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GC2009: Open Hearing on gay marriage issues: Rites and Rights

GC2009: Open Hearing on gay marriage issues: Rites and Rights

By Cherie Wetzel in Anaheim
July 9, 2008

The open hearing by the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music this afternoon took under consideration a total of 11 resolutions dealing with same sex marriage and production of national rites for same sex marriage.

The resolutions were broken into two groups: those dealing specifically with the issue of same-sex marriage; and those resolutions dealing with the production of national rites for these marriages. As you might expect, there were far more people speaking in favor of the passage of these resolutions than those who spoke against.

So, I am going to share with you the testimony of courageous people who spoke against these resolutions.

The Rev. Charlie Holt Diocese of Central Florida: A teen said to me yesterday that the prophets were a group of straight men that said what God would not have said. Teens hear what we are saying and make illogical conclusions.

This resolution is against what the prophets said. My greatest concern is the message we send to our children in our care. Passing this resolution will be teaching them not to trust the Word of God. "How does a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word." We must speak the truth in love. That is what we must do.

Loving all but speaking the truth.

The Rev. Phyllis Bartle: Central Florida clergy alternate deputy: I am against this resolution for two specific reasons: i.) It speaks to the fact that it will only affect a couple of jurisdictions but will, in the end, affect the whole church. ii.) Genesis 2 tells us that God created them man and woman. Using terminology to change from husband and wife to two adults in the marriage canons denies this Scripture.

How do we explain this when we are teaching our confirmation classes? God's Covenant is with a man and a woman. Scripture must be kept as our first and only authority.

Mr. Gerry Smith, lay deputy, Diocese of Springfield: Not every situation can be compared on the same level. I fought against alcohol addiction and couldn't be on my parish Vestry. That was denied me because of my addiction. God called to me and told me to study the Scriptures. And it changed my life. Scripture has told us about sinful behavior. As a church we will be teaching that all behavior is acceptable. That is against the Word of God. Please deny.

This is a cunning response on C004 was from a deputy, who says we have a slice of time right now, before the Covenant is in final form, to do what we want and supposedly, not be held accountable by the rest of the Communion. After all, we did this BEFORE there was a Covenant......... Mr. Paul Brockman Lay deputy, Charlottesville VA.

The Archbishop of Canterbury told us last night that the truth is vital to our re-emergence as a strong people. We are afraid if we go forward, we will damage our relationships within the Communion. The Covenant Design Group has given us an opening in time right now and I urge us to take it.

The Communion is not in agreement in relation to acceptance to divorce or women in priesthood, and definitely not in relation to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered people. There are 6 gay couples in our parish. Please give permission to authorize their marriages.

Now, back to those genuinely trying to state their opinion about this issue: Mrs. Patricia Tew, lay deputy, Central Florida: This issue has not yet been accepted by majority of the Anglican Communion or even the Christian churches. It will further alienate our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he had hope but anxiety about decisions we will make here in next 10 days. I fear those decisions we make will further glean out more people and parishes than we have seen leave the Episcopal Church in the last 6 years. We must look at the last 6 years to determine what further damage our decisions will make. I urge us not do to this.

The Most Rev. Rob Wood, Diocese of Atlanta: I am in opposition. Summarily discharge. Not in principle but substance. More importantly, the Book of Common Prayer is an unwise way to go about adding this type of liturgy. We need a modification on where this is published. Pouring new wine into old wine skins just doesn't work.

We have a lot of theological work to do on a liturgy that we are talking about. With care and attention to the whole church, we can come up with something that is not a second-class service. I would not be comfortable doing this liturgy, so I must specify that what we approve would be available in states with legal gay marriage.

The Most Rev. Tony Park Dean of the Cathedral, Diocese of Central Florida: As predictable as it was for the Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School (Cambridge, MA) to be in favor of this resolution, as Dean, from Central Florida, I am against it. All of us gathered in this hall know all the arguments for and against: social, liturgical, Biblical, and cultural. My testimony won't change the mind of those for the resolution.

I am here for a few thousand people from Central Florida and I am here to convey our opposition to same sex blessings and same sex unions. For those who are not quite sure, I ask you to vote no against this and other same sex blessings and marriages. Think of the people of Central Florida and vote no. The Rev. Dorothee Hahn, Deputy from Churches in Europe: European churches are not living on the edge of Anglican Communion.

We are living in the middle of it. Some of our European countries have civil rights for gays and some don't. Let the theology for marriage be developed and any rights in our Church should be based on Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

The vast majority within the Anglican Communion does not accept gays. There is no existing theology to pass this. When voting, include the Anglican Communion. Overcome the urge and think of the Communion.

The Rev. David Thurlow, clerical deputy from South Carolina: Just saying I am from South Carolina is a stigma. (this garnered a gentle laugh) I can speak for all the people of the Diocese of South Carolina who wish me to say to you that their opposition stands on the basis of Scripture.

One thing I think is missing is that the Church needs to serve the mind of Christ, not the voice of some among us. The wisdom of the ages goes through the halls of the Church today. Some have been false, some true; but they have gone before and discerned the mind of Christ. "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

The Love of the Lord and love of the law means we are to be transformed. Take heed not only of those voices today but those of the past.

---Cheryl Wetzel is Editor of The Anglican Voice, reporting from Anaheim. www.anglicansunited.com * anglicansunited@sbcglobal.net

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