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Old 06-09-2006, 08:24 PM   #1
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Episcopal Church may potentially split!

Church confronts choice
Sexuality dispute tops agenda as thousands gather
Friday, June 09, 2006
Dennis M. Mahoney
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A potential controversy at next week’s Episcopal convention in Columbus was averted last month when the Diocese of California did not elect one of three openly gay candidates to be its next bishop.


LEE MARRINER ASSOCIATED PRESS
V. Gene Robinson was invested as Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire in March 2004.

DISPATCH
At the Greater Columbus Convention Center, John Montgomery of Labor Team dusts the floor as the registration area for the Episcopal Church’s General Convention is readied.


V. Gene Robinson knew that if he were confirmed as New Hampshire bishop by the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA, some people wouldn’t be happy.

But he was taken aback by the ferocity of the reaction to his becoming the denomination’s first openly gay leader.

"Both I and the Diocese of New Hampshire knew that there would be people that would be less than comfortable with my election and consecration," Robinson said. "But I don’t think any of us thought it would have the breadth and depth that it in fact has."

Three years later, as the Episcopal Church comes to Columbus for its 75 th triennial convention, the 2.2 million-member denomination finds its relations strained with the Anglican Communion, the worldwide body of 77 million members to which it belongs, over Robinson’s consecration.

Internally, a small but vocal minority of conservatives, also spurred by the 2003 action, have taken on the denomination, raising the specter of a split.

This year’s convention, which opens Tuesday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center Downtown, will vote on the church’s response to criticism from its sister churches in the communion.

In 2004, a commission representing Anglican leaders around the world wrote the Windsor Report, calling on the U.S. church to stop consecrating gay bishops for now and asking dioceses not to authorize same-sex union ceremonies. It also asked the church to express its regret for the turmoil from Robinson’s election.

In turn, the church developed a document, "One Baptism, One Hope in God’s Call," with several resolutions that will be debated in Columbus and will help mold the response to the Windsor Report.

Among the proposed resolutions:


• The church apologizes "for having breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners" before acting in 2003.


• In electing bishops, dioceses should use "very considerable caution" in choosing those whose "manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church."


• Dioceses should defer same-sex union ceremonies until the Anglican Communion reaches consensus on the issue, and bishops who have approved such ceremonies should apologize.


• The church reiterates that gays are "by baptism full members of the Body of Christ and of the Episcopal Church" and "are entitled to equal protection of the laws."

Hoping for compromise


The Rev. Rosemari Sullivan of the Virginia Theological Seminary, a former General Convention secretary and executive officer, was a member of the commission that wrote "One Baptism." She said its resolutions ask the denomination "to go more slowly, more carefully, more mindfully in terms of the communion."

She expects that whatever emerges from the convention won’t satisfy everyone.

"But I think, by and large, a two-thirds majority of the communion will say: ‘The Episcopal Church has really expressed regret; we’re all one in Christ. While we’re still perplexed by this crazy Episcopal Church, we understand it better and we’re glad we’re all together.’

"And others will say, ‘My way or the highway.’ "

The Rev. James Rosenthal, spokesman for the London-based Anglican Communion, could not say what action the convention must take to satisfy communion members. But he said the Episcopal Church has been responsive to its sister churches’ concerns.

Anglicans throughout the rest of the world have "made it absolutely clear that the desire is for the communion to remain as one," Rosenthal said.

During the last three years, the Episcopal Church also has been dealing with internal divisions.

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who was among those who voted against Robinson in 2003, has been a leader of the Anglican Communion Network, which opposes the church’s direction. The network says it has the support of 10 dioceses and about 200,000 Episcopalians.

Duncan accused the majority of church leaders of being "disrespectful and disdainful of what we’re doing." He said his allies have had a particularly strained relationship with Frank Griswold, the church’s presiding bishop.

At the Columbus convention, the church needs to accept "without reserve" everything the Anglican Communion has asked, Duncan said, or the split between the two will widen.

Duncan dismissed talk of conservatives leaving the denomination and said it is the national church that is teetering on the brink.

"The question is, who’s got the future? " he said. "I don’t believe this anomaly, this aberration from Christian norms is actually going to produce a church with any strength at all. Quite the contrary. It’s producing a church that’s disintegrating."

Conservatives ’ ire


The national church also has taken shots from the conservative American Anglican Council, an Anglican Network ally opposed to the church’s direction.

Cynthia Brust, spokeswoman for the council, said the debate is not about Robinson or sex but about whether the church is really Christian.

"It’s about, is Jesus Christ the son of God, is he the only means of salvation? " she said. "This warm, fuzzy Universalist theology has taken over the Episcopal Church."

