Episcopal Diocese of Virginia shocks conservatives

The Diocese of Virginia isn’t noted for being liberal or radical. When it passed a resolution on 24 January affirming gay relationships, USA conservatives were shocked.

The resolution recommends the diocese to respond “to the pastoral needs of our faithful gay and lesbian members.”

Conservative blogs in the USA have reacted with their usual fervour. Greg Griffith on Stand Firm claims the significance of the resolution cannot easily be overstated. Not only does it affirm same-sex behaviour but it comes out of what has been thought to be a moderate-to-conservative diocese.

Greg Griffith believes the passage of this resolution will send shockwaves through the entire church. Passing the resolution is a huge victory for ‘the opposition‘, he says.

Opposition – that’s one of the problems the conservatives bring to the gay debate – seeing us as polarised and supporters of gay and lesbian people as not even Christian.

Conservatives in the USA are obsessed with their own church (or ex-church for those who have left for Africa and the Southern Cone). They think TEC is the only Province where LGBT people are visibly present and praying for full inclusion.

The Most Revd Barry Morgan, Primate of Wales and patron of Changing Attitude (bet not many readers of Stand Firm know that) was chaplain for the diocese’s 214th Annual Council. In his closing remarks, he told them that Wales was in the same boat as The Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church and he would resist the formation of an alternative North American province with, in his words, “every fibre of my being.” The room jumped to its feet with applause and cheering.

Friends in TEC – you’re not alone – we’re working towards the same goals, with the disadvantage that fewer bishops here are willing to commit themselves publicly. It’s a weakness Changing Attitude proposes to work at changing.

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