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Prayer Book Revision and Marriage Rites arouse heated debate in packed hearing at General Convention

Prayer Book Revision and Marriage Rites arouse heated debate in packed hearing at General Convention
Resolutions A085 and B012 could jeopardize catholicity and deepen divide in the Church

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
July 6, 2018

AUSTIN, TEXAS --- Part of the legislative process in The Episcopal Church’s General Convention are the after-hours public hearings, which allow for members of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies to hear what people in the pews have to say. These hearings tell how the resolutions will affect parishioners living out their Christian lives, in their praying, in their connection with the church.

Thursday (July 5) Legislative Committee 13 – the Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169 – was dealing with resolutions: A085 Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer; and B012 Marriage Rites for the Whole Church. Both resolutions are in response to the 2015 Resolution A169 Prepare a Plan for Revising the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

The two General Convention resolutions are designed to strip Episcopal bishops – particularly conservative bishops – of their authority to determine which liturgical celebrations may be offered within their own diocesan borders, and to denature God of His Divine gender as well as rip familiar language from the Book of Common Prayer. Here is a portion of the twitter feed responses.

TWITTER FEEDS

Fr. Paul H. Castelli, AF‏@PaulHCastelli: Can we avoid schism without the DEPO alternative offered in #B012? Otherwise, won’t #A085 just do what we said we wouldn’t do three years ago and create a further divide?
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 6th testimony on A085 (same-sex marriage & BCP revision at #GC79) is Brad Jones, speaking against A085. Does not believe his members want a new marriage rite like this but believes Jesus can transform lives. He was formerly homosexual and Jesus changed him.
Fr. Paul H. Castelli, AF‏@PaulHCastelli: I think #B012 is a good compromise.
TweetGC79‏@Gc79Tweet: Now a contingent from the diocese Honduras speaking against #A085
IT‏@eye_tee: I have never understood how my marriage in any way negates anyone else’s. What, if an LGBT couple gets married and straights are all “if they can do it I don’t want it”? That attitude is deeply insulting & hurtful to faithful gay Episcopalians.
Fr. Paul H. Castelli, AF‏@PaulHCastelli: Re. #A085 or #B012: What will be the priority, being “right” or being in relationship? Which is the real “Elizabethan Settlement?” It seems that conservatives have spoken clearly on what they can live with (#DEPO). Would are most ardent progressives rather be “right?”
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 10th testimony on A085 in favor of B012. There needs to be space for all, including LGBTQ Christians. But revision to the BCP will change the official doctrine of the church and jeopardize our catholicity. B012 is the via media.
William‏@simerly_will: #B012 is the way to go. I say this as a gay man in a relationship who wants to see the church embrace all of its diversity, including traditionalist Episcopalians.
Ed. S. Rivera‏@EdRivera4467: Lots of testimony from white men of power & privilege speaking against marriage equality in the church to "preserve unity." Why is the cost of "preserving the peace" always at the expense of the marginalized, enslaved, displaced, oppressed and colonized?
Fr. J. Wesley Evans, OPA‏@FrWesleyEvans: The way #GC79 is now pursuing #bcprevision under #A068 in such a forced manner would show some suspicion they know it won't pass and has to be forced onto the Church. So much for the Holy Spirit. It will cost way more than $2 million.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Speaking in favor of B012, which is a good-faith effort for marriage equality in churches like mine in Dio of Dallas. We need to preserve space for dissenting clergy and congregations.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 5th testimony on B012 David Halt, Dio of Springfield, in favor of B012. The church has rewritten the doctrine of marriage. There needs to be space for conservative clergy and parishes. B012 gives that space.
Maryann‏@mkphilbrook: A person from the diocese of TN is speaking in favor of B012. He says that this is a compromise that allows both sides to move forward. Our church hopes to maintain relationships and honor conscience.
Resistance Cookie‏@JimNaught: Passing B012 would create no-fly dioceses for same-sex couples, just as the Port St. Lucie statement created no-fly zones for female priests. It would create dioceses whose opposition to LGBT people will only grow, leading to schism--just as the PStL did. It's a bad deal.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 9th testimony on B012 Jill Stellman from Dio of Albany. I am ambivalent. We need to be inclusive. We need a big tent. But as a priest in a conservative diocese, I do not always feel welcome. We need to be welcoming to all. Be creative.
Matthew Neugebauer‏@neug485: What baffles me most is that opponents of the resolution are still staking their argument on statements about "biblical truth" rather than diversity, inclusion and respect for conscience. Read the room, folks.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 10th testimony on B012 Amonds, Dio of FL. I am a rector whose parish members entirely left the church ten years ago. We have rebuilt and are diverse, including LGBTQ members. Use caution with BCP revision and use DEPO in B012.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 11th testimony on B012 Justin Holcomb Dio of Central FL. In favor of B012. Leaving a space for conservative parishes will leave room for the flourishing of conservative young adult ministry. BCP revision undermines welcomes.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 12th testimony on B012 Bp Greg Brewer in support of B012 because it speaks to the best of who we are as Christians. It advances inclusion and catholicity. BCP revision will be divisive. B012 will hold our diocese together with DEPO.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 13th testimony on B012 Leander Harding from Albany. BCP revision will drive people away from us. It feels like violence.
