Sunday, 1 February 2004

more ECUSA updates

The Diocese of Mississipi has its council meeting next weekend. Its bishop, The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III, is reported in the Sun Herald as follows:

In August, Gray was one of 43 bishops who did not vote to confirm the gay bishop but said he accepted the majority’s decision as “the mind of the Church at this moment in faith history.”
Since then, the bishop has held meetings throughout the state to keep dialogue open. For the council, which begins Feb. 6, he has requested open hearings for all sides to debate the resolutions before they are presented to the council for vote. Delegates include laity and clergy from each of the 82 parishes and missions.
“I hope we can openly and constructively address the deep disagreements,” said Gray, who is third in his family to be a Mississippi bishop.
He estimates less than 1 percent of the diocesan members have left the Episcopal Church over the general convention’s decisions, but he said some Mississippians are expressing their feelings by withholding their normal tithings and support.
“There is a lot of uncertainty in our church,” Gray said. “We’re in unprecedented times, and this year’s council theme, ‘Praying Into God’s Future,’ is an acknowledgement of that uncertainty but also an affirmation that God greets us. Through prayer we can learn to walk confidently through uncertainty.”

In Northern Florida, the Diocese of Florida convention met, and for procedural reasons refused to consider a motion relating to joining the Network but the bishop made his position clear as reported in the Jacksonville Times-Union Episcopal unity in state is in danger

Clarifying his own place in the disagreement after months of silence, the newly installed bishop said he would not ordain active homosexuals or allow their unions to be celebrated, but promised to oppose any limits on the diocese’s participation in the national Episcopal Church.
By the end of the day, the success of Howard’s supporters in upholding that agenda had endangered his hopes for unity. Representatives from several of the most biblically orthodox churches said they stood on the brink of divorce from the diocese because the diocese would not divorce the Episcopal Church.
After a majority of delegates voted to continue contributing to the national church, representatives from 12 of those churches, comprising about 16 percent of the diocese, withdrew their annual contributions to the diocese. Six of those were from Jacksonville, and two from Orange Park.
Most of the dissidents said they simply wished to reconsider their contributions in the wake of the decisions by the convention. But some said their very membership in the diocese was in question.

In Central Florida, the diocese has joined the network. This news story from the local Scripps-Howard newspapers, Episcopalians say conservative network lets them protest gay bishop without leaving fold comes complete with a picture of animal blessings.

By joining the network, the diocese chose not to split from the Episcopal Church, which is the American branch of the Anglican Communion, the worldwide body of churches affiliated with the Church of England.

Meanwhile, one parish left the diocese for the AMiA anyway: Melbourne Episcopal church leaving denomination

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 February 2004 at 5:25 PM GMT | TrackBack
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See the url for the link to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, which holds its Diocesan Council February 12 - 14 in Tyler (east Texas).

In the Texas Episcopalian, Bishop Don Wimberly has written his vision for the Council, in part, to call for more diversity:

Naming diversity a priority of his episcopate, Bishop Wimberly explained, “No one shall be excluded from the circle of God’s love as it is lived out in our Episcopal expression of the faith.” He called on all members to see themselves as missionaries, saying, “Each of us, every single one of us, is a missionary. Our Baptismal promises call each of us to reach out to others and bring transformation to the lives of those without hope, those without a life of faith, those people who are lost or hurt or lonely. We are, quite simply, called to love our neighbors as ourselves, in both heroic and everyday ways.”

I live in Burlington, Vermont now, but was a member of St. Stephen’s in Houston for over 20 years and was in Houston last weekend to take part in its 75th anniversary celebrations. Bishop Charleston, former Diocesan of Alaska and now Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA gave the keynote address at the anniversary dinner on Saturday evening. Bishop Wimberly was present the next for Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation of Members. Texas is a very conservative diocese and St. Stephen’s could be called one of the loyal opposition - I was pleased to see both Bishops praise the contributions of St. Stephen’s to the Diocese and the wider Episcopal fellowship. In the last 50 years, at least, through the prophetic leadership of Claxton Monro and Helen Havens, it has been a force for social justice in the Church. I was delighted that Bishop Wimberly recognised St. Stephen’s warmly. Too often I’ve seen our Diocesans tread around lightly, aware that that parish has been vehemently at odds with resolutions and legislation taken at annual Councils. But I did not hear any of this in his address to St. Stephen’s. He seems warm and genuinely respectful. St. Stephen’s has a number of LBGT members who take an active role in the parish. I feel that the Bishop wants to act as a bridge between the more liberal and conservative parishes in the Diocese of Texas.

Posted by: Jay Vos at February 1, 2004 05:57 PM

Thank you for balanced reporting.

Posted by: Rev. Bindy at February 3, 2004 04:50 AM