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Chicago Group Helped Pave Way for Episcopal Church’s Landmark Decisions

posted by nsymmonds

Jul. 20–The successful push to open all doors to ordained ministry for openly gay and lesbian Episcopalians last week started with a nudge from Chicago.
Seeking to lift a de facto moratorium on gay bishops and end the deadlock about commitment ceremonies for same-sex relationships, a team of prominent clergy, scholars and laypeople known as the Chicago Consultation spent three years putting together round tables, literature and documentaries that helped pave the way for the Episcopal Church’s landmark decisions to favor both at its triennial General Convention in Anaheim, Calif.
“The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin,” said Rev. Ruth Meyers, a co-convener of the consultation and former academic dean at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston.
To change the church’s policies, Meyers said, the consultation provided theological tools and encouraged face-to-face encounters with international leaders to build relationships and support.
Tensions have been mounting since 2003, when Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest in a committed relationship, was elected bishop of New Hampshire. In protest, several conservative Anglican leaders, especially in Africa, severed ties to the U.S. church.
This summer, some conservative Episcopal leaders formed the Anglican Church in North America with the goal of gaining recognition from the Anglican Communion as a rival province to the 2.1-million-member Episcopal Church.
The Chicago Consultation emerged three years ago as a group of about a dozen concerned parishioners at All Saints Church, a progressive Episcopal parish on the city’s North Side. Calling itself Title III, the group aimed to remind the church of its own canon that said no person should be denied access to the church based on race, gender or sexual orientation.
Organizers believed that canon was ignored when the church adopted guidelines at its last convention in 2006 that discouraged the consecration of bishops whose “manner of life” would strain relations with the 77-million-member Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the American arm.
“Some of the very strong leaders in the diocese are gay and lesbian,” said All Saints member Ruth Frey, who eventually became coordinator of the consultation. “Because of that model for leadership, we can see easily that there should be room for them to be called as bishops if that’s where they’re so called.”
A subsequent gathering of theologians at Seabury-Western Seminary in December 2007 concluded that theological support and awareness of gay and lesbian issues were lacking. Production began on a documentary about gay and lesbian Africans and a study guide that included a collection of essays and reflections by eminent Anglican theologians.
But Meyers and others credit relationships and surprising revelations from those relationships for changing minds.
Frey said she was floored to learn at the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference, a gathering of the global church every 10 years, that many international bishops equated Robinson’s consecration with the Bush administration.
“The Bush administration had a reputation for going out in the world and doing whatever it wanted [regardless of the] needs or concerns of the rest of the world,” Frey said. “That was the concern and impression — that the Episcopal Church was this sort of renegade, do-whatever-we-want church body. That was very instructive for our work.”
Chicago Tribune – July 20, 2009
mbrachear@tribune.com
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Copyright (c) 2009, Chicago Tribune
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  • nnmns

    I always did like Chicago.
    That would be a real downer to be likened to the Bush Administration. Of course the Bush Administration lied, and thousands died. I doubt these folks lied or anyone died.

  • Henrietta22

    This shows how the other side of the pond thought about the Bush Adm.

  • Mordred08

    “Frey said she was floored to learn at the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Conference, a gathering of the global church every 10 years, that many international bishops equated Robinson’s consecration with the Bush administration.”
    I seriously need to hear the reasoning behind this. Because my understanding is the only thing the Bushites and the Episcopalians have in common is gay members (difference being the Episcopalian gays didn’t out themselves accidentally).
    Does this mean they’re gonna call it “the homosexual strategery” now?

  • cknuck

    Chi town is a homosexual stronghold, Mr. Robinson is a bisexual at best he often in his talks brag about how he has been with both woman and man and it is shameful that he a suppose pastor would create a family with a woman and then walk away, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, and divorce, I’m sure that what I look for in a pastor. Transgenders I have not touched that subject in a while, how on earth can anyone think for a moment that God would honor that slap in the face. Take the body that God who does not make a mistake give to a human and mutilate is fill it with artificial drugs to get fake breast and go before God. Yeah right how insane can this church get?

