Saturday, June 30, 2007

Anglican priest to bless lesbian and gay couples

Louise Dickson and Matthew Gauk, Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, June 30, 2007

Father Antonio Osorio is inviting lesbian and gay couples to be blessed at St. Saviour's Anglican Church tomorrow.

"They need to know they are not second-class Christians," said Osorio. "I am going to bless them as a group because they are faithful and beautiful Christians. And if they want to be blessed as individual couples, I will do it too."

The blessing, which will take place at the 10 a.m. mass, is not a marriage ceremony. Osorio will also ask his gay parishioners to bless him. "It will mean in God's eyes they are equal to me," he said.


"The Anglican Church, in my opinion, needs to stop playing games," said Osorio, who attended the national meeting and voted in favour of blessing same-sex unions.

"I am very pleased the national church has said blessing same-sex unions is not in conflict with the doctrine of the church," he said. "I believe blessing these unions is a justice issue. Now is the time to start blessing same-sex couples. I have done it and I intend to keep doing it."


Archdeacon Bruce Bryant-Scott of the Diocese of British Columbia said Osorio is "pushing the envelope" but not crossing any lines. "He knows what the guidelines are. He knows what's acceptable."

The church does not want to discriminate against its gay members, said Bryant-Scott. "There may have been occasions when people were refused communion or when baptism was refused to children of same-sex couples -- and that's not on," said the archdeacon.

Click here to read the entire article.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Listening Process facilitator meets with Integrity, other groups

Two-day meeting explores full-inclusion issues

[Episcopal News Service] A group brought together by Integrity USA, the church's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) affinity group, spent June 27-28 telling the facilitator of the Anglican Communion's Listening Process about their experience of being homosexual or transgender, or having a family member or friend who is.

The group met at the General Theological Seminary with the Rev. Canon Phil Groves.


Lyn Headley-Deavours, justice minister for the Diocese of Newark, urged Groves to ensure that the process quickly involves people across the communion actually listening to each other. The Rev. Dr. Cy Deavours, co-director of the Oasis LGBT ministry in the Diocese of New Jersey, told Groves he'd like some assurance that the listening will actually happen.

Groves said he would do all he could to ensure that LGBT voices are heard with the cooperation of groups such as Integrity. "I feel confident it will be done," he said, because the Anglican Communion office is supporting his efforts.

Groves outlines his role as facilitator
At the opening of the General Seminary meeting on June 27, Groves explained his overall role.

While he has his own opinions about the issue of the inclusion of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion, he said, "if I am perceived as being on a side, I am worthless to you." He also cautioned that the process needs to hear from as many voices as possible, including some "that you believe have caused intense damage."

The hoped-for long-term result of the Listening Process, he said, is that with the inclusion of as many voices as possible, "we will know the gospel better." He asked the Integrity group to support the process by contributing papers and other resources by mid-August of this year.

Group's conversations range far and wide
The June 27-28 meeting followed the study guide's eight sections: the mission of the church, the witness of the Bible, the witness of tradition, homosexuality and science, homosexuality and culture, sexuality and identity, sexuality and spirituality, and developing skills in listening.

Roughly 20 people participated over two days in the conversations as the group examined the implications of including LGBT people fully in the life of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

The Rev. Susan Russell, Integrity president, suggested that the Episcopal Church should declare sexual orientation "morally neutral" and then call all people into "a holy life and wholeness." The church came close to doing just that at the 2000 General Convention, she said, when it passed Resolution D039, acknowledging that many Episcopalians live in life-long committed relationships that are not bound by marriage.

Donald Whipple Fox, a Dakota Episcopalian who is executive director of the Diocese of Minnesota's Indigenous Theological Training Institute, said the conversation reminded him of his grandmother being told she had to stop being an Indian to be a Christian.

"I wish we'd had this conversation 200 years ago," said Fox, who pointed out that the notion of "coming out" as LGBT has not been common until recently in Native American communities because it seems to value the individual over the community.

Native communities traditionally regard homosexuality as "a spiritual calling" and thus "coming out" is not so much a declaration of identity as acceptance of a sacred responsibility to the wider community.

The Rev. Michael Hopkins, past president of Integrity and rector of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene in Rochester, New York, questioned how the culture of listening in the Anglican Communion is being "managed," adding that he's "desperate just to sit down with other people in the communion to talk about Jesus and the Bible" and how his faith influences his life and work.

Groves told ENS that he was excited by his time with the Integrity group. "They are a group of people who are delighted to be involved with the wider communion ... and they are a group of people committed to talking about Jesus and the Gospel of Jesus Christ," he said. "Not everyone will agree with them. They don't always agree with one another, but their voices are committed to the wider church."

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Open letter to Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns

Monday, 25 June 2007

by Colin Coward

Dear Archbishop Peter and Bishop Martyn,

The Daily Champion Newspaper, Lagos (June 17) and the Church of England Newspaper (June 22) have published reports of a statement issued by Rev. Canon AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

The Church of England Newspaper reports that Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, met with the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. It continues with a '"warning issued by the Church of Nigeria concerning confidence tricksters using the name of the church to fraudulently solicit funds, quoting the church's communications director as saying "we have even seen a situation where a supposed knight collects money to organise homosexual meetings that only take place on sponsored news reports"'.

Canon AkinTunde is repeating allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla published on the Church of Nigeria web site on December 28 2005. This new statement is presumably timed to coincide with Davis's widely reported presence at the Executive Council and designed to undermine his authority and integrity.

Archbishop Peter and Bishop Martyn, you both met Davis Mac-Iyalla at the White Sands Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania during the Primates meeting. Both of you were present as, in conversation with Davis, Archbishop Peter remembered the official occasions when he had previously met Davis in Nigeria. Davis was then administrator for the Bishop of Otukpo, the Rt Revd Prof. I Ugede and accompanied him to national and diocesan meetings and services.

Bishop Martyn, I asked in Tanzania, in the presence of Canon Chris Sugden and Canon David Anderson, if you would contact Canon AkinTunde and ask him to stop publishing false allegations against Davis, allegations which have led to death threats against him. You agreed to do so.

Canon AkinTunde has nonetheless repeated the false allegations. He seems intent on destroying the reputation of a Christian brother, and has put Davis' life at risk. A member of the Church of Nigeria delivered a hand-written letter to Davis's place of work earlier this year, threatening to kill him by pouring acid over him.

We believe that you will be as horrified as we are that such threats are being made and we urge you to issue a statement condemning all false allegations made against Davis Mac-Iyalla and stating that any Anglican who contemplates killing Davis or threatens violence against him is disobeying the 6th commandment and would commit a crime against God and humanity.

Yours faithfully,
The Revd Colin Coward
Director of Changing Attitude England
Davis Mac-Iyalla
Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria

The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said on 25 June 2007:

"Canon Popoola, in repeating his allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla, is challenging the honesty and integrity both of Davis and myself. Changing Attitude England has received documentation from Mr Mac-Iyalla refuting the allegations, much of which we have placed in the public domain. We have demonstrated that Davis Mac-Iyalla has told the truth about himself. He is not a confidence trickster fraudulently organising homosexual meetings as Canon Popoola has claimed.

"What Canon Popoola is continuing to do may reasonably be described as evil. He is deliberately publishing falsehoods and lies with the intention of destroying Davis's reputation, knowing that this might be achieved by murder. He has been the agent of a story which has put Mr Mac-Iyalla's life at risk, estranged him from his family and seriously affected his health and well-being.

"In restating the false allegations, Canon Popoola has compromised the integrity of Archbishop Akinola, Bishop Martyn Minns, the Church of Nigeria and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. The allegations contravene everything the Anglican Communion has officially published about homosexuality since the Lambeth Conference resolution 10 of 1978. Paragraph 146 of the Windsor Report says '… any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care.'

