Saturday, November 7, 2009

Integrity Applauds Great Strides Forward Across the Church

It has been an exciting weekend across our church. In two different Dioceses---Massachusetts and Rochester---our church stepped forward as a public witness to justice, love and radical inclusion through the legislative process. Furthermore in one diocese, the Diocese of Southern Ohio, The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal made some bold and brave statements in his address to the 135th Convention of the Diocese of Southern Ohio. 

Let us give thanks to God for all of these leaders stepping forward to be a witness to God's inclusive love.

Here are the resolutions that have passed:

The Diocese of Massachusetts just overwhelmingly passed Resolution 1, which recommends that Bishop Shaw interpret "pastoral generosity" to mean that clergy in the diocese be authorized by him to sign all marriage licenses.  (Currently, the Bishop only permits blessings and not civil marriages of same-sex couples).  

Here's the text of the resolution ( found on page H-27).
Resolution expressing hope for Bishop’s interpretation of “Pastoral 
Generosity” in the context of General Convention C056 submitted by
Mr. Robert W. Zimmerman

Resolved, that the 224th Convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts express its hope
that its Bishop will interpret publicly “generous pastoral response” as expressed in
Resolution C056, passed by the 76th General Convention to mean that clergy throughout
the Diocese are permitted to sign marriage licenses and pronounce marriages for any
couple that is legally eligible for marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Diocese of Rochester passed:
A Resolution Opposing Anti-Gay Legislation in Uganda
Submitted by General Convention Deputy Neil Houghton on behalf of the Committee for Gay and Lesbian Ministry

Resolved, that the 78th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester condemns the "The Anti-Homosexuality Bill , 2009" currently before the Parliament of Uganda as a violation of the Ugandan Constitution—as well as several international human and civil rights treaties to which Uganda is a party; and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention express its profounddisappointment that the Anglican Church of Uganda supports this legislation contrary to the Anglican Communion's "Don't Throw Stones" initiative; and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention directs the Secretary of Convention to relay this resolution as soon as possible to the following persons…
  • President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
  • Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi
  • Speaker of the Parliament Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuka
  • The Honorable Opio Gabriel, Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Affairs
  • Med Kaggwa, Chair of the Uganda Human Rights Commission
  • Mathisen Gørild, Chair of the Uganda Diplomatic Human Rights Working Groups
  • Jerry P. Lanier, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda
  • Perezi K. Kamunanwire, Ugandan Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations
  • Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Henry Luke Orambi
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
  • Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

And an excerpt of Bishop Breidenthal's address:

“Finally, after much prayer and consultation, I have decided that the time has come for Southern Ohio to adjust its policy regarding the blessing of same-sex unions. As you all know, in the forums that preceded my election as your diocesan bishop, I was very clear that I thought the church should bless the godly, faithful and life-long union of two persons of the same sex. Moreover, my views on this matter have been expressed in two published books. So my own views will not be a surprise to anyone. At the same time, as I also stated in the forums, I do not wish to act in isolation from the Episcopal Church. So since I became a bishop I have upheld the policy I inherited, which did not permit the blessing of same-sex unions under any circumstances. It is my view that the recent General Convention resolutions D025 and C056 have altered the terrain, by reasserting the possibility of godly unions between persons of the same sex, and by inviting bishops who have jurisdiction in states that have offered some form of civil union to gay and lesbian couples to exercise “pastoral generosity” in offering the church’s public ministrations to such couples. In so doing, the Episcopal Church has effectively acknowledged that the godly union of two persons of the same sex – by which I mean the union of two persons who have vowed lifelong fidelity to one another, and accept accountability to the faith community as a faithful household – can be blessed by the church. I am convinced that in fairness to our fellow Episcopalians who have entered into such unions or who desire to do so, we must move deliberately toward the implementation of a policy that will permit and govern the blessings of such unions in Southern Ohio. On this basis, I am lifting the prohibition on the blessing of same-sex unions in this diocese, effective Easter 2010.”

If you have a moment to read his whole address, it can be found here


ladiocese.LGBT said...

Kudos to our amazing bloggers for keeping on top of all this breaking news AND to all who worked so hard over the years to help bring us "thus far on the way!"

Bill Carroll said...

I am so proud of Bishop Breidenthal. Please pray for him. This is a huge change in Southern Ohio, and he has shown firm and courageous leadership in bringing it about.

He also implemented changes with regard to the ordination process and deployment process for partnered clergy immediately upon taking office to bring us into compliance with the nondiscrimination canons.