GC2009: D025 Resolution Will Accelerate Splitting the Anglican Communion
Actions of General Convention is the final straw, says Albany Bishop
Sex outside of marriage will kill you, says Springfield Bishop
By David W. Virtue in Anaheim
Two Episcopal bishops of orthodox dioceses say the actions of General Convention 2009 have pushed The Episcopal Church over the edge and will accelerate splitting the Anglican Communion.
Albany Bishop William Love said the action of General Convention with the passage of D025 was the final straw. "The wider Anglican Communion will now say we have gone too far."
"It is very sad for me. I am a lifelong Anglican, but first of all I am life-long Christian. It is breaking my heart to see what has happened," said Love choking back a tear as he spoke.
"I don't agree with their (HOB and HOD majority) interpretation with what is the right thing. It is not a blessing but a curse. Rather than bringing people into the church it will accelerate the death of The Episcopal Church and will drive people away. It will accelerate the splitting up of the Anglican Communion and that is very sad. TEC has so much to offer. We are far from being at our best."
Love hit out at the notion perpetuated by liberals that conservatives hate homosexuals and that God doesn't love gays and that they have no place in the church. "That is not the case. Some people have made derogatory statements that have been hurtful and have said things that should never have been said. We cannot support such statements. This is not about hatred toward homosexuals; it is their lifestyle that is not in accordance with God's will.
"I believe in sexual relations between a man and a woman in the confines of marriage and sexual relations outside of that is not in accord with God's will.
"[Homosexuality] is often talked about as a justice issue. We do people a great injustice to say it is okay to do something God says is not okay. It is a matter of love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to tell them that."
Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith said The Episcopal Church is dying under its own weight. "We are losing members, churches and dioceses. It is a disaster and we need to name it for what it is. We are under God's judgment.
"Sex outside of marriage will kill you. Gays want temporal pleasure but at the cost of your souls," said the Springfield Bishop.
Questioned about schism, the bishop said the House of Bishops doesn't have a clue what they are risking. They are willing to risk schism over a justice issue.
Love said he came to GC2009 and, as an optimist, hoped to avoid the passage of D025. It happened. "Once again, we are saying we want to be part of the Anglican Communion and that we value that partnership. Yet there is always that 'but' we want to do it on our terms and we expect you to approve that. The rest of the Anglican Communion says it won't."
The two bishops were cautious when asked whether they would consider taking their dioceses out of TEC. "This pushes us away," said Beckwith. "If things don't change, there will be no orthodox expression in TEC."
"I don't have the power or authority or interest in taking the diocese out of TEC, said Beckwith. "I have been assisting people and I don't have the money for lawsuits."
Bishop David Anderson (CANA), president of the American Anglican Council, said the primary problem was not sex. "If sexuality issues were done away with, the problem would still exist in TEC. The real issue is the authority of Holy Scripture and Christology. Sex is symptomatic of the problems we face."
Asked by VOL if a third great wave of leavers, orthodox parishes form orthodox dioceses, would occur after GC2009, Love said the passage of D025 makes life difficult. "Our focus must always be on The Great Commission."
Beckwith said people keep drifting away from his diocese and the church. "If a priest says it is time to leave TEC, we would and talk to the Standing Committee and Diocesan Council. We don't have money to go to court. If you want to leave you can leave and you can always come back. The problem is Gene Robinson thinks he is pursing the gospel...one of us is wrong."
Beckwith said schism has [already] occurred because we have departed the teaching of the church. Schism is getting larger.
Beckwith said his e-mail traffic from the diocese, following the passage of D025, was what he expected. "It is exactly what I expected and yet better than what I expected." He said he was experiencing a generous hospitality from colleagues in the HOB.
Philip Ashey, ACC CEO, said the most egregious assessment of the B033 moratorium is that it is not really killed until another gay or lesbian candidate is ordained or consecrate. There is a conspiracy to commit schism, he said.
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