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June 13, 2012


Diocese of Georgia Report on Listening Session

Do you remember The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel?  It was my first thought when I read this report from the listening session held in the Diocese of Georgia:

Many spoke in favor, to some degree, of blessing same gender relationships, while others were strongly opposed to any such action. It is impossible to reflect in a brief statement the diversity of views expressed, which truly ran across a spectrum. Many people of differing opinions expressed gratefulness for Bishop Benhase’s assurances that any such rite would not be mandatory, and would be permitted only if a.) the Bishop endorses the rite for use in the diocese, which is unlikely in its current form, and b.) the rector and vestry approve it for use in a given congregation. No priest will ever be required to officiate at the blessing of a same gender relationship.

Silence in The Episcopal church takes many forms.  There is the silence of those who have voted with their feet.  There is the silence left by the coins that are no longer dropped in the collection plate.  There is the silence of those who are half in and half out of Tec who stay home as they ponder where they can go to actually worship the Great I Am on Sundays rather than some neon god of the current societal fad.  Yes, Tec eardrums seem to only pick up those voices that echo their own liberal agenda.

Just a few questions for the membership of the diocese of Georgia - if you actually believe the assurances of Bishop Benhase:

any such rite would not be mandatory, and would be permitted only if a.) the Bishop endorses the rite for use in the diocese, which is unlikely in its current form, and b.) the rector and vestry approve it for use in a given congregation. No priest will ever be required to officiate at the blessing of a same gender relationship

I would urge you to talk to a few friends across the pond who also believed such assurances.  Ponder in your heart (1) how long Bishop Benhouse will resist the pressure from 815 especially considering his past actions?  (2)  How long do you think Bishop Benhase will be your bishop?  {hint: He has 30 years in} (3) Once he retires, what are the odds the Diocese will be able to elect a bishop with the will or even desire to resist 815? 


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15 comments

My favorite thing about this report is that at five venues they managed to muster a total of . . . a hundred lay people willing to come “dialogue” about something that everybody already has made a decision.

That’s a little worse even than DUSC’s attempts to “dialogue” about it over the past three months!  ; > )

[1] Posted by Sarah on 6-13-2012 at 09:54 AM · [top]

The obligatory dialogue from years past had two ground rules - no reference to scripture and no testimony from those who had come out of a gay lifestyle. What is left to talk about?

[2] Posted by Pb on 6-13-2012 at 10:01 AM · [top]

The part about “the Bishop endorses the rite for use in the diocese, which is unlikely in its current form” mystifies me. I’ve assumed all along that he’s on the band wagon. SF has done an excellent job of cataloging his past actions, and the statements he’s made before and after being elected.

Their website makes note of a capital campaign, and the diocese has a reputation for not being wealthy. I wonder if that’s what’s holding things back. I do know that some clergy are strongly in favor and that some are very strongly opposed.

On the other hand, he could well have regrets about his past actions and statements, and reservations about promoting that sort of thing in his diocese. Stranger things have happened.

Hope springs eternal. (Yeah, I know.)

[3] Posted by Ralph on 6-13-2012 at 10:15 AM · [top]

Are these bishops plugged into a talking points network? I ask because,

“any such rite would not be mandatory, and would be permitted only if a.) the Bishop endorses the rite for use in the diocese, which is unlikely in its current form, and b.) the rector and vestry approve it for use in a given congregation. No priest will ever be required to officiate at the blessing of a same gender relationship”

Sounds suspiciously similar to what +Waldo of DUSC is saying. Words geared towards placating both sides, and words to try to not lose members.

Dear Bishops,

When you have in your head to not lose the game, the game is lost. It should all be about winning!

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-13-2012 at 10:24 AM · [top]

Local option is only temporary.  The W/O model will prevail and it will become a violation of doctrine and discipline to not approve in a very short time.  LBGT agenda does not condone compromise.  Recent history of the TEC 101.

[5] Posted by aacswfl1 on 6-13-2012 at 11:03 AM · [top]

Bottom line?

“...such rite… would be permitted…”

As they say:

Fork.  Diocese of Georgia.  Some assembly required.

[6] Posted by tired on 6-13-2012 at 11:14 AM · [top]

#5. Agreed. How long it will it be before bishops who don’t tow the line will find themselves recipients of Title IV charges brought by some in their own dioceses?

[7] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-13-2012 at 11:26 AM · [top]

IF SSB’s are allowed the fecal matter will hit the ocsillating device, and that will be the end.  Remember there is an 800 lb gorilla in the corner watching all of this from Macon St.  It won’t be pretty, especially if SCOTUS takes up the Dennis Canon issue tomorrow.

