Presiding Officers Respond to Albany Bishop’s Letter

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On Saturday, Bishop William H. Love of the Diocese of Albany released a letter (trigger warning:  homophobia) to his diocese informing them that he would not abide by Resolution B012 of the 2018 General Convention, “Marriage Rites for the Whole Church.”
Today Presiding Bishop Curry and House of Deputies President Jennings released these statements in response:
From Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:
I have read the recent statement from Bishop Bill Love of the Diocese of Albany and am aware of the deep hurt on all sides of the issues it addresses. I have been, and will continue to be, in conversation with Bishop Love about this matter. Along with other leaders in The Episcopal Church, I am assessing the implications of the statement and will make determinations about appropriate actions soon.
We are committed to the principle of full and equal access to, and inclusion in, the sacraments for all of the baptized children of God, including our LGBTQ siblings. For as St. Paul reminds us in Galatians 3, “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
As members of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12), we also are committed to respecting the conscience of those who hold opinions that differ from the official policy of The Episcopal Church regarding the sacrament of marriage. It should be noted that the canons of The Episcopal Church give authority to all members of the clergy to decline to officiate a marriage for reasons of conscience, and Resolution B012 of the 79th General Convention does not change this fact.
In all matters, those of us who have taken vows to obey the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church must act in ways that reflect and uphold the discernment and decisions of the General Convention of the Church.
I ask the prayers of all in the Church at this time, as we move forward.
From House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings:

For more than 40 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed, studied and discerned and, in doing so, we have seen the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of LGBT people. The Episcopal Church’s General Convention, our highest temporal authority, first acknowledged that God calls LGBT people to any ordained ministry in 2009. In 2012, the General Convention authorized a liturgical rite for the blessing of same sex unions, and in 2015, we authorized marriage equality in the church.

We recognize the Holy Spirit at work in the marriages of LGBTQ people and we know that there are Christians who have been drawn further into fidelity and service to the world by living in committed same-sex partnerships and marriages based on holy love and the gift of seeing Christ in one another. When we celebrate these marriages, the entire church is blessed by the love and fidelity of these faithful couples.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

Lordy! Lordy! Still fighting the Civil War....it's over!!

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Don Brownlee
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Don Brownlee

I am fully supportive of full inclusion of our LGBTQ siblings in the life and sacraments of the Church, including marriage. Bp. Love's letter is very disappointing.

But your snarky "trigger warning: homophobia" comment is equally disappointing. I realize this is an opinionated blog, but let's show a little respect for people we disagree with.

Would they know you are a Christian by your attitude?

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Gwen Palmer
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Gwen Palmer

I didn’t read it as snark, just as an accurate warning of what readers would encounter if they followed the link to +Love’s full letter.

Now, granted, it’s kind of like the allergy warnings on foods, in which a carton of milk says “Warning: contains milk.” That reading the bishop’s letter means encountering homophobia is sort of obvious. But the warning seems more like over-caution to a purpose of not causing deeper pain than the reader might be expecting. The pain of his words has been truly visceral to some people.

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Jennings Symon
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Jennings Symon

An accurate warning or a editorial interpretation of a theological position? Own it for what it is - an opinion. It may be accurate for some, it's not a "fact."

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Gwen Palmer
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Gwen Palmer

I called the trigger warning “accurate,” and I’d like to clarify. I strongly disagree with +Love on this but he seems to honestly fear for the wellbeing of LBGT parishioners and of the church as a whole. The definition of homophobia is a “phobia” of homosexuality and the bishop is genuinely terrified that this one departure from Biblical literalism will cause gays, TEC, and himself to actually have God’s blessing withdrawn. He says so. He says that acceptance of gay sexual relations is of Satan. Against facts and logic, he views SS marital covenantal commitment as nothing more than a succumbing to lust. This is deep fear.

You don’t have to disagree with +Love in order to find this both textbook homophobic, and a verbal knife in the heart of any gay person. When the Café posted this trigger warning, earlier stories had already shown the pain this caused some readers and I really think the Café had a basis for that warning.

