When I heard that our Presiding Bishop had signed the Communiqué from the Primates Meeting (albeit with tears in her eyes), I thought that she was probably just assenting to what had occurred at the meeting and acknowledging that the Communiqué reflected the majority of the primates. I was waiting for her reflection when she was home and rested, certain that she would affirm our inclusiveness in the Episcopal Church for all of God’s people.
But, I was wrong. She has proposed that adherence to the recommendations and timeline of the Communiqué is a period of fasting for us. “What is being asked of both parties is a season of fasting - from authorizing rites for blessing same-sex unions and consecrating bishops in such unions on the one hand, and from transgressing traditional diocesan boundaries on the other,” she writes here.
Lastly in her reflection she says, “Justice, (steadfast) love, and mercy always go together in our biblical tradition. None is complete without the others. While those who seek full inclusion for gay and lesbian Christians, and the equal valuing of their gifts for ministry, do so out of an undeniable passion for justice, others seek a fidelity to the tradition that cannot understand or countenance the violation of what that tradition says about sexual ethics. Each is being asked to forbear for a season. The word of hope is that in God all things are possible, and that fasting is not a permanent condition of a Christian people, nor a normative one. God's dream is of all people gathered at a feast, and we enter Lent looking toward that Easter feast and the new life that will, in God's good time, be proclaimed.”
How long will we wait for God’s good time? How many gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people will be turned away from a valuable ministry in proclaiming the good news? How many couples will not receive the blessing and support of their community? How many children will grow up knowing that their parents are so different that part of the world would kill them? Too many parents are being killed in the world for too many reasons, and none of them valid.
Our PB Katharine says that others will not transgress traditional diocesan boundaries. Yet the Communiqué itself says they will continue to do so. Read it here. Despite protests from PB Katharine, they say they will continue to raid our churches and dioceses. They will continue to claim use of property that belongs to the whole of the Episcopal Church.
And, we are to cease pursuing legal means of protecting the property of the Church! Where will those who dissent from the dissenters worship? Where will the women who feel called to ministry and the GLBT community find a place to worship? Where will those who support them go? Sharing and accommodating the separation of churches is a beautiful idea, but I’m not sure that our dissenters are looking in that direction.
I am hurt; I am afraid; I disillusioned that one more time the desire to be one of the crowd (the Anglican Communion), to be one in God has triumphed over justice and love. Unity is a thing much to be desired, but when two disagree over the basics of unity, then there is no unity, only the facsimile of it. Separation and divorce are the humane way to go when counseling has failed. And, we’ve been at this counseling (read listening) stage for too many years.
And, as I said at Grandmere Mimi’s blog, who will be next? The disabled or the differently abled? Will they be prohibited from being lector or lay eucharistic minister because they are not perfect, not sinless? Where do we stop inviting those to the table who have something to gain? When do we invite those from the streets to the feast? During Lent, we may fast, but we must feast at Easter!