC, will feel compelled to say hurtful things about her consecration.

Can we now be done with the absurd idea that the entire Communion rests on the backs of LGBT persons and the "need" to exclude them from the offices of the Church? Only a fool would believe that a "Communion" based on injustice and oppression would be blessed by God.

Now we wait for the bishops to speak and ratify this election with their consents. As we enter into a new day in the Church Catholic, let us put behind us once and for all the exclusion of persons from the offices of the Church based on a "tradition" of misunderstanding, hatred, discrimination, oppression, and killing of LGBT persons, often historically led and countenanced by the Christian Churches. And let us give up the fiction that some are being more faithful to the scriptures than others because they have a theory about what the Bible "teaches" about same sex relations, a theory rejected by the majority of credible scripture scholars. A little humility from those who claim a superior knowledge of and faithfulness to the scriptures is definitely in order.

I invite TA readers to pray for Diane+ and Mary+ as they prepare to take up their work; for +Jon Bruno will will once again be attacked by the traditionalists; for +Katherine Jefferts Schori who will preside at these consecrations and probably be expelled from the Primates Steering Committee for doing her duty as Presiding Bishop and for being a Christian; and especially for those who disagree with us that they may seek a new way to keep the Communion together that will not be based on the religious oppression and exclusion of any group of persons.

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 7:23am GMT

I do hope that, after his magnificent lecture, that Rowan Williams does not come out and say something nasty about the election consents of Mary Glasspool. If he does, and turns bureaucrat again, he will have to measure that against what he said in the lecture. Let's not assume that he will, in the meantime.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 7:38am GMT


Are you saying that there are no social outreach programs in the Diocese of Central Florida?

Some of the most innovative efforts to address human need in Pittsburgh (including one parish whose congregation - though not its clergy - is almost entirely composed of homeless men and women) are carried out by congregations now in ACNA. Naturally, the Gospel they preach is one with which many on this list might have reason to disagree, but it would be untrue to claim that they lack awareness of human need and suffering or don't think it necessary to remedy it.

Since South Carolina values its membership in the Anglican Communion and since most people on the progressive side have been very insistent that realignment strips those who participate in it of membership, then I would ask what else the Diocese of South Carolina can do, except to take these acts of provincial disassociation. Doesn't silence imply complicity? That seemed to be the progressive view on the Uganda legislation (with which I concurred, incidentally).

Posted by Jeremy Bonner at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 2:04pm GMT

Re the Virginia case: when our current Governor was Attorney General for the state, he intervened in the lower court by issuing an opinion that the unique post-civil war statute regulating property disputes in non-hierarchical churches did in fact apply to TEC.

Earlier this week he nominated the acting atty general to the Virginia Supreme Court. That man, Mims [NOT Martyn of the Pointy Hat], was a member of one of the groups that abandonded TEC, and, while in the General ASS, tried to pass a law that would have treated property disputes in ALL churches as if all were congregational. His confirmation by the Va State Senate will be pro forma.

A decent person would recuse himself from the case, but my bet is he won't.

So we have a graduate of Pat Robertson's "university" and a renegade Episcopalian mixing in.


Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 4:33pm GMT

With regard to my earlier comment, I meant that I concurred with progressive CRITICISM of the Uganda bill, not the legislation itself, which I fundamentally disagreed.

The earlier wording was ambiguous.

Posted by Jeremy Bonner at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 5:17pm GMT

Just to be clear, Jeremy: you are saying, aren't you, that you concur that on the Uganda legislation "silence implies complicity?" I hope and expect that's what you concurred with (and not the legislation itself).

Jeremy, I agree that it's largely a false dichotomy to say that evangelicals aren't interested in caring for the poor and suffering. On the other hand, that being the case and "silence implying complicity," one might think that all of our churches would have more important things to say something about. And being in place, I can respect Charlotte's opinion about the focus of diocesan time and attention.

The Constitution of the Diocese of South Carolina (which they graciously make available on line) continues to begin in Article I with full accession to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Because official membership in the Anglican Communion (unlike the community recently referred to in C of E Synod as "the Anglican family") is through provinces, and not as individual dioceses, it is precisely their distancing that threatens their membership, and not their disagreement with current leadership and interpretations of the Constitution and Canons of the Church. In that light, it would seem several of these resolutions are unconstitutional under their own diocesan constitution. That includes the assertions of "diocesan sovreignty" and that the Standing Committee has "final authority."

Posted by Marshall Scott at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 5:23pm GMT

All I have to go on is my own experience, and no, I don't see any of the local Dio Central Florida "reasserter" churches participating in social outreach or civic life. None of the area Episcopal churches participates in Habitat for Humanity, or food banks, or anything else where I am. One does run a thrift store, but by and large anything they do, including fundraising, is done for the benefit of their own membership.

I do see a couple of things going on outside my immediate area: a pre-K program, participation in a local "ministers' roundtable" on civic issues. Both come from parishes and priests the Dio. Central Florida would regard as dangerously unsound on the one issue that really matters (i.e. driving out the gays).