"The Episcopal Church is being judged because it elected and consecrated Bishop Gene Robinson in accordance with its own polity. Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Minns will be judged if they condone something far more serious - a deliberate attempt to destroy the reputation of a fellow Christian and to put him at risk of serious violence, because, as an openly gay Nigerian Anglican, he stands in the way of their attempt to prevent the full inclusion in the Anglican Communion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people."


Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England
Tel. Office: 01380 724908
Mobile: 07770 844302
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria


Monday, June 25, 2007

More on Canada

"We now have theological agreement that same-sex unions are not in opposition to doctrine and that's a big deal," said Chris Ambidge, president of the Toronto chapter of gay advocacy group Integrity. "However, it's just a 75 percent win because there's no pastoral benefit to gay and lesbians with what has happened today. The church approved things in principle, but said we're not going to do anything about it."

Read the rest here.

Bishops narrowly overturn vote to approve gay unions

Toronoto Globe and Mail
June 25, 2007

A razor-thin majority of Canada's Anglican bishops yesterday overrode the wishes of their laity and clergy and vetoed a resolution that would have allowed for blessings of homosexual unions.

The bishops' action will spare the Canadian church from censure by leaders of other branches of the global Anglican Communion, almost all of whom are vehemently opposed to blessing same-sex unions and permitting priests to be in open homosexual relationships.

But it will anger many Canadian Anglicans, particularly in large urban centres, and isolate the U.S. Episcopal Church, which alone in the worldwide Anglican Communion has approved a liturgy for same-sex blessings and appointed an openly gay bishop.

Click here to read the rest.

Anglican Church of Canada shies away from blessing same sex unions

Winnipeg Free Press
By Jen Skerritt

Some members of the Anglican Church of Canada were left in tears Sunday, after a motion to bless same-sex unions lost by only two votes.

The motion was supported by the majority of clergy and laity at the group’s national meeting, but two bishops who opposed the idea were the deciding factor. The motion was defeated by 21-19.

The decision shocked many same-sex supporters who thought the motion would pass since earlier in the day Anglicans voted same-sex blessings were not in conflict with the church’s doctrine.

Chris Ambidge, national spokesman for an Anglican group that supports same-sex unions, said the national meeting sent mixed messages to Anglicans across Canada and was confusing to everyone who voted.

"What is wrong with having rights of blessing when you’ve already said it's OK?" he said. "I just don’t understand that."


Bishop Peter Coffin voted to support same-sex unions, and said he's going to have a hard time breaking the news to his congregation. Coffin said he's appalled the church is talking about gay and lesbian members without discussing the issue with them directly. "I'm just dreaming up what I'm going to say (to my congregation)," he said. "It's going to be hurtful."

Ambidge said the ruling that same-sex blessings aren't in conflict with the church's core doctrine was a bit of good news that proves the church will eventually change its mind on the issue.

"The head of the baby is out, so the rest is coming," Ambidge said.

Click here to read the entire article.

Synod narrowly defeats same-sex blessings

Solange De Santis
staff writer, Angican Journal
Jun 24, 2007

Canadian Anglicans, meeting at their General Synod governing convention, voted by the slimmest of margins to defeat a proposal that would have permitted church blessing rites for gay couples.

However, on the same day, the synod – also by a narrow margin – agreed that such blessings are "not in conflict with the core doctrine" of the church. Much of the sixth day of the synod was taken up with debate on the two questions, with dozens of people approaching microphones in the plenary hall to voice emotional opinions.

Proponents of the measure said Bible verses that seem to condemn homosexuality do not address faithful, loving relationships and that God and Christ’s love includes gay people and their relationships. They also called upon the Canadian church to show leadership and give hope to gay people in countries where they are oppressed and they noted that gay marriage is a legal reality in Canada. Clergy and bishops wanting blessings talked of widespread disobedience of a "no" vote.


"There is disappointment – a lot of pain. Some people will be saying 'How long, O Lord, how long?'" said Bishop Fred Hiltz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, who is the incoming primate or national archbishop. When asked how he might maintain discipline among clergy and bishops who want to move forward, he said, "My sense is that, as painful as these realities are, we do have a responsibility to respect the decisions of General Synod. It’s not the last time this will come up."


"I am not upset. The tide is moving (toward approval). The first motion (concerning doctrine) makes a theological space for gay and lesbian people in the church," said Ron Chaplin, a Synod observer who is a member of the Ottawa branch of Integrity, a gay Anglican support group.

Click here to read the entire article.

Canadian Synod Inches Towards Gay Blessings

By Guardian Unlimited
Published: 6/24/2007

Anglicans decide they are not breaching doctrine - Vote could worsen split in worldwide communion

Canadian Anglicans took a significant step towards endorsing gay partnerships at their synod in Winnipeg yesterday by voting after prolonged debate that they did not believe that they were in conflict with core church doctrine.

The move is likely to send waves through the worldwide Anglican communion, already teetering on the brink of schism over the third largest Christian denomination's attitude towards its homosexual and lesbian members.

Following hours of debate spread over two days, repeated attempts by Canadian conservatives to delay the move, or to change the size of the majority required under church rules to carry the motion, were headed off. Later yesterday the synod was moving on to debate whether dioceses could authorize services of blessing for committed same-sex couples.

Canada's Anglican bishops last night issued a statement saying: "While not all bishops can conceive of condoning or blessing same-sex unions, we believe it is not only appropriate but a Gospel imperative to pray with the whole people of God, no matter their circumstances ... to refuse to pray with any person is to suggest God is not with them."

Church leaders were pleased with the move. Among those voting in favor was the incoming primate, archbishop-elect Fred Hiltz, elected by lay and clergy synod members on Friday, largely because he was believed to be liberal on the issue.

Click here to read the rest.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blessing of same-sex unions defeated

Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 -- The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.

Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to 53 in favor But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it. As a result the motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders to pass.

The motion read:

"That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod,

a. with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
b. in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,

to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions."


Same-sex blessings not in conflict with core doctrine

Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 -- Members of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod in Winnipeg agreed Sunday that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the church's core doctrine, in the sense of being credal.

Debate resumed Sunday morning after being suspended late Saturday.

The motion carried reads: "That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine (in the sense of being credal) of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The motion was carried by a vote of 152 for, 97 against in the house of clergy and laity and by a vote of 21 for and 19 against in the house of bishops.


Sin or sacrament?

Anglicans divided on gay rites
Sun, June 24, 2007
Winnepeg Sun

WINNIPEG -- The question of whether to bless same-sex unions remained unanswered for Anglicans yesterday, so they will tackle it again today.

Instead of debating the issue last night, delegates at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada spent hours wrangling over procedural issues.

Canada's outgoing primate, or church leader, seemed somewhat fed up after two hours of discussion about technical issues, and even joked the debate would go more smoothly after a good night's rest.

"It vexes me that Anglicans are prepared to spend more energy in process than substance," said Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, a comment that drew cheers and clapping from the delegates and observers.


Archdeacon Karl McLean, a colonel with the Canadian Forces, said the church should bless same-sex relationships that are monogamous and committed.

"We need to consider and demonstrate God's character, God's love and justice," said McLean.

Rev. Andrew Asbil said about 30% of the people in the area surrounding his church in downtown Toronto identify themselves as gay or lesbian. He urged delegates to accept everyone into the church.

"The time is coming and it is now," said Asbil. "Put sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand and let's go."

Click here to read the entire article.

