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.