Thursday, March 15, 2007

This is one reason I love Amherst

There has been a lot of pressure on our Episcopalian brethren over the past few years especially regarding the issue of GLBT acceptance in the Anglican church. It is a long and torturous story with lots of history. But the latest blow came when, bowing to the pressure from 3rd world Anglican conservative primates, the US Episcopalian church, in a move to avoid being ejected from the worldwide Anglican communion, bowed to the wishes of others and agreed to a moratorium on GLBT marriages.

These are moments when I am so proud to be from Massachusetts, a state in which GLBT unions are legal. In the sleepy little college town Amherst, home of the University of Massachusetts (my alma mater), a few Episcopalian priests reacted like true priests, with grace and justice. Here is the Associated Press release.

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - An Episcopal minister will stop performing all wedding ceremonies to protest the denomination's prohibition of same-sex unions.

"We are called to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives," said the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, rector of Grace Episcopal Church.

Several members of the congregation say they support Hirschfeld's move, which he announced in his Sunday sermon. Others said they were concerned that that the move might add to the polarization of an issue that has already divided Episcopals.

Erica Winter, of Northampton, said working for social justice often involves giving up something.

"I'm so proud to be a part of this," Nina Scott, a congregant from Amherst, said. "It's a step that needs to be taken."

Two priest associates at Grace Church, the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and the Rev. Burton Whiteside, also said they won't perform marriages.

"I am convinced that when gays and lesbians are baptized, they become full members of the body of Christ," said Bullitt-Jonas. "They are not partial members or conditional members or second-class members."

Amen, amen and amen.


Blogger Jayne said...

I'll add a fourth AMEN. :c) Thanks for the call yesterday dear friend.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Songbird said...

Amen from these parts, too.
An attempt was made in my state to remove clergy from the list of those who can sign marriage licenses, a move I would embrace, but the legislature hardly took the time to read through it, much less listen to why.

8:01 AM  
Blogger toujoursdan said...

I am not sure you got the news but the Episcopal church's House of Bishops issued a statement rejecting the ultimatum from Tanzania, denouncing the lack of attention that the ultimatum showed towards women and gays.

It is incumbent upon us as disciples to do our best to follow Jesus in the increasing experience of the leading of the Holy Spirit. We fully understand that others in the Communion believe the same, but we do not believe that Jesus leads us to break our relationships. We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God's truth. If that means that others reject us and refuse communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.

ENS: Bishops Respond to the Communiqué

The Canadian Church's Council of General Synod has drafted a resolution saying that Same Sex Blessings are consistent with Christian doctrine. It will take a 60% affirmative vote to pass at General Synod this summer.

Something is happening...

11:36 PM  
Blogger beyond the dimensions said...

Thanks for your thoughts here.

10:29 AM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

i was in Tanzania last year and the anglican community is marginalising so many people regarding this issue - interestingly the pentecostal movement is thriving and growing because it refuses to be polarised by the debate and treats all equally - no matter what

interesting i thought

12:33 PM  

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