Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music announces task force group leaders

The Episcopal Church

Office of Public Affairs


[June 28, 2010] The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) is addressing its duties to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources for same-sex blessings, as charged in General Convention Resolution C056, through three main task forces and by establishing communication tools to solicit responses from the wider Episcopal Church.


The Rev. Ruth Meyers, Ph.D., SCLM Chair, pointed out, “We are following the direction outlined in C056: To share some of the ideas being considered as task groups develop theological and liturgical resources. To encourage a conversation about the theological, liturgical, and pastoral principles for blessing same-sex relationships. To offer and invite theological reflection about this work.”


To accomplish these tasks, SCLM has established three task groups to focus on particular areas: a liturgical resources group; a pastoral/teaching resources group; and a theological resources group.



Resources and important information posted on the SCLM website are:

- Member lists for the three task forces

- GC09 Resolution C056 Liturgies for Blessings.

- Response of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music


Resources available here: SC_L&M_2010_May_TFC056.pdf

Episcopal Church Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music: http://generalconvention.org/ccab/mandate/2


Meet the task group leaders


Liturgical resources task group: The Rev. Patrick Malloy, Ph.D. of the Diocese of Bethlehem.  He is the H. Boone Porter Chair in Liturgics at General Theological Seminary in New York City and is a former member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. The rector of Grace Church, Allentown, PA, he is the author of Celebrating the Eucharist (Church Publishing, 2007) and a forthcoming second volume, Celebrating the Pastoral Rites and the Daily Office.


Pastoral/teaching resources group co-chair: The Rev. Canon Thaddeus A. Bennett of the Diocese of Vermont. He is the part-time Canon for Transition Ministry and part-time rector of St. Mary’s-in-the-Mountains Church in Wilmington, VT. Previously, he was the Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. He is one of the authors of the Episcopal Church’s Fresh Start resource and serves as a vocational faculty for CREDO. He helped found three HIV/AIDS organizations, including the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition, and co-authored a number of resources for HIV/AIDS education and ministry. 


Pastoral/teaching resources group co-chair: The Rev. Canon Susan Russell of the Diocese of Los Angeles. She is the Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena and is the Chair of the Program Group on LGBT Ministry for the Diocese of Los Angeles. In 2008 she convened the task force responsible for creating a diocesan pastoral response to both the May California Supreme Court decision on marriage equality and the November Proposition 8 ballot initiative.


Theological resources task group: The Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson, Ph.D., of the Diocese of California.  He is a member of the core doctoral faculty in theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and coordinates the Certificate in Sexuality and Religion program at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) where he serves as Senior Director of Academic Research and Resources at the school’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.  Since 2006 he has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Theology and Sexuality and he is Book Review Editor of the Anglican Theological Review. His first book, published in 2005, was Dancing with God: Anglican Christianity and the Practice of Hope. He serves as associate clergy at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Berkeley.


Communicating with SCLM

Meyers, who served as a GC09 deputy from the Diocese of Chicago and is the Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, explained that a blog has been established for easy communication. She noted, “SCLM and the task force groups welcome comments, suggestions, and ideas.” The blog site is http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com .


SCLM is committed to communicating with the wider church, Meyers stressed. To do so, a special email address has been established for all correspondence, to offer ideas, or to contact a SCLM member: sclm@episcopalchurch.org



The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations.  The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.


Episcopal Church Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music: http://generalconvention.org/ccab/mandate/2

SCLM Mandate: http://generalconvention.org/ccab/mandate/2

Monday, June 21, 2010

Register For A Believe Out Loud Provincial Workshop Near You!

By all accounts, our first Believe Out Loud Provincial Workshop in San Diego last month was a great success. Matt Haines [Province 8 Coordinator, shown on the right] and Neil Houghton [Vice President for Local Affairs] led this workshop with the help of Vicki Wunsch [a trainer with the Institute for Welcoming Resources].

Attendees were from many dioceses in the southern part of Province 8--including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, California, and Northern California. Two Integrity members joined us from the Diocese of Rio Grande in Province 7, where they are eager to make a difference.

Participants not only left this workshop with tools to communicate more openly and effectively with those in their parishes and dioceses about issues of LGBT inclusion, but many returned home with a commitment to become new leaders in Integrity. Their love of the Episcopal Church was rekindled, as was their conviction that believing out loud in the radical welcoming of Jesus Christ will grow our denomination.

