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July 11, 2012


Communion Partners Bishops Issue Minority Statement

July 11, 2012

The Indianapolis Statement

The following statement was read from the floor of the House of Bishops on the final day of the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis:

The 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, in passing Resolution A049, has authorized the provisional use of a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. The purpose of this statement is to record our dissent from this action.

1. At our ordination as bishops of the Church, we have all taken a solemn oath: “I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.” We remain committed to that oath. Our commitment to the biblical witness includes its teaching on sexuality. We believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that God’s vision for sexual intimacy is that it be exercised only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman.

2. We serve in a Church whose Book of Common Prayer offers clear teaching on Holy Matrimony. The opening address in the marriage rite (BCP, p. 423) summarizes that teaching and affirms that marriage is a “union of husband and wife”; that God established marriage in creation; that our Lord “adorned this manner of life” during his earthly ministry; and that marriage points beyond itself to the “mystery of the union of Christ and his Church.”

3. The liturgy entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” is for all practical purposes same-sex marriage. It includes all of the essential elements found in a marriage rite: vows, an exchange of rings, a pronouncement, and a blessing. We believe that the rite subverts the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer, places The Episcopal Church outside the mainstream of Christian faith and practice, and creates further distance between this Church and the Anglican Communion along with other Christian churches.

4. Our dissent from this action of the 77th General Convention is thus rooted in the teachings of our own Church; in the historic biblical and theological witness upon which those teachings rest; and in the wider context of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and our conviction that no part of the Church is free on its own to alter basic Christian teaching.

5. We are grateful that the rite, as approved by General Convention, contains provisions that protect diocesan bishops and parish priests who cannot for the sake of conscience authorize or use the liturgy.

6. We are committed to the gay and lesbian Christians who are members of our dioceses. Our Baptismal Covenant pledges us to “respect the dignity of every human being” (BCP, p. 305), and we will continue to journey with them as together we seek to follow Jesus.

7. We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion of which The Episcopal Church is a constituent member, and to the historic See of Canterbury with whom we are in communion. We will honor the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and will do all in our power to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

We invite all bishops who share these commitments to join us in this Statement, as we seek to affirm our loyalty to our beloved Church even as we dissent from this action. +John Bauerschmidt, Diocese of Tennessee

+Gregory Brewer, Diocese of Central Florida

+Dan Herzog, Diocese of Albany (resigned)

+Paul Lambert, Diocese of Dallas Suffragan

+Ed Little, Diocese of Northern Indiana

+Bill Love, Diocese of Albany

+Daniel Martins, Diocese of Springfield

+Ed Salmon, Diocese of South Carolina (resigned)

+Michael G. Smith, Diocese of North Dakota

+James Stanton, Diocese of Dallas

+Bruce MacPherson, Diocese Western Louisiana


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14 comments

Wonder why Mark Lawrence’s name is not on it?

[1] Posted by Hosanna on 7-11-2012 at 12:52 PM · [top]

#1- I won’t be surprised if the reason was simply that he was not in the room at the time, and signs on later.  However the following:

“5. We are grateful that the rite, as approved by General Convention, contains provisions that protect diocesan bishops and parish priests who cannot for the sake of conscience authorize or use the liturgy.”

is at odds with previous statements from South Carolina, which (if I interpret them correctly, and I will yield the point to the bishop or others in SC if they wish to correct me) point out that TEC has no authority whatsoever to enforce such a thing in South Carolina, so there is no need to be thankful for the temporary 3 year respite from making this a doctrine of the church via a prayer book revision.  Essentially, South Carolina does not need TEC to protect them, since the resolution has no legitimacy or enforceability in South Carolina.

What the CP bishops do in 3 years when GC revises their new pet rite and brings it up to doctrinal level, making it an offense under Title III and Title IV to ban it from a diocese, is another matter that I imagine SC will have to deal with as well, although one expects the forces of 815 to be unleashed against them long before- probably as soon as the latest revision of the disciplinary canons goes into effect a few months after GC (assuming GC has time to get to that in the rush to do the budget and all).

[2] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-11-2012 at 01:10 PM · [top]

So Duncan Gray wouldn’t sign it?

