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February 2, 2012


Diocese of Georgia Convention May Challenge Standing as a Windsor Diocese

The Diocese of Georgia is was a Windsor diocese.  Looks like a new broom does indeed sweep clean. Their convention starts today.

Commission on Clergy Ethical Standards
The Bishop’s office in late 2011 received from the Clergy Ethical Standards Commission, which we co-chaired, a recommendation of “no change at this time” to the Diocese of Georgia’s Title IV Ethical Standards Canon (“Marriage between a man and a woman or abstinence from sexual activity are the only acceptable forms of sexual behavior for a Deacon, Priest or Bishop in the Diocese of Georgia.”). This report provides some context for that recommendation.

After honest and principled discussion of the canon, its background, as well as its inadequacies from the bishop’s perspective, commission members remained divided about how to proceed: to let it stand, to rescind it, or to alter it. Nor were we of one mind about its compatibility with the Episcopal Church’s Canons.
At that point in our work together we acknowledged a second issue, which effectively shifted our focus. Most commission members and the clergy who attended the six Clericus meetings we held to receive input from throughout the Diocese of Georgia thought that the criteria offered by the bishop for an acceptable canon (“holy, reasonable and enforceable?”) could not be satisfied until the more fundamental issue of a blessing rite for gay unions was addressed. Most participants in our clericus meetings were favorably disposed toward some form of rite of blessing, a position shared by most commission members as well.
That issue will be addressed at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention this summer. Given the prospects for passage of a rite of blessing there, commission members began to consider the advisability of postponing action on the canon until after the Episcopal Church’s deliberative body comes to some decision. Adoption of such a trial rite by the Church might well remove the existing barrier to ordination of partnered gay persons, rendering our canon in its present form untenable. Assuming significant, near- term developments relevant to the situation at General Convention 2012, we recommended no present action regarding the canon, instead suggesting that it be presented for action – either deletion or significant alteration – at our 2013 Diocesan Convention.

The Commission also made a second recommendation to the bishop: that as a response to our report and a continuation of our work together, he initiate at Diocesan Convention 2012 a “disciplined and wide- ranging dialogue” in the diocese on issues related to the Church’s blessing of gay relationships. We have good reason to believe that the Bishop will embrace this initiative as a proactive way to prepare members of the diocese for thoughtful participation in and response to the expected deliberations and decisions of General Convention.

!Dr. Fred Richter & The Rev. Frederick A. Buechner, Co-Chairs


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20 comments

A number of years ago I interviewed at a parish in the Diocese of Georgia. In the end I wasn’t called and we saw that at the time as a great disappointment because it would have been a wonderful parish to serve. Now, though, it seems clearer still that we wouldn’t have been a good fit there.

Craig+

[1] Posted by C Heenan on 2-2-2012 at 02:05 PM · [top]

[2] Posted by Cranmerian on 2-2-2012 at 02:38 PM · [top]

I think its great that they want to have dialogue and discussion about gay blessings.  Its about time someone called for discussion, since that hasn’t ever been attempted before.  tongue wink

[3] Posted by David Keller on 2-2-2012 at 02:57 PM · [top]

#1 things have changed there greatly since the tenure of Bp. Reeves ended 15 or so years ago.

[4] Posted by aacswfl1 on 2-2-2012 at 04:25 PM · [top]

I can’t think of anything more irrelevant than the term “Windsor Diocese” and the accompanying term “Camp Allen Bishops”.  In what way have they done anything even moderately useful in the last 5 years?

[5] Posted by rwkachur on 2-2-2012 at 06:49 PM · [top]

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but while Georgia may still be (sort of) a “Windsor diocese”, its current bishop is NOT a “Windsor bishop” nor “Camp Allen bishop.”  Actually, a fair number of said bishops retired just before or after the 2009 GC.  Wonder why?

[6] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-2-2012 at 07:33 PM · [top]

What pray tell, in the world, is a Windsor Diocese or Bishop?  When was one of either last cited opposing the EO?

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind,
the {diocese) (bishop) is blowin’ in the wind.

I believe they were all blown away to never-never land long, long ago and far, far away.

[7] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 2-2-2012 at 09:52 PM · [top]

They want to do it, they want it so bad. They just can’t seem to pull the trigger…

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-2-2012 at 10:36 PM · [top]

DGA voted to be in accordance with the WIndsor Report over the objection of the then bishop. In previous dialogues one of the ground rules was that there be no reference to scripture. Since scripture promotes fundamentalism and fundamentalism is the enemy, this makes sinse.

[9] Posted by Pb on 2-3-2012 at 12:34 PM · [top]

Resistance is futile…you will be assimilated.

