Sunday, July 19, 2009

Episcopal leaders affirm new policy on same-sex blessings

From the LA Times-

On Friday, the U.S. church's top two officials sought to calm fellow Anglicans, including the communion's spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

In a letter to Williams, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the president of the church's House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, described the resolution on gay bishops as "more descriptive than prescriptive in nature."

They said it does not repeal the earlier ban on such ordinations, but instead reaffirms commitments made by the church's constitution and canons, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

More here-,0,2066151.story

"In adopting this resolution, it is not our desire to give offense," they wrote. "We remain keenly aware of the concerns and sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in other churches across the communion. We believe also that the honesty reflected in this resolution is essential if indeed we are to live into the deep communion that we all profess and earnestly desire."

Copies of the letter were sent to the communion's 38 other regional leaders.

During the convention, Jefferts Schori voted for the new polices on ordinations and blessings.

In an interview Friday, the Episcopal leader spoke of the need to balance the aspirations of her church with the broader goal of unity.

"Change doesn't happen overnight," she said, predicting that the church would continue to deepen its relations with the Anglican Communion, despite the conflict that erupted after the Episcopal Church's 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop from New Hampshire. Some Anglican leaders from Africa and elsewhere have since cut ties with the U.S. church.

Jefferts Schori also said she believes that the tensions between the church and some Anglicans are less the result of theological differences than varying social norms in different regions of the world.

"I think we are learning more about each other's contexts," she said of the relationships in the communion. "We know more about what it means to be a Christian in Pakistan or North India or Kenya."

The issue of same-sex blessings took up part of the convention's final day of legislative business.

Clergy and laity in the church's House of Deputies voted 152 to 64 to approve the measure, affirming a decision made two days earlier by Episcopal bishops.

The resolution acknowledges "changing circumstances" in the United States and other countries resulting from legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians.,0,2066151.story

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