Out of the Closet
It's mighty hard to keep a secret, and certainly in a church as small as ours. I'm rather surprised this one survived for almost a month.
I now have the names of the two co-facilitators of the panel put together by the House of Bishops Theology Committee, as well as the names of six of the eight panel members. One panel member and a chair had already been identified, as noted in the item I posted by Louie Crew.
You probably remember the background. In early June, Bishop Henry Nutt Parsley (chair of the House of Bishops Theology Committee) appointed a secret panel to prepare a paper on same-sex relationships in the life of the church. Many websites and blogs (including mine here) expressed outrage that Bishop Parsley refused to name the members of the panel. He claimed secrecy was necessary to support the theologians' "collegiality and academic freedom."
So here are eight of the ten theologians serving on the panel to study same-sex relationships.
- The Rt. Rev. Joe G. Burnett, Bishop of Nebraska (webpage here)
- Ellen Charry, Princeton Theological Seminary (webpage here)
- Deirdre J. Good, General Theological Seminary (webpage here)
- Willis Jenkins, Yale Divinity School (webpage here)
- The Rev. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity School for Ministry (webpage here)
- Eugene Rogers, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (webpage here)
- The Rev. George Sumner, Wycliffe College, Toronto (webpage here)
- The Rev. Daniel A. Westberg of Nashotah House (webpage here; see page 3 of the newsletter)
Mind you, it was Bishop Parsley's decision to keep their identities secret. My beef was always with him – not with the members of the panel. In some ways, his tactics seemed to give them an unwarranted importance. After all, all they're doing is writing a report. They are not trying to put out a consensus document. They do not intend to propose "a way forward." They are simply charged to make theological statements – one pro and one con – about same-sex relationships in the life of our church.
Let's all keep them in our prayers.