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At General Convention 2003, the House of Bishops was unable to pass Resolution B001, which would have reaffirmed "Holy Scripture as the foundation of authority in our Church" and "historic positions adopted by previous General Conventions," as well as the principle that "no member of this Church shall be forced to practice anything contrary to the clear meaning of Holy Scripture."
General Convention 2006 refused to consider, much less approve, a resolution (D058) declaring salvation is through Christ alone because, as one Evangelism Committee member noted, the debate would likely be contentious. The Evangelism Committee voted to discharge this resolution, claiming that 1982 Resolution A047 stated the same thing. Attempts to bring the resolution to the floor for a current reading failed.
"Via Media: Evangelism for the Episcopal Church" is the newest and most heavily publicized program for new TEC members. It represents the basic ethos of TEC in terms of "radical inclusion," even suggesting the inclusion of other faiths and thereby presenting TEC as a sort of Unitarian sect. Its presentation of "pluriform reality" and revisionist version of "Christianity" is contradictory to Scripture and traditional teachings of Anglicanism and Christianity.
General Convention 1991 affirmed a resolution (A060) to "Reaffirm Commitment to Evangelism and Recognize Religious Pluralism" that set the stage for syncretism by calling for the church to "be aware of the significance of God's self-revelation outside the Church" and "learn humbly from those whose perception of God's mystery differs from our own."
TEC's National Christian Education Conference in 2002 included various shrines to other religions, including Islam, Native American spirituality, Buddhism and Christianity. At each shrine individuals were encouraged to engage in some activity related to the religion represented (E.g. wave a feather and say a Native American "ancestor prayer," weave a small prayer mat out of strips of construction paper, or ring a Buddhist prayer bell and recite a Buddhist chant).
In 2004, the Michigan chapter of Episcopal GLBT "outreach" group Oasis which is supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, helped sponsor "Together in Faith" which brought together Wiccans, shamans, Muslims, pagans, Hindus, and people of all religions and spiritualities to talk about topics such as "Sex & Spells: Gender and Political Activism in the Witchen Community." Jim Toy who serves on several diocesan commissions and committees, led one of the workshops.
In 2004, the Rev. Bill Melnyk and his wife, the Rev. Glyn Lorraine Ruppe-Melnyk, both priests in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, were exposed as leaders of a local society of Druids who follow a pre-Christian practice of worshiping the sun and venerating the Earth. The Rev. Ruppe-Melnyk also affirmed a pagan rite to pagan deities called "A Women's Eucharist-A Celebration of the Divine Feminine," which was featured on TEC's Office of Women's Ministries webpage. The Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison, Bishop of Pennsylvania, referred to the situation as "a small error of judgment that has been very costly to their ministry and their church, and the church at large." As a result of the controversy, Bill Melnyk left TEC to become a Druid priest, but his wife remains a TEC priest. She recently contributed a liturgy for the Stations of the Cross to the Women's Ministries webpage that denies substitutionary atonement and the bodily resurrection of Christ.
At Christ Church Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, a course was offered in 2005 called "Invoking Dionysus." The Cathedral's website said, "C.G. Jung thought Dionysus was the ‘shadow' of the Christ, the god who had been eclipsed and then repressed with the advent of Christianity. But a god is not so easily slain, and though we may not recognize his presence amongst us, we feel his powerful effect. This course will invoke the ‘mad god' Dionysus."
An Episcopal priest in Washington State, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, claimed to be a practicing Muslim. Diocese of Olympia bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner said he accepts her as both and "finds the interfaith possibilities exciting." In June 2007, a story about Redding in the Seattle Times generated controversy outside the diocese and as a result the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, bishop of Rhode Island where Redding was canonically resident, suspended and eventually inhibited her in 2008.
Episcopal Divinity School offered a workshop on "Love and Wisdom - Buddhist Meditations to Illumine Christian Understanding" led by Tibetan Buddhist Lama and Boston College professor John Makransky in September 2006 that included guided Buddhist meditations.
In June 2007, the Rev. Mark Lewis, rector of Church of our Saviour, Secaucus, N.J., presided over the interfaith baptism of twin boys in which rabbinical student Rachel Barenblat and Islamic scholar Hussein Rashin participated by offering Jewish and Muslim prayers during the service.
