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July 03, 2011


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Ann Gaillard

I appreciate Fr. Christopher Brown's measured response to Suzi Ruota's comment. Although not on the board of AVM, I follow this blog and have appreciated the ability of most of the persons posting to disagree with one another without sliding into insult or open hostility. The best church-related blogs, in my opinion, are those that reflect the attitude that even when we disagree we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we say in our Baptismal Covenant that we are to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor, and respecting the dignity of every human being. I hope that participants in the AVM blog will strive for a respectful tone regardless of the topic.

Mary Lawthers

To Christopher Brown: The Presiding Bishop's name is spelled, KathArine

Fr. Christopher Brown

I still didn't get it right, did I? It's KathArine.

William F. Hammond

Several things:

1. I accept Fr. Brown's 4 points except that I wonder about the soundness of training provided at TESM. And it's not good that current seminarians mostly go only to Nashotah and TESM.

2. Nobody who attended the service at All Saints Cathedral with the Presiding Bishop can doubt the warmth of the welcome during her visit.

3. I want to back Dennis Wisnom's praise of Bishop Ball, and I'm grateful for his continuing presence as Bishop-in-residence at the Cathedral.

4. I'm grateful that Bishop Herzog has re-joined us even though I've not always agreed with his positions.

5. I hope that Bishop Love will find a way within the confines of Canon 16 to allow our priests to provide some form of generous pastoral response.

Fr. Christopher Brown

Mary Lawthers is right, I should have checked the spelling of Bishop Katherine's name. No disrespect was intended. I actually rather like Katherine Jefferts Schori. I had a chance to spend some time with her at various points during her visit, and while I may sometimes disagree with her theological outlook, I found her to be straight forward and gracious, and quite interesting in conversation.

Dave DiSisto

No lawyer here, but I re-read the Pastoral Letter and do note that the Bishop says, "...it is my expectation that the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Albany will honor and uphold the Diocesan Canons." I see no where in the canons or the Marriage Equality law where it says anything about me, laity, having to honor and uphold the Diocesan Canons. I have DJ-ed unification ceremonies for same sex couples for years and I will now perform at receptions for MARRIED same sex couples. I will participate in any same sex ceremony for friend or family as I see fit. This man has got to be shown that he cannot control the laity. He might ram canons through at the last minute at convention but he will never control me or my actions, canons or not. The Bishop's stance is no different than the stance taken against interracial marriages years ago and women in the priesthood not so many years ago while citing biblical scripture as support for his position. Biblical scripture is a maze of contradictions on several topics as it is in all of these cases.

Dennis Wisnom

"The Bishops of Albany are a disgrace to the priesthood." Be careful. +David S. Ball is a Bishop of Albany, and he is not a disgrace to the priesthood. In my opinion, he has more integrity and faith and has a firm, and solid understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ than his two successors.

Mary Lawthers

To Christopher Brown: Would you PLEASE learn how to spell Presiding Bishop KATHARINE's name correctly

Fr. Christopher Brown

In response to Suzi Ruota: Protest and debate are entirely legitimate, but slander has no place in the Christian community. The only "disgrace" here is your ill-informed invective.

1. I know for a fact that Dan Herzog and his gay son Michael have a loving relationship. Bishop Dan and Carol Herzog have often visited Michael and his partner and their adopted son in Virginia, and Michael has visited the Herzog's home.

2. Diocesan staff were told by the presiding bishop’s staff that Bishop Kathryn returned to New York City raving about the diocese and said that she had been treated as warmly in Albany as anywhere in the Episcopal Church.

3. Bishop Love is very much his own man. Bishop Herzog is not the sinister power behind the scenes; Bishop Love ran the diocese quite well on his own for three years without Bishop Herzog. Bishop Dan is retired and spends only a day a week at the Spiritual Life Center and does whatever Bishop Loves asks him.

4. Albany seminarians attend accredited Episcopal or Anglican seminaries. Having tutored seminarians at General and Union Theological, in my experience our ordinands are as well prepared as any I have known.

