Earlier Friday The Lead carried the story of Virginia's Bishop Peter Lee and his retirement plans. Further news from the diocese gives the Pastoral report of Bishop Shannon Johnston to the Diocese.
In this report the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston discussed the status of ordinations of gays and lesbians with partners. Johnston remarked, among other things:
In this jurisdiction, last fall I accepted the recommendation given to me that I grant the status of postulancy for Holy Orders to a person who is in a committed same-sex relationship. That recommendation came to me from the respective local discernment committee, the Diocesan Committee on the Priesthood and the other evaluative processes we require. I accepted this recommendation in my personal conviction (echoed by several canon law and General Convention veterans across the country with whom I spoke) that this conforms both to the language and the intent of the Canons, guaranteeing equal access to the processes of discernment for all ministries in the Church, whether lay or ordained.
Just as pointedly, that very same canon clearly states that no “right” to ordination is established by that provision. Accordingly, I informed everyone concerned that as things stand now in the House of Bishops and in our discussions throughout the Communion, I do not feel free at this time to ordain persons who are in same-sex relationships. In the interests of disclosure and clarity, personally I hold this necessity rather uncomfortably. However, significant parts of our larger Church, both left and right, are not ministering through these issues with much charity or restraint, and so I think it is extremely important for the bishops to respect what is in place right now (this includes my continuing support for the Windsor Report and its resulting processes). It is my hope that from this position we will be better able to take a responsible lead and continue to make progress in building up the common life of the whole Church.
Nonetheless, I support discernment on anyone’s part as to just how the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives—no exceptions. This postulant has my personal commitment to do all I can to support that discernment.
Some of that landscape changed, however, when only recently I received and read the report from our Windsor Continuation Commission. That group, with Bishop Lee’s approval and direction, has established a formalized listening process as a pilot project to aid the whole of our diocese in discernment through the issues of human sexuality and the witness of the Church.
Given this, I have decided not to move forward with this postulant in the ordination process until this diocesan effort is conducted and the results are collected and given to me so as to become part of my own eventual discernment as bishop
Note: The bishop's argument is difficult to accept as there is nothing in the Windsor Report about ordination to the priesthood.
Read his report here.
Below is the video from the Annual Diocesan Council (Convention):