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Re: New church head calls for tolerance of gays.

Bishop Robertson,

Thanks for sharing your reflections, which I have passed along to the
ECUSA bishops and deputies online.  It pleases me to have your voice all
the way from permafrost.com in the Arctic. 

I face the same problem you describe, and it seems to me an ongoing
problem of being a Christian.  In the Episopal Church in the US, we have
encountered it most dramatically in the new importance that we have given
to renewing our baptismal covenant "to respect the dignity of every human
being" -- not just those of whom we approve.  It would be so much easier
to love our neighbors as ourselves if we could just pick and choose them,
yet Jesus tells us that on Judgment Day will will be tested by how well we
treated those whom we deem the least among us.

That's just as difficult for me as a gay Christian as it is for straight
Christians for whom I am anathema.  I will be judged not by how nice I am
to those who are nice to me, but by how much I genuinely love those who
are not nice to me.  I would be unwise to pray to the Lord's Prayer unless
I am willing to have God forgive my sins exactly as I forgive those who
sin against me.  Jesus has put us all into this new bondage called 'love.'

What a strange religion ours is.  I rejoice to be your fellow pilgrim in
this holy journey.  May God give us all the grace to make this pilgrimage
with integrity.  Pray for me.  I will pray for you.



On Today 9:23am Rt Rev. Larry Robertson wrote:

> Dear Sir:
> I do not know the one of which you speak.  But I fail to understand the
> surprise of people when then encounter another who disagrees with the
> ordination of homosexuals and yet insists that all people (homosexuals
> included) should be treated with respect and dignity.  Is it so hard to
> believe that we can disaggree with a person theological and moral stance and
> still give them the respect they diserve as fellow human beings.
> This is not a commnet of the person involved as I do not know him.  It is a
> comment on the attitudes and prejudgement that people have on those who
> disaggree with them.
> Larry Robertson
> [Rt. Rev. Larry Robertson, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of the Arctic,
> Canada  -- LC]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: lcrew <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
> To: Bishop-Deputy Discussion
> Date: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 5:08 PM
> Subject: New church head calls for tolerance of gays.
> The Age, February 29, 2000
> New church head calls for tolerance of gays.
> Gay support:  Melbourne's next archbishop Peter Watson began his new
> appointment yesterday with a surprising call for more tolerance towards
> homosexuals ^ one week after Anglican and Catholic archbishops attacked
> Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Madri Gras.
>     Melbourne's next archbishop began his tenure yesterday with a
> controversial call for greater church tolerance of homosexuals.
>     The Right Reverend Peter Watson, speaking at his first media
> conference, said he was committed to making the church more relevant to
> contemporary society.
>     Two years ago, Bishop Watson supported a resolution at an
> international meeting of bishops in England against the ordination of
> practising homosexuals.
>     His comments yesterday, in which he said gay men deserved "dignity and
> respect", surprised many and came after an attack last week by Sydney's
> Anglican and Catholic archbishops on the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi
> Gras.
>     The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Cardinal Edward
> Clancy, and the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Reverend Harry
> Goodhew, advised Sydney residents to avoid the 4 March parade, saying it
> was a highly erotic and gross way of promoting a homosexual lifestyle.
>     Bishop Waston yesterday said the parade was part of Sydney life, but
> he did warn that any event "glamorising sexual promiscuity" was a cause of
> concern for religious leaders.
>     "The church has ordained people of homosexual orientation for
> generations ^ some of them are our best priests," he said.
>     "But if a person presented for ordination who was living in a
> relationship outside of marriage, there is no bishop in the Australian
> Church who'd ordain that person."
>     Bishop Watson, who was voted Melbourne's next archbishop on Saturday
> night, is currently the Bishop of South Sydney.  He is married with three
> adult daughters.
>     Bishop Watson will replace Dr Keith Rayner as leader of the diocese
> and will be officially installed in mid-May.  Bishop Watson is regarded as
> a liberal of the evangelical or low-church faction of the Sydney Anglican
> Church.  The Melbourne church, meanwhile, is dominated by the less liberal
> high-church faction.
>     He favors the ordination of women priests and the consecration of
> women bishops, but opposes lay presidency.
>     Bishop Watson said he was an admirer of the Governor-General, Sir
> William Deane, who tried to "bring people together".
>     He also said he aimed to lift the morale of church members,
> particularly the clergy.
>     "We have to take what is given, our faith ... and work hard relating
> that to contemporary society," he said.
>     Canon Ray Cleary, the chief executive officer of the Melbourne City
> Mission and chairman of the Melbourne Anglican social responsibility
> committee, said getting the dioceses' financial situation back in order
> would be one of Bishop Watson's biggest challenges.
>     "But he's certainly up to it.  He has shown he is broad-minded in his
> approach, willing to tackle issues of the day but stand firm on his
> principles."
>     Dr Muriel Porter, a prominent member of the Anglican synod, said
> Bishop Watson's "engaging personality and human warmth" would bring a new
> freshness to the church.

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