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S.R.Price
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S.R.Price

There are different opinions on how to interpret scripture in TEC such as 7 literal and contextual.I don't believe all literalists are homophobic.I do believe they need more exposure to the history of the culture in which the scriptures were written which might help them better understand the contextual point of view

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S.R.Price
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S.R.Price

"7" is a misprint

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Rod Roberts
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Rod Roberts

I'ma retired person, formerly Presbyterian (USA) minister for a while. Currently I "caucus" with a wonderful Episcopal congregation, St. Anne's, in beautiful Winston-Salem. One of the reasons I'm worshiping there is precisely because this is supposed to be settled. We love everybody. Period. Barring any of the sacraments seems to contravene the bishop's presumed good intention. My own theological training remembers the stance of John Wesley, who never stopped being an Anglican, that the sacraments are "converting ordinances." In other words, no matter the state of your soul, you are to be received & administered, so that anything in you that needs healing, gets healing. I don't believe that non-binary/non-cis-gender people actually have any special issue anyway, but of they did, the sacraments would help, right? So I don't get Bishop Love's reasoning...

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S.R.Price
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S.R.Price

Dan Ennis is right.This Bishop's words are the preamble to planned schism and an attempt to seize TEC property and resources.This won't stop until the Church officials make it plain that there will be both civil and criminal consequences for these actions.I hope TEChs moving towards that position in South Carolina where the schismatic Bishop has said he could go to prison for what he has done.He's right.He can and should.v

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William Peyton
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William Peyton

The Presiding Bishop should immediately inhibit Bishop Love and then remove him from the Diocese. This matter was settled at convention !

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Dan Ennis
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Dan Ennis

The laypeople of Albany better start checking the deeds of their parishes. When Mark Lawrence took this route in South Carolina he was simultaneously defying the national church while his loyalist rectors were quietly removing the word "Episcopal" from parish deeds. So if you are a layperson you should ask your wardens to insist that legal actions related to property be approved by vestries and announced to the parish. Trust me, it will save you a lot of trouble years later when Bishop Love is in ACNA and you're in court.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

Uninformed comment. NY State law is not remotely like unto SC. Love has no intention of trying to remove a diocese from TEC in NY State, anymore than +Howe or +Brewer could do in FL. Illinois and TX are different stories, but Albany isn't in those place. And he knows it. The only real question is, when he is thrown out, what will happen to the clergy and parishes who are in line with him? I suspect they will simply hand over the keys and walk away.

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Dan Ennis
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Dan Ennis

I could wallpaper a cathedral with the number of assurances I got from conservatives that "Bishop Lawrence has no intention to remove the diocese from TEC." One from Lawrence himself. In person. Better be safe than sorry. Check your deeds, Albany!

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

Wallpaper away.

NY is not SC and will never be otherwise. +Love knows this. His stance will cost him everything. Parishes faithful to him have no need to check deeds. They will be defeated.

You can wait for 19 Nov for the verdict in SC. There will be no such anticipation in NY state and the good people in Albany know this.

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John Wirenius
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John Wirenius

Actually, Dan, I have to agree in part with Professor Seitz here. The law in New York State was settled in 2008 by our highest court, the Court of Appeals, in Episcopal Diocese of Rochester v. Harnish, 11 NY3d 340 (2008), which held that the Dennis Canon is fully enforceable as to both the Diocese and the national Church. (Text here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I08_0150.htm) As it’s settled law in New York, Bishop Love would expose himself to counterclaims and attorney fees for frivolous litigation.

Doesn’t mean he won’t try, but it’d be stunningly self-defeating.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

One is free to destest Bishop Love for his views theological and canonical. In matters legal, he will have received the counsel I have referred to above. Love has no interest in a SC strategy which would have no hope of success. He will doubtless be tried ecclesiastically on Title IV charges. This could drag out, as one saw in LA. Or the PB could use the authority recently handed to him--nowhere in the Constitution, as if that matters anymore--and just dispatch him.

