Skip to comments.New Hampshire Episcopalians Choose Gay Bishop, and Conflict
Posted on 06/08/2003 12:31:17 AM PDT by ppaul
June 8, 2003
New Hampshire Episcopalians Choose Gay Bishop, and ConflictBy LAURIE GOODSTEIN
ONCORD, N.H., June 7 Episcopalians in the Diocese of New Hampshire today elected as their leader the first openly gay bishop anywhere in the worldwide Anglican communion, a step likely to roil the church in the United States and England, and deepen the disaffection of the more conservative Anglican churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The bishop-elect, the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson, who had developed a loyal following here in 16 years as assistant to the current bishop, was elected from among four candidates on the second round of balloting at St. Paul's Church.
He received 58 of 77 votes from members of the clergy and 96 of 165 votes from laypeople. A majority in each group is needed for election.
When the tally was announced, the clergy and lay delegates leaped to their feet and applauded as Bishop-elect Robinson came to the front, stood before the altar rail and embraced his two grown daughters, his son-in-law and his partner.
He acknowledged that his election could precipitate outrage and division in his denomination. The Episcopal Church has 2.3 million members in the United States, while the Anglican Communion, a global association of churches that trace their heritage to the Church of England, has about 79 million members internationally.
But he urged the delegates who elected him to be "kind and sensitive and gentle" to believers who "will not understand what you've done here today."
"The world is hurting out there, and the Episcopal Church and the Anglican communion worldwide are divided by lots of things," he said to the delegates.
He said the rift could be healed if believers focused on God and the sacraments. "We can get through this if we keep coming to the altar rail," he said.
His election now forces a showdown in the Episcopal Church in the United States, which like most mainline Protestant denominations has been torn over the issue of homosexuality over the past two decades.
Bishop-elect Robinson cannot be ordained as bishop until he wins the consent of bishops and diocesan representatives at the General Convention, which begins on July 28 in Minneapolis.
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank T. Griswold III, declined, through a spokesman, to comment on today's development. But church members say they anticipate that the decision here could pose doctrinal problems for some Episcopalians who believe that the Bible prohibits homosexuality.
"The bishops and the delegates at General Convention are snarled up on the whole issue of whether to ordain gays and lesbians, and there is considerable opinion in the church, particularly emanating from the South and Southwest, that this should not happen," said the Rev. Dr. John E. Booty, a former historiographer of the Episcopal Church and an emeritus professor of Anglican studies at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
"My hunch is that Gene will get enough votes, but there will be people working furiously on either side of this to gather the votes for or against," Dr. Booty said in a telephone interview.
James Solheim, the church's press officer, said in a telephone interview tonight: "Reaction is already coming in by e-mail, and it is mixed. Some people are already announcing that this is the last straw, they're leaving the Episcopal Church."
The election is likely to be contentious in the Anglican Communion, which covers 38 regional churches in 164 countries, said the Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas, professor of mission and world christianity at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.
The growth in the church in the developing world is tipping it toward theological conservatism on some issues, including homosexuality, but it is a mixed picture, Dr. Douglas said. At the last Lambeth Conference, a gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world, in 1998, conservatives passed a resolution saying the church recognized only heterosexual, married relationships, Dr. Douglas said. But he also noted that at the same conference, a committee issued a report urging dialogue on the issue.
Bishop Douglas E. Theuner, the current bishop of New Hampshire, has championed gay causes in the church and approves of commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Bishop Theuner said in an interview that there was no organized opposition in his diocese to Mr. Robinson's election. He said he believed Mr. Robinson was elected as bishop because the the delegates trusted him and were familiar with him, not that they wanted to make him a cause célèbre.
"His election pushes the envelope, but certainly that was not our intention in New Hampshire," Bishop Theuner said. "The people of the diocese are aware that they're part of the larger church, and value that, but we're selecting a bishop to be our bishop."
The Rev. David P. Jones, rector of St. Paul's Church and co-chairman of the search committee for the next bishop, said, "Ten years ago I would not have been happy about this because I would have felt it's clearly contrary to the Bible, contrary to the traditions of the church.
"It's all because I've experienced the ministry of this man and a couple of others that I think I was mistaken," Mr. Jones said.
Church experts say that the Episcopal Church has had gay bishops before and does now, but none who have made their sexual orientation known before they were elected.
The only gay bishop to disclose his sexuality before now is retired Bishop Otis Charles of Utah, who sent a letter to the church's House of Bishops in 1993 sharing his experience as a closeted gay churchman watching the bishops wrestle with the issue.
On Friday, the Daily Telegraph in London reported that leaders of the Church of England have known for years that Bishop Jeffrey John, a newly ordained suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Oxford, had been living with his gay partner of 25 years.
Bishop-elect Robinson, who is 56, is originally from Kentucky. He worked previously at a church in Ridgewood, N.J., and has run ministries for teenagers, AIDS patients and congregations going through conflicts.