Saint Mark's Cathedral, Seattle, Wash., offered a workshop on "Movement as Prayer" in October 2007 that included opportunities to experience the ways in which movement becomes a form of worship and "whirl with the Sufis." Sufi dance is one of the physical methods used to try to reach religious ecstasy by some practitioners of this form of mystical Islam.
In December 2007, St Andrew's Episcopal Church in Seattle offered a three-session course titled "They Followed a Star: Astrology and Christianity as Allies on the Journey." The course was taught by Dan Keusal, a licensed counselor and astrologer in private practice, who described the course on his web site as one in which participants will "explore the connections between astrology and Christianity, and look at how astrology can support and deepen our journeys as men and women seeking meaning and purpose for our lives."
During a joint Hindu and Episcopal service celebrating an Indian Rite Mass in Los Angeles, Ca. in January 2008, a statement by diocesan Bishop Jon Bruno was read which apologized for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert Hindus. The celebrant, the Rev. Karen MacQueen, an associate priest at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Pomona, said both faiths revere "great figures who embody the divine light, who teach the divine truth." In a later interview, McQueen said, "Perhaps there are enough Christians in the world. What we
need to see is more Christians really living like disciples of Jesus and practicing love towards others."
Since 2007, Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas have been constructed by Buddhist monks inside Episcopal cathedrals and diocesan buildings in Sacramento, Calif., Philadelphia, Pa. and Louisville, Ky. Although proponents of the displays laud the interfaith cooperation involved, others have criticized mandalas and the accompanying Buddhist prayers for the implication that they signify spiritual possession of the areas where they are constructed and later swept away (usually in a local river). In February 2009, the Diocese of Northern Michigan elected the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester (the sole candidate) as bishop. Forrester received lay ordination as a Buddhist in 2004 and considers himself to be both Christian and Buddhist.
In January 2006, Executive Council of the Episcopal Church approved for TEC to become a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an organization whose role is "educating the public to make clear that abortion can be a moral, ethical, and religiously responsible decision." A number of resolutions to repudiate and rescind membership were introduced at General Convention 2006, and one, D063, actually made it to the floor of the House of Bishops, but the bishops voted to table it.
To honor feminist scholars in the Church, in November 2008 Episcopal Divinity School featured polyamory (multiple partners) advocate the Rev. Marvin Ellison lecturing on "Is Marriage a ‘Must' or a ‘Bust'? Enlarging the Justice Agenda." Ellison called for the "reframing of Christian ethics" to overturn marriage and heterosexuality as the norms for society. "We must draw a larger picture of love, commitment, and family with ample room for same-sex partnerships, one-parent households, extended families, blended families, and other relational configurations, including plural relationships," he said.
Many Episcopal congregations have been blessing same-sex unions for years and they have continued in spite of repeated primatial requests for a moratorium on same-sex blessings. During General Convention 2003, resolution C051 was approved which "recognize[s] that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions." Many dioceses are in the process of developing official written policies authorizing such blessings. Other dioceses make allowances for a wide range of pastoral responses to include blessings for same sex couples. The following dioceses have approved (explicitly or implicitly) or developed rites of same-sex blessings and/or affirmed their support of homosexual marriage: Atlanta, California, Connecticut, Delaware, El Camino Real, Long Island, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Newark, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Northern California, Olympia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rochester, Utah, Vermont, and Washington D.C. The diocese of Virginia recently affirmed the blessedness of same-sex relationships and developed liturgies to celebrate those relationships.The current bishops of Arkansas and Nevada have reversed their predecessors' policy of allowing same-sex blessings.
TEC's Virginia Theological Seminary provides faculty housing for sexually active non-married faculty (of any sexual preference), and General Theological Seminary in New York City has held the official policy that it is "willing to make apartments available to committed same-sex couples" since 1994.
In spite of the lewd sexual displays that occur during many "gay pride" festivals, several Episcopal dioceses and bishops have promoted and participated in them. In 2007, the Rt. Rev. Sergio Carranza, assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Jon J. Bruno, rode in the lead car of the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade and the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, bishop of California, took part in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.
TEC delivered a presentation at the June 2005 Anglican Consultative Council meeting accompanied by a 133-page document describing a new awareness (henceforth unknown) of the "holiness" of same-sex unions; explaining that those who had consented to the election and consecration of Gene Robinson were "guided by the Holy Spirit" in their decision; and drawing parallels between homosexuality and both slavery and the early Church's acceptance of Gentiles into their midst.
