Roseberry utters a Raspberry

The Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry, Rector of all Plano, Texas, has published a web site http://www.bcp526.org/ the purpose of which is to garner the signatures of priests who would sign the following:

  • We request that the House of Bishops refrain from approving any further consecrations of same sex partnered bishops.
  • We request that the House of Bishops stop all actions that allow or promote the blessing of same sex unions of any kind.
  • We request that the House of Bishops fully endorse the Windsor Report as their roadmap for maintaining full communion with the world-wide Anglican Church.
  • We request that the House of Bishops turn the attention of our church to the mission of reaching the lost for the sake of the Gospel.

This has been published just prior to the election in California and shortly before General Convention with the purpose of sending a petition to the House of Bishops asking them to cease and desist from any possible consecrations and blessings of any kind regarding same sex partnered folk. It is a scare tactic now and amunition for later.

Supposedly this is based on our ordination vows (See BCP 526), which vows are never mentioned in the actual content of the letter or the petition but are assumed to support the petition’s pleas.

This is a sham and a shame, meant to connect our vows to the agenda of those opposed to the inclusion of same sex partnered folk, in spite of their commitments to loving kindness towards one another as a sign of Christ’s love in the very much broken world. He wants to use the Windsor Report as a litmus test for future inclusion in both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church. And then, to round off these strange petitions, he asks the bishops to turn their attention to seeking the lost. (I presume he believes the Bishops have not done so because of all the fuss these days, or perhaps because they forgot?)

It is produced at this time precisely to misguide the muddled middle.

Roseberry has uttered a rude insult to any of us who take our ordination vows seriously. He thinks that the mere link of those vows and this petition is appealing and that many will sign. If they do, then good for him: he will have fools for petitioners and paper best used for wrapping fish.

As for those of us who do take our vows seriously: we no doubt will disagree about many things, not the least about the contexts for blessing, the use of reports, and even the way of seeking those who are lost. This petition, however, is neither part of our vow nor part of the solution. It is merely part of the problem.


  1. You know, I keep thinking schism is a bad thing and then things like this make me reconsider. If the homophobes cannot even argue honestly, can they be all that much of a loss as they storm off into holiness?



  2. Windsor as a set of recommendations, is just that, recommendations. For the radical right in our Communion to attempt to foist such negative fodder on the rest of is really of no surprise. Look at what the radical right did to our govenment? And it is as Mark tell us, it is blackmail and carefully calculated to shock and awe the election in California and create more difficulty at GC06.

    If we can beat the Nazis and Fascists, we can win this war too. Thanks be to God that we take the high road whilst they resort to "guerrilla [sp?]" tactics.

  3. We request that the House of Bishops turn the attention of our church to the mission of reaching the lost for the sake of the Gospel

    With the exception of throwing in "House of Bishops", I would have taken this for something the Southern Baptists would have put out.

    Is there an Episcobaptist or two in the House?

  4. Can some kind soul with technical savvy do the same from the modernist side?

  5. fr. mark, thanks again for posting some interesting information.

    i think it' important that we continue to ask questions about the Windsor report and the process, when some try to use it as a one sided weapon. It is a process that is designed to have Communion-wide application and usefulness.

    If it is offered as a litmus test, then we have to ask, how are other Provinces stacking up?

    How are they complying?

    Are they complying? To what degree? With which parts? How much of each part is required to be in compliance? How do you measure compliance, by the way?

    Who decides how to measure?

    What is the deadline for measuring? Is it the same across the Communion, or is it different? Why?

    Furthermore, the Episcopal Church and Canada are not the only ones asked to express regret. Those instituting border crossings and pursuing activity contrary to Communion, such as refusing to partake of eucharist with others or abandoning joint work, are asked to do so:

    "We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:
    ♦ to express regret for the consequences of their actions
    ♦ to affirm their desire to remain in theCommunion, and
    ♦ to effect a moratorium on any further interventions.