Action plans were initiated and suggestions made for how we can make future workshops even better.

Here’s what participants said about the San Diego workshop:
"I really enjoyed the camaraderie, the networking and the opportunity to brainstorm with other nation and local leaders."
"I am very interested in the BOL concept as an organizing strategy."
"This was incredibly worthwhile, thank you all."
"I was really pleased about organizing around real issues and the whole process of 'graceful engagement'."
"The presenters were great. I thank Integrity for developing this training."
Several more workshops have been scheduled during the summer….

  • July 9-10 | Portland OR
  • July 23-24 | Danbury CT
  • July 30-31 | Martinsburg WV
  • August 6-7 | Atlanta GA
  • August 13-14 | Austin TX
  • August 27-28 | London OH
  • Date to be determined | Denver CO

Visit http://sites.google.com/site/bolprovincialworkshops/ for more info about each workshop and to register. There is no registration fee, several meals are included, and reasonable hotel rates have been secured. A limited number of scholarships to partially defray transportation and housing are available.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bishop Christopher at St. Luke in the Fields, New York

The story below was provided by Paul J. Lane, Diocesan Organizer for Integrity in the Diocese of New York.  The photo shows Paul on the left, Bishop Christopher in the center, and Chap James Day [Integrity's Province 2 Coordinator] on the right.

The aroma of the incense hung heavily in the hot, humid air as the Ugandan prelate mounted the steps of the pulpit in the old village church, St. Luke in the Fields, in New York’s Greenwich Village last Sunday [June 6, 2010].

The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, the retired Bishop of the Diocese of West Buganda, Uganda, took as his subject the second reading of the day: Galatians 1:11-24; Paul discussing his conversion from his former life as a persecutor of Christians. The congregation listened in rapt attention as the bishop spoke of his own "conversion" and how, by listening to the stories of LGBT people, he came to believe that LGBT Christians are full members of the body of Christ. He told of how he also has been persecuted and how, if a new bill proposed in the Ugandan Parliament becomes law, he himself may be jailed for his inclusive stance. He also spoke of how, in Uganda, openly LGBT persons are not able to receive any treatment for HIV/AIDS.

The Rev. Mary Foulke, Senior Associate for Pastoral Care and Outreach at St. Luke’s "was delighted to welcome Bp. Christopher to St. Luke’s and to make this connection with those around the world who embrace a critical Biblical theology in support of liberative practices of welcoming and standing up with those on the margins. Bp. Christopher is a wonderful example of many grassroots priests, bishops and lay leaders in the Southern Hemisphere that are doing great work and who don’t get the press or attention that others with more conservative American support seem to attract."

Paul J. Lane, the Chair of the parish’s LGBT Life @ St. Luke’s Committee and Diocesan Organizer for Integrity for the Diocese of New York says that "as a parish, this is only the beginning of our relationship with Bp. Christopher and Integrity Uganda. Our goal is to be able to raise $1000.00 for Bp. Christopher’s ministry and we began that journey today. The stories of our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world must be brought to the attention of those of us who live in more accepting societies." St. Luke’s history as been one of full inclusion as well as support of such organizations such as Integrity USA and Changing Attitude Nigeria, having in the past hosted Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla, the exiled leader of CA Nigeria.

After the service, Bp. Christopher was an honored guest at the annual parish picnic, where he was able to speak directly to many parish members, including a group of seminarians from his own alma mater, Union Theological Seminary.

Integrity USA, a 35-year-old LGBT advocacy group within The Episcopal Church, is the sponsor of Bishop Christopher visit.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Global Fight for LGBT Rights

A Conversation Between Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda

June 8, 2010, 12:30pm – 1:30pm


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


June 8, 2010

WASHINGTON DC: Bishop Christopher Senyojo--a courageous spokesperson for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in his native Uganda--is scheduled to visit the White House this evening. He will be accompanied by the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire, and others. They will meet with Denis McDonough, Samantha Powers, and other foreign policy officials of President Obama's administration. Bishop Senyonjo is expected to share his grave concerns about the "kill the gays bill" currently being considered by the Ugandan Parliament.

At the invitation of Integrity USA, Bishop Senyonjo has been touring the United States during the past month to raise awareness about Uganda's proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" and the severe criminal penalties LGBT people face in Uganda. Over the past four week he has spoken to hundreds of concerned Americans in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, and Washington DC.

