Skip to comments.Episcopal rector in Cheyenne resigns from diocesan duties
Posted on 08/21/2003 5:57:30 AM PDT by Theodore R.
Local Episcopal rector resigns from diocesan duties
By Allison Fashek firstname.lastname@example.org Published in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
CHEYENNE - A local Episcopal rector is stepping down from his diocesan positions due in part to concerns over the Episcopal Church's recent appointment of an openly gay bishop.
Rev. H. W. "Skip" Reeves Jr., rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, sent a letter to parishioners earlier this week confirming the move.
He has resigned from his posts as chairman of the Commission on Ministry, chairman of the Committee on Evangelism and member of the Diocesan Council and from his role in coordinating the $5 million capital funds drive.
But, for the moment, he said he will maintain his role at St. Mark's.
"It's the hardest thing in my life," Reeves said. "I'm not trying to lead any band or parade or anything like that. It's just a personal action I feel I have to take."
Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming Bishop Bruce Caldwell could not be reached for comment.
Reeves said he made his decision in response to the church's confirmation of the first non-celibate gay bishop, the Rev. Gene Robinson of the Diocese of New Hampshire, and the approval of a resolution accepting the blessings of same-sex relationships.
Both groundbreaking announcements were made during the Episcopal Church's 74th General Convention, held in Minneapolis, Minn. from July 28 through Aug. 8.
As the person ultimately responsible for education at St. Mark's, Reeves felt he would be forced to teach and support views on which he disagrees.
During his 34 years of ministry, the last 10 of which has been at St. Mark's, Reeves said he accepted the explanation from gay parishioners that they could not recall a time when they felt another way, and it "was not an orientation they chose . God created them this way."
But, as Reeves wrote in a series of letters to parishioners in the past couple of weeks, his position on accepting gays in the church changed recently after meeting with four local psychologists.
Reeves said that he changed his mind after one of the psychologists told him that pedophiles also report that they have never known a time when they weren't attracted to little boys or girls.
He said he realizes that his position might be offensive to gays.
"I still want to have them in the church," he said. "I'm not chasing them out. But I'm not promoting the lifestyle as a healthy Christian lifestyle."
The Rev. Anne Fontaine, who works with St. John's Episcopal Church in Jackson, said the people in her church predominantly support the appointment of Robinson as a bishop and see it as an act of inclusion and honesty.
"Whether people leave the church over this or not, I hope not," she said. "I hope the tent is big enough for us to stay together."
Tim Solon, who has been a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming for 40 years, said he is sympathetic to Reeves but feels that his decision is a symptom of cultural conditioning.
"He's very aware of the selective use of Bible passages to support his position," Solon said. "What we need now is to try and do the Christian ministry of reconciliation and recognize that there is still room for differences of opinion."
The issue is likely to be a topic of discussion when St. Mark's and St. Christopher's Episcopal Church host the diocesan convention Oct. 3-5.
Since announcing his decision, Reeves said his phone hasn't stopped ringing.
He has spoken with Caldwell, whom he said holds a different point of view.
He also has heard from another bishop in the Episcopal Church who is wrestling with similar feelings.
Reeves said a gay member of his parish also has stated support for his point of view.
The one thing everyone seems to have in common, Reeves said, is a profound sense of sadness about the divide in the church over the issue.
"Instead of being angry, you just want to cry," he said.
Parishioner Shirley Flynn said she was saddened to see Reeves going through this kind of pain.
"All of us are reviewing our positions," she said. "We all are feeling a sense of confusion about what to think."
As for Reeves' future, he said he plans to meet with other bishops, clergy and concerned lay people in Plano, Texas, Oct. 7-9, to consider forming a new Anglican Province in North America under the banner of the American Anglican Council.
While he believes in a traditional interpretation of Scripture and moral values, he said he supports the ordination of women and does not want to return to the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
"I don't know whether I'll find a home there or not, but I'll be at that conference," Reeves said.
GOOD! It should be offensive. When honest christians start leaving the church because of reprobates then the church has a problem and I don't care from what denomination.
I am not an episcopalian, but if you let this gay thing take over, then memebers need to rise up and show the truth in love, and the last thing they should do is leave.
It better be enough, today!
"He's very aware of the selective use of Bible passages to support his position," Solon said.
Strikes me that the "cultural conditioning" in the Episcopal Church is affecting the people who want to write off the passages in the Bible our culture finds especially distasteful.
Tim Solon apparently doesn't understand God's extremely clear position on this issue. Does he think that God owes the former residents of Sodom and Gommorah an apology?
Oh, and which passages would you site to try and prove that God thinks homosexuality is just peachy?
The first version was written by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549, and it has been revised many times since. The American '28 book was the only major revision of the prayer book since the American Revolution, but it still did not make any changes in the basic form or import of the major services (Morning & Evening Prayer and Holy Communion). That's why the '79 book raised such an almighty stink - it "modernized" the language and made major structural and doctrinal changes in the major services.
Hope that answers your question!
And it's laughable for Tim Solon to bewail the "selective use of Bible passages," when his side of the issue is demonstrably guilty of selective editing.
For example, the Book of Common Prayer lays out a set of daily readings. Over the course of the year, the BCP assigns all of Romans except for two verses. You can guess the ones: Rom. 1:26-27, which of course deal explicitly with homosexual relations. Nor, coincidentally, does 1 Cor. 6:9 appear, which says that "homosexual offenders," among many others, will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Mr. Solon's comments are also highly misleading -- very nearly a lie, in fact. We're not talking about "selected Biblical passages," against which might found others that might lead to a different conclusion. No, the Bible is consistently against sexual immorality of any kind, and consistently counts homosexual relations among them.
The 1928 revision was very extensive - perhaps the most radical U. S. prayer book revision until that of 1979. Some of the many changes from the previous 1892 book included dropping liturgies of rather outdated theology, such as the Visitation of Prisoners; the three baptism rites were combined into one; and several changes were made to the Communion service, including further deemphasis of the Decalogue, and rearrangement of the Lord's Prayer and the Prayer of Humble Access back to the position they had in the Prayer Book of 1549.
"...certain groups feel excluded by the 1979 Prayer Book, and those feelings will change only when new printed materials end up in worshipers' hands."
I think we all know what "groups" he's referring to. Here is that link if anybody is interested. This is the first I'd heard of this.
I gotta disagree here. The text of your post was taken verbatim from justus.anglican.org - an English Anglican website. I went and actually compared the '28 and '92 books, and I think their claim that the changes were extensive or radical is off the mark. Occasional services were deleted or changed (such as the visitation of prisoners) but the communion service and morning and evening prayer were altered only in rearranging things - the Decalogue remained intact and in place (I'm not sure what they mean by deemphasis unless it's that one rubric changed to allow the "short" Decalogue.)
I wondered what their motivation was in claiming that the 1928 revision was radical or extensive, until I found an editorial elsewhere on the site here saying that the consecration of gay bishops is really not such a big deal, that it all happened before over the issue of divorce and remarriage, and that this will all be forgotten and be nothing more than "yellowed letters in archives."
Which just sort of clarifies where they're coming from.
Yep. Looks what's on the list for revision:
Marriage Rite [Blessing of Unions]
There's no reason to call the rite of marriage anything but a marriage rite, unless...
You got that right.
BULL! God does not make sin! Man does!
And God most assuredly does not bless sin.
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