15 July 2009



I rejoiced yesterday with many of my friends in The Episcopal Church after the passage of D025; it is an honest proclamation of full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church and an honest proclamation of our commitment to the wider Anglican Communion. That is its beauty. I also sat with friends who were discouraged, for fear that we had taken a step apart from the wider Anglican Communion. I disagree with their assessment, but I care for them.

Meanwhile, the headlines, as usual, have all the sizzle but none of the meat. The snippet headlines want the world to believe that The Episcopal Church has overturned a moratorium on the consecration of gays or lesbians, or has repealed the 2006 resolution B033. The substance of resolution D025 is far richer than that. It has re-affirmed the commitment of The Episcopal Church both to the full inclusion of gays and lesbians, and to the wider Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church refuses to believe it must choose between the two.

I am among that apparently growing minority who believes that the actual wording of 2006-B033 did not place a legislative moratorium on the consecration of gays or lesbians as bishops. I acknowledge that it was interpreted that way after its passage. I also acknowledge that some close friends of mine considered themselves excluded because of it.

In fact, however, B033 was always interpreted variously. A major reason it passed the General Convention of 2006 was because it mentioned neither “moratorium” nor “gays and lesbians.” Thus, there never was a formal “moratorium” in place in the Episcopal Church which has now been broken. There may have been informal moratoria, within the minds of individuals and nominating committees and dioceses, and that fact has always been legitimate in the church. At this convention, D025 simply does not mention overturning a moratorium, because no legislative moratorium is in place.

I do agree that certain relationships within the Anglican Communion of churches are strained. Those are the relationships, generally, who see sexuality issues as determinative for communion. I do not agree. There are plenty of healthy, vigorous, and missional relationships across lines in the Anglican Communion which are satisfied to let sexuality issues be secondary issues. Uniform opinion on the sexuality issues of our time –or any time-- should not be the basis for Christian communion. Indeed, they should not be determinative for Christian covenant either – but more on that at a later time!


  1. Sam, I quote: "it is an honest proclamation of full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church"
    Does this mean that the episcopal church will marry homosexuals in states where homosexual marriage is recognized?
    I'm sincerely curious; not trying to pick a fight.
    FWIW: I am in favor of giving homosexuals the chance to be as miserable as the rest of us...

  2. Unfortunately the world has become impatient with anything that can't be put on a bumper sticker or a t-shirt. Three cheers for complex answers to complex issues, for speaking nuance with clarity, and for the willingness to practice tolerance in the face of ambiguity.