Debate continues on same-sex blessings

Solange De Santis
staff writer
Anglican Journal
Jun 24, 2007

In its first full day of debate on issues concerning same-sex blessings, the General Synod on June 23 rejected calls that the issue be decided by a greater margin than usual.


The procedural issues took up nearly the entire evening session. Debate and voting on the actual motions were deferred until later in the convention, which ends on June 25.

In the one- hour, 45-minute period, which occasionally got testy, the governing convention successively rejected motions that would have required a two-thirds majority in two successive synods or a 60 per cent majority for approval. It let stand synod’s normal rule that a resolution may be approved by a simple majority of more than 50 per cent. It also defeated motions for a secret ballot and to refer the issues again to a theological commission. Tired after a tense day, delegates also declined to extend the session past 9 p.m.


"I have to come to accept that some people are ordered toward the same gender. The church needs to adjust its views. It has excluded them for too long," said Dorothy Davies-Flindall of the diocese of Ontario.

Click here to read the entire article.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Other Sheep Reports On Davis' Visit to NYC

by Steve Parelli, Bronx, NY
Other Sheep

After meeting Davis Mac-Iyalla of Nigeria for the first time at the 2006 ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association) World Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, I had the privilege, as a party of one, of welcoming him at the New York City JFK airport upon his first visit to the United States, Wednesday, May 14, 2007.

He was here by invitation of the Episcopal Church for a speaking tour in the States on the topic of gay rights in Nigeria.

Mac-Iyalla's USA tour-host had asked that I keep the conversation light and not talk business: "Let him relax after his long flight." I agreed.

After Mac-Iyalla and I had gotten a bite to eat and were on the road cutting across Brooklyn towards Manhattan, to my delight he asked about getting the books to Africa, the topic I had introduced more than a year ago at Geneva.

Jesus MCC of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Other Sheep are in the process of getting copies of The Children Are Free to LGBT groups in Africa.

"Gay Nigerians know what we believe," he said. "We need to know how to defend it. Send us the books."

Go to and scroll down to "New Web Pages and Current Notes of Interest at Other Sheep" for a full coverage of Davis Mac-Iyalla's visit to The Church of the Holy Apostles and related articles of Nigeria and Changing Attitude, the Anglican ministry to LGBTs.

Photo caption: Davis Mac-Iyalla (left) and Bishop Gene Robinson. The Church of the Holy Apostles, June 19, 2007

New primate keeps mum about blessings vote

Leanne Larmondin
Editor, Anglican Journal
Jun 22, 2007

In his first news conference as primate-elect, Fred Hiltz declined to declare his own position on whether the church should allow same-gender couples to have their relationships blessed.

Secular and church media, both from Canada and overseas, tried to pin the primate-elect down on where he stood on the controversial issue which is scheduled to be debated – and perhaps decided – by General Synod on June 23.

But Bishop Hiltz would only voice his support for the "synodical process," or the church’s legal procedures, adding that he believed that the church needed to follow its processes and listen to the recommendations both of the Canadian church’s St. Michael Report (which examined the issue of whether same-sex blessings were a matter of doctrine) and the international Windsor Report, which recommended ways of keeping the Anglican Communion together in spite of deep divisions.

Click here to read the entire article.

International observers urge Synod to consider value of Anglican Communion

By Marites N. Sison, June 21, 2007

[Anglican Journal] Two international church leaders urged delegates of General Synod June 20 to adopt a positive approach to human sexuality, a contentious issue that will be dealt with during the ongoing meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada's highest governing body, meeting at the Marlborough Hotel in Winnipeg.

In his remarks, Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York and primate of England, urged delegates to exercise "gracious magnanimity" when dealing with the divisive issue of whether the church should bless homosexual unions.

For his part, Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, urged Canadian Anglicans to "take time to stand back from the Anglican Communion," where the focus has been on schism over the issue of human sexuality, and look instead at its value.


Reflecting on his own ministry, Sentamu said: "I have learned to care, hear and listen to those who describe themselves as gay or lesbian. They, like me, are called to redeemed humanity in Christ; and what upsets me is the way in which some of my brothers and sisters in Christ refer to members of Christ's body (gay and lesbian Christians) as if they aren't part of that body." He added: "I strongly believe that holy communication is part of Holy Communion."

Click here to read the entire article.

Podcast of Davis Mac-Iyalla's Talk in Rochester

Davis Mac-Iyalla told his story on Friday, June 22nd, at St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene Episcopal Church in Rochester, New York.

Click here for the podcast!

Davis Mac-Iyalla Defends Himself Against Smear Campaign

In this video postcard recorded Friday night in Rochester, New York, Davis Mac-Iyalla refutes the lies being told about him by the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Davis Mac-Iyalla Thanks Integrity

In this video postcard recorded Friday night in Rochester, New York, Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, thanks Integrity for supporting his speaking tour of the United States.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gay Life: Change and Challenge

By Jonathan Mandell

To understand how much gay life in the United States has changed -- and how challenging it remains -- consider the story of the Dillards, Sharon and Tanya, who describe themselves as "a typical family with soccer, brand new puppies, church, choir and not enough time in the day."

When Sharon was born in 1962, homosexuality was treated in the country as a sin, a crime and a mental illness.

It was only in 1974 -- the year after Tanya was born -- that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders.

In 2003, the year Sharon and Tanya became a couple, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the laws in states that singled out same-sex relations for criminal prosecution.

Is homosexuality still viewed as a sin? A recent Gallup Poll found Americans nearly evenly split between those who saw homosexual relations as "morally acceptable" (47 percent) and those who saw them as "morally wrong" (49 percent).

Some religious denominations now welcome gay parishioners and accept openly gay members of the clergy. The Episcopal Church in America has even consecrated an openly gay bishop. But some of those same denominations, including the Episcopalians, are now threatened with schism as a result. (Read more about why the schism is possible)

Sharon, who grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma, has a saying about the reaction of the religious in her home state: "In Oklahoma, I have more people praying for me than with me."

Read the rest here.

New Primate for Canadian Anglicans

The Anglican Church of Canada is reporting:

Bishop Fred Hiltz elected Anglican Primate

Winnipeg, June 22, 2007 -- The Anglican Church of Canada has chosen Bishop Fred Hitz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as its 13th Primate or national leader.

Bishop Hiltz was elected by the church's General Synod, meeting in Winnipeg, on the 5th ballot, from among four bishops nominated last April by a gathering of all Canadian bishops.

Bishop Hiltz, 53, will succeed Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, elected three years ago, who announced earlier that he would retire at the end of the General Synod gathering now underway.

Bishop Hiltz was elected assistant bishop of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 1995 and elected diocesan bishop in 2002. He was a member of the Council of General Synod from 2001 to 2004 and, since, 2006, has served as the Anglican Co-Chair of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

In a statement after his nomination for the primacy, Bishop Hiltz described the Primate as "a servant of the people of God (whose) ministry is the gather the Church, to unite its members in a holy fellowship of truth and love, and to inspire them in the service of Christ's mission in the world."

He is married to Lynne Samways and they have one son.



Here's a bio and photo from the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island website of the primate-elect ... and here's a page that includes his "statement on primacy ... meanwhile some bloggers are identifying +Hiltz as "the most liberal" of the candidates ... (and as NOT good news!) More to come, I'm sure!

A Reason for Pride

Rev. Astrid Storm
Posted June 20, 2007 10:06 PM (EST)
The Huffington Post

I didn't miss the significance of having to walk past the Stonewall Inn en route to a talk at the Church of St. Luke-in-the-Fields by the founder of Nigeria's first GLBT organization, Changing Attitudes Nigeria. The talk was the first of several Gay Pride events sponsored by this lovely little Episcopal church in the West Village of New York City, a church well known for its activism around gay and lesbian issues, and tonight it was full of men and women eager to hear a different voice coming from Anglicans in Nigeria.

