The saint emerging from #Primates2016

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Ruth Gledhill, former religion correspondent for The Times who now writes for Christian Today, offers this tribute to our presiding bishop:

The saint emerging from this sad hour is not the Archbishop of Canterbury, nor any leader of the Global South churches.

It is the Primate of The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

He has not been well. In Canterbury this week, he has appeared in the flesh, as well as in spirit, as a person enduring great suffering. He is a champion of gay rights. In response to the sanctions against his Church, he said: “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain. The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow Primates in the Anglican family.”

The holiness in him and in his words is tangible. It is a genuine turning of the other cheek. He is not threatening to walk away, he is pledging his Church to walk together with all the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

It is his grace in the face of terrible rejection that shines out from this whole sorry episode.

Read it all: The sacrificial grace of Bishop Michael Curry of The Episcopal Church.

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48 Responses to "The saint emerging from #Primates2016"
  1. There is a line from the old service of Compline, something like, "The Lord grant us a quiet night and a peaceful rest." On days like today you wonder if that is possible. This article makes one hopeful that, even on a night such as this, it is possible. Thanks so much.

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  2. With each passing month I am more and more sure Michael Curry is the right man, at the right time, in the right place to make the Jesus Movement very, very real

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  3. I am proud to have Michael Curry as my Bishop in the Episcopal Church of the USA. He is leading with grace and wisdom.

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  4. So much grace in this man. So much faith. Thank God for this PB and the witness he brings!

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  5. Yes, indeed. It must have been a very difficult week. You can see the stress in his face in the video. But you can also see the Light. I was going to be very angry, but his faith and love reached out to me, kept me steady, and won me over to the Jesus Work. Yeah, saintly.

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    • Oh, and a Brit on Thinking Anglican asked if they could borrow him for awhile and I said "No!" But that we could do some of the Jesus work together.

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  6. Yes, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry responded at the Primates Meeting as the Faithful Servant Leader that he is! Thanks for this wonderful article!

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  7. See Isaiah 40:8 and Roman's 1:16. No amount of eloquence nor the empty social philosophies that seek to replace the timeless Wisdom of Gods Word can justify the clear and unambiguous transgression of Matt 19:4 - 6 Jesus Himself speaking.

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    • "Jesus Himself speaking."

      Your entire comment (inc proof-texts) is Eli Elliot speaking.

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  8. 'Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not [and will not] overcome it.'

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    • Off topic, I know....but 20 years ago, you, Mother Barrett, baptized my daughter Nellie at St.Ignatius Antioch in NYC. So glad to see you are still fighting the good fight as is Bishop Curry....Nellie turned out OK, too.

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  9. While Ruth Gledhill says very laudible things about PB Curry, the entirety of her essay is just one rationalization after another. "Oh so sad, the Primates just HAVE to do this. 'Credible force' and all. Yes, LGBTs will suffer, but don't all Africans?"

    It's one thing to try to empathize w/ another's suffering. It's quite another to use that empathy to excuse one suffering party, as they add to the GREATER suffering of a second, more vulnerable party!

    Really disappointing from Gledhill.

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    • I thought she was trying to put the decision in some global context, which was helpful to me, even though it was obvious that she did not agree with it. Most of us have a very privileged worldview.

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    • Agreed, JC Fisher. Especially this part:-

      "In countries like this, the Church could not remain a credible force in the way it is needed, effective in social action and promoting health care, if it were suddenly to come out campaigning for gay rights."

      All we ever hear from conservatives is that TEC and other mainline churches have surrendered to culture; yet, when boot's on the other foot, suddenly it's just dandy to take account of the local context!

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  10. PB Curry did even better in his interview with BBC Radio 4. He used it as an opportunity to evangelize for liberal Christianity. It was extraordinary.

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    • Bishop Curry is an Evangelist for Jesus. Do you have a link to that BBC Radio interview. I'll look for it. I love hearing Bishop Curry speak.

