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Commonly Asked Questions

Updated: Jun 26, 2023






Commonly Asked Questions


In our series on “Commonly Asked Questions,” I try to answer questions about St. Augustine, The Episcopal Church, and Christianity. The purpose is to teach you about our faith’s rich history and traditions and answer some burning questions. If you have any questions about why we do certain things, please let me know.


May you know the richness Christ entrusted to us,

Pastor Anny+

Why does the Episcopal Church affirm LGBTQ+ people?

From (https://www.episcopalchurch.org/who-we-are/lgbtq/)


In the first century, Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement. A community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. As Episcopalians, we believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death and resurrection saved the world.


We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being. Ordination and the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon are open to all without discrimination. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.


How did the Episcopal Church come to affirm LGBTQ+ people?


In an excellent article written for The Anglican Theological Review, Deirdre J. Good, Willis J. Jenkins, Cynthia B. Kittredge, and Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. explain the change that took place in Episcopalians as our culture shifted to recognize LGBTQ+ people. People started to recognize that same-sex couples shared the same Holy Spirit as straight people. They witnessed all the Fruits of the Spirit in them. They saw love, joy, and peace in them. This made them question their long-held beliefs in designating LGBTQ+ people as “sinners.” They also recognized that same sex couples displayed the same care and dedication to one another that opposite sex couples displayed. They saw God’s grace present in them. This made them question their long-held belief that same sex couples could not participate in the spiritual discipline of giving oneself to another as an act of self-giving love. The Church recognizes that marriage is a commitment of two people to daily die to their own desires for the grace of another and for better or for worse as a discipline. The authors liken the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people to St. Peter’s vision of eating unclean animals, a metaphor for receiving the Gentiles into the Church. In all, the authors point out that Christ’s Church is based on love. God loves all people and we the Church are called to follow Jesus’s example of loving others. In this spirit, the Episcopal Church could not continue to deny this sacrament to our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.

What is the history of the Episcopal Church and LGBTQ+

From (https://www.episcopalchurch.org/who-we-are/lgbtq/history/)


Faithful Episcopalians have been working toward a greater understanding and radical inclusion of all of God’s children for nearly a half-century. In 1974, Louie Crew founded Integrity USA, a non-profit organization with the goal of full inclusion of LGBT persons in The Episcopal Church. The next General Convention, in 1976, adopted resolutions stating that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church” (1976-A069), and that they “are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens” (1976-A071).


Over the years, General Convention and Executive Council reaffirmed these resolutions, as well as calling the church to greater understanding, awareness, and inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church. In response to the AIDS crisis, the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition was created in 1988 to provide education and support for HIV and AIDS ministries across The Episcopal Church.


In 1994, General Convention amended the church’s canons to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, providing equal access to the rites and worship of The Episcopal Church, including ordination. Nine years later the Diocese of New Hampshire elected the first openly-gay bishop in The Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson. This was, arguably, a turning point for the church.


Despite continued pressure from sister churches of the Anglican Communion, as well as some within The Episcopal Church, General Convention stood with its LGBTQ siblings. In 2009 it acknowledged and affirmed same-sex couples in the life of the church; in 2012 it called for the repeal of discriminatory federal laws, increased legal protections for domestic partners, and recommended a liturgy for blessing the relationships of same-sex couples.


Also in 2009, TransEpiscopal, a group dedicated to fostering the full embrace of trans and nonbinary people in life and worship of The Episcopal Church, sent its first delegation toGeneral Convention. That year, Convention expressed support for laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. In 2012, the canons of The Episcopal Church were amended to prohibit discrimination in the ordination process based on gender identity and gender expression.


Finally, in the summer of 2015, just five days after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex couples had the legal right to marry, General Convention voted to amend the canons of The Episcopal Church that regulate marriage, permitting any couple the rite of Holy Matrimony. They also called for a name-change rite to honor an important moment in the lives of anyone claiming their true identity.


The Episcopal Church warmly welcomes our LGBTQ siblings, but it would be disingenuous to say that the entire church is in the same place on this journey. As with all spiritual journeys, everyone walks at their own pace. Some Episcopal congregations are actively involved in LGBTQ ministry and their arms are open wide; others are more reserved, but their doors are still open to all; some are still wrestling with their beliefs and feelings. But we’re on this journey together, and The Episcopal Church is dedicated to full inclusion and equality in the church as well as in society as a whole.

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