It’s likely that there will be small group discussions, operating by the Delphi technique. Each group will have an alpha dog facilitator, maybe helped by a couple of henchmen. Their goal will be to make conservatives at the table feel like they are redneck Neanderthal idiots.

So, maybe we can help conservatives ask difficult, challenging questions. Here are a few to start with. You can come up with better ones.

- Is this discussion about blessing friendships and relationships, or is it about blessing extramarital sexual practice?

- What is the doctrinal basis for blessing extramarital sexual practice? Does this diocese have a written doctrine, stating that extramarital sexual practice isn’t sinful? What about The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and global Chrisitanity?

- What do our written doctrines actually say about extramarital sexual practice, and Christian marriage?

- In order to implement the blessing of extramarital sexual practice, don’t we first need to have a written doctrine stating that (in our opinion) such practices are not sinful and do not jeopardize salvation?

- Shouldn’t highly controversial issues like this be resolved by consensus among all Christians, rather than a majority vote by a very small branch of Christianity?

- Is the blessing of extramarital sexual practice compatible with the diocese’s goal for growth?

- What has happened when other dioceses have blessed extramarital sexual practice?

- Aren’t we better off maintaining the status quo in this diocese?

- How many diocesan cler and laity are prepared to bolt, should the diocese authorize the blessing of extramarital sexual practice, and/or allow clergy to live in extramarital sexual relationships?

- Why doesn’t the diocese offer a ministry to persons with unwanted sexual attractions?

[10] Posted by Ralph on 2-3-2012 at 02:48 PM · [top]

Does anyone know if those who embrace SSB are allowing different sex couples to utilize this service as a pastoral response to those who want to <strike> shack up </strike> live together rather than commit to marriage?

[11] Posted by Jackie on 2-3-2012 at 03:14 PM · [top]

Jackie #11,

Did you miss “Holy Shacking Up” from June 2011?

“Beginning Sunday, Episcopal priests in the San Joaquin Diocese can ‘perform blessings of same gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterized by fidelity, monogamy’ and ‘holy love.’

The change doesn’t mean Episcopal priests will begin marrying same-sex couples, Bishop Chester Talton said. Such marriages are forbidden by state law, although that is under review by the courts.
Instead, Talton said, ‘what is being authorized is a blessing of relationships, which we’ve chosen to call sacred unions.’
That would include a blessing for same-sex couples who were married in a civil ceremony for the short time in 2008 when such marriages were legal in California, he said. It also would include homosexual or heterosexual couples who are not married, but live together in a committed relationship.

The impact, Talton said, will ‘acknowledge the sacredness of that relationship.’

Read more:  The Modesto Bee

 

[12] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-3-2012 at 03:39 PM · [top]

Peace, love, and power to the people.  We are in the Age of Aquarius.

[13] Posted by aacswfl1 on 2-3-2012 at 06:13 PM · [top]

I saw where Stacy Sauls preached at the recent diocesan convention eucharist. I guess it was to discourage and other parishes from leaving.

[14] Posted by Pb on 2-5-2012 at 01:56 PM · [top]

Hey, here’s a Lenten movie that may help:

http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2012/2/3/coming-to-an-aunt-betty-near-you

Just in case they want to present an unbiased, non-scriptural case as always…..

[15] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 2-5-2012 at 02:46 PM · [top]

A friend who was there says that Bp. Sauls did not address the extramarital sex controversy from the pulpit.

The time allotted for the table conversations was brief, and the folks at her table seemed uninformed about the trial rite itself. Discussion at that table was superficial.

#12, thanks for the reminder.

I wonder if the folks in DioGA are starting to realize that blessing extramarital sex is incompatible with their plan for growth.

[16] Posted by Ralph on 2-5-2012 at 05:53 PM · [top]

The plan for growth is to get the right people. Numbers do not matter.

[17] Posted by Pb on 2-5-2012 at 06:27 PM · [top]

[18] Posted by Cranmerian on 2-5-2012 at 08:14 PM · [top]

It’s my belief that we’ve reached the limits of what we can do with the resources we currently have.

Not a wealthy diocese.

That’s why our Campaign for Congregational Development is essential for our future.

Bishop, the conservative parishioners in your diocese are watching you closely. Be careful with the risks that you take. Right now, ACNA has a minimal penetration, whereas they are everywhere in DioATL.

Right now, this diocese appears to affirm Lambeth I.10. What written doctrine of your diocese, TEC, or the Anglican Communion teaches otherwise?

[19] Posted by Ralph on 2-5-2012 at 09:05 PM · [top]

And the sermon from Bp Sauls has been posted here.

I think it’s a pretty good sermon.

[20] Posted by Ralph on 2-6-2012 at 09:42 AM · [top]

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