Suzi Ruota

The Bishops of Albany are a disgrace to the priesthood. Everyone with 1/2 a brain has known for some time that Bp. Love is no more than Bp. Herzog's lapdog/puppet (you may choose for yourself!) Bp. Herzog should have NEVER been allowed back into the Episcopal Church (which I'm sure the presiding Bishop NOW knows after her extremely shoddy treatment while visiting the diocese!) Bp. Herzog has denied his own GAY son parental or pastoral love or care! The man is truly a disgrace to the priesthood, let alone to the calling as a Christian.
It's past time that all churchs within the diocese seek alternative oversite and remove their parishes from the ongoing madness of these two "Bishops" and all of their so-called "priests," who never attended theology school (other than Bp. Herzog's private school of indoctrination) and now are pastors of far too many parishes within the DoA!

Father Mike Waverly-Shank

Here are two comments on the Bishop's Pastoral Letter:

1. We clergy were asked to have it read between July 3 -10. I plan on reading it on the 10th. And I will have copies available for the parishioners to take home - as well as copies of the Scriptures and the Canons Bishop Bill quoted.

2. Someone in their post said it was unfair for the Bishop to quote Scripture and the Prayer Book. What else pray tell should he quote? When I was ordained deacon and then priest, I took an oath that said I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation. The Bishop actually took this oath one more time than I did. The Prayer Book is about 80% direct and indirect quotes from Holy Scripture. So, If The Bishop or I want to know what is righteous and what is wrong, what is good and evil, we go to these too books to find out. I saw a tee shirt the other day that says it all - there is a picture of an open Bible and the caption says - When all else fails - read the directions.

Joseph M. Liotta

Short of dropping out altogether, here are some concrete ways of giving the Bishop the message. Do all you can to support your local church, but make sure your financial support does not earn interest to the church's general fund.
In this way your church's diocesan assessment goes down.
Also churches could pay their diocesan assessments in total in December, thus strapping the diocese financially all year long.

Trinity Potsdam only pays 60% of its assessment and yet Trinity can do upwards of a million dollars in restoration projects. Some churches don't pay anything at all. One that comes to mind is Christ Church, Schenectady, the home of the Albany Intercessor.

Another Draconian way to fire back is to not send delegates to the annual convention. Of course you lose your vote, but you have already lost your vote. .

Be sure to pastor your own clergy person regarding the reasons why you personally are taking these actions. Go to your vestry meeting and let the vestry know too.

The bottom line is don't just stand there and take it. Take strong steps for strong people.

Paula Sippel

Finallly, we have a focal point for banding together to seek Alternative Oversight. How many parishes would stand together?

Kathy Baldwin Keenan

My daughter and I were talking about walking out when the bishop visited our parish. She said she was thinking about staying and going to receive communion wearing her Straight For Gay Rights pin so he could see it. We need some way to pressure the bishop without letting our individual parishes down. A coordinated campaign is important--we need ideas and a coordinator who can get the word out to parishioners.

Harriet Warnock-Graham

I think it is of supreme importance that the laity of the Diocese of Albany carry the ball right now. If the bishop does not like it, I guess he'll just have to fire the paying orders. If clergy does not like the canon, they have two choices, live with it and eat, or ignore it and starve. We of the paying orders are not included in the canon and the only real control he has over us is the control we grant him. As a lay person, I'm not granting him control over me on this issue and I will bless whomsoever I please wherever I please.

Dave DiSisto

I'm ashamed to admit that I am part of a Diocese that will withhold the sacrament of marriage to certain individuals. You cannot welcome and share God's love while withholding the sacraments from them. I might add that the canons that are referenced were rammed down the throats of the voters at the convention at the last minute. Speaking directly to the issuance of the Pastoral Letter, why? The Pastoral Letter is simply another slap in the face to gay people and supporters, laity and clergy, in the Albany Diocese. I would also note that not only was the Pastoral Letter not published on the Diocesan website, it was read on a Sunday where traditionally attendance is less than average due to it being a holiday weekend. I intend to let my pastor know that I will not serve on the altar if either former Bishop Herzog or Bishop Love are participating. I would be a hypocrite to do so.

