Monday, May 18, 2009

Sudan asks for Removal of Va. Missionary

The Episcopal Church of the Sudan has requested the permanent removal of the Rev. Lauren Stanley, an appointed missionary from the Diocese of Virginia, whose comments in favor of legislation moving forward with same-sex blessings during the annual council meeting earlier this year “were deemed offensive.”

The May 13 issue of Virginia E-Communiqué, a weekly newsletter published by the Diocese of Virginia, included a statement from the bishop’s office that the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop of Virginia, had ordered Ms. Stanley to return to Virginia after receiving a request for her removal from the Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of Sudan. Ms. Stanley has been a lecturer at the Renk Theological College, where she taught theology, liturgy, and English and served as a chaplain.

The news was first reported by Mary Ailes, who maintains a blog about Anglican issues. In a May 13 entry, Ms. Ailes reports that during debate of a resolution on same-sex blessings at the annual council in January, Ms. Stanley defended an amendment to add that council “affirms the inherent integrity of and blessedness of committed Christian relationships,” to a resolution. After another delegate said the amendment would do irreparable harm to the mission relationship, Ms. Stanley reportedly told council that the amendment would not be a problem for the Sudan, because the issue is of minimal concern to the majority of its people. The amendment subsequently was approved and the resolution adopted.

“Lauren has served faithfully in the Diocese of Renk, Sudan, for nearly four years, receiving the widespread support among her students and the local community,” said Bishop Lee. “In addition, she has worked hard to spread the story of the gospel, and of the Church in the Sudan, in parishes in the United States. Lauren is now seeking a new mission placement for which she has the support of the bishops.”


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