INTEGRATOR, the newsletter of Integrity in Canada
copyright 2008 Integrity/Toronto.
The hard-copy version of this newsletter carries the ISSN 0843-574X
Integrity/Toronto Box 873 Stn F Toronto ON Canada M4Y 2N9
PILGRIMAGE TO CANTERBURY
Integrity's planned presence at the Lambeth Conference
by Ron Chaplin
NO MORE SECRETS
by Brian MacIntyre
Several diocesan synods approve church blessing on same-sex civil marriages
by Patti Brace
AN ALTERNATIVE READING OF SCRIPTURE
Steve Schuh on the Witness of Scripture to Sexuality
EXODUS NOT ENTIRELY EPIC
Patti Brace reports on efforts of dissident parishes to leave the Anglican Church
ON EAGLE'S WINGS
Integrity/Ottawa's chaplain is now a parish priest,
and Ron Chaplin was at the induction
Yes, it has been a long time - a year since the last issue of Integrator was published. Our apologies for the long absence, and no, you didn't fall off the mailing list. Just after our last issue, General Synod in Winnipeg rendered what might be called a "split verdict" on same-sex blessings: they are not in conflict with the core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada, but at the same time, General Synod did not affirm that such blessings were within the purview of diocesan synods. There have been movements in different parts of the Anglican Communion towards and away from full inclusion, in the leadup to the Lambeth Conference, which will be held in Canterbury in July 2008. This issue of Integrator recounts some of those developments, and looks forward to Integrity's presence at Lambeth.
Pilgrimage to Canterbury
by Ron Chaplin
In 1867, Lord Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury, invited Anglican bishops from around the world to meet at his official residence in London, Lambeth Palace. This first "Lambeth Conference" was convened at the strong urging of the archbishop of the newly created Anglican "Province of Canada", which had been carved out of the Church of England in 1860. The purpose of this conference was that bishops from around the British Empire could meet each other, to worship and pray together, to engage in group Bible study, and to discuss the challenges the Anglican Church faced in various parts of the world.
Part of the program of this Lambeth Conference, which has been reconvened every ten years or so ever since, was a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, the focus of pilgrims of the Church of England for a thousand years. For the last several decades, the conference has been held in Canterbury itself rather than in London, for logistical reasons.
This year, for the first time, gay and lesbians from different Anglican "provinces" (or countries) will be making the same kind of pilgrimage. We have been invited, not by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but by Changing Attitudes (the British equivalent of Integrity), working with Inclusive Church. Delegations are expected from Britain, Canada, the United States, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
Those who volunteered to represent Integrity Canada are: the Rev Neil Fernyhough and Steve Schuh of Integrity Vancouver; the Rev Canon Bob Webster of Integrity Winnipeg; Chris Ambidge of Integrity Toronto; and myself from Integrity Ottawa.
Our common purpose in traveling to Canterbury is to witness. We are not traveling to Canterbury to protest or demonstrate with placards We are there to witness to the faith of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and of our hope that we can all be reconciled through Christ, as the gospel has promised all people of faith.
We are there to remind the bishops that they have, in 1978, in 1988, and in 1998, promised to engage in a "listening process" in their respective jurisdictions, to listen to the witness of gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered faithful. In many parts of the Communion, the bishops have not kept this undertaking. We are there to remind them of their promise.
As I write this, some Integrity USA members are in East Africa, documenting on film the witness of gay and lesbian believers in that part of the Communion. This witness will be shared at our display table in the "Marketplace", and at other events on the campus of the University of Kent and in town. We, collectively, will publish a daily newsletter, bringing our witness to the church. (During the conference, anyone will be able to review the newsletter and various blogs from the website established by Integrity USA: www.integrityusa.org/lambeth2008 On the first Sunday of the conference, 20 July, we will celebrate an Integrity/Changing Attitudes Eucharist in the heart of Canterbury, in the cricket field opposite St Stephen's Church.
Also planned are daily devotions of morning prayer, Bible study, evening prayer, and various speakers in the afternoon and evening. Anyone would be welcome to these events - be they bishops, or visiting clergy, or tourists.
We of Integrity certainly have a theological and pastoral agenda. This is our calling to share our witness of faith. It is even more exciting that we have joined in the thousand-year pilgrimage to Canterbury, to be witness, to worship, and to pray with others from different cultures from around the world.
By the same token, I do not expect this to be easy. Most of all, we all ask for your prayers, for us and for all the participants of the Lambeth Conference. If you would like to send financial support, details are in the box [insert page reference].