Robinson agreed that the debate is about more than him.

"It is about perhaps two different views of what it means to be the church, two different ways of approaching our common life in Christ," he said.

Robinson said he supports the church commission’s proposals.

"I think it puts forward a way for us to reaffirm our commitment to being a part of the communion, which I highly support, and gives us some concrete ways of indicating that commitment," he said.

"At the same time, I believe it preserves the kind of autonomy of provinces (national churches) that has been our 400-year tradition."

The specter of a split in the church is a concern, Robinson said.

"It would be one thing if we were all working for reconciliation and were somehow unable to achieve it," he said. "But we’re not all working for reconciliation. It breaks my heart that that’s the case. But I believe that a small number of people are actually working to bring about that split."

Legislation at the convention must get the approval of two legislative bodies: the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.

The former includes about 300 bishops, both active and retired. The House of Deputies is made up of half clergy and half laypeople; each of the 110 dioceses, most in the United States but a few elsewhere, has eight deputies.

Beyond the Windsor debate, the denomination will tackle a variety of other issues, including choosing a new presiding bishop to replace Griswold, who was elected in 1997. Bishops will meet in private at Trinity Episcopal Church Downtown on June 18 to elect the new leader, whose selection also must be approved by the deputies.

Candidates include Bishops J. Neil Alexander of Atlanta, Francisco Duque-Gomez of Colombia, Edwin Gulick of Kentucky, Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada, Charles Jenkins of Louisiana, Henry Parsley of Alabama and Stacy Sauls of Lexington, Ky.

Other issues that will be addressed include:


• Choosing a new president of the House of Deputies to replace the Rev. George Werner of Pittsburgh, who was not re-elected as a deputy for his diocese. He has been president since 2000.


• Affirming the church’s support for the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, aimed at battling poverty, hunger and HIV/AIDS, improving education and health care, and reducing child mortality.


• Taking a step toward full communion with the United Methodist Church by approving joint Eucharist.


• Apologizing for the church’s support of slavery and for racial discrimination after emancipation. This proposal also calls for a study to determine whether reparations should be paid to black Episcopalians.


• Affirming that evolution theory "is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith."


• Calling for an end to the U.S. sanctions against Cuba.


• Considering resolutions on the Middle East, including reaffirming the church’s commitment to ending anti-Semitism, working for the assurance of human rights of Palestinians and recognizing Jerusalem as the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:27 PM   #2
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and this will cause this

[Q]'One Episcopalian' campaign aims to make poverty history with ONE.org

Tuesday, June 06, 2006




[Episcopal News Service] At its General Convention next week, the Episcopal Church will launch a new grassroots partnership with ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. The new initiative, called ONE Episcopalian, seeks to rally Episcopalians -- ONE by ONE -- to the cause of ending extreme poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
"Strong advocacy from a wide array of Americans -- including people of faith -- is needed so government leaders will commit the resources necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goals," said Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold. "The ONE Episcopalian campaign will provide an opportunity for all Episcopalians to unite their voices with the large and growing movement to end global poverty in our time."

The ONE Campaign is a movement of Americans of all beliefs and every walk of life, united as ONE to help make poverty history. ONE is a coalition of more than 70 of America's leading advocacy and humanitarian organizations and more than 2.3 million people, joining together to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. The goal of ONE is to direct an additional ONE percent of the U.S. federal budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, food and clean water to transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world's poorest countries.

The Episcopal Church -- which endorsed the MDGs at its 74th General Convention in 2003 -- has been a member of the ONE Campaign since its first year of existence. ONE Episcopalian builds on this energy by equipping dioceses, parishes, and individuals to be more effective advocates and join with people across America and the world in the fight against extreme poverty and global AIDS.

Look for more information during next week's General Convention. Bishops, deputies, and visitors at the Convention Center are invited to visit the Peace and Justice Ministries display area in the Episcopal Church Center's booth. Other Episcopalians can look for information next week from the Episcopal News Service, as well as additional information as the campaign progresses.

By speaking with ONE voice, in common language, Episcopalians have the opportunity to show the power of ONE!

Contacts:

Alex Baumgarten, the Episcopal Church, 202-547-7300
Meighan Stone, ONE Campaign 202-468-0791

[/Q]


To be lost in the heat of the moment.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:51 AM   #3
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I was actually planning on attending the ONE event next week in Cbus & was unawares of the rift in this denomination since I attend a nondenom usually....hmm...
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Old 06-10-2006, 07:10 AM   #4
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Here is another article showing the growing rift amongst what is commonly called the "evangelical" movement in organized Christian religion today:


http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/122/52.0.html



Rift Opens Among Evangelicals on AIDS Funding

Dobson targets Global Fund, which helps Salvation Army, Youth for Christ, and World Vision.

by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service | posted 06/02/2006 09:30 a.m.