I’m still waiting on a statement questioning the legitimacy of this corpse with lipstick that has the audacity to call itself “The Episcopal Church.”

[3] Posted by All-Is-True on 7-11-2012 at 01:13 PM · [top]

TEC has no authority whatsoever to enforce such a thing in South Carolina, so there is no need to be thankful for the temporary 3 year respite from making this a doctrine of the church via a prayer book revision. (#2)

I think anyone who is orthodox in TEC, whether it’s an individual or a diocese, should have their plans made shortly if not already. TEC is not going to change course and the only real question anymore is how far away from the faith they will go. Each GC comes with its own fresh horrors. It would be naive in the extreme to think that orthodoxy, the tenets of Christianity, the Book of Common Prayer or Scripture is safe from their ravaging.

[4] Posted by oscewicee on 7-11-2012 at 01:27 PM · [top]

Well #1, If you read the Anglican Ink article this letter was in addition to the statements from +Lawrence and our deputies and the Bishop and deputies of Central Florida.

The “Indianapolis Statement” joins declarations by the bishops and deputations of South Carolina and Central Florida in rejecting the authorization of provisional local rites for gay blessings as being contrary to Scripture, the Prayer Book, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the undivided theological, pastoral and moral witness of the universal church for the past 2000 years.

I have yet to find the statement from +Brewer and his deputation. Anyone??

[5] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-11-2012 at 01:31 PM · [top]

...and the wheat is separated from the chaff…

[6] Posted by B. Hunter on 7-11-2012 at 02:31 PM · [top]

It looks as if SC is making a louder statement:

http://www.holycross.net/convention2012/Special_statement_deps.html

Basically, they have walked out.

[7] Posted by APB on 7-11-2012 at 02:50 PM · [top]

APB, you beat me to it.  I was just about to write that SC’s action speaks much louder than the mere words of the Indianapolis Statement.

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/43902

They are all in my prayers.
Praise God for the courage He gives to His people.

[8] Posted by Karen B. on 7-11-2012 at 03:06 PM · [top]

Karen B,

There have been walk outs in the past, going back to at least PB Hines.  It will be interesting to see where this leads, and whether today’s TEC will “permit” it to go unanswered.

APB

[9] Posted by APB on 7-11-2012 at 03:26 PM · [top]

A good start. What about rejection of the ESV and the Ladyboy canonical changes?

I was mentally ready for the SSB thang, and remain delighted that it is so weak. (Yes, I’d rather that it not have come up at all.)

But I was not prepared for the ESV rejection and the Ladyboys. The devil can still surprise me.

[10] Posted by Ralph on 7-11-2012 at 03:29 PM · [top]

And the depositions are in the mail!

[11] Posted by Ann Castro on 7-11-2012 at 03:31 PM · [top]

APB, I certainly remember the walkouts in GC03.  I didn’t follow GCs too much before then.  Denver in 2000 a bit… Truro clergy were sending back regular updates.  But it was 2003 when we got broadband here in Africa that I began to be able to really follow more closely.

[12] Posted by Karen B. on 7-11-2012 at 03:33 PM · [top]

“5. We are grateful that the rite, as approved by General Convention, contains provisions that protect diocesan bishops and parish priests who cannot for the sake of conscience authorize or use the liturgy.”
I’m wondering, like Ralph, about the transgender canon—how could they make SSBs optional (for now, of course) but seemingly leave no room for conscience on the other thing—as if no one’s going to care about the issue? Obviously the whole thing’s a mess, and I’m so grateful to not be in TEC any longer, but for those of you still in, I’d like to know how you’re going to get around the transgender canon. Then again, the whole thing could backfire on them too, no?

[13] Posted by DavidSh on 7-11-2012 at 10:28 PM · [top]

Well at least 11 bishops who have the courage to speak out, plus +South Carolina which makes 12.

Interesting number.

But whatever, one praying man is a majority with God, and even more so 12 faithful bishops.

We give thanks for their witness and uphold them in prayer, as also their families and their supporters.  A bishop gains strength to do the right thing from the clergy and lay people that support him.

[14] Posted by MichaelA on 7-11-2012 at 10:41 PM · [top]

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