Even as I've kept up with all the fracas in the Anglican Communion over gay and lesbians (about which I blogged here before), I'd only recently heard of Davis Mac-Iyalla, which, as he clarified tonight, is probably due to the prodigious efforts by the Anglican Church in Nigeria to deny his existence. As one Nigerian bishop said, "There are no gay and lesbians in Nigeria *not* to have as members of the church." And specifically of Mr. Mac-Iyalla, the Nigerian church issued a press release shortly after the successful gathering of over 1000 Nigerian gays and lesbians stating that he's not an Anglican, he's not gay, and that the group (despite some press coverage of it elsewhere -- including in the NYTimes) never, in fact, met.

Click here to read the rest.

Anglican Love Knot

NOW Magazine
JUNE 21 - 27, 2007 VOL. 26 NO. 42

Leaving his tiara at home, Chris Ambidge is going to miss Pride this year for the first time in two decades. Instead, he's going to parade in altogether different attire, working the floor of the Anglican Church of Canada's general synod, meeting through Monday (June 25).

As president of the Toronto chapter of Integrity, an international org of gay and lesbian Anglicans, Ambidge will go to Winnipeg to persuade his fellow church people that the sky won't fall if his Church allows the blessing of same-sex marriages.

"The Anglican Church baptized me, and they're stuck with me just as I'm stuck with those the Church baptized whom I oppose," he tells me. "But I am getting impatient, because I've worked on this for 20 years. We now have same-sex civil marriages in Canada, and civilization has not fallen apart."


Ambidge likens the conservative pressures to being on a ship going through a storm. "You have to lighten the load to get through, so you decide to toss the gays and lesbians overboard."

Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

BBC: Israeli Prime Minister's Daughter Joins Gay Pride March

Arrests at Jerusalem Gay Parade

A Gay Pride march in Jerusalem has taken place amid tight security, sparking fierce protests among the holy city's religious communities.


"The question of 'why in Jerusalem' is not a question. It is the same question as letting women vote," said Dana Olmert, herself a lesbian and daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in an interview with Israel's Army radio.

Read it all here.

Episcopal leader joins roster of Dodge City's honorary marshals

By Eric Swanson
Dodge City Daily Globe

The first woman to head the United States Episcopal Church can now add another title to her resume: honorary marshal of Dodge City.

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori received the honor Tuesday afternoon in front of a small group of observers at Boot Hill Cemetery.

"I'm deeply honored and privileged, and I have to tell you, this is the first in my ordained career," she said as the group laughed and applauded.'


When Jefferts Schori became the national leader of the Episcopal Church last year, she inherited a denomination that was rocked by controversy over support for gays, according to the Associated Press. Conservative congregations upset by the denomination's support for gays threatened to leave if the church did not change its position.

In a short interview after the ceremony, Jefferts Schori said the denomination is still wrestling with that issue, but she believes many congregations are moving toward full sacramental inclusion of their gay and lesbian members.

"The long history of the church has been about inclusion," she said. "The very earliest church had arguments and controversy about whether or not gentiles could be Christians and followers of Jesus. That was answered positively."

Click here to read the entire article.

Anglicans, Lutherans to debate same-sex rights

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2007

WINNIPEG - The Anglican church and the Evangelical Lutheran church are gathering in this warm Prairie city for the next three days to make contentious decisions over how far to go to sanction homosexual relationships.


Today, both [Bishop Michael] Ingham and Stephen Schuh, a gay Anglican from Vancouver, put forward a motion calling on the synod to affirm it will still be acceptable for him to continue to sanction same-sex blessings in his diocese - no matter what delegates decide this week, probably on Saturday, to do on a national basis.

At a fancy new hotel across the street from the dowdy old one where Anglican delegates are meeting in downtown Winnipeg, Anglican Essentials, a conservative group within the Canadian Anglican denomination, has set up a deluxe facility to serve its members and the secular media, which includes journalists from Britain and the U.S.

Rev. Ian Ritchie, a priest from Ontario who has served in Africa and works with Anglican Essentials, said there could be a "disaster" in the global Anglican communion if delegates voted to approve of what Ingham has done in his Vancouver-area diocese, where almost 20 same-sex rites have been conducted.

The top Anglican in Canada, outgoing Primate Andrew Hutchinson, told delegates today that these are "difficult days" in the worldwide Anglican denomination.

"We are a family of autonomous churches held together by bonds of affection that have frequently been strained, and often mended," Hutchinson said.

Even though there will be disagreement over the same-sex issue, he said it should not divide the Anglican communion.

Click here to read the entire article.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Robinson Urges 'The Audacity to Believe the Gospel'

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
By John Gibson

Gene Robinson and Davis Mac-Iyalla appear together in New York

Last night at a weekly church service that routinely draws about 20, a crowd of over 200 filled the nave of New York’s Church of the Holy Apostles to hear the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, exhort them to have “the audacity to believe the gospel.” Robinson noted that American slaves and, later, women were given the Gospels to pacify them, but, he said, “they had the audacity to believe them.” He concluded that the struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for full inclusion is clearly in this same line.

Among those listening, was the openly gay founder of Changing Attitude Nigeria, Davis Mac-Iyalla. Later, after Bishop Robinson had celebrated the Eucharist, Mac-Iyalla held the crowd rapt as he described his journey from tentative activist to well-known symbol of LGBT Anglicans in the Global South. Both Bishop Robinson’s sermon and Davis Mac-Iyalla’s remarks are available in full at

Again and again, as Mac-Iyalla’s story would find him being beaten, jailed, threatened with death and/or fighting defamation by the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Mac-Iyalla would pause, take a deep breath, and then say, “But as God would have it….” From there he would go on to describe how, one way or another, his faith and that of his lesbian and gay brothers and sisters in West Africa led them out of their adversity.

Later, taking questions from the audience, Mac-Iyalla announced the plans of Changing Attitude Nigeria to attend next summer’s Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion in England. In a reference to Bishop Robinson’s being denied an invitation to Lambeth by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mac-Iyalla said, “We are not waiting for the Archbishop of Canterbury to invite us. We will invite ourselves.”

Speaking to the threats of broken communion that many have made, Mac-Iyalla affirmed that “we are in communion and we will remain in communion until Christ comes.” Remarks like these drew sustained and loud applause throughout his appearance, which began and ended with standing ovations.

While the evening was being taped by reporters from the American public television program “In The Life,” the congregation included many notable Episcopalian faces, among them Executive Council members The Rev. Winnie Varghese and Mr. Kim Byham, a past president of Integrity. There were also brothers in brown albs and sisters in habits. A large group came from the evening’s hosts, the parish of Holy Apostles and the Episcopalian activist organization WAKE UP. Among those making a group date of the evening, a contingent showed up from St. Francis Xavier, a Roman Catholic church in Chelsea which has a sizable group of gay parishioners.

In closing the evening, Donn Mitchell from WAKEUP urged the audience to take action to fight the reintroduction of anti-gay legislation in Nigeria. The legislation has been universally condemned but continues to enjoy the public support of the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola. Mitchell urged his listeners to contact their own employers’ and government pension funds with investments in companies doing business in Nigeria, including the Episcopal Church Pension Fund. More information is available by writing

The Matthew Shepard Act

From the Human Rights Campaign:

Take action now.

To watch our own Susan Russell+ and other faith leaders comment on this and similar legislation, click here.

Primatial address opens 38th General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada


An excerpt...