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A long-time stalwart of the Integrity movement,
RON CHAPLIN is a founder of Integrity/Ottawa.
No more secrets
by Brian MacIntyre
"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops."
I'm fairly certain that Jesus was not talking about Pride Week in that passage, but I will follow a time-honoured tradition, and wilfully misconstrue this scriptural passage to suit my purpose. A few years ago I was in the dark - quite literally. It was August 13, 2008, the night of the blackout [that covered Ontario and much of the north-eastern US.] My sister Cathy phoned me (the phones still worked!) to ask me how I was coping with it. Well, that was just an excuse, I believe. In June of that year, Michael Leshner and Michael Stark had become the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Canada, and she'd seen the reports on television and in newsmagazines. I had gone to school with Mike Stark, and she thinks she may have babysat him. She was aware that I'd paid visits to him in Toronto on a fairly regular basis in the early eighties, and I'd mentioned Michael Leshner to her as well, without making it clear what their relationship was. Now it was obvious however. "That was very courageous of them," she said to me.
I assumed, probably correctly, that she was inviting me to confide in her. In a choking voice, trying to suppress my panic, I told her that I was gay too. "Oh, I knew that," she said. In fact, she'd known it for years! This was depressing. I'd spent - wasted - my entire adult life keeping this a secret from people who already knew. What a shame.
A half century ago homosexuality was criminal in most places, with penalties ranging from prison sentences to death. It was also classified as a mental illness, with treatments ranging from psychotherapy to electroshock, lobotomies and castration. It is important to realize that these attitudes and practices were at the time considered solidly secular, not "faith-based". Although, yes, churches at the time universally condemned it as sinful, as many still do. And no boy or girl has ever passed through any school system without being made acutely aware of how much non-institutional hatred of homos (and others) there exists among one's sweet, innocent peers. Consequently, for a long time most gays and lesbians couldn't afford to be open about themselves, and preferred to hide. Once you develop the habit of secrecy, it's hard to rid yourself of it. Even now, I am reluctant to display even an abstract token of my identity such as a rainbow flag pin or a pink triangle, for fear of hostile stares from strangers on the bus or subway. Even at [my explicitly very welcoming parish of] St. John's, I sometimes (absurdly) feel like an intruder, somebody who really shouldn't be here.
Things have changed rapidly - the status of LGBT people (in our part of the world at least) has improved dramatically over the course of the last forty years in many places. No longer criminal, but with full legal rights. No longer diagnosed as sick. Religious groups, it would seem, are the last holdouts. Pay attention to the news out of Lambeth this summer, where Anglican bishops from around the world are meeting to discuss sundry matters, including this one. Bear in mind that despite the controversy, the Anglican Church has for a long time been strongly committed to respect for everyone's rights. That is why I remain an Anglican.
"To you all hearts are open, and from you no secrets are hidden..." What a relief to know that there is Someone from whom you don't need to hide anything; who has known it for years anyway; who besides, has heard it all before; and who won't hold it against you.
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BRIAN MACINTYRE is treasurer of Integrity/Toronto.
He wrote this meditation for the bulletin of his home parish,
St John's West Toronto, in late June 2008.
by Patti Brace
Much recent media coverage of things Anglican has focussed on legal wrangling over property in the dioceses of New Westminster and Niagara, wrought by tension over diocesan decisions to permit the blessing of same-sex unions. Despite the potential for such squabbles, a number of dioceses have decided to take General Synod 2007's slogan, "Draw the circle wide. Draw it wider still," to heart and have sought permission from their bishops for the blessing of same sex unions.
In New Westminster, of course, this decision is old news, having taken place in 2002, when, after three successive votes with increasing majorities, Bishop Michael Ingham assented to the desire of his diocesan synod. Since General Synod 2007, four more dioceses have followed suit. Since the decision in New Westminster, civil law has changed in Canada, and same-sex marriage is now legal. Subsequent diocesan motions have all spoken of giving blessing to couples that have contracted a civil marriage.
The outcome of General Synod was somewhat ambiguous, given that the passage of resolution A186 declared the blessing of same-sex unions not in conflict with core doctrine, but resolution A187, affirming the authority of dioceses to bless same-sex unions, was narrowly voted down in the house of bishops. Since not-affirming is not the same as denying, the door was left open for dioceses to act on their own. In October, the diocese of Ottawa took the lead by bringing to its synod a motion stating that "this Synod requests that the Bishop grant permission for clergy whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized, and that he authorize an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes." The motion passed by a 65% majority and a week later the synod of the diocese of Montreal passed an almost identical resolution by the same margin. In the case of Montreal, this was the first time such a resolution had been brought to a vote.
