Support the Café
Search our site

Forgiveness at Andover-Newton?

Forgiveness at Andover-Newton?

The Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, an alum of Andover-Newton Theological School, reflects on today’s inauguration of the Rev. Martin Copenhaver as its president in the wake of Copenhaver’s extra-marital affair:

It is not judgmental or un-Christian to resist the urge to move immediately from knowledge of someone’s long deceit to warm “forgiveness” so that one’s seminary president can be inaugurated as the official head of the institution. In the Congregational Way, forgiveness of an individual who has sinned began with a confession before the congregation, but did not conclude there. It is possible to forgive someone but still not feel that they are the best possible person to represent one’s institution in the top leadership role.

Finally, I am interested in this moment as an analyzer of clergy image. I have seen Martin Copenhaver preach and lead worship, and he fulfills every physical attribute that most New Englander’s have in their mental image of Trustworthy Pastor. I am proud of Andover-Newton Theological School’s commitment to studying and teaching anti-racist/anti-oppression theologies of justice, and think it legitimate in this situation to examine the ways most members of the community have been socialized to respect the power and authority of able-bodied, white, heterosexual, married men in the Church. We are all responsible for understanding unconscious needs and scripts that are being activated here. Andover-Newton has a large international student body for whom these unconscious associations are not in play. I crave their perspective but have not had a chance to hear it.

No one has had sufficient time to hear anything. That is how shock works in a system. I will not be attending tomorrow’s Inauguration out of respect for the community’s shock, anger and legitimate unanswered questions, out of respect for the ministerial fitness review process that I believe is warranted here, and as a protest against what I feel was a premature and immature plea for forgiveness on behalf of a fairly sequestered body of busy volunteer leaders that is responsible for the fiscal well-being of the seminary. I do not blame the board for its decision; I simply think it was the wrong one. They have made their decision, and communicated it to the wider community. Now it is time for us to respond, and I hope we will.

God be with us all, and move in our community as holy wisdom.

Peace.

For the full reflection please visit Victoria’s blog here.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café