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NEW HAMPSHIRE: Diocese affirms full inclusion, supports MDGs

By Mary Frances Schjonberg


[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, meeting November 11 in its 204th annual convention, affirmed that gay, lesbian and transgendered people are "expected to exercise individual baptismal ministries at all levels of our common life in this diocese."

Bishop Gene Robinson told the diocese it has much to be proud of in "this part of God's vineyard." In the diocese, he said, "the Gospel is being preached and heard without the kind of rancor and conflict so evident in other places."

"Our people are going about the business of being Christian with a real respect for one another, despite their disagreements about certain issues," he said. "We still find our unity, not in unanimity of opinion, but at the communion rail, gathered around the Lord's table, receiving the bread of life, in a church that too often feeds on the bread of anxiety.  Our clergy have relationships of respect and deep affection for one another I see nowhere else in the Church -- and believe me, you are well served by that. Our congregations are engaged in outreach efforts that make my heart sing. I suspect it makes God's heart sing as well."

The complete text of Robinson's address is available here.

Among the resolutions the convention passed were ones to:

  • set the clergy compensation schedule for 2007 with total clergy compensation ranging from $42,766 to $85,640;
  • approve a 2007 budget of $1,565,760;
  • affirm the 75th General Convention commitment to equip Episcopalians with the skills and knowledge to be effective agents of reconciliation and active nonviolence in the example of Jesus Christ;
    continue support for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as a priority for the diocese and endorse the ONE Episcopalian campaign;
  • express solidarity with Robinson and the diocese's General Convention deputies "who at the 75th General Convention of the Church in Columbus witnessed to the baptismal imperatives ‘to seek and serve Christ in all people and respect the dignity of every human being;'"
  • affirm that "all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters, being full members in the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ by virtue of baptism, are welcomed and expected to exercise individual baptismal ministries at all levels of our common life in this diocese;" and
  • continue work to assemble an educational workshop on substance use, misuse and abuse to offer for parish use, and encourage each congregation to make use of such material once such workshop has been developed.

The complete texts of all the resolutions passed by convention are available here.

The Diocese of New Hampshire comprises about 15,530 Episcopalians worshipping in 49 congregations.