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Just say “no” to euthanasia: Anglican Ink, May 22, 2013 May 22, 2013

Posted by geoconger in 73rd General Convention, Anglican Ink, The Episcopal Church, Vermont.
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Vermont has become the fourth American state to legalize euthanasia after Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law the “End of Life Choices” Act which permits physicians to administer a fatal overdose to terminally ill patients who wish to commit suicide.

On 20 May 2013 Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law after it was approved by the state legislature: 75 to 65 in the House and 17 to 13 in the Senate.

“This bill does not compel anyone to do anything that they don’t choose in sound mind to do. All it does is give those who are facing terminal illness, are facing excruciating pain, a choice in a very carefully regulated way,” the governor said after he signed the bill.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said this was “a tragic moment for Vermont. It is also a sign of an alarming trend nationwide. In the three states where physician-assisted suicide is now legal, doctors are called upon to destroy life, rather than to save life and provide much-needed comfort in times of pain and distress.”

He urged “all people of good will to fight the future passage of such laws.”

The Episcopal Bishop of Vermont the Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely told Anglican Ink the Vermont Ecumenical Council and Bible Society hosted a series of forums on physician-assisted suicide. It issued a statement in 2003 when the issue was first brought to the legislature and again in 2011, giving a “clean statement of our position.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Divisions Made Evident at Closed-door meeting with the Presiding Bishop: TLC 9.22.2003 September 22, 2003

Posted by geoconger in 73rd General Convention, Living Church, The Episcopal Church.
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First printed in the Living Church magazine.

The Episcopal Church is in crisis, according to 10 bishops representing the moderate elements from both the liberal and conservative wings of the Church. Beyond that assessment, accounts differ somewhat as to the substance of the conversation at a closed-door meeting with Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Sept. 10-11 at the Episcopal Church Center.

Attempts at forging a joint statement expressing reconciliation or optimism collapsed as the two sides could only agree to a four-line statement confirming that they had met, that their “dialogue was candid, honest and respectful.”

In a separate letter written on Sept. 12 to the bishops of the Episcopal Church following the private meeting, Bishop Griswold acknowledged the “polarization” within the Church, bewailing “our having to make an either/or decision with no possibility of any other mode of response.”

The meeting occurred approximately one month before Bishop Griswold meets with the primates of the Anglican Communion at a special gathering called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams.

The 10 bishops included five who voted for the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson’s affirmation as Bishop of New Hampshire: the Rt. Rev. Robert Ilhoff of Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk of New York, the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls of Lexington, and the Rt. Rev. Edwin Gulick of Kentucky; and five conservatives who opposed the election: the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman of Quincy, the Rt. Rev. Don Johnson of West Tennessee, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida and the Rt. Rev. Edward Little of Northern Indiana.

The liberal bishops were “shocked” by the fall-out following the Robinson election, said one conservative bishop. “Several said they could ‘not fathom’ why [Canon Robinson’s election was] the ‘deal breaking issue’.” He added, “I told them it was irrelevant whether they could understand it, or whether or not they wished it so — it is the ‘deal breaker’ and we have to cope with that.”

Bishop Griswold’s characterization of the meeting was much more upbeat. In his letter he stated that he “left the meeting extremely grateful for the candor and grace of the participants, their deep care and affection for one another, and their commitment to the well-being of their dioceses, and our church.”

Scripture Trumped in US Decision: Southern Cross 8.23.03 August 23, 2003

Posted by geoconger in 73rd General Convention, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Southern Cross, The Episcopal Church.
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First published by Anglican Media Sydney.

The Episcopal Church in the USA has voted to accept Gene Robinson, a minister living in a long-term homosexual relationship, as a bishop. GEORGE CONGER, a conservative minister and journalist from Florida, reports exclusively for Southern Cross from Minneapolis.

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) broke apart last month at its General Convention in Minneapolis, over the question of homosexuality.

Since 1985, gay advocates have sought to pass legislation at General Conventions altering Church teaching on the morality of homosexual conduct. Despite losing a vote that would have authorised the study of rites for same-sex blessings or marriages, the gay lobby succeeded in its quest to ‘normalise’ homosexual behavior with the affirmation of Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Robinson’s affirmation as Bishop put the Church on record as stating that his physical homosexual relationship with his partner of 14 years, Mark Andrews, was a ‘wholesome example’ for the Church, thus putting itself at odds with the majority of Anglicans worldwide.

The three days proceeding Robinson’s election were overtly polite, but extraordinarily fractious and tumultuous. On August 3 the lay and clerical deputies affirmed Robinson’s election by a 3-2 margin after 45 minutes of debate and several days of committee hearings.

The debate over Robinson’s suitability to be Bishop high-lighted the deep divide between liberals and conservatives.

Liberal argument stressed four points: As a matter of theology, Jesus did not condemn homosexuality, the ‘sin’ of Sodom was inhospitality, and the ‘sin’ of the Epistles was acting contrary to one’s God-given sexual nature; as a matter of biology, homo-sexuality is a genetically determined aspect of the human body; as a matter of psychology, homosexuality is irreversible; as a matter of sociology, homo-sexuality is normal – a social category akin to gender or race. God, it was argued, made Gene Robinson the way he was, and God loves him as he is.

Conservatives opposed all of these liberal points, saying homosexuality was not innate, but a choice. As a matter of psychology, homosexuality was a reversible condition. And as a matter of sociology, homo-sexuality was not normal, but an illness or perverse choice.

The centre of the conservative argument, however, was an appeal to Scripture and to the traditions of the Church.

However this appeal to Scripture and to Church teachings by conservatives fell on deaf ears. Bonnie Anderson, a lay deputy from the diocese of Michigan, argued that ‘fear is the absence of faith’. Not to elect Gene Robinson would be an ‘act of fear curable by faith,’ she said. A second deputy claimed that the Spirit, not the Bible nor the Church, was the arbiter of faith. When votes were counted, the Holy Spirit trumped Scripture.

On August 4, an hour before the Bishops were to consider Robinson’s election, the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Frank Griswold, stunned the Convention by announcing an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Robinson. The charges fell apart the next day.

After Robinson was cleared, the Bishops voted 63 to 45 in favor of affirmation. Following the vote, Bishop Griswold recognised Pittsburgh’s conser-vative bishop, Robert Duncan, and invited him to address the House. Bishop Duncan and 22 other bishops rose and announced their disassociation with the vote. Bishop Duncan stated that he and his colleagues were appealing to the Primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in the affairs of the American Church and rescue it from apostasy and heresy.

Bishop Duncan stated: “You cannot imagine my grief … Understand what has been stolen from us: unity with the one holy catholic and apostolic church ecumenically; unity with our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion across the globe; unity with the faith once delivered to the saints.”

Bishop Griswold dismissed concerns of schism or ruptured communion. A Primates’ Meeting to discuss this issue could only be called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, he observed.

However, during Bishop Griswold’s news conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced a special meeting of the Primates to be held on October 15-16 in London, ‘to discuss recent developments in ECUSA.’ Archbishop Williams’s letter asked for calm in the wake of the Convention.

The calm the next day in the House of Bishops was not one fostered by spiritual reflection but by physical absence. At 11am as the House of Bishops was called, approximately a third of the bishops were absent. Of the 23 bishops who stood to voice their opposition, 20 were absent from the House.