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  11. I have great respect for the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury even if has lacked a worthy holder since +Michael Ramsey, and for the office of Presiding Bishop. But holiness is as holiness does and I've seen no indication that the PB dissented from the Primates' statement, nor issued any formal dissenting opinion. Everybody seems to have so focused on unity that charity got thrown under the bus. No amount of lovely piety or number of quotes from the Bible excuses or justifies that.

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    • The PB's been clear that General Convention acted correctly, linked the fight for LGBT people's rights to the wider Civil Rights movement, and said he hopes to stay in the Communion to change it.

      Might not be an official dissent, but he's not equivocated or retreated, and the spirit's certainly there. It's a powerful witness to justice.

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  12. PB Curry is walking the liberal Christian walk and I am proud and humbled to follow.

    Must pass this along to the people at church who pay no attention to the greater Anglican communion except when we pray for its primates and bishops by name each week.

    They will remain in our prayers as we hope we'll remain in ours, but in my little faith community, we'll continue to say "All are welcome. Period."

    We are gay and straight, black and white, and accept each other without reservation. Nothing the Primates' statement says will change who we are.

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  13. Well this is surely a different witness than the GD-ing, denunciation, condemnation, viturperation, accusations of bigotry and ignorance that one reads in comment after comment respecting anyone who does not agree with same-sex marriage, as the Primates in gathering have not done.

    Good for Bishop Curry.

    He stated the position of TEC, said TEC would stay the course, and that it would not agree the position of the Primates or Lambeth 1.10 on marriage.

    So TEC has its independence.

    Why all the ruckus and ire?

    It appears there are two liberal positions in conflict: we are independent and don't need or want any common life with those who disagree with us on same-sex marriage, and hold them in contempt; and, we want to stay in the Communion and persuade others we are right on this matter.

    It will be interesting to see which liberal position wins out.

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    • The "GD-ing, denunciation, condemnation, viturperation, accusations of bigotry and ignorance" you perceive here is positively wimpy and tame compared to the "GD-ing, denunciation, condemnation, viturperation, accusations of bigotry and ignorance" on Anglican Ink (among others). What I've read on that conservative Anglican portal over the past week as been hair-raising, in tone, attitude, language and some shady journalistic ethics. If the Spirit is among them, one wonders why His fruit isn't showing itself there — you know, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

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      • I have never understood the comparison of two wrongs idea.

        We're Christians. "They're as bad as we are or worse" doesn't make any sense to me.

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      • Glad you can acknowledge we're all Christians, Christopher. Much amid the editorials, articles and comments on Anglican Ink make it abundantly clear that some very vocal conservatives opine that the Episcopal Church is no longer Christian. The words "heretical" and "apostate" get thrown around a lot there, along with more "colorful" language, to boot. So it's not really a matter of "they're as bad as we are or worse" — just a matter of what witness "true, religious, godly, orthodox, Bible-believing Christians" bear to the observant world by the language, tone and attitude they use in speaking with others or about others. Hopefully you can make some sense of that. Things may not be perfect here on Episcopal Cafe (nothing is on this side of the grave), but I commend the editors in their efforts to keep the conversation here much more civil than I've found on Anglican Ink.

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      • Oh I am regularly called ignorant or bigoted or worse here.

        I think one just needs to ignore that and move one.

        Christ asks us for a higher calling than tit for tat.

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    • To clarify, Prof. Seitz, the "GD-ing" (which has, reasonably enough, been airbrushed out its original location) was directed solely at Primates 2016. I've repeatedly got to bat for traditionalists who sincerely and conscientiously hold their position, make a genuine effort to treat LGBT people with love, and don't seek to impose their beliefs on others: disagree as I do, I don't believe they're homophobic, and have frequently said so.

      What I don't accept is the double-talk, jurisdictional overreach, and naked realpolitik that sees TEC sanctioned for marrying loving same-sex couples, while other provinces get a total walk for their leaders demanding jailtime. I'll happily GD that all day long.

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      • What I find so bizarre is why adults cannot disagree and get on with it?