"...charlatan who is going to participate in an attempt to filibuster the implementation of the Supreme Court directive.ibid1" -- good Lord save us from our excessive commentary. It serves no Christian purpose.

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S.R.Price
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S.R.Price

The verdict in South Carolina was rendered by the Supreme Court of that state in August of 2017 and remitted by that Court to the lOrangeburg court for enforcement.All we'll learn next Monday is whether this judge is an honorable person who takes his responsibility to jurisprudence seriously or if he is a charlatan who is going to participate in an attempt to filibuster the implementation of the Supreme Court directive.ibid1

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

"General Convention" now means a resolution. One could always see this coming.

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William A. Breckenridge
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William A. Breckenridge

Why does the good Bishop Love associate all heterosexual relationships with monogamy & non-promisquous behavior being then able to be sanctified & blessed by the church no matter whether the verification of that reality is true or not?

But Bishop Love, apparently, freely associates all same sex relationships with promoscuity, when, in truth, some may better attend to the very fidlelity & sanctity that the Church esposes in its scripture, doctrine, and sacramentalism, and to which our Lord Jesus called all in His Gospel imperative.

Call, commitment, & covenant are, after all, based upon the very promised ability of all God's people to live by the power of the Holy Spirit and in the manner of the sacrificial life of Jesus. Is he saying Jesus & the Holy Spirit cannot lead his people where the Father wants them to go? Sounds like a policy leaning very close to blasphemy, it would seem.

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Carter Crain
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Carter Crain

What I read from Bishop Love is that heterosexuals must also be chaste. I think he would like to accommodate homosexual behavior that is chaste, but cannot find scriptural support for it.

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Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

But has Bishop Love also decreed that cohabitating heterosexual couples cannot be married in the church?

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Matt Haines
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Matt Haines

“In all matters, those of us who have taken vows to obey the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church must act in ways that reflect and uphold the discernment and decisions of the General Convention of the Church.” Presiding Bishop Curry

If Bishop Love cannot do this with a clear conscience, as an man I faith he must leave our apostate ways...and give up temporal power for the sake of the Kingdom. Or...Drama Queen!

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Stacy Graffam
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Stacy Graffam

I’m glad to see a speedy response. God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves and reminds us that all things are possible through Christ. I am a mindful Christian and I’m a lesbian. Because I believe I was made in God’s image, I am confident I am living a true and honest life, the way God wants me to live. He has blessed me with true love and I refuse to be bullied into hiding who I am or who I love. I will continue to pray for healing and reconciliation for those who have been hurt by this judgmental, homophobic rhetoric.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

I'm grateful for the affirming responses of the PB and Gay Clark Jennings. My biggest concern is getting pastoral care and all the sacraments for all the baptized in the Diocese of Albany. The Satan bit still has me vacillating between hilarity and incredulity with a cup of outrage. 40 years of earnest discernment dismissed as devil-induced delusion... Projection?

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The Rev. Julie Nelson
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The Rev. Julie Nelson

As Jon Steward said, years ago when we were all aghast at the people rushing to Chik-fil-a to support their anti-marriage equality agenda, "This train has left the station. We are well on our way to marriage equality for all and you aren't going to bring the train back into the station." (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the gist).

As I read Bishop Love's letter, it sounded to me like an angry child, standing at the train platform, throwing a temper tantrum because the train left without him. What a sad way to engage in the world, throwing temper tantrums when you don't get your way.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

You have exactly summed up the attitude of those in power in TEC. B012 is simply a gesture. +Love say that and did not sign on. The remaining bishops who uphold the BCP standard will not be tolerated long term. "The train has left the station" and the logic of Jon Steward are TEC guideposts.

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S.R.Price
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S.R.Price

Those in power in TEC are a majority of the delegates to several General Conventions ,chosen by the parishes at Diocesan conventions to represent their points of view on various issues.So those "in power" are the people of the Church.I have no problem with that

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

That's fine. It is not for me at issue. The point is that B012 is a gesture. "Those in power" -- according to your definitions is fine by me -- will see to bringing an end to all BO12 type gestures. Love saw that.

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