He said in an interview after the vote that he came out as a gay man in 1986 and soon after divorced his wife, with whom he had two daughters.
He said he believed the Anglican church should be able to accommodate people who have opinions other than his on issues like homosexuality.
"I'm certain that I want to be in a church with them," he said. "I'm just not certain they want to be in a church with me."
In the history of the church in the United States, only one bishop-elect did not win affirmation by the General Convention, and that was in 1875, he said. He likened his election to that of Bishop Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop in the Episcopal Church, elected in 1988 in Massachusetts.
"There were dire predictions of schism then, and today the gifts of women in ministry are almost universally accepted," he said. Only 3 of the 100 Episcopal dioceses in the United States now do not ordain women.
The other candidates, who were not present for the election today, were the Rev. Pamela Jane Mott of Portland, Ore., and two supervisors of groups of parishes in Pennsylvania, the Very Revs. Robert L. Tate and Ruth Lawson Kirk. Another candidate withdrew after being selected as bishop of Nebraska.
As the clergy and laypeople here today left the service that followed the election, some said they had favored Bishop-elect Robinson because of his pastoral skills, his preaching and his devotion to the church. If confirmed by church officials, he would be only the ninth bishop in the history of the diocese, which dates to 1802.
"We made history," said Bayard Coolidge, a retired software engineer and a delegate from St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield.
"Everybody is going to be making a lot of the fact that he's gay, but that's not the point," Mr. Coolidge said. "The point is, he's well qualified."
What? He already has? Well, that explains it then.
What are the qualifications?
Actually, when the last Christian has left that church, he's taken the Light of the World with him.
Assuming he's approved, will the parts of the Anglican Communion that actually believe in the Bible - Africa, Asia and South America - stand for this? Time will tell.
Soon Episcopal Churches will be empty only kept going by old Foundation Money. They claim 2 Million. I would postulate there are less than 1 million people going to Episcopal Churches on any given Sunday.
Sixteen years service in the diocese.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
1 Cor. 6:9 ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
"It's all because I've experienced the ministry of this man and a couple of others that I think I was mistaken," Mr. Jones said.
Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Well qualified, meaning ignoring parts of scripture this B.S. Church doesn't agree with, nor like!
Sheesh. When they elected their first black woman bishop they made much of her black and a woman -- while ignoring the fact that she was totally unqualified.
And he's just supplied one more big division.
How interesting that members of the worldwide Anglican communion (from Africa and Asia) now have missions in the United States - the Anglican Mission in America.
"But he urged the delegates who elected him to be "kind and sensitive and gentle" to believers who "will not understand what you've done here today.""
Wow....there's a Freudian..if there ever was one.
I can't get over these nitwits - they base their faith on a book that they dismiss whenever it says something inconvenient - like the fact that homosexuality is immediate and final grounds for preventing one from serving in a position of Church leadership.
These "Christians" need to face the truth and call their group something else.
They reap what they sow.
Because he, like the rest of our diocese, are liberals who want our church to to accept perversion and forget what the Bible says. I'm ashamed of him.
We shouldn't have to deal with this stuff. We shouldn't be hateful towards them, but when they get so blatant and arrogant, how can you help resenting them?
Because they can then mislead believers in Jesus to believe in something else.
But I know you already knew that!
Take heart; Christendom is being strengthened. Never forget to look at this as a spiritual battle fought in a spiritual realm. It is not the temple that matters; it is He Who dwells therein that matters.
Events such as these are delineating the followers of Christ from those He spoke about who have ticklish ears.
Not so long ago, Christians were divided, vertically if you will, along denominational lines. There is a major shift underway where the emphasis is not so much on denominational divisions, but more so on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The new divisions, horizontal one might say, and much fret over, are happening within all denominations and divide the disciples from the apostates. Believers from many churches are seeing commonalties across the street and differences within the pews.
Given what the Sciptures reveal about the Bride, this is a Good thing. Don't fret over the temple being torn down because the Temple is being rebuilt.
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self- controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. (1 Tim. 3:1-7)
Apparently he left his wife for his gay lover. He's not qualified.
there will be a day where God-fearing people who believe in traditional morals and theology, will have to ban together for self-protection....not to make one large church....too many differances...but at least an acknowedgment of what we are up against....that basically, our very values and believes even as workers, citizens, parents, spouses are being torpedoed...
Paul's Letter to the Romans, Chapter 1, v 24-27:
"24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen."
26 "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error."
However, it is obvious that the Bible teaches that God has made some things wrong at all times and places (drunkeness lying, stealing, etc.), homosexuality being one of them.
There's been a movement for many years to start a more biblically-oriented Anglican church in the US. How ironic if it happens as a result of the Episcopalians being tossed out of the Anglican communion!
Definitely an observable phenomenon.
Michael Moore's next production?