As the world marks 25 years since HIV and AIDS first appeared, a clash among high-profile evangelical leaders over an international relief foundation threatens to take center stage.

The dispute also lays bare a faultline among American evangelicals, who have been divided over the treatment and prevention of AIDS because of the disease's perceived connections to homosexuality and sexual promiscuity.

The clash, which centers on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, may have long-term ramifications, both for those suffering with diseases and for the reputation of American evangelicals, activists said.

If the U.S. fails to extend help because of objections from conservative Christians, "we will look on this as a very mistaken time," said Tony Campolo, a prominent sociologist and Christian activist.

Since its founding in 2001, the Swiss-based Global Fund has spent $2 billion on programs that offer medical treatment and education in 130 countries, according to a spokesperson. The U.S. government has provided 30 percent of the public-private foundation's finances through 2005, and appropriated $445 million for 2006.

Some of the programs bankrolled through the Global Fund—such as those that distribute condoms to prostitutes or provide clean needles to drug addicts—have drawn fire from conservative evangelicals. Hardline conservatives favor President Bush's policy of abstinence and emphasis on fidelity in marriage. Others take a more pragmatic approach, and say that exporting Western morality to foreign countries is ineffective at best and calamitous at worst.

After the Senate passed a non-binding budget amendment last March to increase the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to $866 million in 2007, Dobson lambasted the international foundation, saying it promotes "legalized prostitution and all kinds of wickedness around the world."

As the House debates a foreign spending bill this week that would maintain the current $445 million to the Global Fund next year, Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry has turned up the heat.

A five-page letter addressed to lawmakers criticizes the Global Fund's board of directors, its spending habits, and its "social marketing" of condoms "to the near exclusion of abstinence and faithfulness." The letter is signed by Dobson and representatives from 29 other conservative organizations, such as Shepherd Smith of the Institute for Youth Development and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer of American Values.

Not all evangelicals, however, are siding with Dobson.

The Global Fund released its own letter on May 24 that quoted Scripture, detailing the foundation's accomplishments and listing supportive signatures of prominent Christian leaders like Call to Renewal founder Jim Wallis, Campolo and, Pat Robertson.

Interview requests with Robertson, an outspoken conservative evangelical and CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network, were declined.

"Robertson would be the first to admit that we don't agree on many issues. But there are certain issues that get people together all across the theological spectrum and this is one of them," said Campolo, who heads the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.

Campolo said he was surprised Dobson has spoken so forcefully against the Global Fund when "it's a minute portion of the funding that would cause any objection in the evangelical community."

In fact, the Global Fund financially supports more than 73 faith-based organizations, including the Salvation Army, Youth for Christ, and World Vision, a Christian relief agency based in the United States.

Focusing on "narrow" and contentious issues—such as condom distribution—dismisses and distracts from "all the good work the Global Fund is doing for suffering people," said Jenny Eaton Dyer, national faith outreach director for DATA, an organization co-founded by U2 frontman Bono that is dedicated to eradicating disease and poverty in Africa.

Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Dobson's ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo., said Dobson is not "categorically opposed" to condom use by married couples, but would rather see money funneled to a Bush administration program that stresses abstinence.

"We're just concerned," he said, "about government programs where abstinence is given short shrift."

Although their ranks remain small, increasing numbers of American evangelicals are willing to donate money for AIDS education and prevention in Africa, according to recent polls.

The disease remains "a very touchy subject among evangelicals," said John C. Green, a professor of religion and politics at the University of Akron.

But if young Christians follow the lead of musicians like Dan Haseltine, a singer-songwriter in the popular group Jars of Clay, some of that may be changing.

Two years ago, Haseltine, who signed the letter in support of the Global Fund, started a program to provide clean blood and water supplies to African communities. Working in those communities, Haseltine said he has come to appreciate, and be humbled by, "the messiness of life."

"The church is kind of infamous for taking complex questions and finding really simple answers," Haseltine said in an interview. "AIDS doesn't work that way."

Copyright © 2006 Christianity Today.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seems like a growing number of "Christians" are forgetting all over again the idea of "Judge not, yet ye be judged."

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Old 06-10-2006, 07:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by starsgoblue
I was actually planning on attending the ONE event next week in Cbus & was unawares of the rift in this denomination since I attend a nondenom usually....hmm...
Don't let this issue within the church hurt the cause for the poor. I do not think the Bishop would want that to happen having met the man at an AIDS conference, he would not want that.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:06 AM   #6
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Re: Episcopal Church may potentially split!

