Saturday, August 12, 2006

Why The Episcopal Church Needs to Remain in The Anglican Communion

There are a few Episcopalian and Anglican blogs that I check every day. One of them is
Father Jake Stops the World.

He has facilitated many conversations since GC06 in Columbus. This one especially caught my attention. As many of us were expressing our anger at resolution B033, one of Father Jake’s regular readers/commenters added his comment. From what I can discern, this man is in Brazil. And he is a gay man. And his partner was ruthlessly murdered a few years ago in a hate crime – simply for being gay.

Hear that. Breathe that in. This man’s beloved was murdered in a hate crime simply for being gay. Imagine your husband or wife or partner had been murdered simply because he or she loved you. Stop and rest with that for a while.

Now … go on and read this.

Here’s part of what this man in Brazil recently had to say to us at Father Jake’s:

However, for the "wider" communion, and especially for inclusive provinces, it would be very harsh if we didn't have a strong EC as our partner within the Communion.

I'll take my province as an example. Some years ago, there were two national consultations on human sexuality. A common statement was released, explicitly saying that "no one should have his (or her) sexuality exposed in order to take part of our clergy or laity" and that "our sexuality is God's gift, and should be lived in freedom and decency" (http://www.archive.changingattitude.org/
news_i_c_brazil_rio.html
).

That means that a "Global South" country has taken a step forward in order to fully include its LGBT brothers and sisters.

But, if somehow, the Episcopal Church were "expelled" from the Anglican Communion? What would happen to those provinces and dioceses that are struggling to follow your path of inclusivity? Who would give us support? The Church of England?

I understand those bishops that have asked for B033. I don't agree with that resolution, but I tend to look at it as a means of keeping the Episcopal Church as a strong body within the wider communion, until other churches advance in those issues.

There are other LGBT Christians, living in countries where they are still persecuted and demonized. And I see the Episcopal Church as the only body within our Communion strong enough (and courageous enough) to help them.

I’ll confess this: Ever since The Episcopal Church passed resolution B033 in Columbus, I have been focused on what it meant to me and to other lay people, deacons, and priests whom I know in the U.S. But when “Leonardo” posted this question/comment from Brazil, it made me do a double-take.

We tend to focus on why we want The Episcopal Church to remain part of the Anglican Communion, in somewhat self-serving ways. But here is this man in Brazil, saying that he and others in that nation desperately need The Episcopal Church to be at Lambeth in order to give voice to the “voiceless.” I bet he is not the only gay person with an Internet connection who is watching our church’s drama and hoping we will have courage.

Will we have the courage to speak for the gay people within and well beyond the borders of the U.S.? Will we?, incoming PB Jefferts-Schori? Will we?

If you want, you can read the rest of what this man in Brazil had to say to us at Father Jake’s.

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