Theology committee controversy: Bishop Parsley responds

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By the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Jr.

Chair, Theology Committee of the House of Bishops:

In response to questions that have been raised about the panel of theologians appointed by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops to prepare a paper on same-sex relationships in the life of the church, I wish to assure those concerned that the panel very intentionally represents a robust range of views on the subject and includes gay and lesbian persons.

This project has been designed in full communication with the House of Bishops. It has always been the committee’s intention to publish the names of the panel when the work has reached the appropriate stage. We believe that for a season the work can best be accomplished by allowing the panel to work in confidence. This supports the full collegiality and academic freedom of the theologians and provides the space they need for the deep dialogue and reflection that is taking place among them.


This project is designed to articulate theologically a full range of views on the matter of same sex relationships in the church’s life and to foster better understanding and respectful discernment among us. It will also be a contribution to the listening process of the larger Communion. It has several stages and is scheduled to be complete by early 2011. We are grateful to the distinguished theologians for their generous service to the church.

We wish to invite any member of the church who wishes to address the panel to send comments to the Theology Committee. We will see that these are communicated to the theologians to enrich their reflection and dialogue.

Comments should be directed to the chair of the committee, Bishop Henry Parsley, at hparsley@dioala.org.

Episcopal Cafe would also like to invite you to send those comments to us if you feel so inclined at feedback@episcopalcafe.com

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Jim Naughton
Guest

Mark Harris' commnets are here:

http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/2009/06/house-of-bishops-theology-committee.html

He argues that the Theology Committee is a creature of General Convention, not the House of Bishops and is therefore its membership and the membership of any sub-committee are subject to the same rules as any other committee. Meaning that the members must be named.

I am not sure that this is the case. The Theology Committee may be a creation of the HOB. Still, the Church's money is being spent on a panel whose members names have not been disclosed. Did the Bishop's approve this? Did they tell us?

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Paul Woodrum
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Paul Woodrum

If the goal of this secret, gnostic, closeted panel is to present a full range of views and not a theological position useful to the deliberations of the HoB, why bother? The full range of opinions is one thing that is not a secret. It runs from gays are pond scum to they are little lower than the angels. Or maybe a bit higher. But theologically all these culturally conditioned opinions add up to nothing except weapons in the culture wars. Why waste anyone's time rehashing them all again?

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Bryant A. Hudson
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Bryant A. Hudson

Secrecy about who is on the committee is not the same as confidential deliberations.

This committee and their eventual report is already tainted. Their findings will be suspect, no matter what they find.

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Ann Fontaine
Guest

Here is a letter to the bishops of the Diocese of Olympia that relates the effect of one more study and the secrecy.

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Ann Fontaine
Guest

Secret committees are a bad idea. This whole study is a bad idea. 2011 is too late - time to act on full inclusion is now.

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