FLORIDA: 41 Orthodox Episcopal Priests Deposed Since 2004 by Liberal Bishop

May 4, 2008 by

By David Virtue, Virtueonline When he first took office, Samuel Johnson Howard seemed the picture of sweet reasonableness, promising to work with everyone, his door open to all, announcing that he was orthodox as he followed in the footsteps of the late evangelical Bishop of Florida, Steve Jecko. In January 2004, things looked promising when the Diocese of Florida decided to uninvite Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold for the much-anticipated consecration of Howard as the next Bishop Coadjutor of Florida. There was an air of euphoria, a general feeling then that the change from Bishop Jecko to Howard would be a transition that orthodox priests could live with. They soon became disillusioned. Howard moved into the diocese snubbing his predecessor, never once consulting him on diocesan matters before he arrived or afterwards. Jecko lived in a humble $100,000 home, Howard demanded, and got, a $1 million dollar residence, one, he no doubt thought, that befit a priest who had spent his previous years at the wealthiest church in the world – Trinity Wall Street in New York City. He bought most of his home with other peoples’ money (OPM). Then began his ecclesiastical reign of terror. He was not gospel driven, he was an institutionalist, a corporatist, obedient not to those who paid his bills in the diocese, but as the CEO of a diocese whose boss resided at 815 2^nd Avenue, New York, a city with which he was all too familiar. For the orthodox clergy of the diocese, the joy quickly turned into disillusionment when it became clear that Howard had adopted the party line and would not go against the liberal Episcopal House of Bishops or his uber boss, then Frank Griswold later Katharine Jefferts Schori. When he first came into the diocese as Bishop Coadjutor, Howard demanded a bigger portion of the budget for himself and insisted that he be allowed to bring his administrative assistant, Paul Van Brunt with him from Trinity Wall Street. He got both wishes. Then Howard started to play hardball with parishes that refused to cough up their full assessment. One of the larger Network churches in the Diocese of Florida, All Soul’s Jacksonville, resolved to send 9% of its 10% to the Diocese of Florida, and to redirect the additional 1% to the Anglican Communion Network. This was in 2004. When All Soul’s sent their 9%, Bishop Howard returned the check because it did not, in his mind comply with the letter of the diocesan resolution, i.e., the Network was not a valid choice for their 1%, even though they were supporting the diocesan budget with their 9 %. The truth is Bishop Howard wanted it all, said a source at that time. All money was to go through him with no local options. When the Rev. Neil Lehbar rector, Church of the Redeemer, Jacksonville, stood up and asked when his church and the others who were withholding funds from the diocese would be "put on notice." Howard replied: "You...

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The oppressed GLBT – not alone!

May 1, 2008 by

Thank you Peter Ould for this highlight.  It is most helpful!  The overwhelming reality of pain, rejection and angst for at least some folk in the GLBT community cannot be doubted. They know they are somehow not  ‘right’ and become masters of self-censorship.  However,  validating everyone as she/he ‘is’  cannot be the solution. I keep raising the issue of all the other sexual minorities still in their closets whose lived experience of pain etc. match those of the GLBT to the smallest detail. They too know they are somehow not  ‘right’.  What about them?  Either let everyone out of their closets – as long as the ‘relationships’ are consensual etc. (though this social norm too could give, at some point) and pay the devil – or have the integrity to admit that some sexual minorities need to remain in the closet.  What they publicly embrace and advance as a lifestyle is deemed to be transgressive, wrong, toxic for both them and for those around them.  In fact, there are various sexual orientations out there – some whose ‘alternative’ nature makes the GLBT constellation look almost conservative by comparison – it is just that they have remained under the radar.  Given the present state of moral disintegration and the increasing inability to say certain behaviours are categorically ‘wrong’ it is only a matter of time before they too emerge.       +Gene is trying to have it both ways.  He is the ‘good guy’ who loves and accepts all as they are. Really?  If an open polyamorist (‘poly’), polygamist or  ‘zoo’ – these are the minorities closest to the closet threshhold – were to show up at church with their human or canine (or whichever) partner(s), would he think that was just fine and welcome them with open arms? Closer to home, if an ‘out’ bisexual woman (or man) came along with a male partner on one arm and a female partner on the other, would that be acceptable?  Given its public policy statements, for those in TEC World it must be.  Now from Peter.  Surprisingly, there is a little gem in the current Times serialisation of Gene Robinson’s book, a nugget that all those on the conservative side need to grab hold of and understand: The worst part is that it’s reminiscent of the years and years that I had to self-censor everything I said, so as not to give away the fact that I was gay. Gay and lesbian people learn at an early age to filter every single word before uttering it, straining out anything that might indicate who we really are on the inside. I know from my own experience, and from that of countless others, that this is an exercise in self-alienation. In a nanosecond we listen in our heads to what we’re about to say and, before speaking, edit out anything that might indicate to the listener that we’re gay. We get really, really good at it, until it becomes second nature. But it takes a toll on our souls. This may not sound like oppression – it’s not the same as being thrown into prison or burnt at the stake – but it’s one of the silent, painful results of oppression. The result of any oppression is living in fear – fear of discovery, rejection and retribution. It’s what most gay and lesbian people live with every day, all over the world. Forget the fact that his...

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The Road towards or away from Lambeth 2008?

Jun 4, 2007 by

July-August 1998, Lambeth: Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects ‘homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ and cannot advise ‘the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.’ October 2003, Primates Meeting:  ‘If his (Robinson’s) consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world, and many provinces are likely to consider themselves to be out of Communion with the Episcopal Church (USA).This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level (our emphasis ed.), and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA). Similar considerations apply to the situation pertaining in the Diocese of New Westminster.’ November 2003, Gay Bishop: Ordination of Victoria Eugenia (baptismal name) Gene Robinson, first openly gay priest to the bishopric of New Hampshire October 2004, Windsor Report:  ‘Actions to move towards the authorisation of such rites (of blessing same-sex unions) in the face of opposition from the wider Anglican Communion constitutes a denial of the bonds of Communion. In order for these bonds to be properly acknowledged and addressed, the churches proposing to take action must be able, as a beginning, to demonstrate to the rest of the Communion why their proposal meets the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason.’ February 2005, Primates Meeting Dromantine: Twelve primates do not take Communion with Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  ‘We request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion.’ September 2006, Kigali: ˜Road to Lambeth’ published for Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). ‘We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.’ November 2006, Changing Attitude notes official same-sex blessing policies in the US: Dioceses in the states of Arkansas, California, Delaware, Long Island, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington now have written guidelines on the performance of same-gender blessings. December 2006, Changing Attitude publishes UK Civil Partnership survey: 46 couples are presently in civil partnerships, including 36 ordained gay men, 2 ordained lesbians, 31 lay gay men and 6 lay lesbians. February 2007, Tanzania: Eight primates do not take Communion with Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  ‘The Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of...

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