    We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care. " (section 155)

    And there is clear language delivered directly to dissenting bishops in our Church:

    "We further call upon those diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) who have refused to countenance the proposals set out by their House of Bishops to reconsider their own stance on this matter. If they refuse to do so, in our view, they will be making a profoundly dismissive statement about their adherence to the polity of their own church. "
    (section 155)

    This last to me is very important because it lays out quite clearly that the processes through which we are to receive and work through things, is our established polity and recognized boundaries. We are not to undermine it or subvert it, or go around it. Doing so is "profoundly dismissive", amounts to bad faith, and requires expression of regret.

  6. Actually, mumcat, I could have endorsed Roseberry's fourth point (though I have some reservations about the term "the lost") . . . but then gone on to say "effectively, it can only be enacted by disregarding the first three!" ;-p

  7. Sorry, but I have a bone to pick with Fr. Mark WRT what he said about Roseberry+. ;->

    "rector of all Plano" my sweet a**! ;) Trust me, David Roseberry is not the spiritual leader of all Episcopalians in southern Collin Co., Texas by a long shot. Plenty of us drive a fair ways down into Dallas to find a mainstream parish vs. that big, white Anglo-Baptist edifice of his that's 5 min from my house...

    (can you tell I've been cheesed off for quite some time about the reputation Fr. Roseberry's made for my fair city amongst Episcopalians ? ;)

  8. I've been reading a lot of congregational studies stuff in preparation for a new job, and the latest book I'm reading (Israel Gallindo's "Hidden Lives of Congregations", 2004, Alban Institute) refers back to Fowler's "Stages of Faith".

    Per Gallindo, most congregations can only cater to what Fowler calls a "stage 3" faith, which is still pretty rule-bound and reliant on external authority--and ready to pitch out anyone at a HIGHER (stage 4 or 5) level of faith development. Stage 4 people tend still to be loyal, but more flexible and less tied to literal rules, and stage 5 tend to integrate other sources of wisdom. Almost NO existing congregations can handle a stage 5, very few can handle stage 4 well.

    So, you get congregations that effectively force out as "apostate" or "abandoning the tradition" those who will not sign on to such things as Fr. Mark has referred to here (or the "Place to Stand" kind of documents of the AAC).

    Tragically, a population that has a longer life expectancy than ever will likely have more and more people moving into the more mature stages of faith--which means fewer congregations will be places where mature but "flexidox" believers will find spiritual homes.

    So, the real choice, it seems to me, is between forcing out mature but flexible believers from any participation at all, or keeping them immature (and possibly lying about their true spiritual development) to keep them in the church.

    What is true of individual congregations seems to be writ large for the Anglican Communion these days.

  9. What exactly is wrong with a petition drive in a democratic institution? Is this not a legitimate expression of protest? Are those who disagree with the actions of GC2003 expected to sit on their hands and do nothing? I see no "shock and awe", no threat, no scare tactic, nothing of the kind in this action.

    Roseberry links directly to the portion of the vows that he refers, so one does not have far to go to read them. I presume he refers to the vow: "Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them?"

    The Windsor Report notes: "The overwhelming response from other Christians both inside and outside the Anglican family has been to regard these developments as departures from genuine, apostolic Christian faith." Thus, a whole lot of people think that our church is not being "loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." (I have read comments by N. T. Wright that within the Anglican Communion alone, these people could number in the millions.)

    I would hope that you would show how those decisions are consistent with genuine, apostolic Christian faith, rather than accuse those who think otherwise of employing scare tactics when they express their opinion and their concerns. This would demonstrate to me that you take this vow seriously (which I'm sure you do). I'm still waiting for an understanding of marriage and sexuality which is consistent with scripture and tradition yet embraces homosexual practice. Why don't you show us how all this is consistent with "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them," rather than accuse those who assert otherwise of scare tactics and insults?

    One wonders if the basis for the fear expressed here is the knowledge that this is in fact such a departure and a violation of those vows. Especially when the assertion is dealt with in such a manner: accusing your opponents of scare tactics, calling them homophobes, fascists, nazis, episcopbaptists, etc. This is not what I call honest argumentation.

  10. I must say, I admire the bald contradictions and illogics in RB's post. :)


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