[8] Posted by ty1028 on 6-13-2012 at 12:00 PM · [top]

It is my opinion that Bishop Benhase is walking a tight rope trying to keep the money flowing and the capital campaign alive with assurance to all that if the newrite too much approximates marriage he will vote no.  That is a safe bet given the high odds the resolution will pass and he can come back and say “it was out of my hands folks.”  You might want to read the latest from the Integrity site to have a better feel for his politics on the matter of same sex blessings. http://www.integrityga.org/

[9] Posted by frhutch on 6-13-2012 at 01:05 PM · [top]

Step 1: Same-sex “marriage” will be permitted in whatever dioceses decide opt in.
Step 2: Pressure will be brought to bear on any non-consenting bishops/dioceses to permit same-sex “marriage” via an alternative episcopal oversight arrangement.
Step 3: Candidates for bishop positions who hold non-consenting positions will be undermined to the greatest extent possible.
Step 4: Candidates for bishop positions who hold non-consenting positions will be refused consents as a matter of course.
Step 5: By this time, the gay activists hope they will have gotten the US Supreme Court to find same-sex “marriage” guaranteed under the Constitution, and will then begin the litigation campaign against clergy who refuse to perform same-sex “marriage.”  First who will be targeted are those clergy who are part of denominations like TEC which approve of same-sex “marriage.”  The argument will be “they have no valid religious grounds to refuse to do a same-sex ‘marriage’ because their denomination approves of it.  Their only reason is bigotry and prejudice.”  And they will argue that surely no clergy can be forced to perform specific marriages, but they can surely be prohibited from refusing to perform marriages for a defined class of people.

Of course, by the time Step 5 has been started, the gay activists may very well no longer care what TEC does, as TEC’s role as “useful idiot” will have been performed already.  But I suspect that they won’t stop until the churches have all been neutralized (which won’t happen, of course).

[10] Posted by jamesw on 6-13-2012 at 02:04 PM · [top]

Yawn.  Stretch.  Scratch.  Nothing new here.  Same old song and dance.

“Make it optional first, then once you gain a foothold make it mandatory.”

Page 5, Liberal Playbook.

[11] Posted by B. Hunter on 6-13-2012 at 02:09 PM · [top]

frhutch—you make a very good point and that is the diocesan staff’s urgent desire for the capital campaign to provide them with a financial cushion during parish outrages.  ; > )

[12] Posted by Sarah on 6-13-2012 at 02:16 PM · [top]

This is the usual window dressing before taking the plunge.

I think he knows it will be a disaster, but he’s all for “social justice” so the practicalities don’t really matter.

The sooner the masks come off the better.

[13] Posted by Bill2 on 6-13-2012 at 04:10 PM · [top]

Some interesting excerpts from a note on the integrityga website (one that I don’t visit very often), referenced by #9. Methinks the Distegrity folk are a tad upset. It will be interesting to watch this bishop and this diocese over the next few weeks.

...Unfortunately, the release of the proposed Rite of Blessing…has put Bishop Benhase, a vocal and demonstrated ally of glbt unions, in a difficult position. While he generally supports and, with the sanction of his previous bishop was celebrant at a rite of union at his last parish, he finds himself at odds with the form which the newly proposed rite has taken.

So far, other than expressing disapproval of the Rite as too closely approximating that of Holy Matrimony in our Book of Common Prayer, the bishop has offered no details about his objections. It therefore behooves all of us to become knowledgeable participants in this critical dialogue…For myself, I have begun my reading of the excerpts from The Standing Committee, with particular attention to the Rite itself and the recommended scriptures. And in spite of having many times witnessed the classic Episcopalian rite of Holy Matrimony as an interested observer, I am now studying the marriage rites offered in The Book of Common Prayer (pp. 423-438) with special interest. At this point, I don’t feel qualified to guess or make a judgement about what might so trouble the bishop.

If, as he has intimated, Bishop Benhase cannot in good conscience vote for nor, in the event of its passage, support the proposed Rite of Blessing, we must hope that, keeping faith with those of his flock who might seek to have their unions formalized in the Church, he exercises something like the “generous pastoral response” that his former superior, Bishop Chane, exercised in sanctioning the same gender union over which then Rev. Benhase presided. Although he has expressed to me his reticence for such an alternative course of action in his role as bishop, I am hopeful that he might find a prophetic path forward in this important moment in our Church life together. Keep the bishop and our deputies in your prayers.

The potentially good news is that Bishop Benhase is only one of nine voting members of our delegation. We have four clerical and four lay deputies, four clerical and three lay alternates, almost all of whom I have come to know and love as friends in our diocesan life together. While I sincerely hope and pray that they don’t share the bishop’s reservations (or any other serious reservations) about the proposed Rite of Blessing, and while I will be deeply disappointed by any negative votes cast by our delegation, I cannot see breaking faith with friends whose own conscience must be their guide. All the more important then, between now and General Convention, is our personal testimony to our bishop and our deputies.

[14] Posted by Ralph on 6-14-2012 at 12:00 PM · [top]

“Through this process, we have been formed again and again by the people of the Diocese, lay and ordained, who took the time to come be heard.”  That’s funny.  I thought we were supposed to be formed by Jesus Christ.

[15] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 6-14-2012 at 12:54 PM · [top]

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