Sunday, May 27, 2007

Canterbury and New Hampshire

This cyber-forum began its life in concern about the inclusion of GLBT persons in the life of the church. In recent weeks the discussion here has been ranging widely, which I much appreciate, since my concern is that we are a space where a voice may be heard about many aspects of an interpretation of the faith which is progressive and able to communicate with the real world in which we live. We who live at this end of the Christian spectrum are generally not well represented in the media, and our ideas need to be heard.

However, a news item of the past week forces me to return to our starting point. We heard that the Archbishop of Canterbury had invited the Bishops of the Anglican Communion to Lambeth in 2008, but had not invited Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The clergy associated with Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal have sent a letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams. This morning (Sunday), many of the lay members and worshippers at the Cathedral signed another similar letter which will soon be on its way.

Here is the text of the clergy letter:

The Most Rev’d and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury

Your Grace,

It was with dismay and outrage that we received the news of your refusal to invite Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire to the Lambeth Conference as a participant on an equal footing with his brother and sister bishops of the Communion.

While disappointed at your refusal, we cannot say that we were surprised, as this action represents what seems to us further evidence of a grave lack of leadership in our Communion at a time when its commitment to the liberating and restorative gospel of Jesus Christ is obscured.

Over 400 persons were present at a Eucharist celebrated in our cathedral last July 27 when Bishop Robinson preached. This celebration brought together a congregation comprising the diversity of the Anglican theological spectrum. In this context, Bishop Robinson exercised a truly apostolic ministry of unity and hope. It is beyond credulity to imagine that a bishop of such integrity and humility could be excluded from the councils of the Anglican Communion.

Yours truly,

The Clericus of the Archdeaconry of Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal

4 comments:

yolande said...

Thank you to all of you for the support.

Beth said...

How do I feel? Exhausted by all of this, ashamed and sad about the effect on my LGBT brothers and sisters, and upset for my friend Gene. I'll be seeing him this coming Friday at an ordination and will convey the good wishes of this community in person. I'm sure we won't have time for a long chat but at least it will be a personal contact. I commend the clergy for their letter and hope others in the American and Canadian church will do the same, and perhaps boycott Lambeth. But concurrent with these very necessary expressions of dismay and support for full inclusion, I feel we need to continue to visibly and intentionally live out our own commitment as a community, and that modeling this attitude says a great deal, both to the world and to the Church.

Beth said...

Readers of this blog might be interested in the responses of various ECUSA bishops, here:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_86286_ENG_HTM.htm

The article notes that a number of the people who became bishops at the same time as +Robinson will be meeting this week, as previously scheduled.

I appreciated Washington Bishop John Chane's remarks, such as:

"Until we are able to separate ourselves from our fixation on human sexuality as the root of our divisions and address the dynamics of power and leadership in the Communion, we are doomed to fail in Christ's call to engage the world in the act of inclusive love and a mission-driven theology that claims justice, the rule of law and the respect for human rights as the core of our work as a Communion."

Earl said...

Thank you Dean Michael and the clergy of CCC for this poignant but forceful letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. I am always moved and a little embarrassed when I see you putting yourselves on the line for us. What are the rest of us doing?

I noticed that the version posted here had no one copied on it. Were our own bishop and primate copied? Would it matter? Are they supporting us? Or do they feel that they have to support the "party line". Are they expected to support the same-sex blessing resolution at the synod in Winnipeg?

Earl Love