The story is a little more protracted in the case of the diocese of Niagara. At its 2004 synod, the diocese voted 67% in favour of asking Bishop Ralph Spence to grant permission for the blessing of same-sex unions. For the first time in diocesan history, the bishop withheld his consent from a motion passed by synod, in order to complete the discussion process and allow for the processes decided upon at General Synod 2004 . When the motion returned, however, after a period of intense discussion across the diocese in November 2007, it passed by an even more substantial majority (81%). At this time, and in light of the decisions by the dioceses of Montreal and Ottawa, Bishop Spence and co-adjutor Bishop Michael Bird gave their assent. Most recently, in May, the diocese of Huron added itself to the chorus, with a vote of 72% in favour of a similarly-worded motion.
Despite cries of schism and threats of secession, the desire of Anglicans across the country to support and affirm the relationships of their GLBT brothers and sisters is clearly gathering momentum. We welcome it.
Although we live in hope, I'm not anticipating such a move in the near future from the diocese of Algoma.
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Dr PATTI BRACE teaches English at Laurentian University in Sudbury ON.
An Alternative Reading of Scripture
by Steve Schuh
The Bible is the story of God reaching out to humanity in love and of our awkward attempts to respond. The biblical writers often illustrate the successes and failures of that relationship by drawing on our experience in human relationships, especially those that are most intimate. In this way we discover the kind of relationship God wants with us and how those qualities are best reflected in our relationships with each other.
The dozen or so passages in the Bible said to describe particular homosexual acts fit this pattern, as do the positive biblical examples of love and commitment shared by couples of both the same and opposite sex. Together these contribute to a fuller understanding of God and God's intention for us.Homosexuality in the Old Testament
Israel's 'holiness code' was designed to distinguish and separate God's people from their pagan neighbours who had earned God's wrath with the 'detestable customs' of idolatry, including child sacrifice and cultic prostitution. Under penalty of death, the Hebrew people were forbidden from incorporating pagan practices into their worship of God and from prostituting themselves - literally - in the worship of fertility deities.
While God repeatedly demonstrated mercy and continuously called Israel to covenant faithfulness, the Bible is replete with accounts of Israel's recurring infidelity and lapses into pagan religious practices, including homosexual cult prostitution. Such prostitution became a dramatic symbol of the rejection of God for idolatry. (Although medieval translators introduced the word 'sodomites' to describe male cult prostitutes, Sodom is never associated with homosexuality in the Bible itself, it being an account of threats of violence against angels, not human men.)
Homosexual acts are mentioned in the Old Testament only in the context of idolatry and cult prostitution.Homosexuality in the New Testament
This pattern continues into the New Testament. In the first chapters of Romans, Paul draws his Jewish readers into understanding that like their Gentile neighbours, they have fallen far short of God's intention. Paul recounts, first, the familiar story of the Gentiles' rejection of God and God-honouring worship - of their idol-making, idol-worship, and sex rituals - by which they had earned God's righteous wrath. Paul then turns the spotlight on his Jewish readers, reminding them of their own idolatrous past, which was not an abstract, metaphoric idolatry-of-the-heart, but a grisly and vulgar paganism of the kind known throughout the Mediterranean world. Jews and Gentiles alike deserve God's wrath, Paul writes, and both are likewise saved and restored to right relationship with God by faith in Christ alone.
Homosexual acts appear in this text as a vivid example of pagan idolatry, which is also the immediate context of Paul's two other references to male homosexual prostitution (as early church fathers agreed, Paul makes no mention of female homosexuality). Even Paul's unique vocabulary is taken from the Levitical prohibitions against 'detestable' pagan customs.
As in the Old Testament, references to homosexuality in the New Testament are rooted in the Hebrew experience of cult prostitution and idolatry, a pagan culture from which God's people are called to be distinct and separate. Homosexual acts are not mentioned in any other context.Sexual Union as Biblical Metaphor
Throughout the Bible, intimate relationships are used as metaphors for our relationship with God, whether in betrayal and infidelity (as in prostitution, above) or in faithfulness, commitment, and love (as in marriage).
In the garden, on seeing Eve's likeness to himself, Adam declared, "This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh," and the 'two became one flesh.' Paul described sexual union in both marriage and prostitution as 'two becoming one,' a phrase he also used to describe the union of Christ and the Church.