For details about Bishop Senyonjo's tour and to financially support his ministry in Uganda, please visit http://sites.google.com/site/bishopchristophertour.

Press contact:

John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director
585-360-4512 office
585-313-1059 mobile

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Integrity Issues Press Release Applauding the Presiding Bishop


"The Presiding Bishop's pastoral letter to the church was a faithful and forceful response for ALL who want to stop the 'baby' of Anglican comprehensiveness from being thrown out with the 'bathwater' of reactionary homophobia," said Integrity's Immediate Past President Susan Russell. "I applaud her willingness to continue to state exactly where we are as a church today."

"The season of Pentecost is a time to hear and listen to all voices, not just those with whom we agree," said Louise Brooks, Integrity's Director of Communications. "At General Convention 2009, our church took a valiant and brave step forward to state that it will no longer allow the lives and vocations of the LGBT faithful to be bargaining chips in global Anglican politics. The Presiding Bishop has made that very clear in her pastoral letter."

Brooks continued, "In a press conference the day before the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool was consecrated a Bishop Suffragan in this church, the Presiding Bishop told Integrity that she will continue to work toward reconciliation with those who disagree with us. Integrity promises to partner with the Presiding Bishop in that goal."

"We urge all those who appreciate the presiding Bishop's letter to write her and thank her for her willingness to speak out. Her email address is: pboffice@episcopalchurch.org  ," concluded Brooks.

For more information contact:
Louise Brooks
Director of Communications, Integrity USA

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Presiding Bishop Issues Pentecost Pastoral Letter: Responds to Archbishop

Pentecost continues!

Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.

The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).

The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety. The willingness to live in tension is a hallmark of Anglicanism, beginning from its roots in Celtic Christianity pushing up against Roman Christianity in the centuries of the first millennium. That diversity in community was solidified in the Elizabethan Settlement, which really marks the beginning of Anglican Christianity as a distinct movement. Above all, it recognizes that the Spirit may be speaking to all of us, in ways that do not at present seem to cohere or agree. It also recognizes what Jesus says about the Spirit to his followers, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13).

The Episcopal Church has spent nearly 50 years listening to and for the Spirit in these matters. While it is clear that not all within this Church have heard the same message, the current developments do represent a widening understanding. Our canons reflected this shift as long ago as 1985, when sexual orientation was first protected from discrimination in access to the ordination process. At the request of other bodies in the Anglican Communion, this Church held an effective moratorium on the election and consecration of a partnered gay or lesbian priest as bishop from 2003 to 2010. When a diocese elected such a person in late 2009, the ensuing consent process indicated that a majority of the laity, clergy, and bishops responsible for validating that election agreed that there was no substantive bar to the consecration.

The Episcopal Church recognizes that these decisions are problematic to a number of other Anglicans. We have not made these decisions lightly. We recognize that the Spirit has not been widely heard in the same way in other parts of the Communion. In all humility, we recognize that we may be wrong, yet we have proceeded in the belief that the Spirit permeates our decisions.

We also recognize that the attempts to impose a singular understanding in such matters represent the same kind of cultural excesses practiced by many of our colonial forebears in their missionizing activity. Native Hawaiians were forced to abandon their traditional dress in favor of missionaries’ standards of modesty. Native Americans were forced to abandon many of their cultural practices, even though they were fully congruent with orthodox Christianity, because the missionaries did not understand or consider those practices exemplary of the Spirit. The uniformity imposed at the Synod of Whitby did similar violence to a developing, contextual Christianity in the British Isles. In their search for uniformity, our forebears in the faith have repeatedly done much spiritual violence in the name of Christianity.

We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.

We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue, particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures. We note that the cultural contexts in which The Episcopal Church’s decisions have generated the greatest objection and reaction are also often the same contexts where women are barred from full ordained leadership, including the Church of England.

As Episcopalians, we note the troubling push toward centralized authority exemplified in many of the statements of the recent Pentecost letter. Anglicanism as a body began in the repudiation of the control of the Bishop of Rome within an otherwise sovereign nation. Similar concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control led the Church of Scotland to consecrate Samuel Seabury for The Episcopal Church in the nascent United States – and so began the Anglican Communion.

We have been repeatedly assured that the Anglican Covenant is not an instrument of control, yet we note that the fourth section seems to be just that to Anglicans in many parts of the Communion. So much so, that there are voices calling for stronger sanctions in that fourth section, as well as voices repudiating it as un-Anglican in nature. Unitary control does not characterize Anglicanism; rather, diversity in fellowship and communion does.

