Chapter Three – Actions & Reactions – The Road to General Convention 1979, Denver
The Priesting of Ellen Barrett
From January 1977 the Episcopal Church began ordaining women as priests in accordance with the new canons agreed in Minneapolis. For some in the church this in itself marked an unacceptable break with Scripture and catholic tradition. Others accepted, or at least could live with, women priests but were concerned at the growing alliance between many ordained women and the work of Integrity. Back in April 1976 the annual meeting of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus had passed a resolution identifying shared concerns with Integrity and offering it their support. This early connection between supporters of women’s ordination and supporters of gay and lesbian inclusion was an important development and perhaps nobody(with the possible exception of Carter Heyward) embodied this conjunction of support for women priests and Integrity more than Ellen Barrett who became the focus of the next stage of the debate after Minneapolis.
At the time of Minneapolis Ellen Barrett was already an ordained deacon in New York diocese. Prior to her ordination she had taken a high profile in Integrity serving as one of its first Co-Presidents. At Minneapolis two resolutions had been filed opposing her ordination but it was her priesting by Bishop Paul Moore on the evening of Monday 10th January 1977 which lit the fires that threatened to engulf the Episcopal Church. The fact that two days later Bishop Moore was the chief celebrant and preacher for Integrity NYC’s concelebrated Eucharist (with among others the newly priested Barrett) suggests a clear determination on his part to signal his support for Integrity and its pattern of support for gay and lesbian Christians.
The reaction was fast and strong and appears to have taken many by surprise. In the March Integrity Forum, President Ron Wesner began a pastoral letter outlining how to respond:
In view of the heat about Ellen Barrett’s ordination, let us remind each other that this heat is a necessary part of the loving revolution and must and can be endured. I am getting distressed calls and letters from people around the country who are afraid that the world is falling apart because of the reaction to the ordination. It was a blessed event — with many lesbian [sic] having a rare affirmation from the Church — and will prove to be an important part of the building up of good things.
The remainder of the short letter highlights the need to educate non-gays in the Church and sketches what is required to accomplish this: self-education, speaking from love not anger, imaginative reliance on the Holy Spirit, personal presence in the pattern of the Incarnation, avoiding detailed debates about Scripture, and taking care in the language used. The goal was simple and clear – to persuade people that “homosexual and heterosexual expression are appropriate for the person who finds either as a primary drive”.
Bishop Moore himself explained to Integrity Forum that he was feeling totally isolated with only one brother bishop having written to support him (The Rt. Rev. Robert DeWitt, retired Bishop of Pennsylvania — “but he knows Ellen anyway,” Bishop Moore added) and a ‘flood of abusive language’ including from some of the liberal bishops, many of whom simply remained silent. For Crew and others this was a classic case of scapegoating – faced with the pain and confusion surrounding the major debates of Minneapolis, Barrett & Moore became the target of hatred in an attempt to recreate unity.
On 21st January Presiding Bishop Allin warned against over-reaction but made clear his own unhappiness – “Do not run before every embarrassing incident, every false wind of doctrine, every rumor. This church has produced some damn fool decisions, but it also a church with the capacity to learn”. Stronger statements, often addressing the principles behind the opposition, were made by Bishops Sims of Atlanta, Frey of Colorado, Brown of Louisiana (who wrote a letter to all the newspapers expressing his shock and sadness and reaffirming his policy that “homosexuality is still considered an impediment to ordination in this diocese” because “I cannot condone clerical lifestyles and sexual mores repugnant to Holy Scripture”) and Sanders of Tennessee. The bishops of Dallas (strong opponents of women’s ordination) refused to accept the ordination as valid and made public their letter to Bishop Moore while Bishop Robinson of Western New York made clear she would not be able to function as a priest in his diocese. A number of diocesan councils and conventions also debated and voted on the matter.
