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Re: Akinola Redux

> I feel very alienated from the hierarchy after what I saw on July 7. I
> don't think they represent the people and I don't think they want to.

As a member of Executive Council, I take responsibility for being part of
the hierarchy and for being part of the July 7th service, not only as a
reader, but also as one who welcomed the Archbishop and the Cathedral's
hospitality towards him.  It is very important that ECUSA move towards
closer ties with the Anglican Church of Nigeria and with many other parts
of the Anglican Communion, and we must find ways to do so that do not
require their giving us their seal of approval, nor our giving our seal of
approval to them.  Otherwise, neither 'side' would ever budge.

I grieve that our actions have alienated you and many, many others.  It is
easier for me to ignore my own pain than to ignore yours.  I am grateful
for your prophetic ministry, and I ask your prayers for me in mine.

Events are often less important in their own right than in what they
prompt us to do.  I pray that we will all work to redeem the July 7th
service.  One way to do that would be to commit ourselves as lesbians and
gays to be in much closer contact with Nigerian Christians here in our

A Nigerian rector in my diocese has invited me to read the first lesson
this morning at Trinity in Irvington, a predominately Nigerian
congregation about three miles from our home.  One of the visiting
Nigerian bishops on July 7th will be the celebrant and preacher today.
There are several Nigerians in my own parish, and two serve with Ernest on
the vestry.  Two Nigerian families came to our renewal of vows on our 25th
anniversary a few years back.  We need to build closer ties with them.

Perhaps those of you at Our Savior can organize a forum between Nigerians
and lesbians and gays to build relationships as sister and brother
disciples.  Surely each group has enormous gifts and resources to share
with the other.

I heard our pain on July 7, but I also heard the pain of many of the
Nigerians, especially those who attended the Question and Answer session.
Can you imagine the marginalization which many of them experience in
ECUSA?  Can you imagine the dissonance they experienced, the alienation,
in having their archbishop enthroned and yet having the founder of
Integrity prominently displayed in the service?

Of course rejection hurts us; but we are strong people, stronger than we
know.  We are loved by the God who made heaven and earth!

So are the Nigerians Christians with whom we find ourselves in

May God grant us -- lesbigays and Nigerians alike -- the faith and the
courage to move beyond our pain to manifest towards our 'enemies' the same
love that God has for them.

Some will never know God's love is real until they see it in the lives and
hearts of the lesbians and gays whom they have scorned.  And some of us
will never experience God's love fully in this life until we see it in the
lives and hearts of the Nigerians whom we have previously not given even
the time of day.

We need to pray earnestly for lesbians and gays in Nigeria.  They suffer
far more from the hostility of the Church there than we do.  Perhaps
Integrity in NY can begin a mission to them as Integrity/National has done
in Uganda.  What a great gift that would be!  Jesus asks us to return good
for evil.

Our Nigerian friends in ECUSA might be able to help us identify the most
effective ways to effect such a mission, so that we come in supporting
local lesbigays.  Perhaps Dean Kowalski and Bishop Sisk could help put us
in touch with the Nigerians most ready to help Nigerian lesbians and gays.

It is in precisely such times as these that Jesus bids us:  "Rejoice and
be exceedingly glad, for so persecuted they the prophets who were before


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