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20 Bishops issue minority report on marriage resolutions

20 Bishops issue minority report on marriage resolutions

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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Jeremy Bates

Comparing this statement with the equivalent dissent from 2012 is interesting.

In 2012, the “Indianapolis statement” included an abstinence-outside-of-marriage admonition: “We believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that God’s vision for sexual intimacy is that it be exercised only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman.”

That sentence from 2012 is missing from this statement in 2015. One wonders what has changed in three years to make these bishops relax their insistence on sexual abstinence, outside of heterosexual marriage.

Perhaps they now realize that to urge abstinence from sex outside of marriage, while at the same time to deny same-sex couples marriage, is logically and morally untenable, because it condemns same-sex couples to abstinence.

So which is it to be, Bishops? Must same-sex couples abstain from sexual intimacy altogether? Or is it better for them to have sex, outside of marriage?

In other words, which do you disapprove of more–same-sex intimacy, or sex outside of marriage?

Perhaps these bishops were unable to agree on an answer to that question?

Gary Paul Gilbert

Dear Mr. McQueen, Even if one supported the dissenters, it is clear they are in the distinct minority. This is a lost cause now that all civil marriages of same-sex couples count in all fifty states and the majority of bishops and deputies have approved trial rites. They are lucky the Episcopal Church allows retired bishops to vote at General Convention. They may be victims in their own eyes, but they are also oppressors because they will continue to work to deny the dignity of same-sex couples and their families.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Fr. Will McQueen

Just because the Supreme Court has “ruled” that same-sex marriage is a right in all 50 states doesn’t make it right in the eyes of God. These bishops are standing up for the truth that God has designed, from the beginning, that marriage is between one man and one woman. That is the fundamental definition and essence of the word. It is not ours to tamper with, and certainly not ours to change. Just because you and others want it to be so does not make it right.

These bishops are not denying dignity to anyone. They understand the full implications of their role as bishop and shepherd, and want none of their flock to perish. They know that it is unloving to leave a person’s soul in a state of mortal sin.

These bishops are not oppressors, they are not sexist, nor are they racists. Slander is no way to win friends and influence people.

Cynthia Katsarelis

I am not living in “mortal sin,” and neither are my LGBTQ sisters and brothers. We are part of God’s beautiful and diverse creation. The vast majority of us are upstanding members of our churches and communities. Plenty of LGBTQ people experience the bountiful Grace of God, which is supposedly absent when one is living in “mortal sin.” Mortal sin is cruel injustice, such as lack of living wage, horrific behavior to immigrants, the poor, and people different from ourselves. Mortal sin is the unforgivable debt we pile up on poor countries and poor people. Mortal sin involves doing violence to people, whether it is murder, exploitation, or systematic racism.

Reducing mortal sin to loving, committed relationships by consenting adults whose relationships are Graced by God (whether you like it or not) is certainly a distraction from the Good News of Christ Crucified and Risen to the poor and oppressed.

It is oppression. Jesus was very clear in saying “don’t judge.” He did not make these 20 bishops, nor you, judges over us. Jesus said “love your neighbor” and he meant ALL of your neighbors, as indicated in the story of the Good Samaritan. In many instances, gay people have lived the role of the Good Samaritan.

We live in a post modern world where we are keenly aware that we can cherry pick our favorite parts of the Bible to justify our bias. So yes, we must use Scripture, but that is not the end of the story. We must use discernment of reason and lived experience (which also counts as “tradition,” conservatives have no monopoly on that).

They are oppressors. Their rhetoric affirms haters, parents who turn their children out onto the streets (a large portion of homeless youth are outcasts from “religious” families), people who perpetrate hate crimes, bullying, suicide, discrimination. The fruits of this oppression are ugly and I’m glad that TEC has gone the way of the radical love of Jesus.

I wish these bishops would get their priorities straight and get with the program of Good News to the poor and oppressed rather than be the bearer of Bad News to me and my sisters and brothers (especially the teens). They are expressing their personal bias, not displaying the Grace of God.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Thank you, Gary. They are oppressors. I’m trying to be compassionate that this changes their view of church. But we no longer support slavery or the burning of witches (who were typically “uppity women”).

To me, at this point, it sounds exactly the same as if they are insisting on their entitlement to be racist and sexist. I’ve been trying to be polite, but at the end of the day, that is how it sounds. I plan to keep reminding them of that if they keep telling me and my LGBTQ sisters and brothers are somehow less than them in the eyes of God.

Br. Franklin Kline OP

Fr McQueen-thanks for your wise comments-it seems pretty clear from other comments that those who claim to have been excluded, having prevailed, are now becoming the excluders- also known as, “My way or the Highway”!

Fr. Will McQueen

Thank you Br. Kline.

Cynthia Katsarelis

I’m hoping that these bishops will see the harm that is caused to actual people by their positions and repent. The sooner the better.

June Butler

I, for one, have no wish to exclude or give anyone in the church their walking papers. Our Lord has called us to be one. My hope is that bishops who oppose same sex marriage heed the words in Resolution A054 and “will make provision for all couples” with a “generous pastoral response”.

Jeremy Bates

These bishops, holding fast to the 2004 moratoria, are overlooking a decade of history since then.

Even in 2009, the point was not lost on the so-called “Windsor Continuation Group”: “Faced with the fact that despite several calls for observance of the moratoria …. the moratoria have not received comprehensive support, WCG has to ask how to achieve genuine progress. Has the time come when it has to be recognised that the moratoria cannot be enforced absolutely in the life of the Communion?”

Since then, of course, the Church of England itself has rejected the so-called Anglican Covenant.

Conservatives must by now understand that there is no supra-provincial authority in the Anglican Communion. To pretend that there is, or ever was, is to engage in wishful thinking.

The Anglican Communion is a global family of churches. Nothing more.

Ellen Campbell

I continue to feel compassion for our LGBT brothers and sisters that will not be able to marry in their own churches, in their own dioceses.

David Allen

Perhaps for the interim, in those 9 dioceses, folks should seek sanctuary in GLBT-friendly ELCA parishes! If all those dioceses had left was a conservative membership matching their bishops, they may fail financially. Then we can rebuild and move on.

Bro David

David Allen

Please understand Samuel, this is my suggestion. This is not actively happening to my knowledge.

Bro David

Samuel Richards

David Allen,

The approach you describe being embraced by the ECLA sounds like the one in operation in the post-schism Pittsburgh Diocese. I wish General Convention had opted for this approach. It would have ensured space for marriage in all dioceses while preserving traditionalist enclaves as the church universal continues the conversation.

David Allen

I should expect, knowing the background of the 3 united churches that formed the ELCA, that there is no uniformity to being progressive. And since those churches were generally regional, depending on where their ethnic forebears settled in the USA, one would expect large pockets of conservative synods and parishes.

But one could hope Jon.

And in the ELCA each congregation gets to decide for itself, with its pastor, whether to embrace marriage equality. So the synodical bishop can’t forbid ME in their synod.

Jon White

ELCA parishes are not uniformly progressive and are likely to be similarly conservative to Episcopal parishes in those dioceses. The ELCA synod where I live is decidedly more conservative than our diocese which is pretty conservative itself.

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