Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Episcopal church to affirm gay clergy By RACHEL ZOLL - AP Associated Press - "And the Vatican, Benedict XVI ??? "

NEW YORK (AP) — The Episcopal Church moved Monday toward affirming their acceptance of gays and lesbians for all roles in ministry, despite pressure from fellow Anglicans worldwide for a decisive moratorium on consecrating another openly gay bishop.

Bishops at the Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., voted 99-45 with two abstentions for a statement declaring "God has called and may call" to ministry gays in committed lifelong relationships.

Lay and priest delegates to the meeting had comfortably approved a nearly identical statement, and were expected to adopt the latest version before the meeting ends Friday.

Leaders of the Anglican Communion have been pushing Episcopalians to roll back their support for gays and lesbians since 2003, when the U.S. denomination consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. Anglican body.

Robinson's election brought the 77 million-member Anglican fellowship to the brink of schism. Last month, breakaway Episcopal conservatives and other like-minded traditionalists formed a rival national province called the Anglican Church in North America.

To calm tensions, the Episcopal General Convention three years ago passed a resolution that urged restraint by dioceses considering gay candidates for bishop. No other Episcopal bishops living openly with same-sex partners have been consecrated since then.

Drafters of the latest statement insisted that the resolution only acknowledges that the Episcopal Church ordains partnered gays and lesbians and is not a repeal of what was widely considered a moratorium on consecrating gay bishops.

"The constitution and canons of our church as currently written do not preclude gay and lesbian persons from participating," in any part of the church, said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, on the committee that drafted the statement. "These people have responded to God's call."

However, the Episcopal gay advocacy group Integrity, said in a statement Monday night that the declaration "effectively ends" the temporary prohibition on gays in ministry. Integrity called the vote "another step in the Episcopal Church's `coming out' process."

Read more By RACHEL ZOLL - AP Associated Press

Related article

Advocate.com Episcopalians Vote to End Gay Ban By Julie Bolcer

The bishops of the Episcopal Church voted on Monday at the church’s convention to open “any ordained ministry” to gay men and lesbians, following a similar vote by the House of Deputies, the legislative body of laypeople and clergy, on Sunday, reports The New York Times. If approved, the resolution could end the three-year old moratorium on ordaining gay bishops passed in the wake of conservative outrage over the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch. Read morePhoto - Advocate.com

Learn more - An Inch At A Time: Reflection on the Journey - Rev. Susan Russell

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