Bishop Moore’s own statement sheds much light on his thinking and highlights many of the issues that would resurface at each controversial gay ordination or consecration in the decades ahead. He explained how, when approached by Barrett in 1972 (when she was active in the gay movement) he had refused to recommend her and that a similar decision had been made by the diocese of Pennsylvania. Barrett, however, serious about her call, began training at General Theological Seminary and reapplied for candidacy in 1975. Bishop Moore viewed this much more favourably although the explanation he gave for doing so with regard to her involvement in the gay movement was false. Barrett came back with a deeper sense of vocation, was strongly recommended by General Theological Seminary, and passed the selection processes. She was admitted as a candidate by the standing committee in May 1975 and approved in early November. When her sexuality became known and protests were received, the Standing Committee unanimously reaffirmed its approval – “The fact that she has publicly admitted her homosexual orientation was not judged by the Bishop or the Standing Committee to be a barrier to ordination”. Moore stressed that the novelty here was not the situation but the honesty and openness being shown – “many homosexual persons have served the Church well. They were, of course, forced to be very secretive about this aspect of their personality. Now it is possible to be more open about one’s sexual orientation, and that is a healthy development”. In relation to the crucial question of her personal conduct he stressed respect for privacy and the test of public scandal.
Turning to the perceived political and theological issues raised by the ordination, Moore denied any intention of making statements of this form by his actions and instead emphasized that Barrett was properly treated as an individual whose call to ordination the church had tested. That there were, however, serious theological differences under the surface was clear from the final paragraphs of his statement where he responded to those opponents who had raised theological concerns. Here he succinctly signals some of the more fundamental differences that would continue to shape the varied responses to gay and lesbian Christians and make the issue such a divisive one. These included differences over
- Scripture and its role in ethics, particularly different understandings of the relationships between love and law and the Christian gospel and specific biblical injunctions;
- the authority of tradition
- the content and significance of greater human knowledge of sexuality
- the purpose of sex and the significance of changing Christian understandings in this area
- the relationship of Scripture, the Spirit and developing human knowledge to truth
- the validity of the category ‘homosexual persons’ and the implications in relation to such people of the need to follow Jesus’ pattern of ministry to the excluded and oppressed
- the relevance of the language of ‘sin’ in relation to sexuality
- the value, structure and content of continued dialogue on sexuality in the church
After the instant opposition to the action, more supporters made themselves known. Bishop Moore claimed his postbag gradually moved from 40:1 against to almost 50:50 by April. Some bishops took a less hostile stance, notably Bishop McGehee (Michigan) and the retired Bishop of Rochester, George W. Barrett, who wrote of “the high degree of irrationality existing in human institutions generally and in the Episcopal Church in particular”.
Bishop Barrett’s response on matters of substance and process vividly illustrates the gulf that was beginning to appear in theological method and ecclesiastical practice, raising yet more of the issues that would become prominent in the debates to come:
- the role of Scripture and traditional moral teaching while the church studied sexuality in depth
- the unfairness of having to wait until a consensus had been reached
- the unacceptability of requiring people to remain in the closet or celibate
- the value of comparing the situation to that of the early Jewish church needing to welcome Gentiles
- the balance between the personal authority and collegiality of bishops, and the importance of canon law, especially in relation to prophetic actions
- the role and importance of dialogue with homosexual people
- the analogy with racism and sexism and the paradigm of social justice and human rights
- the relative importance of questions of sexuality compared with other challenges in society
Although Moore could take comfort from such support, strong opposition continued from fellow bishops (e.g. Bishops Trelease (Rio Grande) and Krumm (Southern Ohio)). Bishop Vogel (West Missouri), while seeking clarification, also raised wider theological questions concerning the role of the bishop in relation to ordination, questions that would resurface over 25 years later in relation to both Jeffrey John and Gene Robinson.
Within New York diocese itself, a number of parishes initiated a pattern of response that would recur (on both sides) in the following years by withdrawing their financial support to the diocese. In sharp contrast, and perhaps signaling both the different reactions of men and women to this issue and the close connection in the American church between support for women priests and for gay priests, the women clergy of the diocese gave Bishop Moore and Barrett their strong support. Nationally, however, Integrity claimed that “the experience of several seminarians already suggests that the ordination has contributed to a growing witch-hunt for closeted and hidden gays among prospective ordinands”.
The first official response at a national level came from the meeting of the Executive Council at the end of April. The 41-member Council, as the body chiefly responsible for the implementation of policy and program for The Episcopal Church in its national jurisdiction under the authority of the General Convention, passed the following resolution –
Resolved, That the Executive Council express the hope that no bishop will ordain or license any professing and practicing homosexual until the issue be resolved by the General Convention; and be it further
Resolved, That this Council deplore and condemn all actions which offend the moral law of the Church; and further that it witness to the necessity for the Church to give moral leadership in the affairs end activities of the Church and the world; and be it further
Resolved, That these matters be referred to the House of Bishops, meeting in September, with a request that they be placed on its agenda.
