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commit ourselves to pray daily for TEC , its bishops, clergy and people, until the decision of the Primates’ Meeting is rescinded.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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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