Big Fat Gay Church Wedding: The Lutherans Concerned/RIC congregations' Big Fat Gay Church Wedding Booth at the Christopher Street West Pride Festival was was overrun with visitors all weekend (June 16-17).
Some 350 couples, some with friends, children and even babies in arms, had their pictures taken in an improvised wedding chapel complete with huge baskets of wedding flowers and a miniature altar complete with white paraments and flickering candles. Visitors waited in line to try on wedding outfits the group provided: beautiful white wedding gowns with elegant, long trains, tuxedo shirts, bow ties, and smart jackets.
Hundreds of people stopped long enough to enjoy a piece of wedding cake (in all, five sheet cakes decorated with “My Big Fat Gay Wedding”) and sip fizzy cider from a bubbling fountain. Visitors also picked up literature, ballpoint pens and customized frisbees promoting the group's web site, "lutheranslove.com".
No other religious group’s information booth drew as much attention; some sat virtually empty much of the festival.
Newsworthy: Ordinations extra ordinem and installations of ECP pastors never fail to be exciting for the people who are directly involved, but it's always a bit of a shock when these occasions become "news events" in the secular media. And yes, we were surprised to see film from the June 17 installation of Pr. Dawn Roginski at St. Francis (SF) on the evening news. A Bay Area television station (KTVU (a FOX Network affiliate) reported the event with the headline "DEFIANT CONGREGATION: SF Lutheran Church Ordains Lesbian Pastor". Television coverage included short interviews with Pr. Roginksi, Pr. Robert Goldstein, and Pr. Ruth Frost. The KTVU video clip is also available on YouTube.com. Pr. Roginski's ordination was also featured in The Advocate.
O, Canada, Part 1: The 11th biennial convention of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) was held June 21-24 in Winnipeg. On Friday, June 22, The Rev. Susan Johnson (pictured) was elected National Bishop on the sixth ballot. She will succeed The Rev. Ray Schultz.
The convention defeated a motion to encourage Synods to develop ways "to best minister to people who live in committed same-sex relationships, including the possibility of blessing such unions". The vote was taken by secret ballot during the afternoon session on Saturday, June 23. The final vote tally was 181 votes in favor and 200 votes in opposition. By earlier action of the convention, the measure required only a simple majority for adoption.
The announcement of the voting results for the motion was received by silence from the delegates. In 2005 a similar measure was also defeated.
Los Angeles is looking better all the time.
O, Canada, Part 2: In his report to the ELCIC convention, outgoing National Bishop Ray Schultz drew attention to the threat of disunity
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The theological and confessional integrity of the church is currently the flash point of acrimonious and divisive argument. For the first time since the merger of 1986, there are proposals by organized groups that this church be divided into two separate church bodies organized around opposing views of religious authority and leadership for mission. Organizations of pastors and congregations are expressing the opinion that disagreeing with the leadership of the church is cause enough to divide the church or withdraw responsible support. Congregations (and some individuals) understand themselves to be independent owners of resources and authority to which the church is expected to account before they will agree to "buy in." It is as if the church is nothing more than an organization owned by a body of shareholders and turns our theological discourse into nothing but party politics. Such expressions undermine the baptismal covenant that we are called and incorporated into a single body by the Spirit. Such expressions undermine the covenant that we will account to the church for our stewardship of the gifts given us in baptism. (Acts 5:1 - 4)
While the matter of blessing same-sex couples has become the excuse for a separatist political movement, its real agenda is the struggle for authority and control. The theological message of this divisive movement promises certainty in an ambiguous world. It undermines the call to discipleship as a pilgrimage of faith in Christ on a journey to the cross. It attempts to recruit church members to another set of social and cultural ends. Ordinary church members become confused because cultural and political opinions are being expressed as religious traditions.
This report is my last opportunity to appeal to middle-of-the-road church members to take a stand against this splintering abuse of the church. I beg you to insist that this church be the place where tolerance and acceptance of deeply held differences will be contained by our common baptism into Christ. The Lutheran Church would not even exist except that the church of the 16th century refused to allow the dissent of those we now call reformers to be expressed and practiced within the church. I appeal to you: Show our society a redemptive alternative to the adversarial way religious and political activists are advocating at this time!
You can read the Bishop's complete report here,
Original sin being what it is, the Bishop's remarks were followed by a fair amount of finger pointing. You can witness some of the finger pointing (and some of the acrimony) at Solid-Ground.ca. Apparently Canadian Lutherans communicate almost entirely by means of the Open Letter to...
O, Canada, Part 3: The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.
Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to 53 in favor But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it. As a result the motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders to pass.
The motion read:
"That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod,
1. with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
2. in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,
to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions."
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