The Windsor Report:

We have been asked to respond to the Windsor Report, as have all the Churches of the Anglican Communion. It is offered as a way for our family of churches to move ahead together in mission, maximizing our intercommunion in the face of diversity. Recommendations for action will come before us from the Windsor Report Response Group chaired by Dr. Patricia Bays.

St. Michael Report:

Following the last Synod, and at its request, I asked the Primate's Theological Commission to consider whether the blessing of same-sex relationships is a matter of doctrine or not, and to report their findings to the Council of General Synod. Their conclusions are in the St. Michael Report, which comes before you with a motion commended to us by the Council.

Our department of Faith, Worship & Ministry, under the direction of Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, has been kept particularly busy during the triennium staffing both the Theological Commission and the Windsor Response Group, supervising a new Youth Ministry Coordinator, and organizing an excellent national conference on healthy parishes.

Issues Related to Blessings:

Certainly one of the most difficult items for our discernment will be the question of how to proceed on the issue of same-gender relationships. Related to it are other questions. One is the deeper question of how Anglicans receive and understand Scriptures in the light of modern scholarship and contemporary experience. Another is how our decisions will impact our sister churches in the Anglican Communion. And beside that is a question as to the nature of the Communion, and the appropriate relationship between provincial autonomy and global interdependence.

Another way of putting that is, how do we wish authority to be exercised or limited within our family of churches? And perhaps most important, how will our decisions witness to the Good News of God in Jesus Christ for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters within the Church and outside it. There are of course many other questions to consider in the hard work of discernment over this issue. We are taught that the first principle of moral theology is obedience to conscience, and I ask each of you to embrace that principle, and with it the ethic of respect for the conscience of those who disagree with your own. The second principle of moral theology is to inform your conscience to bring it, if possible, into line with the teaching of the Church. And here careful listening using the Anglican approach of Scripture, Tradition and Reason will be helpful.

At the end of the day, when decisions are made, they will not be unanimous. Differences will remain, but the unanimous opinion of the Theological Commission (and of many other sources) is that the question of same-gender blessings should not be a communion breaking issue. So the alternative to that is that in keeping with a long Anglican tradition, we make room at the table for those whose views we do not share. For the table is the Lord's and not our own. And it is He who invites us to share the life that is offered there for the sins of the whole world.

Click here to read the entire address.

NY Assembly Passes Marriage Equality Bill!


Last night, after an amazing three-hour debate, the New York State Assembly passed the marriage equality bill. More here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Here is a video of Empire State Pride Agenda Exec. Dir. Alan Van Capelle after last night's vote...

The bill now goes to the Senate. Here's what Senate majority leader Joe Bruno had to say about the likelihood that the Senate would take up discussion of the legislation:

"We're not going to take a vote; we have too many other issues...We're not going to spend hours debating an issue that, you know, is not going to be of consequence."

Call [518-455-3191] or e-mail Senator Bruno urging him to allow the bill to come to the floor!

Click here for the latest news from the Empire State Pride Agenda!

Holy Trinity's Resolution

Yesterday I posted a story from the Toronto Star about Holy Trinity's resolution to continue blessing and marrying same-gender couples.

Here is a copy of the actual resolution...

Motion passed by the Church of the Holy Trinity
at a Special Vestry held May 27, 2007

The Church of the Holy Trinity, 10 Trinity Square,
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1B1, 416-598-4521

Whereas God finds a resting place in love genuinely expressed between two people;

Whereas Jesus' ministry embraced an inclusive solidarity with those who were alienated and excluded by the dominant culture of his day;

Whereas the Gospel value of loving one's neighbour involves acting with, not simply standing beside, those seeking justice;

Whereas providing an equal pastoral response to same-sex couples who present themselves for blessing or marriage as to couples of the opposite sex is a matter of conscience and integrity for the clergy and people of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto;

Whereas in 1976, through the conscience clause passed by General Synod regarding the ordination of women (permitting persons to continue to act
out of their conscience in ways no longer consistent with the General Synod), the Anglican Church of Canada recognized "the tolerability of
living with an anomaly";

Whereas General Synod 2007 is poised to make a decision as to the acceptability of the blessing of same-sex unions in the Anglican Church of

Be it resolved that the Church of the Holy Trinity will, with the intention of remaining in the Anglican Church of Canada and the communion, continue to exercise its conscience and bless same-sex unions and marry same-sex couples.

Canadian Anglicans Prepare To Vote On Same-Sex Blessings

by The Canadian Press
Posted: June 19, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Winnipeg, Manitoba) Planning a wedding is usually complicated, taking months to sort out a seemingly endless parade of details.

For Frank Kajfes, 60, the months leading up to the big day with Bryan Wannop, his partner of 30 years, were difficult for another reason.

As Anglicans, it was important to Kajfes and Wannop, 70, to have a religious component to their wedding. Since the church doesn't allow its priests to bless same-sex unions, having Kajfes and Wannop at the altar on their wedding day was a delicate matter.

Church leaders came up with a clever compromise.

Before they were legally married by a Federal Court judge at the end of a regular Sunday mass, they were prayed for by the entire congregation of St. John the Evangelist in Ottawa _ instead of just the priest.

"They were blessing us, not our marriage. That was a technical point," said Kajfes, who's now retired after teaching for 37 years.

"It was the closest thing they could do without contravening the bishop's directives."

The Anglican Church has so far refused to allow priests to bless same-sex unions. Kajfes is happy with the way his wedding turned out, but says the church is still failing its gay members.

"We will continued to be marginalized, and we will be second-class citizens in the Anglican Church."

If Kajfes and Wannop had waited just one more year, there's a chance their wedding might have been different. The Anglican Church of Canada will vote on blessing same-sex unions this week at its General Synod in Winnipeg.

Click here to read the rest.

An ironic tragedy

African-American rejection of gays and lesbians antithetical to black liberation theology
By Horace Griffin, June 19, 2007

[Episcopal Life] The 21st Century world currently struggles with what may be the moral issue of this time -- homosexuality and the effort to affirm lesbian and gay people and their love relationships.

There may be no group with deeper passions about this discussion than people in the United States. And, like moral issues of the past -- slavery, segregation and women's equality -- the moral compass on homosexuality is being designed in houses of worship.

Those in the Christian church do not speak with a united voice. Gay and heterosexual alike, they stand with the same Bible proclaiming different gospels on homosexuality. Some claim that lesbians and gays are made in God's image and favor all loving sexual relationships. Others view gay relationships as abhorrent. Generally, African-American heterosexual Christians fall within the latter group.

Even with the presence of gay Christians in their families and churches and the strong and faithful witness of revered black gay Christians like George Washington Carver, James Cleveland and Barbara Jordan, African Americans continue to resist viewing homosexuality as anything but sin, a negative "lifestyle" and a white aberration. Although there is opportunistic tolerance of gays in black churches, black gays -- like other gays -- often are dismissed as irrelevant to moral black people.

As a gay African-American pastoral theologian in the liberation tradition, I find this black church practice to be an ironic tragedy, antithetical to a black liberation theology and gospel of Jesus that offers justice for all people. Historically, black church leaders opposed oppressive actions against humans and played an active role to end slavery, mobilize African Americans in the political process, organize educational institutions and provide places of worship, recreation and training for black people. Many black church leaders protested social and religious injustice toward African Americans. As a result of the African-American experience, black church leaders and members developed a theological perspective of justice and liberation taken from the Exodus story and the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Despite this historical perspective, most black ministers have failed in their application of this theology toward women and gay-identified men. Black heterosexual Christian men's objection to racial hierarchical practice, by and large, had to do with their resistance to being dominated by white men. In general, they did not object to, but rather supported, the domination of women and later gay men. Their use of Scripture to support this domination is similar to that of conservative white Christians who converted, enslaved and dominated black men.

