Letter from Church of Ireland clergy in support of TEC following Primates gathering

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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry received a letter from clergy in the Church of Ireland, affirming their support for the Episcopal Church, and a notification that they’d disassociated themselves from the statement the Primates issued.

To Most Rev. Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop The Episcopal Church

Most Reverend Sir,
We the undersigned serving and retired clergy of the Church of Ireland greet you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

1. We dissociate from the decision of the Primates’ Meeting in respect of TEC.
2. We thank you for your exemplary witness in word and behaviour in the face of the announcement of that decision.
3. We are grateful for the witness of TEC in its worship and commitment to equality amongst all the People of God.
4. We commit ourselves to pray daily for TEC , its bishops, clergy and people, until the decision of the Primates’ Meeting is rescinded.

There is a large faction in the Church of Ireland that is in favor of extending marriage rites for same-sex couples, a right which the electorate in the Republic of Ireland affirmed in a majority vote which caused even Catholic church leaders to question their own credibility. Church of Ireland Bishop Paul Colton, of Cork, issued a statement in support of full equality for LGBT people in 2014, and the Church of Ireland-based group Changing Attitude Ireland is working towards full equality as well. Following the Republic’s civil referendum on same-sex marriage, the Church of Ireland issued a pastoral letter affirming that there was still no rite for a same-sex couple, but that priests were permitted to have a civil marriage with a same-sex partner, and that individuals could determine for themselves if they should attend a marriage for a same-sex couple based on their relationship to that couple, and not Church doctrine.

At our Facebook post of this item there are Church of Ireland clergy from the Republic & Northern Ireland commenting that they signed. The letter says 55 clergy signed.

Do you think the Church of Ireland is going to create a marriage rite for same-sex couples? Do you see the sequence of events as depicting a situation where the people are leading the authorities in discernment and relationship with God?

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Brian E. Ridgeway
Guest
Brian E. Ridgeway

I have seen our own congregation in Orleans, MA, USA split when LGBT rose in consciousness 10 years ago. My Father, an Englishman by culture, a Priest in New York Diocese by vocation, believed that love is the glue in marriage not gender. As he passed in 1984, I am glad he did not observe the chaos caused by traditionalists in TEC and now by the Anglican Communion. Thank you Church of Ireland for praying and supporting our stance in TEC.

As my wife and I are visiting Ireland this coming May-June for three weeks, we will worship with you & pray for tolerance among the Prelates!

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Mark A. Zottola
Guest
Mark A. Zottola

Doesn't the opposition to same-sex marriage boil down to who is putting what where? Marriage is a ceremony celebrating a love commitment that both parties hope is eternal. In that light, there is the unspoken but all too real consequence that certain types of sex are "wrong". Doesn't it follow that married couples engaging in such are really breaking a theological marriage vow? Do we now need manuals in acceptable forms of sex? Do we follow the Roman Catholic idea that all sex must end in the opportunity for procreation? So much muddled thinking from bishops who should be above such nonsensical thinking.

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Phillip Ayers
Guest
Phillip Ayers

TEC should be glad of the support of its brothers and sisters in the Church of Ireland. It's good to have it!
On another subject, does anyone know why no "new bishops" from TEC were at the new bishops' meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury recently? Is the "horrible punishment" already ensuing?

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Jeremy Bates
Guest
Jeremy Bates

Half of me wonders, "To what new bishops' meeting do you refer?"

The other half wonders, "So what?"

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Bruce Garner
Guest
Bruce Garner

I wonder how many have looked at the Articles of Religion that some refer to for guidance? In that document, Article XXV states that there are only two sacraments of the Gospel: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The comments about the "other 5" which lists matrimony are not that "nice" in that they describe them in language not overly supportive.

Similarly, The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886, 1888, and the Resolution 11 of the 1888 Lambeth Conference refer to 4 items as being all that is necessary for the restoration of unity among Christian churches. Again, Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only two sacraments listed.

The third item of the Chicago document that precedes the listing of the 4 items essential for restoration, includes these words: 3. That in all things of human ordering or human choice, relating to modes of worship and discipline, or to traditional customs, this Church is ready in the spirit of love and humility to forego all preferences of her own.

Matrimony has a sketchy history in Scripture and in culture over the centuries. Yet some attach themselves to that doctrine as if it had never changed or been different when in fact it has undergone significant change and been vastly different among different societies.

Perhaps it is time that all of us, including the Primates of the Anglican Communion own the fact that all that we are claiming as having always been, just isn't so. And perhaps it is time to start looking at the pastoral needs of all loving couples and how the church can support them rather than denigrate them.

Just a thought......

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Mary Naughton
Guest
Mary Naughton

As a female Episcopal priest in the US and a child of Cork and Roscommon, so proud of you, Cof I! Thank you.

