20 Bishops issue minority report on marriage resolutions

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The bishops who voted in the minority on the marriage resolutions have issued a minority report.

From Thinking Anglicans

Communion Partners Salt Lake City Statement

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, in passing Resolutions A036 and A054, has made a significant change in the Church’s understanding of Christian marriage. As bishops of the Church, we must dissent from these actions.

We affirm Minority Report #1, which was appended to the text of Resolution A036:

The nature, purpose, and meaning of marriage, as traditionally understood by Christians, are summed up in the words of the Book of Common Prayer:

“The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord” (BCP, p. 423)

The nature, purpose, and meaning of marriage are linked to the relationship of man and woman. The promises and vows of marriage presuppose husband and wife as the partners who are made one flesh in marriage. This understanding is a reasonable one, as well as in accord with Holy Scripture and Christian tradition in their teaching about marriage.

When we were ordained as bishops in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, we vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God” (BCP, p. 518). We renew that promise; and in light of the actions of General Convention, and of our own deep pastoral and theological convictions, we pledge ourselves to

  • “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). The bonds created in baptism are indissoluble, and we share one bread and one cup in the Eucharist. We are committed to the Church and its people, even in the midst of painful disagreement.
  • “Speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). When we disagree with the Church’s actions, we will do so openly and transparently and — with the Spirit’s help — charitably. We are grateful that Resolution A054 includes provision for bishops and priests to exercise their conscience; but we realize at the same time that we have entered a season in which the tensions over these difficult matters may grow. We pray for the grace to be clear about our convictions and, at the same time, to love brothers and sisters with whom we disagree.
  • “Welcome one another … just as Christ has welcomed [us]” (Rom. 15:7). Our commitment to the Church includes a commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. We will walk with them, pray with and for them, and seek ways to engage in pastoral conversation. We rejoice that Jesus’ embrace includes all of us.

We are mindful that the decisions of the 78th General Convention do not take place in isolation. The Episcopal Church is part of a larger whole, the Anglican Communion. We remain committed to that Communion and to the historic See of Canterbury, and we will continue to honor the three moratoria requested in the Windsor Report and affirmed by the Instruments of Communion.

We invite bishops and any Episcopalians who share these commitments to join us in this statement, and to affirm with us our love for our Lord Jesus Christ, our commitment to The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion, and our dissent from these actions.

From The Living Church:

Communion Partner signatories:
The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Daniel W. Herzog, Bishop of Albany, resigned
The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert, Bishop Pro Tem of Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany
The Rt. Rev. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, resigned
The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Bishop of South Carolina, resigned
The Rt. Rev. William J. Skilton, Assistant Bishop of Dominican Republic, resigned
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas, resigned

Other signatories:
The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras
The Rt. Rev. Jean Zache Duracin, Bishop of Haiti
The Rt. Rev. Francisco José Duque Gómez, Bishop of Colombia
The Rt. Rev. Orlando Guerrero, Venezuela
The Rt. Rev. E. Ambrose Gumbs, Bishop of Virgin Islands
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida
The Rt. Rev. Julio Holguin, Bishop of Dominican Republic
The Rt. Rev. Alfredo Morante, Bishop of Ecuador Litoral


 

Posted by Ann Fontaine

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John Chilton
Editor
John Chilton

Presumably the diocesans signing this statement will not allow marriage equality in their diocese. A036 permits this, but requires they work with a diocesan who does so that no one is denied marriage because of gender. I have heard two of these bishops (Brewer and Martins) say they will abide by that requirement.

It's their statement, but I wish it would have said we will abide by the spirit and the letter A036.

I remain concerned about how A036 will work in practice. It places an additional cost on same-gender couples in these dioceses.

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James Mackay
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James Mackay

Thank you for this, John. I share concerns.

For example, I have no idea how it will be handled in North Dakota. I suspect that, after a good deal of foot dragging, it will be a referral to Minnesota, but with only enough information and effort to meet the minimum standard of the canon.

This canon and its implementation will no doubt have to be revisited in coming years.

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Tobias Haller
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Tobias Haller

John, it's A054 you mean. A036 is the canonical change.

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Chris Harwood
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Chris Harwood

What of those bishops of areas outside the US? Must they break the laws of their countries in order to remain in TEC? What provision is there for them?

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David Allen
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David Allen

Logic would dictate that extra-US dioceses would be treated differently. To my knowledge, none of the dioceses are in nations that allow civil marriage at this time, so it would be a moot point. And most of those bishops voted against the legislation, so one might assume that they would forbid use of the liturgies even for a blessing on a same gender relationship. Very few folks in those nations could qualify for a Vise to visit the US, making the referral to another diocese also moot.

Bro David

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Jon White
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Jon White

This came up in the House of Bishops. Most (all?) of the extra-US dioceses don't have church marriages, only civil marriages so in those places priests aren't agents of the state for marriage - they only do blessings of civil weddings. If/when those jurisdictions achieve marriage equality then the blessing of a civil marriage would be operative

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Br. Franklin Kline OP
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Br. Franklin Kline OP

I am thankful for the position taken by these members of the House of Bishops and the statement the have issued. I heartily join the Bishops in in this statement and their commitment to the Episcopal Church and The Anglican Communion. I look forward to their continued leadersip and guidence as we deal with this within the church.

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Jerry King
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Jerry King

"Our commitment to the Church includes a commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. We will walk with them, pray with and for them, and seek ways to engage in pastoral conversation. We rejoice that Jesus’ embrace includes all of us."

But we won't let them participate in all of the sacraments. Are there second-class Christian in the Episcopal Church?

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The Rev. Brian Cannaday
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The Rev. Brian Cannaday

TBTG for this statement and for the ability for anyone who agrees to add his or her name to it!

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Gary L. Short
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Gary L. Short

After long prayerful discernment, I find myself aligned with the minority. While GC78 has spoken, I fear their decision to redefine marriage in cannon law will lead to a further deepening of the divide with the Anglican Communion as well as other members who agree with the Minority Report.

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