Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talk To Your Bishop About Lambeth!

Dear Integrity members & friends:

Our bishops have returned from the Lambeth Conference. They've had important, moving conversations with their fellow bishops from around the world. Now they need to hear from us—the people in the pews of the churches in their own dioceses—before the House of Bishops meeting during September 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The Archbishop of Canterbury tried to "spin" the bishops' indaba group reflections by insisting upon moratoria by The Episcopal Church [TEC] on ordinations of bishops in same-sex relationships and on the blessing of faithful, same-sex couples.

LGBT people were not able to speak for themselves during the bishops' cloistered meetings. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson—the only Anglican bishop who openly lives in a faithful, same-sex relationship—was excluded. But in your own dioceses, on their home turf, it is much harder for bishops to exclude our voices.

Tell your bishop it's time for TEC to move beyond the self-imposed restrictions of B033 and move ahead on rites for blessing same-sex relationships. As Bishop Michael Ingham of the Church of Canada said at Lambeth, the church must not put itself "in the position of having to support and defend irrational prejudice and bigotry."

Write, e-mail, or call your bishop today! Tell her/him why full inclusion of all the baptized in all the rites and life of the church matters to you. You can find your bishop's contact information on your diocesan website. To find your diocesan website, click here. At the bottom of this message are some "talking points" you might want to consider and some tips for communicating effectively with your bishop.

Let us know you've contacted your bishop by clicking here to complete a brief survey.


Jan Adams
CTB Field Organizer

Some thoughts you might want to develop...
  • LGBT Christians can't be stuffed back in the closet. We are here in the pews and in the pulpits. TEC cannot pretend we are not already part of the church, faithfully walking our spiritual journey with Christ.
  • It hurts, and it is morally wrong, when privileged people try to dictate "sacrifice" to disenfranchised people. Tell your own story of oppression and liberation.
  • Endless quibbling over full inclusion of all the baptized by the church makes the Good News inaudible and inaccessible to most young people in the contemporary United States. By focusing on 7 passages in the Bible that are used to condemn homosexuality, we are drowning out the message of Jesus—the incarnate Word of God.
  • As our Presiding Bishop has emphasized in her reflections after Lambeth, only the General Convention can commit TEC to national policies or a global Anglican covenant. The House of Bishops should not make any unilateral decisions about moratoria or the covenant in Salt Lake City.
  • Opponents of LGBT equality are clearly planning to us an Anglican covenant as a tool to either control or exclude TEC. General Convention must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of signing the final covenant.

Tips For Communicating Effectively With Your Bishop

  • Be respectful. Even if you dislike or disagree with your bishop, treat him/her with the courtesy due his/her office.
  • Do not make threats. Threatening to personally leave The Episcopal Church or withhold contributions is counterproductive.
  • Share your personal story. Tell your bishop how you or a family member would be affected by the moratoria.
  • Be brief. Bishops are busy people. A short, focused message will have more impact than a long, rambling one.

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