Skip to comments.Newark Episcopal bishop calls for supporting gay rights: issue may overshadow AC unity
Posted on 01/29/2005 8:42:00 AM PST by sionnsar
NEWARK (1/29/2005)--Supporting gay rights may be more important than unity within the worldwide Anglican Communion, Newark Episcopal Bishop John Croneberger told 600 people gathered at the diocese's convention at the Parsippany Hilton last night.
"Speaking plainly," said Croneberger, "it is well past time for us to put a stop to the many attempts to trivialize, marginalize or move to the sidelines the matter of human sexuality, as if it were a distraction.
"We need to be steadfast in our commitment to explore, to understand, to bear witness to God's presence and love for all of God's creation, realizing in fact that this work on human sexuality is part of the mission of the church to our suffering and bewildered world."
The Anglican Communion has about 77 million people, about 2.3 million of whom are Episcopalians. Newark's Episcopal diocese, covering about 30,000 Episcopalians in northern New Jersey, is among the nation's most liberal.
"The question of whether the Anglican Communion as constituted can continue to serve the world in the service of God's mission is a deeper question worthy of time and conversation, but I would lay this question before you: Could there be a time at which point unity in the Anglican Communion becomes an idol?" Croneberger said on the first day of the diocese's 131st annual convention.
The Episcopal Church is far more liberal on gay rights than much of its London-based Anglican Communion, and in 2003 controversially consecrated an openly gay bishop and authorized blessings for same-sex unions in many dioceses.
Bishops in African countries that are more conservative on that issue have angrily moved to disassociate from the Episcopalians.
Croneberger's speech addressed a high-profile commission of the Anglican Communion whose October report criticized Episcopalians for consecrating the gay bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire -- and said Episcopal bishops should stop letting priests bless same-sex unions.
At a meeting in Utah earlier this month, Croneberger said, most Episcopal bishops from across the country refused to approve such a moratorium on same-sex unions. They expressed regret that Robinson's consecration upset so many people, but they did not apologize for it.
Local church issues also came up yesterday, as attendees voted for diocese members who will have votes at the Episcopal church's 2006 triennial national meeting, known as their "general convention," and approved a $3 million diocesan budget for 2005.
Croneberger also praised new ministries in the diocese, and called for people at the convention priests and three lay people from each of the diocese's 114 churches to consider whether their own churches are fulfilling their religious missions.
He did not expound on his controversial November/December column in the diocesan newspaper that said as many as one third of the diocese's churches were struggling to stay open, and that the diocese should consider consolidating some so more money can be spent on ministry and less on building maintenance.
Closed Out Of Town
Anglican archbishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America said Friday an apology from the U.S. Episcopal Church does not go far enough to heal the rift among Anglicans over the consecration of the denominations first openly gay bishop.
The Anglican Communion - the international association of churches that trace their roots back to the Church of England - fears its unity is threatened by deep disagreements over homosexuality. Conservative clerics from Africa, Asia and elsewhere have harshly criticized the U.S. branchs move on the gay bishop.
Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola noted the U.S. bishops apologized to individual church members in a letter issued earlier this month expressing "sincere regret" for consecrating V. Gene Robinson in November 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire without full consideration of other Anglicans objections. But Akinola told journalists they failed to repent for an act he said was contrary to their faith.
"That gives us a very big question mark whether we are together or not," said Malawis Archbishop Bernard Malango.
Anglicans can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory better than almost anyone so making predictions about the Anglican world is dangerous. But it's beginning to look as if next month's Anglican primates meeting in Ireland may just be Frank Griswold's last. If it's not, the Africans and the rest of the Third World may finally shake Canterbury's dust from their feet.
Since ECUSA is unwilling to put a moratorium on homosexual bishops and same-sex marriage, as the Windsor Report asked of them, Archbishop Malango, a member of the Lambeth Commission, and his orthodox colleagues have good reason to question the sincerity of ECUSA's "apology." As John the Baptist instructed, we are to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. Anything less than that is merely hypocritical talk.
"Speaking plainly," said Croneberger, "it is well past time for us to put a stop to the many attempts to trivialize, marginalize or move to the sidelines the matter of human sexuality, as if it were a distraction."
Speaking just as plainly, he's full of crap.
You'll get no argument here.
"IMHO they're preparing the good face they're going to present on being kicked out of the Anglican Communion. --sionnsar]"
I've been playing politics for better than 40 years now. This sure looks like they're preparing the troops for bad news and spinning it into good.
I don't share your optimism, but as always, I hope that you are right and I am wrong. I just can't see the British abandoning those they agree with in favor of those from the global south.
Given their less than stellar record I don't think the CofE bishops would do that unless they were very worried about the vast majority of the AC (the Africans, the Southern Cone, Asia) simply walking away, as the majority is threatening to do.
The third world, to which we ( that is to say western Man and more especially in this case the British Empire ) delivered Christianity, together with a viscissitudinous bill of goods which were sometimes less than beneficient to the indigeneous inhabitants of the same, has now come full circle in the faith "once delivered for all unto the saints ", and is at present, as we have here remarked before, now more than able ( indeed thay are the majority now and they are on the side of correct doctrine now ) to return the favour by executing evangelical missions to the corrupted and defiled provinces of the US & UK, which far from maintaining that which was delivered of them to the third world have now developed an entirely new faith based more on political correctness, moral relativity and personal indulgence.
In centuries past, Christian Missioners delivered the Gospel message and saved the native populations of Africa and Asia from dark barbarisms which included human sacrifice, ritualized deviancy and savage inhumanity and was wholly devoid of intelligent civility.
Now African and Asian bishops, in the Anglican Communion, are delivering the Gospel Message and saving the native populations of North America and Europe from dark barbarisms which include human sacrifice, ritualized deviancy and savage inhumanity and are wholly devoid of intelligent civility.
The grandest effect of Imperialism was to impart to the colonial serfs and global frontier races the Religion of Jesus Christ. For this we should be very thankful.
We are reminded today of a correlative tale from another realm, that of H.G. Edward I, of Baileyshire.
My father, Edward, once blessed one of his customers with the gift of a rare tree, which he had produced from a sprig of one within his own gardens. The following winter a miscalculation was made in his weather charts and horticulturists almanacs and his prized tree was lost due to frost.
But wonder of wonders, his customer's tree had grown extremely well and the next summer she blessed him with another tree.
It is now our prayer that the same process will be visited upon the worldwide Anglican Communion, so that the faithful bishops of the world may guide the errant, apostate and heretical bishops back into the Faith of Our Fathers.
Could it also not be asked whether there be a time at which point the vague notion of "tolerance" in the Anglican Communion becomes an idol?
When "tolerance" reaches the point where one does not want to label "sin" as sin out of fear of upsetting people, especially when one is putting one's own "values" over the words of Holy Scripture, such is far more idolotrous than desiring unity with those who do wish to follow Scripture on the matter.
It could, and it should.