Last week we wrote about the Batty Babes in Beantown, the womynpriest movement performing their mock ordinations in Boston.
I noted then that the ceremony was conducted at a protestant church, specifically the Church of the Covenant which is affiliated with two Protestant denominations, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. I opined with moderate amounts of snark “I suppose that is what you get for 40 years of ecumenism, Vatican II style. You are viewed as a doormat. Nice.”
Well imagine my suprise and chagrin when I read this absolutely biting response from the Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director of the Confessing Movement in the United Church of Christ. Now this is a guy I could get ecumenical with (in a manly way of course!)
[CNA] Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director of the Confessing Movement in the United Church of Christ, responded to the situation by sending an open letter to Boston area Catholics via Cardinal Sean O’Malley. In his letter, he apologized for the “division and confusion” caused by Rev. Nancy Taylor and the Church of the Covenant—the church were the ceremony was held.
“Please accept our deepest and sincere apology for the behavior of Rev. Nancy Taylor of Old South Church, UCC and the UCC related Church of the Covenant. They do not reflect the heart and mind of our United Church of Christ whose premise is ‘that all may be one.’ Those of us who truly value the unity of all Christians and treasure our ecumenical relationships with you as Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ are grieved,” Runnion-Bareford wrote. [This is the nice ecumenical apology part, wait it gets much better.]
The Confessing Movement UCC pastor also said that his movement is also “fully aware that this event was not motivated by a sincere desire to honor the call of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the ministry of committed Christian women.” [Wow, this not the ecumenical language to which we have become accustomed. This is biting and right to the point. These womyn are not responding to the call of the Holy Spirit. They are making a statement (about themselves)]
Rev. Runnion-Bradford further criticized the women for refusing to take a vow of chastity and for promoting a self-centered gospel, citing the “Body, Sex and Gender” section of the group’s web page.
“We know that ‘Womenpriests’ openly include candidates who are engaged in the practice of sexual license. It is significant that the participants would not take the vow of obedience or chastity. We are aware of the statements on their website proclaiming a false gospel of self and mutual affirmation, denying the fall of humanity and our need for repentance from sin and personal transformation through the atoning crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Dang!]
“We note that it is not incidental that this event was hosted in Boston by a church that is prideful about its aggressive religious sanction of homosexual, bi-sexual and transgender relationships and same gender ‘marriage.’ We also note that the pansexual activist group Integrity participated and assisted with hospitality,” Runnion-Bradford observed in his letter.[Double Dang! This is awesome!]
[Now he is going to take the participating Rev. to task for her participation] Rev. Nancy Taylor also received a letter from Rev. Runnion-Bradford according to a press release from the Confessing Movement pastor. In his letter he took Taylor to task for her “divisive statements and behavior” saying that they “appear to violate the Minister’s Code of the United Church of Christ, which says, ‘I will be a responsible representative of the Church Universal and participate in those activities that strengthen its unity, witness, and mission’.”
Rev. Taylor’s appearance and words of support for the women who attempted ordination could have implications for UCC practices as well, said Rev. Runnion-Bradford. He asked Taylor, “Can we infer from your actions of this last week that you would approve of groups who have justice issues with the United Church of Christ carrying out their own ordinations of individuals they believe valid regardless of our church’s standards and protocols?”
Now this is my kind of ecumenism. Our sincerest thanks to Rev. David Runnion-Bareford for this wonderful response to the divisive and ridiculous actions of the womynpriests, Rev. Taylor, and the Church of the Covenant.
I have sometimes thought that all good ecumenism is best served by not pulling punches. More of a John Wayne style ecumenism. Apparently the Rev. Runnion-Bareford agrees, as Rev. Taylor and the Church of the Covenant just got punched in the nose for acting like idiots. John Wayne and Rev. Runnion-Bareford do not suffer fools lightly.