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Wendy Tobias
Guest

As a female Episcopal priest, thank you, Church of Ireland, for your solidarity. Thanks to the youth and Milennials as well who are leading the way for us globally in so many ways.

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Pr Dan Strobel
Guest
Pr Dan Strobel

May they be One Father as We are One!

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Harry Kerr
Guest
Harry Kerr

I am proud of the C of I as one who was ordained there 50 years ago. Keep it going

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Dana Strong ("Nick") Wyman
Guest
Dana Strong ("Nick") Wyman

This is a postscript.

God bless the young of Ireland and the young in this country for leading the way. They continue to lead the way in so many respects, in our society. My experience with the Millenials has given me a deep and abiding respect and affection for them; I hardly dare to say it: they may be the saving of this broken world.

Our Lord Jesus Christ went to the wedding feast. It was probably a great party; but his friends got into a bind when they ran out of wine; he performed a miracle and saved the party. He blessed the wedding feast by His mere presence. We have, it seems to me, conveniently read into this story His blessing of the institution of marriage. That seems a bit of a stretch. I believe He loved and affirmed anything that affirmed the power of love. All of that said, it's the miracle, I believe, that is the central concern of the Evangelists in recording this story.

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Dana Strong ("Nick") Wyman
Guest
Dana Strong ("Nick") Wyman

Very kind, and very gratefully received, indeed.
Societies in the west are moving more and more firmly toward full acceptance of and theological readjustment toward the wholeness and holiness of same-sex marriage. Ireland just may lead the way in the Isles. That would be a startling change, but a sign of health and confidence.

Patience with the pace of things and the mere force of time may bring the majority of Anglicans to the understanding that our Incarnational witness to the world admits of no other course. If some of us may live fully into a witness of love, whilst others may not, we are all diminished in our witness. Our Lord himself, insofar as we are permitted to know, was utterly silent on this topic. His Witness was to the transcendent power of love as the ultimate fulfillment of the Law.

God bless our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church of Ireland for their witness.

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R. Perra
Guest
R. Perra

Thank you Ireland for your prayers.

[R.Perra - please sign your first name as well as your last as per our guidelines. thanks, editor]

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Jim Rosenthal
Guest
Jim Rosenthal

55 is quite a number as the C of I is small...

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Errol Narain
Guest
Errol Narain

The basis of marriage is love- the unconditional love of God. Marriage is not how one does sex. Unconditional love is not transactional love, transacted by beliefs and doctrines. Love happens between people, no matter what the gender. In Christ, there is no gender.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDic, PhD
Guest
Dr. William A. Flint, MDic, PhD

I still think the event of the Irish Referendum on Marriage Equality should not be overlooked by the Church of Ireland or any of the Euro-Western churches. The world seems divided into two camps; one that thinks marriage is set in stone and the other believing that marriage is evolving. For me the real question is how do you interpret "the Image of God".

A theologian buddy of mine said it this way. Some look at the wedding in Cana and say Jesus acknowledged holy matrimony and we made it a sacrament. However, seeing Jesus was not invited to the wedding, but drug there by his mother. Others say it is all about Jesus turning water into really great wine, but we don't have the sacrament of wine making - which he actually did at the wedding. Note he didn't officiate the wedding, but he did turn the water into wine.

I guess it is all how you look at it.

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Michelle Jackson
Guest
Michelle Jackson

Just a nit-picky point...John 2:2 says "Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding."

It is nice to know that others are supporting TEC, and yes, the image of marriage is ever evolving. It used to be a contract that bound families and land. Love is more important now

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Jeremy Bates
Guest
Jeremy Bates

According to CNI, Church News Ireland, this letter was signed by "55 clergy of the Church of Ireland."

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Prof. Christopher Seitz
Guest
Prof. Christopher Seitz

What percentage of active clergy is that? Sounds like 10%?

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Jeremy Bates
Guest
Jeremy Bates

Sounds about right. Church of Ireland website says it has "12 dioceses, over 450 parochial units and over 500 stipendiary clergy."

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

I don't know if the Church of Ireland is going to create rites for gay couples (ours is used by straight couples too). But I can hardly wait to meet some of them this summer and I plan to have some Episcopal Church pins in my pocket to give to any friends who want them.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD
Guest
Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

I forgot to say that when marriage equality was on the Irish ballot, the young people came from all over the world to vote. The energy of the Irish youth spoke to this issue in Ireland and was heard around the world. For any Church to turn a deaf ear to what happened, I think it has doomed itself to non-existence in 15 to 20 years.

I am of Irish descent and I support the Irish as they work to bring marriage equality to the Church if Ireland.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD
Guest
Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

How goes the youth, goes the Church. The future of the Church depends on its youth. The young people of today are loving and accepting of all God's children and for this we can thank God.

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