In spite of the Windsor Report request for a moratorium on the consecration of non-celibate homosexual bishops, the Diocese of California included two partnered homosexuals among its five nominees for the post of diocesan bishop in 2006 and the Diocese of Chicago nominated a partnered lesbian for bishop in 2007.
Several dioceses (Atlanta, Bethlehem, California, Central New York, Central Pennsylvania, Chicago, Connecticut, El Camino Real, Los Angeles, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Northern California, Northern Michigan, Olympia, Oregon, Rochester, Utah, Vermont, and Western North Carolina) have passed resolutions endorsing same-sex blessings, declaring that all barriers to ordination for partnered homosexuals should be removed, and/or calling for General Convention 2009 to repeal resolution B033.
At their October 2007 meeting, TEC's Executive Council passed NAC 026, a resolution which expressed appreciation for the House of Bishops September 2007 response to the Primates' Dar Es Salaam questions, but "the House of Bishops' statement exacerbated feelings of exclusion felt by many of the lesbian and gay members of our church by defining Resolution B033 from the 75th General Convention to include lesbian and gay people" and "it may inappropriately suggest that an additional qualification for the episcopacy has been imposed beyond those contained in the constitution and canons of the church."
During the Diocese of Los Angeles Convention in December 2008, Bishop Jon Bruno announced a new diocesan policy and liturgy which allows parishes to offer the sacramental and spiritual blessings of a "life-long covenant" to same-sex couples who currently may not be legally married in the State of California. California voters overturned same-sex marriage by approving Proposition 8 in November 2008.
Communion for the unbaptized is becoming more common in TEC, despite the fact that the canons specifically cite the practice as impermissible. A 2004-2005 survey by a task force of the diocese of Northern California revealed that among the 48 dioceses who responded, half of them have parishes that permit Communion without baptism. Even if the 55 dioceses which did not respond did not allow communion without baptism, that would mean at least 23 percent (in all likelihood more) of TEC dioceses permit this uncanonical and unscriptural practice.
In spite of the Primates' repeated requests to suspend litigation, the national church and several TEC dioceses are involved in litigation against former TEC parishes that have left for other jurisdictions in the Anglican Communion. Litigation against former TEC parishes, clergy and members has been initiated (at least 57 lawsuits) in the dioceses of Atlanta, Central Gulf Coast, Central New York, Colorado, Connecticut, East Carolina, Florida, Fort Worth, Georgia, Long Island, Los Angeles, Massachusetts (settled out of court), Milwaukee, Nebraska, Northern California, Northwest Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Rio Grande, Rochester, San Diego, San Joaquin, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
TEC has refused to reveal how much has been spent on litigation against former parishes despite repeated requests to do so. In 2007 over 5,000 people signed a petition demanding TEC reveal the sources of funds and how much money it has "spent since 2004 on litigation against individuals and parishes." Five retired bishops also wrote the Executive Council requesting the same information, but TEC refused to answer, saying only that "the church is receiving extraordinary value for the funds it does spend." The 2007 TEC budget included over a million dollars for legal fees. In 2008 TEC spent $1,970,000 on litigation, tapping into $1,520,000 of short term reserves. Executive Council budgeted $600,000 for litigation in 2009 and established Trust Fund # 1033, The St. Ives Fund, to support non-budgetary legal expenses. Only $1.1 million is available in short term reserves for expenses that exceed the 2009 budget.
The diocese of Virginia and TEC lost the lawsuit they initiated against nine departed Virginia churches and chose to appeal even though both sides had already spent more than $5 million total for legal expenses associated with the suit.
The Rt. Rev. John Chane, Bishop of Washington, and others, represented by attorneys from the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the District of Columbia which alleges that the government's land swap deal with the Central Union Mission (a Christian homeless shelter) unfairly assists the religious ministry because the property it is receiving from the D.C. government is currently valued higher than the property it is giving up. Chane objects to the purported unlawful use of public funds and property to "support the propagation of a religion and the coercion of homeless persons to take part in religious activity."
The Episcopal Church has violated its own canons in its attempts to punish the orthodox. At least 10 bishops and 108 priests and deacons have been unlawfully inhibited and deposed for abandonment of communion or renunciation of their Holy orders, when in fact they did neither. One of those bishops, The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, is canonically resident in the Church of England. The Presiding Bishop dissolved a lawfully constituted Standing Committee and substituted it with another without warrant (San Joaquin).