Click here to read the rest.

New ground in debate on 'curing' gays

Christian ministries who see homosexuality as a treatable disorder are starting to think that choice may not be a factor.
By Stephanie Simon, Lost Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 18, 2007

Alan Chambers directs Exodus International, widely described as the nation's largest ex-gay ministry. But when he addresses the group's Freedom Conference at Concordia University in Irvine this month, Chambers won't celebrate successful "ex-gays."

Truth is, he's not sure he's ever met one.

With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he's a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he's come to resent the term "ex-gay": It's too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. "By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete," Chambers said.

His personal denunciation of the term "ex-gay" — his organization has yet to follow suit — is just one example of shifting ground in the polarizing debate on homosexuality.

Despite the fundamental gulf that divides them, gay-rights activists and those who see homosexuality as a sinful disorder are starting to reach agreement on some practical points.

Chambers and other Exodus leaders talk deliberately about a possible biological basis for homosexuality, in part to explain that no one can turn a switch and flip from gay to straight, no matter how hard they pray.

A leading conservative theologian outside the ex-gay movement recently echoed the view that homosexuality may not be a choice, but a matter of DNA. To the shock and anger of many of his constituents, the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote that "we should not be surprised" to find a genetic basis for sexual orientation.

Click here to read the rest.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Colombia to Recognize Rights of Gay Couples

First for Latin America affects health, social security and even inheritance

Associated Press
Updated: 4:42 p.m. ET June 15, 2007

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombia is set to become the first Latin American country to give established gay couples full rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security under a bill passed by its Congress.

The plan approved Thursday is expected to take effect soon. It is backed by President Alvaro Uribe.

The measure would allow gay couples in long-term relationships to have the same health insurance and social security benefits as heterosexual couples. It also guarantees that assets accumulated during the relationship will be divided between the two, and in

Read it all here.

Same-sex blessings at Holy Trinity

Church contemplates even performing gay wedding ceremonies
Jun 19, 2007 04:30 AM
Stuart Laidlaw
Faith and Ethics Reporter
Toronto Star

Toronto's historic Church of the Holy Trinity says it will defy any attempt by the Anglican Church of Canada to stop the blessing of same sex unions, and may even start performing the wedding ceremonies themselves.

In a resolution released late Sunday, members of the activist downtown church voted to "continue to exercise its conscience and bless same-sex unions and marry same-sex couples."

Rev. Jim Ferry, fired by the Anglican Church 15 years ago for being gay but since given limited duties at Holy Trinity, says the parish has long supported same sex blessings, and predicted it will soon take the next step of performing a gay marriage ceremony.

"I think we're going to be consistent and move in that direction," Ferry told the Star. "Our parish is not about to go backwards."

Click here to read the rest.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chuch of Nigeria Renews Attack on Davis Mac-Iyalla

Nigeria: Beware of Fraudsters, Anglican Church Warns
Daily Champion (Lagos)
17 June 2007
Posted to the web 18 June 2007

Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has warned of the activities of fraudulent personalities who, it says, exploit Christian love and the good name of the Church in a bid to defraud unsuspecting people, especially foreigners, of money.

In a statement by Rev. Canon AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications, the church said the trend has become alarming recently as dozens of mails are received seeking to verify supposed priests administering bequests of none existing estates, missionaries selling pets that never get delivered or collecting aids for the sick or orphaned with seemingly convincing pictures.

He said, "we have even seen a situation where a supposed knight collects money to organise homosexual meetings that only take place on sponsored news reports".

Click here to read the rest.

And click here for Episcopal Life Online's edited version.

I don't usually comment when I post news articles to this blog, but the Church of Nigeria is again trying to discredit Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, who is receiving much attention as he travels across the United States to share his story of persecution. JCB

It's time for Anglicans to bless same-sex partnerships

By Archbishop Terence Finlay, (retired Anglican Archbishop of Toronto)

The Anglican Church of Canada has been far behind the governments and courts of this country in recognizing the rights and privileges of same-sex partnerships. Although the church has passed statements of welcome and support, same-sex couples have not been able to have their commitment to one another blessed within their parish church.

This month the national decision-making body of the Anglican Church of Canada will meet in Winnipeg and one of the agenda items could open up an option for supportive dioceses to bless same-sex partnerships. If, however, this option is denied again there will be a call for more study and more discussion even though the Anglican Church in Canada has studied and debated this issue for over 30 years.

Caution has held sway over the decades because it is a divisive issue for Christian traditionalists and because the Anglican Church has to work within a vast international communion that struggles with cross-cultural tensions.

To many in the secular world this rift within Anglicanism may seem unimportant: a sign of yet another moribund institution unable to ‘keep up with the times’. Not so; this struggle is much more broadly instructive because it is about the risks –and promises – of communal decision-making. It is about the openness that societal organizations must allow for successful local autonomy, while at the same time fostering a broader sense of identity and kinship with those from whom they differ.

Canadians have developed this capacity because we cherish a shared national identity while valuing the multitude of regional, cultural and linguistic differences across this vast land. Similarly, Canadians have a legacy of peacemaking and keeping international communication open while finding appropriate ways to support the needs of Canadians.

So it is fitting that Canadian Anglicans take the next step in allowing dioceses to differentiate according to their specific needs and calls to ministry. We know that some dioceses in Canada now wish to offer God’s blessing on the committed and enduring love between two people who happen to be of the same sex. This will challenge the norms of some other parts of our international Anglican family. The Canadian church may have to cope with the possibility of being considered “outsiders” for a while in the Anglican Communion.

Then again, those who are fundamentalists in the Communion and who are working to split our international fellowship may have to rethink their divisive approach to what has long been an understanding of mutual responsibility and interdependence.

Over the years the Anglican Church has not always been perfect of course, but with other faith communities it has actively responded to the needs of society in ways that are often quiet and unnoticed. When street people need shelter and food, when food banks are a necessity, when threatened refugees need sponsorship … the Anglican Church is there. When foreign debt load immobilizes struggling economies, our churches are often leaders in advocacy at the international level. When justice is ignored and people are oppressed and suffering, it is often the churches that speak up and bring the injustice to public attention.

It is not as if the Anglican Church is unable to face challenges and look for compassionate ways to deal with tradition and controversy. Our denomination studied and eventually allowed divorcées to remarry even though the Scriptures are quite clearly on the other side of this issue. The introduction of contemporary language worship options alienated those preferring a more traditional experience, but both moved ahead. A few years ago some parishes were reluctant to administer Holy Communion to persons diagnosed with HIV. Now the churches are at the forefront working in countries where AIDS is devastating populations. The Anglican Church has apologized for the shameful experiences of indigenous people in residential schools and accepted its financial and healing responsibilities to Canada’s aboriginal peoples.

We are a church that appreciates diversity and responds to injustice and oppression. In the defining moments that lie ahead, the profound hope of many Anglicans is that the Canadian church will remain steadfast in its commitment to justice and support the blessing of same-sex partnerships. Centuries ago our Teacher called us to serve the needs of our diverse communities with compassion and now is the time for a courageous decision.

It is always a conundrum why the church community in general is so fixated on sexual matters. It is difficult to comprehend why so much time and energy goes into discussions, debates, reports and commissions about whether two faithful people who love each other and sit in pews as loyal Anglicans can or cannot be recognized as equally worthy of having their partnership valued just as any other members of the parish community.

We live in a world where matters of life-threatening urgency and profound suffering need the attention and resources of our church. Yet there are some who are diverting attention away from these essential issues to focus on the lives of people who just want to be faithful and love each other.