The reference to licensing was not accidental. Ellen Barrett, though ordained in New York, was completing studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California. The Bishop of California (C. Kilmer Myers) had licensed her as a deacon and that licence had expired on April 17th. She was now seeking to be licensed as a priest in his diocese. Many advised him against – The Rt. Rev. Victor M. Rivera issued a statement that said, “As Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin and as President of Province VII (of the Episcopal Church), I humbly request, plead and beg, that no bishop of this Province license or ordain any avowed homosexual”. However, there were supporters of Barrett among the most prominent of whom was Otis Charles, Bishop of Utah, who would himself later take a prominent personal role in the church debate about gay ordinations and blessings and eventually came out as a gay man. Myers’ own comments highlighted the tension many bishops would feel and their openness to charges of hypocrisy:
I have never during my episcopate ordained an ‘avowed’ (that is, an out-of-the-closet) homosexual. I have ordained ‘in-the-closet’ homosexuals. My quandary is this: given the assurance of general psychic and spiritual health of an aspirant for Holy Orders, should I consent to the ordination of out-of-the-closet homsexuals? Or should I penalize them for honesty when I consent to the ordination of in-the-closet homosexuals?
 Interestingly, showing the complexity of the situation, strong opponents included some supporters of Integrity, with Forum reporting the departure of its former Boston convenor and his friend to the Roman Catholic church along with their priest. A further sign that divisions on both subjects ran deep is that the prominent re-asserter against Integrity, Dr Ruth Tiffany Barnhouse, worshipped in the same parish while holding views Integrity summed up as “she approves the action to ordain women in the Episcopal Church but roundly opposes any kindnesses or acceptance of Gays who are not on her psychiatric couch struggling to affirm her claims that she can cure them (Mar 77 Vol 3 No 5)
 The text read – “Whereas INTEGRITY is an organization expanding consciousness of the presence and ministry of Gay people within the Episcopal Church, and Whereas the Episcopal Women’s Caucus is also concerned that patterns of ministry within the Episcopal Church contribute to the full development and use of each person’s talents, Therefore be it resolved: that we, the Episcopal Women’s Caucus at our Annual Meeting, April 1976, convey our greetings ln Christ to INTEGRITY, with our prayers of thanksgiving and continued support of their ministry, And be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be promptly forwarded to the editor of Integrity: Gay Episcopal Forum.” In the letter reporting this resolution, The Rev. Helen M. Havens, President of EWC, added: “The Episcopal Women’s Caucus has an underlying belief that until all people are free, none are. It is our prayer and our determination in the months and years ahead to educate in terms of freedom, in pastoral ways.” (Dec 76, Vol 3 No 2)
 The plan was she be presented by Carter Heyward (Feb 77, Vol 3 No 4) but I am unclear if this happened.
 In 2008, his oldest daughter, Honor Moore revealed in a newspaper article and a book that Paul Moore, her father, was himself bisexual in a long-term gay relationship and with a number of other gay lovers.
“The Rev. Ms. Barrett said beforehand that she felt that homosexuality would be but a “footnote,” that her femininity was the main concern of most of those who opposed her. Reactions from the Church at large suggest that few had adequately estimated the way in which this event would seize the homophobic imagination. Diocese after diocese in council or other annual meetings face resolutions to evaluate the ordination” (“In the Wake of the Barrett Ordination – Homophobic Poison Floods The Veins of the Church” by Crew, March 77, Vol 3 No 5).
 March 1977, Vol 3 No 5.
 “We must read and talk with each other enough to be able to reflect with articulate excellence on the experience of growing up Gay in America and in the Episcopal Church”
 “We can let our humanity and presence and health which come from affirmation say much more than tired words and pat phrases”.
 “Pitfalls to avoid: jumping into the fundamentalist pit with fundamentalists. Don’t try to best them at their own game. If you were to, all you would do is silence them. Rather, be aware of the prooftexts, and then speak of and from an informed experience in relationship with the Good News, God’s affirmation of all people through Jesus Christ”.
 “Avoid words like tolerance. We need to ask for tolerance only if there is something wrong with us, a handicap or some other inadequacy. We show a lack of pride when we ask for tolerance. Avoid also the phrases that indicate “we protest too much.””
