Albany clergy meet… no defined path forward yet

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This week, clergy from the diocese of Albany gathered at their diocesan retreat center in Greenwich, NY to come to grip with the passing of Resolution B012 at General Convention earlier this year. Albany has been one of eight dioceses across the United States that forbid same-sex marriages diocese-wide. Now that General Convention has taken away the ability of dioceses and diocesan bishops to set up such blanket bans on marriage equality, those dioceses have been trying to figure out the implications for themselves both as a diocese and as individuals still holding to “traditional” ideas about marriage.

 

At the conservative-leaning The Living Church, Leander Harding, Dean of the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany expresses his sense of defeated-ness in an essay titled “Disarmed.”

 

In it he wrote;

“The choices seem rather straightforward to me. Either we make our peace with serving in a church that endorses same-sex marriage as part of its normative teaching, and we make an accommodation for those parishes in favor of such rites. Or we leave individually or in some corporate sense”

“The traditionalist perspective in the Episcopal Church — particularly with regard to the meaning of marriage — has been completely defeated within the councils of our church. The continued existence and witness of traditionalists within this church is entirely at the sufferance of those in the theological majority, some of whom look upon us with a mixture of pity and contempt, even as others (notably the House of Bishops) call us “indispensable.””

 

 

The Times Union in New York’s Capital District has been closely following developments in the diocese of Albany as it struggles with marriage equality. Following up on the September 6th diocesan clergy meeting, they reported;

“Albany Bishop William Love, who spoke with The Times Union following the meeting, said the time was used to pray, worship and converse in private.

“Today was a chance for us to come together and for me to be able to hear from the clergy of the diocese and for them to be able to hear from me,” Love said. “It gave us an opportunity to come together as brothers and sisters of Christ and just say, ‘OK, this is what was put before us,’ and to figure out how best to be faithful to the lord and work through these issues.”

“Due to the complexities of this issue, I am still praying and trying to become as informed as I can as to what best to do with this resolution,” Love said”

Afterwards, Bishop love sent a letter to the diocese. No new policies, directives, or other plans have been laid out, or even decided on.  The bishop characterized the meeting as “positive and helpful.”

“Overall, I found the day to be positive and helpful as I continue to discern how I, as the Bishop, will respond to B012 and lead the Diocese in the days to come. A wide variety of diverse thoughts and opinions were offered by the clergy regarding B012.  All were shared in good faith.

As I mentioned in my letter of invitation to the clergy, the purpose of the meeting was NOT for me to issue a proclamation at that time on how B012 will be carried out in the Diocese of Albany, but rather for me to share with them some of my thoughts regarding B012; to clarify my understanding of what it does and doesn’t say; and to give me a chance to listen to the thoughts and concerns of the clergy.

Ultimately, as the Bishop, I will make a decision regarding my response to B012 and how it will be dealt with in the Diocese of Albany. That decision will be made thoughtfully and prayerfully and will be openly shared with the whole Diocese prior to December 2nd”

 

The entirety of Bishop Loves message is below:

 

 


A Message From Bishop Love

September 7, 2018

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I met with the clergy of the Diocese of Albany on Thursday, September 6 th , to discuss the recently passed General Convention Resolution B012. In order to provide a “safe setting,” enabling all the clergy to speak freely without fear of being quoted in the local newspaper, or by other clergy, the meeting was held within the context of an Executive Session. Approximately 130 clergy were able to attend.

I invited the clergy to reflect and share their thoughts regarding B012, particularly as it impacts them individually and their ministry as deacons and priests; the potential impact on their parishes; and the potential impact on the Diocese as a whole. I also asked what they would like to see from the Bishop prior to December 2 nd (the first Sunday of Advent and the effective date of all General Convention Resolutions).

Overall, I found the day to be positive and helpful as I continue to discern how I, as the Bishop, will respond to B012 and lead the Diocese in the days to come. A wide variety of diverse thoughts and opinions were offered by the clergy regarding B012.  All were shared in good faith.

As I mentioned in my letter of invitation to the clergy, the purpose of the meeting was NOT for me to issue a proclamation at that time on how B012 will be carried out in the Diocese of Albany, but rather for me to share with them some of my thoughts regarding B012; to clarify my understanding of what it does and doesn’t say; and to give me a chance to listen to the thoughts and concerns of the clergy.

Ultimately, as the Bishop, I will make a decision regarding my response to B012 and how it will be dealt with in the Diocese of Albany. That decision will be made thoughtfully and prayerfully and will be openly shared with the whole Diocese prior to December 2 nd .

While, I know there are some who would like me to simply say today what I am going to do, it is not simply a matter of being for or against same-sex marriage. As a result of the complexity of B012, there are a multitude of implications not only for same-sex couples wishing to be married in their home parish, but also for the clergy and parishes involved; for my role and ministry as Bishop; for the Diocese of Albany and its relationship with the wider Anglican Communion and body of Christ.

Whatever decision I and or the rest of the Church make regarding B012, there will be consequences. There is no escaping that. My ultimate desire as your Bishop, is to be faithful and obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ, discerning not my will, but His will in knowing how best to lead the Diocese of Albany in such a way that He will be glorified and His Church and people be blessed. Please keep me and our Diocese in your prayers.

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,
+William H. Love
Bishop of Albany

 

 


photo By Amy Biancolli, Times-Union

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

It bugs me that it isn't enough that he doesn't have to perform the marriages, he's upset because he can't stop others from following their conscience, their love, and their understanding of Jesus. He's upset because he's lost his power over others. One of his options is to step down as bishop and be a parish priest in a conservative, nonmarrying parish. Then he can exercise his conscience in the company of the like-minded.

Problem solved. There's room for everyone, with just enough Grace.

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Philip B. Spivey
Guest
Philip B. Spivey

Question: When is Love an oxymoron ?

Answer: When hearts are broken.

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