On Sunday - the deadline set by church leaders for the Episcopal Church to roll back support for same-sex unions - the U.S. church's presiding bishop spoke unequivocally at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral that there would be no retreat.Episcopal Life offers a report on the same event at Grace Cathedral, which includes this:
"All people - including gay and lesbian Christians and non-Christians - are deserving of the fullest regard of the church," the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori declared during an hourlong discussion before services. "We're not going backward."
Jefferts Schori said these are the views of the church's bishops as well as of its lay members - who have increasingly affirmed rights for same-sex couples. As such, Jefferts Schori's comments served as the punctuation to a historic day...
...Many of those gathered Sunday applauded Jefferts Schori, saying they support her views and believe that the direction of the church will ultimately lead to full equality - having formal, authorized rites for same-sex unions.
But some view the current treatment of gays and lesbians as tantamount to second-class status.
Christopher Hayes, 40, of San Francisco said he and his partner of 13 years are in the planning stages of their same-sex union, a ceremony that will take place in Grace Cathedral. But he feels frustrated by the state of events.
"I want to hear that we're not satisfied with where we are right now," he said.
Jefferts Schori said the time is not right - yet - for such a moment.
While some conservatives may leave because of the church's views, she said others may be drawn to the fold.
"Decisions the church as a whole makes can open the door wider for people who have not been part of a faith tradition or this part of Christianity. ... The church always is changing."
...Asked by (Dean Alan) Jones to bring "a sense of proportion" to the current conflict, the Presiding Bishop cited reports that of the Episcopal Church's more than 7,600 congregations, some 45-60 of those have experienced votes by a majority of parishioners to affiliate with an overseas Anglican diocese. "That is well under 1 percent" of total congregations, and many of those continue in name and mission as Episcopal congregations within their dioceses, Jefferts Schori said.The Presiding Bishop's sermon at Grace can be found here.
Jones further reported that active diocesan bishops of some five of the Episcopal Church's 110 total dioceses participated in a September 25-28 "Common Cause Partnership" meeting in Pittsburgh seeking a realigned structure for Anglicanism in North America.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, has affirmed previously that he will not recognize in North America Anglican Provinces other than the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Mexico...