Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cherie Wetzel on Exec Council Meeting, #4

As I write these words, the following report from Cherie Wetzel (number 4 in a series convering the current meeting of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council) has not yet been posted to the Anglicans United website, but it is being circulated by e-mail. I am reposting it here in its entirety, because I believe that it is a significant piece of reporting, if one wishes to understand the current mindset and character of the Episcopal Church.

Reporting on June 13, 2007

Hi, Everyone.

Well, the surprises never end here. Just about the time that you think the crowd can't be any more revisionist, some other person shows up. Today's surprise guest is Bishop Michael Ingham, Diocese of New Westminster (Vancouver) Canada. He is the Canadian observer to The Episcopal Church (TEC).

The day ended with a two-hour plenary session. Mrs. Schori chaired the meeting, doing the introductions. She shared glowing words about the courageous bishop from Canada, lamenting that they only had a year to share with him as Canadian observer. Bishop Ingham, the only bishop in Canada to insist on the right to do same-sex marriages, and generally thought to be apostate, was given a standing ovation.

His remarks were brief, "This is a time of turmoil in the Communion and I have appreciated how TEC has tried to maintain connection with the Anglican Communion and yet defend your polity.

He continued, "There is a great deal of animosity and tension in the air right now. (general statement; not here at Council.) Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) came to Canada last month to our House of Bishops' meeting. He shared one entire day with us - a silent retreat day with four small talks that he presented. His presentations on the Scriptures were brilliant. Rowan is quite a scholar." (The talks have all been torn to shreds by theologians and church historians; one expert even questioned the basic interpretation of the scriptures.)

"There were fleeting minutes to ask him questions, but no time for him to ask us questions. No time to talk about what it was like right now to be the Church in Canada. And then he was gone. Don't let that happen to your design when he comes to speak with you in September." (The Archbishop will meet with our House of Bishops in New Orleans in late September.)

Canada begins their once every three years Synod next week. They will also elect a new Archbishop and will vote again on same-sex blessings. This issue nearly passed in 2004. However, Ingham noted that it cannot be "marriage" unless the liberals can figure out a way to change the church canons at one Synod instead of the constitutional requirement for 75% of both houses approve two Synods in a row. They will try and get a one time 60% approval vote this Synod; he is worried that they will spend all their time arguing about what percentage is "enough." The Canadian government approved same sex marriage several months ago. So this synod will attempt to change the marriage Canons wording to include two men or two women, instead of the historical one man and one woman; otherwise, it will only be a blessing and gays will still be second-class citizens. This will make it very hard to compete with the United Church of Canada, who can already do same-sex marriages.

The other big issue at this Synod is the depopulation of the rural areas of Canada, especially those areas above the Artic Circle. There are resolutions suggesting they reduce the number of dioceses, diocesan offices, bishops and staffs. Since the Anglican Church of Canada almost went bankrupt paying the abuse claims from the residential schools for indigenous children over the past five years, finances are a significant issue.

Ingham concluded with," I doubt that anything will happen with same-sex marriage. If it does, it will make things with the Communion uncomfortable for us and by relationship, for you. Regardless, we have to pursue these issues." This is when the standing ovation happened.

We heard several other reports prior to the main event of the afternoon: Davis Mac-Iyalla, the Nigerian gay man, was ushered into the room, replete with African garb. He was introduced by the chairman of the National Concerns Committee, who was responsible for inviting him to come and speak to the two committees on Monday. Today, he was center stage with the entire Council and many gay activist guests. It was the closest thing to worship that I have seen since I arrived here.

Davis spoke clearly and with great excitement. He relayed a similar story to what we heard on Monday. Details were changed when necessary; but the bottom line was that Peter Akinola and other African Archbishops are lying to the rest of the Communion. Their actions are willful and intentional. And at home, they are conniving with the government to make being a homosexual punishable by death. (Davis continues to ignore the fact that under Muslim Sharia law, homosexuality IS punishable by death. He refuses to acknowledge that any further penetration of this country by the Moslems puts not only he, but all 2000 members of his gay advocacy group Changing Attitudes, in great danger.)

The biggest portion of his talk today blamed everyone else: the archbishops, the police, the government. Gays can't help it. It is not their fault. They can't help acting out in public. They can't restrain themselves and shouldn't have to. The Episcopal Church has to help them secure the freedom that gays in this country have.

Sadly, most saw this as a sacred obligation. TEC MUST do something to protect the lives and ensure the freedom to be gay for people in Nigeria. And, all over Africa. That is how they are going to "stick it" to the archbishops who have been such a source of aid for the Biblically orthodox in America; and such a source of enmity for the leaders of TEC.

I bid you peace and a good night's sleep. Do not be discouraged by these proceedings. God will not be mocked. I will write again in the morning, as Mrs. Schori and Bishop Ingham are con-celebrating at the Eucharist. I will not attend. May God have mercy on me, a sinner.

Cherie Wetzel for Anglicans United
July 13, 2007, 10:30 PM

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