Very many of the Episcopal churches in the area are extremely small and dominated by a few local families, holdovers from the days when Hamilton Disston's drainage schemes prompted emigrants from Britain to settle in the area. They are inward-looking and unwelcoming to newcomers. A statistic I saw on the TitusOneNine site -- not in a news article, but in a comment -- stated that DioCFL has lost 15% of its members since 2003. Many of us, myself included, have left because we can't stand the never-ending gay-bashing.

Posted by Charlotte at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 7:31pm GMT

"Jeremy, I agree that it's largely a false dichotomy to say that evangelicals aren't interested in caring for the poor and suffering."

Tell that to Glen Beck!

[NB: Mr Beck, probably currently the USA's *most popular* conservative TV pundit---FOX News, of course---recently called on ALL Christians to "leave their churches" IF they place ANY focus on "economic or social justice" (y'know, like that "Socialist" Jesus of Nazareth guy did >;-/)]

TBTG for the Standing Committees' consents to (+)Mary Glasspool. Come on, Bishops! Do the Righteous Thing, and give consent, too! :-D

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 7:39pm GMT

""I look forward to the final few consents to come in from the bishops in the next few days, and I give thanks for the fact that we as a church have taken a bold step for just action." - Bishop Bruno -

Thanks be to God for this sign of TEC's acceptance of the episcopal election of both Mary Glasspool and Diane Bruce. As a priest in the Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand - on the other side of the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles - I am thankful that the majority of the Standing Committees of the Dioceses of TEC have already affirmed the acceptance of Women and Partnered Same-Sex Clergy to be Bishops in The Church of God.

May the Bishops of TEC follow up this generosity with their own gesture of solidarity with Women and LGBT members of Christ's Church in the USA.
To hold back from following up the prayerful election process, would be to compromise the spirit of the Reformation for which the Anglican Communion has been celebrated - Semper Reformanda!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 11 March 2010 at 10:21pm GMT

How wonderful that the Diocese of South Carolina is so clear on the definition of the "faith once delivered." I must remember to visit family there whenever I have doubts about what the apostles viewed as authentic Christianity.

Fear not! They all think that faith without good works is a sad way to live.

Posted by Lynn at Friday, 12 March 2010 at 1:29am GMT

Oh come on JCF.

You know perfectly well that if you go to T19, you'll find a wide spectrum of opinion on economic issues from hardline free-marketeers to some who stand very much in the tradition of Charles Gore and William Temple. For that matter, most church leaders in the Global South articulate a notion of corporate responsibility that's far removed from rugged individualism.

For that matter, I suspect there are some libertarians on your side who are happy to endorse inclusivity but are less keen on economic redistribution.

"Social justice" has worn many hats in the life of the Church, at least since the mid-nineteenth century.

Oh and when did Glen Beck become an authoritative figure for conservative Anglicans. It must figure in an update to Jim Naughton's "Follow the Money" that I have yet to see.

Posted by Jeremy Bonner at Friday, 12 March 2010 at 1:56am GMT

Glen Beck may not be representative of conservative Anglicans in the USA, but he has far and away the biggest audience among conservative Christians here. I suspect that most of Beck's devoted fans have never heard of William Temple or Charles Gore, and don't care either.

I think JCF is right. Glen Beck really does speak for most conservative Christians in this country, who embrace a kind of caricature of Calvinism that allows them to replace "Love thy neighbor as thyself" with "To hell with thy neighbor, he had it coming." This fits perfectly well with that ruthless free-market fundamentalism that is now television news orthodoxy.

Posted by Counterlight at Friday, 12 March 2010 at 1:20pm GMT

+Lawrence seems really hung up on the word "sovereignty," and uses it in ways that make me wonder what they are teaching in seminaries about Episcopal polity these days.

Posted by BillyD/Bill Dilworth at Friday, 12 March 2010 at 1:20pm GMT

""To hell with thy neighbor, he had it coming." -
- Counterlight, on Friday -

The New Zealand equivalent of that is the following: "Do unto others - before they do it unto you!"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 13 March 2010 at 2:11am GMT

The Episcopal Church has only its self to blame for allowing the consecration of Lawrence. Even then lAWRENCE refused to have Presiding Bishop Schori. TEC gave Lawrence an inch and now he wants a yard.

People like Lawrence realise that not a penny of his money will go on legal fees. He has nothing to lose...and the court cases could drag on for ten years.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Saturday, 13 March 2010 at 7:21am GMT

I see Mary Glasspool has received the bishops consents now too !

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 9:59pm GMT

Great news. It may further encourage the Anglican Church of Canada. Our National structure is planning another General Synod with "ongoing discernment" about human sexuality. Developments in L.A. and TEC are a hopeful sign that "ongoing discernment" does not have to mean discernment is ongoing.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 3:58am GMT
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