  • Husband

    ck,
    Your writings constantly demonstrate that you believe God made a mistake when God created gay people.
    Speaking of insane …

  • Mordred08

    cknuck: “Transgenders I have not touched that subject in a while…”
    I highly suggest that you NOT go there.

  • cknuck

    Husband there is no indication that God created homosexuality any more than transexuality it is indeed man made.

  • Michael Grace

    I was a cradle Episcopalian, studied to be a priest and new more gay clergy than you’d find in a gay bar. Closet queens everywhere. That was in the late 60s and early 70s. Then saw the light, with every cradle Episcopalian I knew – became an agnostic or non participant in the ritual of organized religion. Hey – I’m gay for gay marriage etc… but the Episcopal Church today is nothing more than the peace corps in ecclesiastical drag. There are more chiefs than Indians and these third career clergy need to get a real job because those in the pews are dwindling. Most are CONVERTS! Besides the EC is operating on trusts and the collection plates are empty. Another thing – all churches, etc., in the USA NEED to be taxed. If they want to entertain themselves with this bible stuff make em pay.

  • Nate W

    Mordred, the reasoning behind the comparison is right in the article: “The Bush administration had a reputation for going out in the world and doing whatever it wanted [regardless of the] needs or concerns of the rest of the world.” That’s exactly what the liberal Episcopal leadership’s behavior looks like to most of the rest of the Anglican Communion, and to a good number of their critics (even those who aren’t in principle shut off to greater homosexual inclusion). Most of the Anglican world simply doesn’t think the Episcopalians are taking their concerns seriously, as if the Americans can do whatever they want without regard for the other churches and without consequence.

  • nnmns

    “Chi town is a homosexual stronghold”
    It would be fun to watch you defend that claim in any of many Chicago bars.
    “Take the body that God who does not make a mistake give to a human and mutilate [it]”
    Damn surgeons fixing hearts, babies, etc., anyway! Of course medicines do that, too. Damn doctors, anyway!

  • Henrietta22

    I imagine if the internet were around when Martin Luther broke from the Roman Catholic Church it would look the same as TEC, today.
    TEC is not the only church that is helped by trusts. Offering plates are low today because of the economy in all churches.
    All Religious Org. and Churches should pay taxes and those monies used to fund Health Care Services for all Americans who need them. They are in the right “business” to do this for the U.S.

  • cknuck

    nnmns in all those ns does one stand for nit your qoute, “Damn surgeons fixing hearts, babies, etc., anyway! Of course medicines do that, too. Damn doctors, anyway!”
    If you had mentioned taking a penis turning it inside to resemble a vagina or silicon skin bumps to resemble penis’ then you would be more on the lines of what mutilation I was talking about and I gotta believe you knew that and was just trying to annoy me and that you are not really that much of a nit.

  • nnmns

    cknuck you said, and I quote “Take the body that God who does not make a mistake give to a human and mutilate [it]” Since you said “God” does not make a mistake I could only assume any change to a body, especially a baby’s body, would be an abomination/mutilation to you. I was just clarifying what you seemed to be saying. But once again you meant to say something other than what you said.
    I can’t blame you too much; spending one’s life defending the Bible and your particular interpretation of it could warp one’s mind badly. And of course people like you lie about and mislead us about what the Bible actually says. So it must be awfully hard keeping track of what it is you are supposed to be saying at any one time.

  • cknuck

    This warped mind as you say nnmns has served God by serving people for years because of the message of the bible. What do you do? the scarlet tread that intertwines through the bible from beginning to the end leading to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is foolishness to many. To some it is but a book and to others it is life giving. But it boils down to 2 commandments and one commission and keeping the main thing the main thing. It escapes many, it escapes you.

  • Mordred08

    Nate W: “‘The Bush administration had a reputation for going out in the world and doing whatever it wanted [regardless of the] needs or concerns of the rest of the world.’ That’s exactly what the liberal Episcopal leadership’s behavior looks like to most of the rest of the Anglican Communion, and to a good number of their critics (even those who aren’t in principle shut off to greater homosexual inclusion). Most of the Anglican world simply doesn’t think the Episcopalians are taking their concerns seriously, as if the Americans can do whatever they want without regard for the other churches and without consequence.”
    “You’re not listening to our concerns. You’re forcing your alternative lifestyle choices on us. Stop oppressing us!”
    As far as I’m concerned, it’s the conservative Anglicans who sound like Bush.