Surely we can overcome caution and uncertainty to build communities of compassion and hope and justice just as that young rabbi from Nazareth taught us so clearly.

Now is the time for the Anglican Church of Canada to say “YES” to the blessing of faithful, committed same-sex partnerships.

Read it all here

Archdeacon of Southeast Florida Elected Bishop of El Camino Real

The Living Church
Timothy Roberts

The coastal California Diocese of El Camino Real elected as its next Bishop the Ven. Mary Gray-Reeves, Archdeacon for the Diocese of Southeast Florida, June 16 on the second ballot.


Among the other candidates, Fr. Palarine may have hurt his chances when he stopped short of saying that he believed in the full inclusion of gay and lesbian parishioners in the rites and rituals of the church. The other candidates, including the bishop-elect said that they did.

Archdeacon Gray-Reeves told parishioners at one walkabout June 8 that she was one of only two priests and one bishop in Florida to have voted as delegates to affirm the election of the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire. She said she doubted that she could be called to serve in another church in Florida as a result of that vote.


She told parishioners that growing up in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami she was surrounded by gays, lesbians and people of many different cultures.

"I never questioned the presence of gay and lesbian people," she said.

Click here to read the entire article.

Some Anglican gays switching churches, as same-sex vote looms

Andrea Sands, CanWest News Service; Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, June 17, 2007

EDMONTON - While the Anglican Church of Canada prepares to vote this week on whether to let priests bless same-sex couples, a relaxed Christopher McBain is celebrating Edmonton's gay pride week with members of his new church.

The former Anglican marched Saturday in the gay pride parade behind a banner for the Robertson-Wesley United Church, a church that welcomes gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

After 15 years as an Anglican, McBain left that church in April 2006.

"I left because of the gay issue," said McBain, who said he never felt comfortable telling people in the Anglican Church he is gay.

The Anglican church's longtime indecision over the issue has served to alienate supporters on both sides, McBain said.

"I'll certainly celebrate with them if they are able to make a decision in favour of gay and lesbian rights, but it certainly won't affect where I worship. It's too little, too late," said McBain, 27.

Click here to read the rest.

His house divided

Canadian Anglican Church confronts the issue of homosexuality
Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, June 16, 2007

The transcontinental conflict between what is being called the "Global North" and "Global South" of the Anglican communion provides the crucial backdrop to next week's gathering of Canadian Anglican delegates in Winnipeg.

Same-sex blessings will likely dominate the convention, even though both sides would just like to see it go away, as long as it's resolved in their favour.

The Vancouver-area diocese, under the leadership of the progressive bishop, Michael Ingham, will be at the forefront of delegates' minds -- as the entire Canadian Anglican church decides whether to follow the diocese's lead and allow local dioceses to approve the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The worldwide Anglican church will also be watching how Canadian delegates respond to Ingham's longtime advocacy of gay and lesbian spiritual quality -- since more than one well-placed observer say what happens in Canada, with up to 800,000 members on the rolls, could well be the harbinger of the future for the entire, fractured Anglican communion.


Judging from past gatherings, the Anglican Church of Canada's general synod in Winnipeg is likely to be replete with arcane legalistic procedures and complex manoeuvring.

Canada's theologically conservative and liberal Anglicans will confront each other, usually in polite language, over how to proceed with a vote over whether to give local dioceses the power to bless same-sex relationships.

Vancouver's diocese has already forged ahead on the issue, in recent years quietly conducting dozens of the rites for gays and lesbians.


Rev. Peter Elliott, rector of Vancouver's liberal Christ Church Cathedral, will have a uniquely important insider's position when the synod meets.

Not only is Elliott an openly gay priest in a committed relationship, he was elected three years ago to be the "prolecutor" of the synod.

That means he'll be the second-highest elected official at the convention, working as co-chairman beside Primate Andrew Hutchinson, of Montreal.

Click here to read the entire article.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Anglicans gather as threat of schism looms

Richard Foot, CanWest News Service

Trapped for more than a decade inside a wrenching cyclone of doctrinal disputes, the Anglican Church of Canada will try to chart a path through the storm at a historic meeting in Winnipeg.

More than 400 bishops, clergy and ordinary members of Canada's oldest Protestant church will convene on Monday for the church's General Synod - the first such national meeting in three years - to elect a new Canadian leader and to vote on whether to let priests bless the partnerships of same-sex couples.


For gay and lesbian Anglicans, however, the same-sex issue is itself a core question, and some say if the church rejects the idea, significant numbers of clerics in Canada will simply perform blessings anyway, creating the conditions for schism.

That in turn could lead to debilitating rounds of litigation, as priests and parishes on either side of the dispute battle in the courts over Anglican properties and financial assets.

Chris Ambidge, who leads the Toronto chapter of Integrity, a group of gay and lesbian Anglicans, acknowledges that same-sex couples could simply get married outside the church, or transfer their worship, as many already have, to more welcoming denominations such as the United Church.

But Ambidge says many couples have personal allegiances to local Anglican churches, and have a real need for public recognition of their relationships in their own parishes.

"Why are we asking for church 'blessings' in a country where we can already be legally married?" Ambidge says. "Because there's a pastoral emergency - there are Christians who are getting older, who want to be married in church, but who are willing to settle for blessings now, and the church needs to minister pastorally to them."

Click here to read the entire article.

Anglicans seek decision on whether blessings are a matter of doctrine

When Anglican delegates adjourned their last national meeting, held in St. Catharines in 2004, they left some unfinished business.

A move to affirm the authority of each diocese to allow the blessing of same-sex relationships was put off until next week's General Synod in Winnipeg.

Delegates delayed the motion so that the church could study whether same-sex blessings were a matter of doctrine.


[A] team of 12 Anglican theologians in Canada met to hammer out whether or not the issue of same-sex blessings is a matter of doctrine.

If it's doctrine, it would be a matter of canon law and to change it, would require two-thirds' majority votes at two consecutive synods.

The theological commission concluded, in a document dubbed the St. Michael Report, that it's a matter of doctrine, but not core doctrine in a sense of being part of the historic creeds of Christian belief (Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian creeds).

Several contentious motions at next week's General Synod focus on same-sex blessings.

One motion, if approved, would affirm the St. Michael Report's conclusion that same-sex blessings are an issue of doctrine, but not core doctrine.

There's also a proposal to require 60 per cent majorities -- in each of the clergy and lay delegate subgroups and possibly 60 per cent majority by dioceses -- for approving the following two motions:

  • Same-sex blessings is consistent with core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada;
  • Affirm the authority and jurisdiction of each diocese to extend blessings to same-sex couples (the resolution deferred from 2004).

The resolution to increase the required majorities to 60 per cent would set the bar higher than the 51 per cent required for regular motions.


Last month, bishops across Canada issued a statement urging pastoral care, including administering baptism to children of homosexual parishioners.

They also suggest it's possible for a congregation to celebrate the Eucharist with a homosexual couple in recognition of their civil marriage.

But the bishops advised stopping short of extending nuptial blessings or having couples exchange vows.

The bishops reiterated that the church's doctrine doesn't allow for blessings of same-sex unions, but noted that could change at General Synod.

Rev. Gerry Mueller said he suspects delegates will devise some kind of a compromise.

Click here to read the entire article

Episcopalians Decline to Stop Gay Unions, Gay Clergy

Religion News Service

Episcopal leaders on Thursday (June 14) rebuffed demands from overseas Anglicans to roll back their church's pro-gay policies, arguing that such decisions can only be made at the denomination's triennial conventions.

The church's 40-member Executive Council, which is headed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, also declined a proposal from Anglican archbishops to create a separate church structure for conservatives who reject her leadership.

