The Right Rev. Michael Smith, Bishop of North Dakota, recently refused to license the Rev. Gayle Baldwin in his diocese. Bishop Smith states that his stated policy is to only grant licenses to priests who are celibate or married. The Rev. Baldwin is in a lesbian relationship.
In her letter of protest to the Presiding Bishop and all bishops of the Episcopal Church Ms. Baldwin asked for a dialogue because she believes Bishop Smith (and all bishops) should be denied the right to choose who they license in their diocese. Ms. Baldwin believes that such a denial is a violation of her baptismal covenant. One would ask if denying the license of a priest who was in an adulterous relationship would be a violation of the baptismal covenant but that might be cheeky. Ms. Baldwin evidently wasn’t bothered by her ordination vows when she decided to disobey the orders of the bishop:
Thus, it occurred to me that to obey the bishop in this situation was not required of me, but to obey the desires of God’s people for pastoral care, for the sacraments and for hearing the Word was required of me. Consequently, I have decided to go ahead with the celebration of the Maundy Thursday service to be held at Christus Rex on the campus of UND form 5-6 p.m.. March 20th for the Potting Shed community, friends, faculty and students who desire to participate.
I must have missed the screeching from the left objecting to this blatant violation of the Sacred Canons.
A local parish has now decided to loudly protest the actions of Bishop Smith.
Though small in number, the officers and most of the 44 active baptized members of Dickinson’s St. John’s Episcopal Church are speaking loudly in opposition to their bishop’s decision to not license a partnered gay priest in Grand Forks.
The Rev. Bruce MacDuffie said their position is not to champion the cause of the Rev. Gayle Baldwin, 62, an associate professor of religion at the University of North Dakota. Instead, the Dickinson parish opposes Bishop Michael Smith’s general position on not licensing partnered gay and lesbian people.
All too often the news articles we post only inform us of events already past. Here we have a golden opportunity. One that allows us to thank Bishop Smith for having the courage of his convictions. Please take a moment to let him know how much he is appreciated. Bishop Smith’s email address can be found here. Go ahead. Click. You’ll be glad you did.