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June 19, 2004


Joy Paul

Will, I pray for the best for you and your meeting the gay pastor. My heart goes out to him in this time. But his path today is still the right path. There are several books that were written by Sylvia Pennington. One is "But Lord, They're Gay." I think these books may be out of print, but she chronicles many stories of sincere Christians who are gay, and her work with many MCC churches in America. I know you are dealing with the history, but I thought I would pass this information along.


Hugo, you're letting Liberal triumpalism rule your brain again. We are waiting, as we have been asked to wait, for the Eames Commission. We respect real authority, and real authority has asked us to hold fire. The liberals, on the other hand, are steam-rollering their agenda without doing what they have been asked. They are not showing restraint (unlike CAPA, for instance), and every move of this kind will make it harder for the Commission to work out a way forward. A few more cracks appear with each one, and each schismatic act on the liberal side makes it more unlikely we will pull out of this crisis in one piece. We'll stroke the hell out of the pony (literally!) come August. Until then, we're getting ready. Have you seen the Memorandum of Common Cause signed by FiF, AAC, ACN and APA/REC? It appears to me it's all over bar the shouting.

As for the conservative Pastor, I shall pray for him. These things are devestating, both for him and his congregation. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter".



Regarding the schism comment, you remind me of, paradoxically, two different types of friends: one friend is a Mennonite (as you are), and another gaggle of friends are in the nondenominational camp. Members of both groups can't understand why ECUSA "conservatives" haven't split from the church. My Mennonite friend looks at it from a totally different perspective than the nondenominational friends: he sees ECUSA's actions as no big deal, while my nondenominational friends see those of us who stay in as contributing (even if unintentionally so) to the promotion of sin.

There are many reasons that could be given for why conservatives haven't split, but one issue stands out to me: ecclesiology. Evangelical Anglicans tend to differ from other evangelicals on this issue -- the church is usually considered something more than a voluntary assembly of individual believers (a typical non-denominational definition, from my experience), even if that "more" may be defined differently by individuals. Anglo-Catholics, of course, hold to a more Catholic view of the church. Either of these views, and the range of possibilities inbetween them, make "jumping ship" not something to be done quickly.

Additionally, many other factors could be cited:

* As an acquaintance said, Anglicans move "with all deliberate speed" -- perhaps slowly enough that some think that nothing's being done, but the ship is, indeed, moving. The request to wait for the Eames Commission also contributes to this speed.

*Many conservative Episcopalians want to remain Anglicans and are waiting for some form of realignment within the Anglican Communion to work itself out.

*Some have a strong desire to do what they can to reverse ECUSA's present direction.

More factors could be cited. At any rate, though, with 22 out of 38 primates condemning the Anglican Church of Canada's actions, there's clearly a widening chasm between members of the Anglican Communion. It seems inescapable to me that both the Anglican Communion and ECUSA will look very different, say, 10 years from now, than they do today. And this is just part of a larger trend in which theological conservatives across denominations are making common cause; the same is proving true for theological liberals across denomination.

Peace of Christ,


Good and important clarifications,John and Chip; thank you.


Hugo, how great that the preacher contacted you. He's open to learning --- what a huge step! God's blessings on both of you.


From my perspective, the conservatives have shown little restraint, specifically the AAC. The irregular confirmations in Ohio, in which bishops crossed diocesan lines without permission, is but one example. The fact that they were not immediately brought up on charges is an act of great restraint on the part of ECUSA, it seems to me.

Not that numbers matter...we must be faithful to what we understand the Gospel calls us to do, regardless of the cost... but I have heard before that there are 22 primates against the consecration of Gene Robinson. I can only identify 15 out of 38.

May God be with you, Hugo, that you might be a conduit of grace and wisdom.

...what distortion of the gospel it is to have limited sympathies and unlimited certainties, when the reverse - to have limited certainties and unlimited sympathies - is not only more tolerant but far more Christian.
-William Sloane Coffin


Chip's reference to 22 Primates concerned the actions of the ACC, not Bishop Robinson. Forgive me for misreading his comment. I have no information regarding the accuracy of that number, so I won't challenge it.

I do find it surprising that even though the ACC backed down from approving the blessing of unions in deference to the Lambeth Commission, the conservatives still voiced their outrage. It seems that the ACC is now condemned over the use of the word "sanctity" regarding such unions. I thought that deciding to wait three years before making a decision on the issue was a show of great restraint.


I saw the 22/38 figure posted on two websites, one conservative and one progressive. The fact that two different websites on opposite ends of the spectrum posted it made me trust it. Of course, it still could be inaccurate.

Peace of Christ,


I counted up all those who signed the (various) declarations agains ECUSA, and I came up with 18, but Abp. Akinola claims 22, as does ++ Gomez.
And Jake, what's the point of having a three year Commission to opine on whether to bless same-sex unions when the ACC has already decided they have "Integrity and Sanctity"? They've just answered the question, defeating the point of waiting for study.


The addition of two words, which can be defined in numerous ways, cannot compare to setting aside a resolution that would have passed regarding the blessing of same sex unions. By doing this, the ACC angered their progressive majority.

It seems that they also angered their conservative minority. Sometimes, you just can't win.

But, it's not about winning, is it?

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