William‏@simerly_will: #B012 is the way to go. I say this as a gay man in a relationship who wants to see the church embrace all of its diversity, including traditionalist Episcopalians.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 14th testimony on B012 Miguel from Dio of Dallas, in support of B012. It encourages people to walk together. I support the LGBT right to marry but want to ensure we don't put people against their conscience. A085 will cause pain.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 12th testimony on B012 Bp Greg Brewer in support of B012 because it speaks to the best of who we are as Christians. It advances inclusion and catholicity. BCP revision will be divisive. B012 will hold our diocese together with DEPO.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 15th testimony on B012 Tim Nunez from Central FL. B012 is in the spirit of giving people space. LGBT felt in the minority and now conservatives do. We must walk together, not apart.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 16th testimony on B012 Bill Carroll from OK, not sure of view on A085/B012. Stands for maximal inclusion of all the baptized in the sacraments. Opposed to anything that doesn't leave space for dissent. All need a way to move forward.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: 17th testimony on B012 Juan Oliver, Custodian of the BCP, I have a high theology of the episcopate. I am against B012. Exceptions for bishop's conscience must stop. They cannot be above decisions of GC. DEPO weakens the episcopacy.
Ellis Montes 孟賢俊‏@Oshidonimlop: You cannot be in the church and out of the church at the same time.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Continuing 18th testimony on B012 from Zimbabwe. Scholar from 2005, working with sexual minorities in Africa. We have shifting understandings of family & unions, causing African Christians to revisit their understanding of marriage.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on A085 Ian Stanford. In favor of A085. For the first 46 years of my life, I could marry a man because I was a woman. Now I am Ian, as a trans man am told I cannot marry a man. We have made an idol of heterosexuality.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on A085 Chris Opot, Dio of Pitt. I know this debate causes pain. I am in favor of A085. Yes, our hearts need to change—but that doesn't mean our beliefs don't need to change. God maybe has not always agreed with us.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on A085/B012 Joan Gunderson from Dio of Pitt. We cannot reach perfection with any of these resolutions. As Anglicans we must muddle in the middle. Schism is painful. I don't want to lose anyone. A085 may lose people.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on B012 from Bp Bauerschmidt from Tenn. I love all our congregations, even when they may not love me. B012 provides access to trial liturgies for all, respects the role of bishops, leaves BCP intact, and keeps us together.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on B012 Bp Sumner. I hope we can think in a wider scope. We live in a polarized country. It is a rare moment to have people come together. B012 is a fitting witness and compromise. Gesture to Communion. Time for peace.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on B012 Bp Martins from Springfield. Supports B012. I don't love it, but I am grateful for it. It allows for the flourishing of my conservative diocese. DEPO is painful, but if it enables us to be in Communion, we must do it.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on B012 Sarah Watkins from Dio of Tx. I speak with the voice of another woman who had to leave. Justice delayed is justice denied. I applaud the efforts of B012, but this division is deep. Both sides need to listen.
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on B012 from Bp Michael Smith of N Dakota. I try to keep progressives in Anglican Comm and conservatives in TEC. DEPO has worked in my diocese—particularly because the bishops trust each other.
Wil Root‏@WilRoot88: Worth noting that half of next year's graduating class at VTS identifies as LGBTQ
Jared Cramer@frcramer: Testimony on A085 Ellis Reyes. Dio of Tx and an openly gay man. Including more in the sanctity of marriage does not exclude traditional marriages. We exist in God's love and God is uniting new voices. BCP revision is about opening up.
Jared Cramer‏@frcramer: Testimony on A085 Jolayne from Dio of Dallas. A085 is a clear divergence from Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.
Jared Cramer‏@frcramer: Testimony on A085 Bruce Garner, Dio of Atl. President of Integrity. In favor of A085. Consider how it would feel to be told you are inherently sinful. 1st I heard that in church was GC in 1991. We must be clear we are a church for all.
Ed. S. Rivera‏@EdRivera4467: Lots of testimony from white men of power & privilege speaking against marriage equality in the church to "preserve unity." Why is the cost of "preserving the peace" always at the expense of the marginalized, enslaved, displaced, oppressed, and colonized?
Jared Cramer‏@frcramer: Testimony on A085 from Rob Oliver from Dio of TX. Through Scripture the BCP describes who we are. Without Scripture the BCP is empty. A085 may lead people to stumble. We need all members to function, including conservatives.
Jeff Walton‏@jeffreyhwalton: Marriage continues to be a divisive issue at #gc79. Central Florida Bishop @revgregbrewer shares about an incident in which convention translator for deputies from Honduras walked away mid-translation when he found out they opposed same-sex marriage.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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