Rich Angelo

It's sad to read that people are stopping their church attendance due to the DoA's viewpoints. The motto "Disciples making Disciples" seems to have changed to " Disciples discouraging Disciples". At various meetings over the past years Bishop Love has asserted his views on the issues of LGBT inclusion in the church, and while he has done his best to make sure he doesn't really offend by telling the positions of the national church, he has said that the church needs to find " a way to minister to gay and lesbian members." I repeat what the national motto of Integity is " All the Sacraments for ALL the baptised." Bishop Love wants us to live in a spiritual "don't-ask-don't tell" world. It's time for laity to step up and be outraged by the Diocese of Albany's EXCLUSIVENESS!

Rich Angelo
Albany Integrity Coordiator

Robert T Dodd

It is gratifying to see so many thoughtful comments on this blog thread. If Bp. Love accomplished nothing else with his inept "pastoral" letter, he sure stirred up the grass roots!

Now, please stay stirred up. Have your say here and/or on the Albany Via Media website. (Unlike the Albany Episcopalian, our Editor loves to get mail!) And if you are not yet a member of Albany Via Media, please consider adding your voice to ours.

Help us keep the lamp of tolerance and reason lit in the Diocese of Albany!

Father Mike Waverly-Shank

This pastoral letter from our Bishop should have come as no surprise! In 2008 the Diocesan Convention passed a Canon that forbids our clergy from blessing same gender unions and forbids such services on church property in the Diocese of Albany. I voted for this Canon and support it.

Ann Gaillard

I am one of the "well-meaning people." I am thrilled that my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are now able to marry legally in the state of New York, and I am deeply saddened that I cannot officiate at their weddings.

Harriet Warnock Graham

It's interesting to me that the bishop of Albany made a fairly large leap of authority when he included laity in the requirements of a canon that only names clergy. I think he's off way off base in attempting to treat laity as subservient to clergy. We are the Episcopal Church of the USA; we are not the regressive Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Marsha Colt

I am ashamed to tell anyone what Episcopal diocese I am from and sadly will no longer be a able to attend church in this diocese. I have been fighting with this for over 10 years now and feel it is time to end it. I am going to be 65 years old and have been a member of the Episcopal Church since I was a child.

I was brought up in the diocese of Rochester, NY and sadly moved away years ago. I am very happy with where I live but with a sad heart I miss my church. I will now attend church when my husband and I are traveling. We do not go away months at a time so sadly attending church will be very sporadic.

Marsha Colt
Colton, NY

Kathy Baldwin Keenan

I found the letter at 'Virtue Online', but I had to really search. Waiting until a Sunday when attendance is low is underhanded. And, using the BCP and Bible as a weapon is just plain wrong. All the references used refer back to Genesis, which makes it just plain silly. They did the same thing when they were trying to block women priests. Shame on the Bishop!

Paula Sippel

I am one of the "well meaning people" in our diocese and I applaud Governor Cuomo for making marriage equality a high priority. Marriage is a legal bond, and the church should not be in the business of carrying out legal compacts. The belongs to the State, and the great state of New York has spoken. What the church should be in the business of is blessing all people every day, as well as at the milestones of their lives, including marriage, without regard to any of a wide range of "legal" definitions of who or what we are.

Joseph M. Liotta

Another thought on the Bishop's "Pastoral" Letter. He says: "Our Church has a long-standing commitment to acknowledge homosexual persons as loved by God, and as recipients of pastoral care within the Church. It is my hope and prayer that every parish in the Diocese of Albany will welcome and share God's love with ANYONE who is seeking a deeper relationship with and desiring to worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ". How do these remarks by the Bishop square with having the "pastoral" letter read in the presence of gay or lesbians couples -- and furthermore, gay and lesbian couples that have adopted children with them in church on the Sunday it was read? Some may call it Tough Love. I call it something else.

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