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Cynthia Brust, spokeswoman for the council, said the debate is not about Robinson or sex but about whether the church is really Christian.

"It’s about, is Jesus Christ the son of God, is he the only means of salvation? " she said. "This warm, fuzzy Universalist theology has taken over the Episcopal Church."

Robinson agreed that the debate is about more than him.

"It is about perhaps two different views of what it means to be the church, two different ways of approaching our common life in Christ," he said.

The whole Gene Robinson/sexual orentation aside, I do think Cynthia Burst makes a good point here and it parallels an issue in some United Methodist circles. Some church folks want to de-deify Jesus and re-create Him in our own image instead of recognizing Him as a member of the Holy Trinity. I don't see the faith value in making a "Christian" denomination into a Universalist denomination. Maybe it's more marketable to a target audience, but it doesn't seem true to the core foundation of faith.

I do, however, like the idea of full communion with us (UMC), as long as Jesus continues to be recognized as exactly who He says He is.

~U2Alabama
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:07 AM   #7
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Schism talk confronts many main line denominations today. The issue of homosexuality is usually the proxy for explaining the split, while the true reasons are far more complex, internal government issues which do not translate well in the press. I've been following a similar situation in the Presbyterian Church, which will also have a contentious General Assembly this month.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:08 AM   #8
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And also, James Dobson seems to be campaigning to make himself as irrelevant as "Judge" Roy Moore.

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Old 06-10-2006, 04:40 PM   #9
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[Q]I do, however, like the idea of full communion with us (UMC), as long as Jesus continues to be recognized as exactly who He says He is.[/Q]

If you believe in FULL communion, can you support a Gay Bishop?
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Old 06-10-2006, 09:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox


Don't let this issue within the church hurt the cause for the poor. I do not think the Bishop would want that to happen having met the man at an AIDS conference, he would not want that.

Oh I certainly won't. Regardless of other issues, the fact that this group is being very vocal in the issue of the church responding to this crisis says volumes of things that are positive to me and I am looking forward to this event.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
[Q]I do, however, like the idea of full communion with us (UMC), as long as Jesus continues to be recognized as exactly who He says He is.[/Q]

If you believe in FULL communion, can you support a Gay Bishop?
As far as the difference between the United Methodist Church's policies/practices and those of ECUSA, the concept of "full communion" can be obtained without total agreement on theology and relative secondary issues. For example, Episcopalians still believe in the apostolic succession of their bishops. We don't.

But let me add that I think the divinity of Christ issue would be a very critical issue of theological difference for two groups considering full communion.

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Old 06-11-2006, 04:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Schism talk confronts many main line denominations today. The issue of homosexuality is usually the proxy for explaining the split, while the true reasons are far more complex, internal government issues which do not translate well in the press. I've been following a similar situation in the Presbyterian Church, which will also have a contentious General Assembly this month.
Quite right. "Homosexuality" is used as a hot-button scapegoat.

Frankly, I don't want liberal Christians to shy away from their beliefs. If conservative Christians don't like it, then they have a whole myriad of conservative Christian religions to choose from. The only other option for liberal Christians, for the most part, is to just stop attending church.

Melon
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Old 06-11-2006, 05:11 PM   #13
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Can someone explain to me the concept of "full" communion? I've never heard this term.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Can someone explain to me the concept of "full" communion? I've never heard this term.
In my simplistic words, a general agreement in the overall theology, but by no means a merger of denominations.

Wikipedia summarizes it better:

Quote:
Full communion is completeness of that relationship between Christian individuals and groups which is known as communion. Implying a unity unbroken by heresy or schism, it requires agreement on essential doctrine and practice and a willingness to have close relations. Absolute uniformity in theology and usage is not necessary: provided that this essential unity is maintained, different understandings and emphases are seen as mutually enriching.

Partial communion exists where elements of Christian faith are held in common, but complete unity on essentials is lacking. For example, the Catholic Church sees itself as in partial communion with Protestants, and as in much closer, but still incomplete, communion with the Eastern Orthodox Churches (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 838).[1]

The word "communion" is used not only of the bond uniting Christian individuals and groups, but also of groupings of Churches that explicitly recognize the existence between them of this bond in its full form. Examples are the Anglican Communion and the Porvoo Communion.
...and in much more detail, with some good examples of denominations in "full communion" with each other, here.

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Old 06-11-2006, 11:01 PM   #15
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Thanks...
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