We are distressed at the apparent imposition of sanctions on some parts of the Communion. We note that these seem to be limited to those which “have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion.” We are further distressed that such sanctions do not, apparently, apply to those parts of the Communion that continue to hold one view in public and exhibit other behaviors in private. Why is there no sanction on those who continue with a double standard? In our context bowing to anxiety by ignoring that sort of double-mindedness is usually termed a “failure of nerve.” Through many decades of wrestling with our own discomfort about recognizing the full humanity of persons who seem to differ from us, we continue to work at open and transparent communication as well as congruence between word and behavior. We openly admit our failure to achieve perfection!

The baptismal covenant prayed in this Church for more than 30 years calls us to respect the dignity of all other persons and charges us with ongoing labor toward a holy society of justice and peace. That fundamental understanding of Christian vocation underlies our hearing of the Spirit in this context and around these issues of human sexuality. That same understanding of Christian vocation encourages us to hold our convictions with sufficient humility that we can affirm the image of God in the person who disagrees with us. We believe that the Body of Christ is only found when such diversity is welcomed with abundant and radical hospitality.

As a Church of many nations, languages, and peoples, we will continue to seek every opportunity to increase our partnership in God’s mission for a healed creation and holy community. We look forward to the ongoing growth in partnership possible in the Listening Process, Continuing Indaba, Bible in the Life of the Church, Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the myriad of less formal and more local partnerships across the Communion – efforts in mission and ministry that inform and transform individuals and communities toward the vision of the Gospel – a healed world, loving God and neighbor, in the love and friendship shown us in God Incarnate.

May God’s peace dwell in your hearts,
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Churh

Bishop Marc Andrus Responds to the Archbishiop of Canterbury

A response to Archbishop Rowan's Pentecost letter

Jun 1, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Archbishop Rowan Williams should always be honored for what he has done as a theologian, and I do so honor him; and he should be honored as the Archbishop of Canterbury and in that capacity I also honor, respect, and love him. I hope that this respectful critique is seen as an expression of the love I feel for the person and the office.

Archbishop Rowan’s Pentecost letter shows him to be continuing on a course that is creating a different kind of Anglicanism, more like the centralized, doctrinalized polity of the Roman Catholic Church. Added to this, the exercise of control by the Archbishop lacks the straightforwardness of the Roman polity.

For example, the Lambeth Conference was explicitly advertised as a non-legislative meeting; indeed we voted on nothing. However, lo and behold, through a non-transparent “consensus building” process, the bishops present (and so, in Archbishop Rowan’s thinking, the Communion) have affirmed the three moratoria put forward by the Windsor Report.

Here it is also important to note that the Windsor Report itself has been reified and given the status of a central Anglican document of faith and order, not by the test of time and use, but by the Archbishop and those who agree with him saying so.

When an Empire and its exponents can no longer exercise control by might, an option is to feint, double-talk, and manipulate. Such tactics have been in the fore with Archbishop Rowan since the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. The deployment of the Windsor Report and the manipulation of the Lambeth Conference, as cited above, are prime examples. The archbishop’s Pentecost letter is the most recent example.

In the Pentecost letter, it looks like he is disciplining errant provinces of the Communion, while only a little concentration shows that the underlying goal is to assert his power to be the disciplinarian. Archbishop Rowan is intent on a covenant with punitive measures built in. The bishops of the Communion expressed their distaste for a punitive covenant, and so the archbishop has stepped up to be himself the judging authority he has been unable to build into a covenant.

Other examples in the Pentecost letter:

All three moratoria are supposedly to be attended to, but the packaging of the letter on the Anglican Communion website makes it clear that it is Mary Glasspool’s consecration that has galvanized the archbishop into action.

The archbishop says that primates of disciplined provinces are free to meet together. Surely these primates do not need the archbishop’s permission to meet together. This is another example of promoting the illusion of the archbishop’s power.

By taking offending provinces out of the conversation with ecumenical partners, the archbishop subtly implies that such conversation is dangerous and contaminating, exactly as was done with Bishop Robinson and LGBT voices in general at the Lambeth Conference.

That this is Archbishop Rowan’s Pentecost letter, given the layers that are not meant to draw us into more and more limpidity, but rather to obscure, I am saddened by such an offering from a theologian who has produced work of great profundity and luminosity in the past.