Monday, April 23, 2007

Bishop Orris Walker (Long Island) Responds to the Primates’ Communiqué

...One of my deepest concerns is that we talk about some of God’s children and refuse to talk with those very children about their experience and encounter with the Divine Lover of Humankind. Has my brother, Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire, actually been in deep dialogue with the Primates of the Communion? Have my brothers and sisters who work so diligently as priests in my diocese been contacted by other Bishops of the so-called Windsor Compliant Bishops, or by the Primates, to learn more about how God in Jesus is working great deeds in their ministry and their lives? I do not wish to presume that to be the case, but I dare say I would be shocked if that were true.

For forty years, this part of the Communion has listened, studied, prayed, discerned and come to hear the voice of the Spirit. Much like Peter in the Book of Acts, we have been moved by the Spirit of God to include those whom others consider unclean – but God through baptism, has made each and every one of us beloved and clean. This is about Jesus' Lordship. This is about Jesus in the lives of our LGBT brothers and sisters; and who are we to declare them unclean for God has called them chosen and his beloved. Our part of the Communion, in prayer, discernment, after much study and listening, are like Philip, who in that same Scriptural Book leaps out of the chariot and incorporates one considered an abomination by the religious establishment and "seeing nothing stopping him from doing so," baptized the Ethiopian eunuch.


Lambeth 1998 1.10 is often cited as if it were a dogmatic statement of the Church. So, has our brother the Archbishop of Nigeria stopped his moves to criminalize the sheep of the Lord entrusted to him by Jesus who happen to be gay? I saw no demand made of him, in this communiqué to do all in his power to stop this law, which he vocally and wholeheartedly supports, in compliance with the same resolution that he confronts us? If Lambeth resolutions have such gravitas, why do we ignore those resolutions of 1978 and 1988 which, if the current view is to be accepted, demand that we also use the sciences of sociology and psychology, to understand the issues surrounding human sexuality?


I have been down this road of the full inclusion of my brothers and sisters because of my race. I have been down this road for the full inclusion of my sisters as we made the ordination of women a reality to all the ordained ministries. I am now walking down this road again for the full inclusion of my brothers and sisters who are God's gay and lesbian children to share with us their God-given gifts for all of those same ordained ministries. We cannot go backwards, for we have heard the Spirit speaking to the Church. To go backward would be to say we have not acted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that would be to commit the greatest sin – to sin against the Spirit. [...] How we treat each child of God is how we treat God. How are we feeding the sheep Christ places in our charge? Lord, you know I love you!

A healthy response requires that we are all treated with equal integrity, dignity, and respect. This communiqué does not do so, in my opinion. I only wish that my brother, Bishop Robinson was also invited to talk with the Primates at Dar-es-Salaam, along with my brothers from Pittsburgh and Western Louisiana. Gene you do have it right: "This is not about a gay agenda. This is about God’s agenda. This is about Jesus’ agenda." "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward..." (Matthew 10:40-41)

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