Category Archives: Uncategorized

Episcopalians air opinions on “pastoral generosity” and same-gender marriage in Massachusetts

About 45 people gathered at Emmanuel Church in Boston for an Aug. 13 hearing, called by the diocese’s bishops as a first step toward developing diocesan policy in response to the resolution on same-gender marriage adopted at the Episcopal Church’s recent General Convention.

Known as C056, “Liturgies for Blessings,” the resolution calls for the collection and development of “theological and liturgical resources” and gives bishops allowance to “provide generous pastoral response,” particularly in states such as Massachusetts where same-gender marriage is legal.

Because the resolution’s language is both precise and broad, bishops now are left to determine what it means in their local contexts and what implications any implementation might have for the wider church.

“I do think we are in a very unique situation here that we have to pay attention to,” Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE told the gathering. Continue reading


Resolutions finally wrapped up

Here’s where Diocese of Massachusetts resolutions ended up:

Deputy Byron Rushing’s resolution, D012, on support of transgender civil rights, was adopted.

Ian Douglas’s resolutions, D019, on recommitting to the Millennium Development Goals as a mission priority, and Do18, addressing the global economic crisis, were adopted.

No action was taken on diocesan resolution C040, to amend the church calendar so that the descriptive title for the commemoration of Bernard Mizeki (June 18) reads “Zimbabwe” instead of “Rhodesia.”  This means that the resolution never made it out of committee.  Revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (into Holy Women, Holy Men) does address this topic, however.  (See Chris Ashley’s posts, “What’s in a name?”  and “Holy everybody.”)

No action was taken on diocesan resolutions C041 and C042 to make gender-neutral amendments to the canon on Holy Matrimony.

Diocesan resolution  C061, to amend Title III.1.2 of canon on access to the ministry discernment process to include gender identity and expression, did not receive concurrence in both houses.

Diocesan resolution C062, to add to the church calendar a trial May 17 feast day for St. Andronicus and St. Junia, was referred to a committee or commission of General Convention for further study and review before the next General Convention.

Still filed under Rejection Still Stinks:  Bishop Bud Cederholm’s resolution, B001, to amend the parochial report to include data on annual energy consumption of church properties, was rejected in the House of Deputies (see “Rejection Stinks…” here).

Resolution B012, concerning “pastoral generosity in addressing civil marriage,” submitted by Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine on behalf of bishops from the six states where civil marriage of same-gender couples is legal, including Massachusetts bishops Shaw, Cederholm and Harris, got partially subsumed into C056, which was adopted.

Our source is the summary of General Convention’s actions, now available here.


C056 adopted

The results have just been announced in the House of Deputies:  Resolution C056 passes by 2/3 majorities in both orders, 78 deputations in favor, 23 against, 7 divided (divided votes counted as no votes) in the lay order; 74 in favor, 27 against, 7 divided in the clerical order.

Update:  Massachusetts deputy Ian Douglas spoke in support of the measure during the debate, and is quoted in this Episcopal Life Online story.

D025 adopted

The General Convention has just adopted D025 affirming that the ordination process is open to all people and committing the Episcopal Church to continued participation as a constituent member in and financial support of the Anglican Communion.

The House of Deputies concurred with the bishops’ amended version of yesterday by a 72 percent margin, according to Episcopal News Service’s calculation, in both clergy and lay orders.

EDS toasts Rodman


The Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman

The Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman

Saturday night was seminary dinner night at General Convention, and Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge (EDS) hosted a full-house event welcoming its new president and dean, the Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale, and honoring the Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman upon his retirement as professor.

Ragsdale, a licensed pilot, used the flight acronym CAVU—ceiling and visibility unlimited—to describe her expectations for EDS’s future.   “‘What do the church and the world need from theological education at this time in history?’ is one of the big questions we’ll be answering,” she said, adding, “How do we equip not only our clergy but all the saints to speak God’s word of liberation and justice and freedom and reconciliation to a world that is starving for it?”

The evening concluded with EDS and the Consultation, the coalition of Episcopal Church social justice organizations, jointly honoring Rodman in a program emceed by Bishop Barbara C. Harris.  It was more toast than roast, as church leaders from across the decades of Rodman’s ministry spoke affectionately and with good humor of the longtime activist, agitator, mentor, counselor, colleague and friend who, in the words of one, “has had his hands in everything and his fingerprints on nothing.”

A poignant highlight came when those assembled stood and sang specially commissioned lyrics to the tune of New Britain (“Amazing Grace”), reconfigured as “Amazing Ed,” accompanied on the piano by Bishop Harris herself.

“Keep the faith but spread it gently,” Rodman said in his closing remarks.

Mike Shirley’s all about “Issues”

The Consultation is a coalition of 13 Episcopal Church social justice organizations, and its General Convention daily, “Issues,” has been edited since 1976 by the Rev. Michael O. Shirley of Massachusetts.  The Rev. Matthew Stewart of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Fall River joins Mike in the Consultation’s communication efforts at this convention.