  • Mordred08

    cknuck, clearly, one person’s “mutilation” is another person’s “corrective surgery”. I have a few friends who are in the process of transitioning, and neither you or I could begin to understand the hell they’ve gone through. This is not something done on a whim (unless the person doing so is incredibly stupid). It takes years of psychiatric evaluations, hormone therapy, and yes, eventually the operations you mentioned. But they say it’s worth it, and I believe them over you. And frankly, being willfully “mutilated” sounds like a better option than suicide, which is an unfortunate reality for many transsexuals. As is being attacked and killed for not conforming to society’s oh-so-sacred gender standards.
    nnmns, thanks for calling him on his “god doesn’t make mistakes” nonsense.

  • cknuck

    Let’s see suicide or penis surgery hmmm, that’s just silly to treat a mental illness with surgery. Not that it is not permissible but a real close look at the behavior suggests that it is not normal so it’s okay if you promote it as normal because of freedom of speech but still its not. When you convince children that it is normal and acceptable behavior you end up with a generation of unhappy people. It is skilled mutilation plain and simple, and oh by the way nnmns did not call me on anything he used his freedom of speech to express his ignorance on a topic way out of his league.

  • nnmns

    cknuck: “This warped mind as you say nnmns has served God by serving people for years”
    I don’t know what it is you do, cknuck. If you help people get food and shelter and medical care I’ll certainly credit you for that. If you counsel them from your warped perspective or bring them to it, I don’t think you are helping anyone other than, perhaps, putting a little humor into their day.
    “Let’s see suicide or penis surgery hmmm, that’s just silly to treat a mental illness with surgery. ”
    I can see how calling disconnection from one’s body mental illness, and when there was no alternative way to help the person that may have been reasonable (or may not have been). But if by changing the person’s body to fit their mind the disconnection can be solved, then that would seem to be the way to do it.

  • Mordred08

    cknuck: “that’s just silly to treat a mental illness with surgery”
    As opposed to treating it with threats of eternal torment? What do you think causes so many suicides?

  • robroy

    “…said Rev. Ruth Meyers, a co-convener of the consultation and FORMER academic dean at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston.”
    Former is a key term. The leftist co-op has closed admissions and dismissed faculty. Hmmm, more evidence that the liberal message is really selling well.
    I heard that the faculty were walking the streets of Evanston with sandwich board signs reading:
    “Will inculcate impressionable seminarians with liberal heresies for food.”

  • cknuck

    nnmns quote, “I don’t know what it is you do, cknuck. If you help people get food and shelter and medical care I’ll certainly credit you for that. If you counsel them from your warped perspective or bring them to it, I don’t think you are helping anyone other than, perhaps, putting a little humor into their day.”
    Nnmns I’d really like to know what you have done for people lately other than tell them not to believe in God and to believe you when you tell them there is no God.
    I personally daily walk people from despair to successful lives, help the educationally, financially, spiritually, and medically. We pay to shelter people while getting their GED and if they need to return to an unfinished college education we do that also, walk people out of horrible addictions (which by the way you cannot convince me the gov does not support drugs coming into the country its way too big of an industry to go unnoticed) reconcile families and yes I have been thanked countless times for facilitating the healing of spiritual connections with God. There is more nnmns, just because I don’t buy into your homosexual atheist thoughts does not mean I am not caring, my life is dedicated to caring for people and I have never charged anyone a dime. What is it you say you do?

  • nnmns

    I’m retired, cknuck, and I spend time for my family and I try to steer some folks right. And I understand you get paid for your work, as I did before I was retired.
    It sounds like you do some good things, and I congratulate you for that part of what you do.

  • cknuck

    When I worked my own business I did this work for free simply because people are in need, true I am paid to do this work currently but I give much of the money back, people are in need and I care enough to act.

  • nnmns

    I’m glad you can afford to do that and still give provide security for your family. That’s a luxury of sorts.

  • cknuck

    God has been good to me..

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