        The Primates have a view. Even +Hiltz speaks now of 'mutual accountability.'

        As has been noted by bona fide progressives, TEC said it had a cause greater than that. That it rejects the mind of the Communion as represented at this meeting, and in the understanding of marriage in Lambeth 1.10.

        So why pour out so much scorn? Why not hold your head high and say 'we are right' and let others testify to the truth as they see it.

        The liberal impasse is internal to its own self-expression: it wants to be right and progressive, and it can't stand the idea that others will not walk on that road into a new space with them.

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  14. Wondering if there will be an emergency meeting of TEC bishops to respond to these developments?

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    • Hope not....response was made by PB immediately <3 Thanks be to God!

      [Jenn - please sign your full names as per our policy. Thanks Editor]

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  15. People should very carefully read the underlying article; it smacks of British arrogance. What she is really saying is forced an African American Presiding Bishop to the back of the bus, so WE can, in the form of Welby, do God's work in the world. I agree with JC Fisher. The underlying article was ridiculous.

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    • That's not the only problem with the article.

      She concedes that Uganda walked out, but then says, "This grace and sacrifice is what has allowed the Archbishop of Canterbury to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion this week."

      History will likely show that unity has not been preserved.

      Then Gledhill goes on to suggest solutions. First, that the Communion accept concurrent jurisdictions, as in Europe. This is a cave-in to ACNA and would imperil the CofE's position in England.

      Or second "a more federal" structure like the Lutherans -- which is a complete (and Seitz-like) misuse of the word "federal."

      Federal means having federal authority at the center. This is exactly what the Communion has never had, and what the Primates are now trying (illegitimately) to grab for themselves.

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      • Gledhill's use of 'federal' tracks with the common usage vis-à-vis Communion, as this discussion has recently transpired.

        Of course anyone can have recourse to their own preferred usages of words.

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  16. I pray for Bishop Curry's good health, that he remain strong , with endurance and that he would rest in the Lord.

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      • Please follow the comment policy and post using your first & last names. -ed

        I believe he will.

        He received me into TEC in Jan of 09. While i have NO significant personal interaction with him what Ive had the privilege of being a small part of in the Diocese of NC assures me he will!

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  17. Not sure that the PB has authority to make decisions outside of the Executive Committee. They should be meeting and acting.

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  18. As a couple of commentators have pointed out, the article itself is not very good; but focusing on the views of Bishop Curry, the citation in the article above together with his remarks in the interview (see other thread) were the best way to end the terrible day that was yesterday.

    Back to the full article, the author's notion that we sit in judgement of other parts of The Communion at our peril is nonsense. Countries must be judged on their human rights abuses. Uganda, for example, has a terrible human rights record. Just for example, check out the view of Uganda from Human Rights Watch.

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  19. When my wife and I joined the Episcopal Church in 1992, we were asked two questions: are you a Christian?,and have you been baptized? Both were yes! We were not questioned about any of the discrimination things. Let's pray the Anglicans can learn to be more accepting of people without being discriminatory. I'm with Bishop Curry!

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  20. I choose to believe the next three years will allow the rest of the Anglican Communion, at least by majority, to catch up to TEC. Being genteel will keep doors open. We need people to listen. So rise above the reflexive reaction. Stand beside an open door to be welcomed into our house for hospitality and lovingkindness.

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  21. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...thanks be...and thanks be for the life and witness of Michael Bruce Curry.

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  22. Let us also consider that not all districts have opened their hearts to women clergy. Some will allow service as a deacon, others stop at Bishop. It seems we will have a longer wait than three years before the message of inclusion reaches all ears. Think back to the early days of Christianity and why it spread so successfully. It was because Christians took in the outcasts, fed the hungry, served the sick. Let us keep that evangelical outlook as we pray for the rest of the Anglican Communion. They allow themselves to be driven by fear, fear of cultural reprisal, fear of being tainted by association with the outcasts of society. I pray for them to open their hearts to the very simple message Christ brings to us. I pray that my heart stays open to comfort their fear. Peace to all.

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