The image of 'two becoming one' is also evident in Jonathan's love for David, for "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." The text is silent about a sexual union, but their covenant promises - like Ruth's pledge to Naomi - are the most personally intimate of the Bible.
With the best examples of heterosexual marriage, these relationships between people of the same sex exemplify the most significant aspects of covenant love. They also add to these the virtues of equality and mutual love, respect, and support which opposite-sex relationships were unable to express clearly in Hebrew culture.From Creation to the New Creation
The biological pairing of male and female is understandably important in the founding story of Abraham and his many descendents, but the theological significance of gender, marriage, and procreation diminishes as the biblical revelation unfolds.
In response to a question about divorce, Jesus affirmed lifelong commitment in marriage, but for himself he chose not to marry and often challenged traditional gender roles. The New Testament church likewise favoured singleness, and it valued equality, love, and mutual submission in marriage and in their shared community life, contrary to the norms of their tradition. The trajectory of the biblical story is not a return to the Garden of Eden but toward the New Creation in which the old orders of race, class, and sex (largely rooted in biology) are transformed. At the resurrection, Jesus explained, marriage will be no more. There will be no 'male and female,' for we will all be one in Christ. The descendents of the first Adam - who "were by nature children of wrath" and inheritors of death - will be made alive in the second Adam and adopted, contrary to nature, into the family of God.Summary
A close reading of the biblical references to homosexuality tells a wholly consistent story. The Bible refers only to homosexual acts between men, and every mention of them is in the immediate context of idolatry. They were acts of cult prostitution, and God's people were well advised to reject them.
Of course this context is significantly unlike the permanent, faithful, and stable same-sex relationships advocated by many today. Prostitution is the opposite of committed faithfulness, and idolatry has nothing meaningfully in common with the sexual love shared by covenanted partners. Equating these two very different contexts violates the integrity of the biblical witness and ignores the testimony of committed gay and lesbian Christians. It is hermeneutically irresponsible.
The Bible, however, witnesses to a triune God, a 'God-in-relationship,' who made us for relationship and who sees that it is good for us to be in relationships that reflect God's own kind of love. Like heterosexual relationships, same-sex relationships can be occasions for infidelity and betrayal and can symbolize the rejection of God. But like heterosexual relationships they can also express faithfulness and covenant love, and they can serve as pictures of our union with Christ and our adoption into the family of God.
What is rightly condemned in one context may be part of God's creative purpose in another.
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STEVE SCHUH is president of Integrity Vancouver.
He here summarises his understanding of "the witness of scripture" towards sexuality.
This paper has been published as a chapter in The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality, pp96-97, which was edited by Canon Phil Groves of the Anglican Communion Office.
The book was published by that office as part of the Listening Process set up by the ACO as part of the lead-up to the Lambeth Conference.
Exodus Not Entirely Epic
by Patti Brace
In the wake of last summer's General Synod and threats of worldwide splinter and schism by the Global South, there was considerable anxiety over the possibility of a dramatic exodus of conservative parishes from the Anglican Church of Canada. This anxiety was heightened by various attempts of dissenting groups to pick up their marbles (and buildings) and go to a new home. A group of parishes in the diocese of Virginia moved to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a mission of the Church of Nigeria headed by its self-styled "Primatial Archbishop," Peter Akinola. On a larger scale, bishops John-David Schofield (San Joaquin) and Jack Iker (Fort Worth) took steps through their diocesan conventions to abscond with their entire dioceses in favour of the Province of the Southern Cone, an Anglican province based in Buenos Aires and encompassing Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The Southern Cone is headed by Archbishop Gregory Venables and has a total Anglican population of about 22,000 members -- roughly the same number as the diocese of Fort Worth. (or one-third the number of Anglicans in the diocese of Toronto).
In a firmly-worded letter, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori warned Archbishop Venables off a planned incursion into Fort Worth at the beginning of May, saying: "I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church. Visiting a special convocation of the Diocese of Fort Worth with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province. I ask you to consider how you might receive such a visit to your own Province from a fellow primate...I urge you to focus your pastoral ministry within your own Province. May your ministry there be fruitful"
Neither diocese has ceased to exist within the Episcopal Church, however. Deemed to have abandoned his orders, John-David Schofield was deposed as bishop of San Joaquin in March and replaced by Bishop Jerry Lamb, who has been issued an invitation to Lambeth in place of Schofield. Fort Worth has yet to hold a second vote by its convention and efforts at reconciliation continue. While the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Quincy (central Illinois) have also undertaken initial votes to secede from TEC, they too have yet to hold a second vote. The bishop of the diocese of Quincy has also been inhibited for making a "pastoral visit" on behalf of Archbishop Venables in the diocese of San Diego. Action to inhibit the bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan, in January 2008 was not completed, although he was deemed to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.