The panel, meeting in Parsippany, N.J., questioned overseas archbishops' power to "impose deadlines and demands upon any of the churches of the Anglican Communion or to prescribe the relationships within ... our common life."

The Executive Council declined to give a "yes or no, up or down decision," to all of the archbishops' demands, said the Rev. Lee Alison Crawford, a council member and rector of St. Mary's Parish in Northfield, Vt.

But Crawford said the council provided "a strong affirmation that the Episcopal Church is not going to go backward from the commitment to our (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) brothers and sisters."

A copy of the entire article is available by clicking here and scrolling half way down the page.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cynthia Gilliatt Elected New Secretary of National Integrity Board

In 2006 Mr. Carl Eric Johnson of Rye, New Hampshire, was elected by the membership of Integrity to serve a 3-year term as Secretary of the national Board of Directors. Carl resigned in early May of this year--citing a major career change that would make it difficult for him to fulfill his duties as Secretary. The board thanks Carl for his service to Integrity and wishes him well in his professional endeavors.

In accordance with the national bylaws, earlier this month the Board of Directors elected the Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Gilliatt of Harrisonburg, Virginia, to fulfill the remainder of Carl's term. Cynthia previously served as Secretary from October 2000 to September 2003. Welcome back, Cynthia! Click here for more information about Cynthia.

Large contingent of churches joins Pride celebration

Friday, June 15, 2007
Washington Blade

Surging crowds lining the parade route added to the enthusiasm of this year’s 32nd annual Pride festivities as thousands turned out for last weekend’s Capital Pride parade and festival.

Similar to past years, colorful floats, a gay marching band and members of dozens of gay social, political, sports and faith-based groups walked or rode along the parade route, which began on P Street, N.W., near Dupont Circle, and wound its way through gay neighborhoods before ending at Thomas Circle.

But in what organizers said appeared to be a new trend, a considerably larger contingent of mainline city churches and religious groups joined the parade this year, and thousands more spectators — both gay and straight — lined the streets to watch the parade. Many cheered, waved and snapped pictures with their digital cameras as the contingents moved past them.

Leading the religious contingent was Right Rev. John B. Chane, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, who rode in an open car. Official contingents of at least four of the city’s largest Episcopal parishes joined Chane in the parade, including one from the Washington National Cathedral, over which Chane presides, according to church spokesperson Jim Naughton.

"For us, we felt we should not be timid after what our church has been through recently," Naught[on] said.

He was referring to the heated controversy and possible church schism surrounding the ordination of gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the decision by a number of conservative Episcopal parishes to break away from the official church leadership over the gay clergy issue.

Naught[on] said Chane and the gay and straight parishioners joining him in the city’s June 9 Gay Pride parade believe they were carrying our the best tradition of their faith.

"In a way, this is evangelism at its best,” he said. “You reach out to new audiences. Churches have to make themselves visible to the community."

Click here to read the rest.

Presiding Bishop, Bonnie Anderson review Executive Council meeting

[ENS] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson offer an overview of the recent Executive Council meeting, held June 11-14 in Parsippany, New Jersey. The Rev. Jan Nunley, deputy for communication for the Episcopal Church, reports.

Click here to watch the video.

Bishop Shaw, Episcopalians Show Up for Marriage Equality in Massachusetts

In a show of spirit-force outside the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention Thursday, which refused to put marriage equality to a plebiscite, thereby preserving the hardwon marriage rights of LGBT citizens... these members of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry included many Episcopalian faces. The RCFM contingent was over 100 strong, among a crowd of hundreds more. Thanks be to God.

Front row; The Rev'd George Welles, The Rt Rev'd M. Thomas Shaw (Bishop of Massachusetts), The Rev'd Anne C. Fowler (RCFM President) and Rabbi Dan Judson. Behind George Welles is The Very Rev'd Jep Streit, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, and The Rev'd Bill Kondrath, Episcopal Divinity School faculty. Far right, Rev. Irv Cummings, Baptist. Photo by George Rizer.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Anglican Demand for Change Is Rebuffed by Episcopalians

New York Times
Published: June 15, 2007

The executive council of the Episcopal Church announced yesterday that it would not comply with demands from leaders of the global Anglican Communion to retract the church's liberal position on homosexuality and create alternative supervision for disaffected conservative Episcopalians.

The announcement came a day after the Anglican archbishop of Kenya said he would consecrate an American bishop in Texas to minister to alienated Episcopalians in the United States. In May, the archbishop of Nigeria installed a bishop in Virginia, a step considered by many to be outside the bounds of Anglicanism’s traditional lines of authority.

The churches in the Anglican Communion, which trace their heritage to the Church of England, have been brought to the brink of schism over the issue of homosexuality. The executive council’s action makes clear that the Episcopal Church, Anglicanism’s American branch, does not intend to back down.


Bonnie Anderson, president of the church’s House of Deputies, composed of clergy and lay representatives, said: "The Episcopal Church has spoken quite clearly as to where we are on this."

Click here to read the entire article.

Parsippany Postcard #7

Winnie Varghese being interviewed by In the Life.

John Clinton Bradley
For Integrity
June 14, 2007 Parsippany, NJ

In the Life—the LGBT newsmagazine on public television—interviewed 5 LGBT members of Executive Council this afternoon about the response to the primates' communiqué. They were Kim Byham, Bruce Garner, Dottie Fuller, Winnie Varghese, and Lee Allison Crawford.

In the Life is currently working on a comprehensive segment about the debate over homosexuality within The Episcopal Church. The finished piece is slated to air in October.

Parsippany Postcard #6

Bonnie Anderson answering a question during the press conference.

John Clinton Bradley
For Integrity
June 14, 2007
Parsippany, NJ

A press conference was held this afternoon following adjournment of Executive Council. Present were a handful of reporters from church-related publications. A few reporters from secular publications and wire services joined the event by teleconference (though there were some technical difficulties that hampered their full participation).

I asked the Presiding Bishop what the Executive Council response to the primates' communiqué says to gay and lesbian people in the Episcopal Church and the United States.

The Presiding Bishop asked Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, to answer the question. Anderson replied that the statement speaks to the entire Episcopal Church. The statement invites a continuation of the conversation with the Anglican Communion on the vocation of gay and lesbian people within the church.

US move on gay bishops may widen Anglican split

Friday, 15 June 2007

Leaders of the Episcopal Church told worldwide Anglican bishops they had no authority to try to make the church's US branch change its stand on the consecration of gay bishops.

The Executive Council of the US Episcopal Church approved a statement questioning the authority of the worldwide church's top bishops "to impose deadlines and demands upon any of the churches of the Anglican Communion," the formal name for the 77 million-member global church.

The statement was in response to a communique issued in February when the church's presiding bishops, or primates, met in Tanzania. The bishops called for the 2.4 million-member US church to declare by the end of September a moratorium on the consecration of openly homosexual gay bishops.

It was the 2003 Episcopal Church consecration of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history, that triggered the dispute.

In addition, the bishops at the African meeting urged the US church to end "public rites" blessing same-sex unions and to allow for a US-based "primatial vicar" to oversee disaffected followers, some of whom have already put themselves under the jurisdiction of conservative bishops in Africa and elsewhere.

In the statement approved at the end of a four-day meeting in New Jersey, the Executive Council said the requests made by the primates "are of a nature that can only properly be dealt with by our General Convention."


The statement expressed a desire for a continued full relationship with the worldwide church but added:

"At various times in our history, we have struggled to embrace people who have historically been marginalised. . . today this struggle has come to include the place of gay and lesbian people and their vocations in the life of the Church."

Click here to read the rest.