Episcopal pastor rebukes diocese

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The pastor of a Capitol Hill Episcopal parish has challenged the Diocese of Washington with a resolution rebuking same-sex “marriage,” and a debate scheduled in his church was canceled yesterday after documents were stolen and trashed.

A draft of the one-page statement, which was presented Saturday to members at Calvary Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, declares that “Holy Scripture does not support giving God’s blessing to a sexual relationship outside marriage, be that relationship homosexual or heterosexual” and that “councils of the Episcopal Church have, and sometimes will, err.”

The rebuke is aimed at the Episcopal General Convention, the denomination’s decision-making body who approved its first openly homosexual bishop, Canon V. Gene Robinson, Aug. 5 in Minneapolis. Bishop Robinson was consecrated in November and officially assumes the position on March 7.

Calvary’s rector, the Rev. Thomas W. Logan Jr., said the resolution is “an attempt to protect the congregation” from theological error.

On Saturday, Mr. Logan and All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase were hosts to a panel discussion at Calvary about same-sex unions and Scripture, attended by 181 persons.

The 40,000-member Washington diocese has about 30 openly homosexual clergy and has announced plans to develop its own same-sex “marriage” rite.

“If it’s not a marriage, what are we blessing — a union of two single persons?” asked Mr. Logan, 54, on Saturday. “Where do we find justification for that in Scripture?”

The 625-member Calvary Church was to debate the resolution during a closed meeting yesterday until several hundred copies of the resolution intended for parish distribution were stolen. The leaflets were found in a trash can on church grounds yesterday.

The church’s assistant pastor, the Rev. Vaughan Booker, said there were “intense feelings” on the topic.

Saturday’s panel included two priests from St. George’s Episcopal Church in Glenn Dale, Md., which has sponsored eight same-sex blessings in the past decade, the Rev. J. Carleton Hayden, and the Rev. Michael Hopkins, who is openly homosexual. They were joined by Louie Crew, a New Jersey activist who founded the homosexual Episcopal caucus Integrity.

Opposing them were two clergy from Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax: the Revs. Martyn Minns and Richard Crocker. They were joined by the Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina, who termed same-sex blessings as “unions searching for a theology.” The Episcopal Church is not willing to admit it made a mistake at the general convention, he said.

Mr. Hopkins then took the podium to say, “We don’t all agree homosexuality is a sin,” at which point Calvary member Kevin Franklin shot back, “So we don’t agree with the Bible?”

“I am a baptized Christian person,” Mr. Hopkins responded.

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