Meanwhile, north of the 49th parallel: a few Canadian Anglican parishes over the winter voted to transfer affiliation to the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), which has affiliated itself with the Southern Cone. These 10 parishes, out of the approximately 2800 that make up the Anglican Church of Canada, are located in British Columbia and Ontario. In New Westminster, St John's (Shaughnessy), Good Shepherd, St Matthias and St Luke, all in Vancouver; and St Matthew's, Abbotsford; in the diocese of British Columbia, St Mary's (Metchosin), Victoria. In Niagara, Good Shepherd; St Catharines, St George's, Lowville; and St Hilda's, Oakville. St Alban's, Ottawa and St Chad's in Toronto round out the Ontario list. Seven other churches in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland, which were never part of the Anglican Church of Canada, have also joined the Network.
Archbishop Venables' announcement last November that the Southern Cone would receive Canadian churches, and retired Canadian bishops, Donald Harvey (previously of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador) and Malcolm Harding (Brandon), ignored both the request by the Archbishop of Canterbury that national church boundaries be respected and efforts by the Anglican Church of Canada to provide shared episcopal oversight to parishes in conflict with their diocesan bishops.
Bishop Harvey's subsequent ordination, in December 2007, of two deacons within the bounds of the Diocese of New Westminster and without the permission of Bishop Michael Ingham, an "episcopal action" prohibited by canon, further exacerbated the division between the dissidents and both the Canadian church and Canterbury.
Thus far, however, the exodus of dissenting congregations is far from mass and it doesn't appear that church property is going with them. While ANiC's moderator, Donald Harvey, has approached the Primate to settle property disputes, Archbishop Hiltz pointed out that neither he nor General Synod holds title to property, but rather it lies with individual dioceses.
The recent legal decision in Niagara about the status of St. Hilda's, Good Shepherd, and St. George's stipulated that access to the churches be shared by the diocese and the parishes. Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Milanetti commented that "it is my preliminary view that a group who chooses to leave the association they voluntarily joined and then take the property with them (without even the possibility of sharing the property) is unreasonable". Judge Milanetti also found that the synod of the diocese of Niagara owns all three properties in question and ordered the dissenting congregations to pay the diocese's court costs. Several weeks later, in the diocese of British Columbia, Madam Justice Marion Allan made a similar decision about the property of St. Mary's (Metchosin).
It appears that ANiC may very well need to dip into the $1M "war chest" for legal fees that has apparently been underwritten a group of Vancouver donors in order to gain possession of the marbles they wish to take with them. However, thus far it does not appear that the courts are going to be all that helpful in that quest.
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Dr PATTI BRACE
has staffed the Integrity display at many many synods.
On Eagle's Wings
by Ron Chaplin
On the evening of May 14, members of Integrity Ottawa joined Bishop John Chapman, about 30 clergy of the diocese, and parishioners as our chaplain, the Rev Dr Linda Privitera, was inducted as the new rector of the suburban parish of St Michael and All Angels.
The Rev Linda Privitera,
between Bishop John Chapman and her wife Melissa Haussman
credit: Peter Faris-Manning
The service was preceded by a smudging ceremony on the front lawn led by Bev Soulière, a regular worshipper with Integrity. Linda was then drummed into the church by Integrity executive member Darren Theoret, dressed in full Iroquois regalia. The aboriginal theme was echoed in the paper prayers draped outside and inside the church, in the four colours of the medicine wheel.
Integrity Ottawa's gift to Linda was an eagle feather, an ancient aboriginal symbol of the Spirit, and of courage. It was a fitting gift, in view of Linda's experience in Ottawa.
Linda and her spouse, Melissa Haussman, moved to Ottawa in 2005. Linda quickly became a cause célèbre. Supporters of the Essentials movement objected to her on the grounds that, because she was legally married to Melissa, to grant her a position in the diocese would prejudice the debate on same-sex marriage.
It is largely due to this hostile reception that the Ottawa chapter of Integrity was formed. Linda was designated as chaplain, and Integrity members through their generosity provided Linda a modest income.
We of Integrity Ottawa celebrate that Bishop John Chapman has recognized Linda's gifts. We can assure the parishioners of St. Michael and All Angels that they have been gifted with a wonderful pastor and priest!
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RON CHAPLIN, Integrator's Ottawa correspondent,
sends this report from St Michael and All Angels in that city.