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Bishop Love warns of “major schism” over marriage equality

Bishop Love warns of “major schism” over marriage equality

A long read in the TimesUnion of Albany looks at the view from the episcopal office as Bishop William Love prepares to meet with clergy this Thursday to discuss the diocese’s response to actions at General Convention designed to extend marriage equality across the Episcopal Church.

Love was interviewed for over two hours for the story. This Thursday’s meeting may be crucial to understanding how the diocese will move forward, as Love told the paper, “We’re in the midst of a major schism.”

 Love knows he’s been branded as one of the stuck. “What is frustrating to me is to be accused of failing to understand marriage, or whatever – when, in fact, what I’m teaching is what the church has always taught, and what God has revealed through holy Scripture,” he said. “The new understanding of marriage is a new thing, just within a matter of a decade or so.” …

He often meets with gay congregants and volunteers, setting aside any differences in belief.  He said the injunction against gay marriage, or even gay sex, has no bearing on his regard for gays as human beings: Everyone is a sinner, himself included.  If anything, he said, the Episcopal Church “is doing a great injustice” to gays, affirming their behavior and depriving them of a chance to repent.

The paper interviewed some who agree with Love, and some who don’t.

“I think there’s a huge cognitive disconnect between the elements that are held up in defense of Bishop Love’s position” and other elements that negate it, said Brandon Dumas, director of music ministry at St. George’s in Schenectady and a gay man who grew up singing in the choir at All Saints.  …

Dumas, too, is a lifelong Episcopalian. But the music director doesn’t picture himself getting married any longer. This whole debate has made the sacrament moot: All the talk about whether he qualifies as a gay man “has been completely desensitizing.” And, frankly, has tested his faith.

Not his faith in the church. “My faith in God. My faith in God. You know, because here I am – this is who I am – and I’m still being called into question. Sure, the bishop says he has nothing, really, against gay people – well, that’s not true, then, is it? Because this wouldn’t be an issue. You can’t walk around with that double standard. . . . And so it tests me.”

Despite Love’s talk of schism, the diocese has not lost a single parish (although some have availed themselves of DEPO) over the issues arising out of General Convention’s embrace of marriage equality. And, TimesUnion notes,

most everyone interviewed, Love included, said they value unity. But most everyone professes their faith and opinions from a stance of unshakable conviction, much of it based on their interpretation of Scripture. 

This Thursday’s clergy gathering is scheduled at the diocesan retreat center.

Read more of Love’s interview, and words from other respondents, at the TimesUnion.


Photo of Bishop Love via the Episcopal Diocese of Albany online

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Mary Barrett

Wow. His call for gay people to repent and for the Church to stop affirming their behavior is the kind of remarks that healthy gay people know to not give power to. That is his belief which he is entitled to. Luckily that is all it is--he has little say over who is part of the Kingdom of God.

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Thomas Andrew

What's even more shocking is that a Bishop with the last name to which we can tie together that Jesus died for the sake of all LOVE, is still being questioned? Are you Bishop still questioning what Jesus did on the cross or are you more interested in your ego?. How is that someone who has made it the top of his ministry forget to consider to whom you have taken your vow on? It's not a history of marriage. It's not a political agenda, It's not even a church institution. Your vow is on the crucified Christ & Risen Christ. Christ who died to show what LOVE is. Wake Up church. Stay woke CHURCH! We need to focus on Jesus's love and not an interpretation of what marriage is in 2018.

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Cynthia Katsarelis

It's deja vu all over again, with a twist. The church has been marrying us for three years now. So now the problem is that Bishop Love can no longer oppress the LGBTQI people in his diocese, and conservative parishes don't get to lord it over liberal ones. And that is worth schism?

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Joan Falconer

Perhaps the question is whether we worship GOD or simply a Book, which is what Holy Scripture is (still more, the BCP)--written by people who were divinely inspired but had normal human limitations: they didn't have some kinds of knowledge. (Jesus also had these limitations; if He didn't, He wasn't truly human.) So we know now that homosexuality has some genetic basis and since one cannot repent of one's genes, a gay person has no reason to repent. So then, knowing that the person was created this way by God, is this person to be forced into a life of loneliness? What is loving about that? I don't see that "faith" has anything to do with it. I've been told by those who know the language that Hebrew has no word for "faith" as a noun, only as a verb; i.e., "faith" was something you DID, as the author of the letter of James took pains to point out. In that case "faith" equals love in action, and any action that causes misery to another should at least be called into question.

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Chris Harwood

If "Genetics maketh man" then we can get rid of the nonsense of marriage and monogamy altogether as humanity is not genetically predisposed to have a single mate for life. Next up polyamory or just tossing marriage altogether. Some cancers are genetic, save money, don't fight, right? Morality should not be controlled by genetics, for humans are genetically/instinctively set for survival at any cost. Cheating, violence, it's all instinctive and genetic. "Do unto others" has no gene. Of course many churches look the other way when "Christians" sleep around before marriage, cheat on their spouses, etc. so LGBTs are right that if everyone else can do whatever they want without the church caring, they should be able to as well. From what I've seen in churches, heaven help the person, gay or straight, who chooses to be celibate. They get shunned and mocked from both sides. That is who the church really hates the most. Would Jesus have been on Tinder?

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R. E. Donnelly

The understanding of marriage has changed over the centuries and lately. At times it was an economic or political union. Often a matter of need to put widowed men and women together without modern regard for romance or affection Why the church got involved in these transactions is a puzzle since it has used its authority to keep some from divorcing, remarrying and thus enforced unwed cohabitation. I guess if it’s good enough to impose unwed bliss on hetero couples it should extend to same sex couples.

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