 This interpretation would find support in the work of Rene Girard whose work has particularly influenced the Roman Catholic gay theologian James Allison.
 Bishop Brown had in October 1976 written to his clergy with the following charge “The pastoral care of homosexuals is to continue as in the past within the context of ordinary parochial life. Specifically, I am charging the clergy of the diocese to refrain from giving the aegis of the Episcopal Church to any organization of homosexuals by advising, joining, acting as chaplains, or by holding services of the church for such an organization in a Church or Chapel or privately”.
 “We condemn your act in attempting to ordain a practicing homosexual woman to priesthood and declare it a denial of Christian morality. This is an affront to our relationship as bishops. It presents a painful problem to Christian homosexuals seeking to live chaste lives. Your action compromises the church’s credibility as a force for the healing of society, and brought even more tragic divisions into the broken body of Christ”.
 Central Gulf Coast, Atlanta, Georgia,
 Moore claimed that at this point of ‘early 1975…she had by then resigned her office in “Integrity” and ceased to be active in the Gay Movement” (Vol3 No 5, March 1977). This is a serious error of fact. Barrett’s first appearance in Integrity Forum (which only began in late 1974) is as an associate editor in March 1975. She then edited a May 1975 special edition on lesbianism, stood for Co-President in June 1975 being elected in July, wrote on “One Woman’s Integrity” in Sept-Oct 1975 and was still listed as a contributing editor and co-President in the Dec 1975 issue. Her resignation was announced in January 1976. Bishop Moore had ordained her deacon on Dec 15th 1975. Barrett herself wrote in April/May 1978 to say “Many times I have tried to stamp out the extremely unfair rumor that Bishop Moore asked me to resign as Co-President of Integrity before I was ordained. I am horrified to find it surfacing again in what purports to be a definitive, if brief, history of Integrity. To assume that Bishop Moore would ask such a thing, and, further, to assume that I would agree to it (presumably the implication is that it was a condition for my approval for ordination), is entirely to misrepresent his stance and mine as well as the mutual respect for conscience we share. Please correct the misapprehension that my resignation was motivated by anything other than pressures of time and my basic inadequacy as an “organization woman.”” (Vol 4 No 4). This was in response to a section of “A Brief History of Integrity” which had appeared in Vol 4 No 2 and read “Meanwhile, in December 1975, with no fanfare, Ellen Marie Barrett, a woman who had acknowledged her lesbian orientation, was duly ordained deacon by the Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Jr., Bishop of New York. Ms. Barrett had served with Wickliff as one of the first co-presidents of Integrity until she was asked by Bishop Moore to resign in preparation for her ordination”.
 Moore emphasises these included “the canonically required psychiatric examination which is designed to screen out those emotionally unfit for the ministry” and adds that “It is worth noting in this context that the American Psychiatric Association, the professional organization of psychiatrists, has declared that homosexuality as such is not an illness”.
 “The personal morality, lifestyle, and behavior of every ordinand must be and is carefully weighed by the Bishop, the Ministries Commission, and the Standing Committee. This applies to persons of all sexual orientations. In the absence of public scandal, however, the personal morality of an ordinand becomes almost by definition a matter between him or her and a confessor, pastor, or bishop. Suffice it to say that Ellen Barrett’s life and profession had not been an occasion of public scandal”.
 “In approving persons for ordination, the Bishop, Standing Committee, and Ministries Commission deal with each person as a whole and as an individual. It is an intensely personal judgment and does not lend itself to categories. Ellen Barrett, judged as a whole person, was determined by us to possess a valid vocation to the diaconate and priesthood, and to have the character and competence to fulfill this vocation. Her ordination was not a political act and did not seek to make a statement about homosexual activity; it was, like any ordination, the solemn laying on of hands upon a person carefully and prayerfully chosen”.
 “I believe that better guidance will be found in the fullness of the Gospel than in the narrowness of isolated verses selected painstakingly from the Epistles or the Old Testament. There is a timelessness to the message of God’s love that outweighs the datedness of so many Biblical injunctions rooted in ancient societies”.
 “Prejudices passed down through the centuries have made it difficult for most of us to make a genuinely Christian judgment of the homosexual condition”.
 “We know, however, that a great deepening and broadening of our understanding of human sexuality has emerged in recent years, nurtured by the interaction between traditional Christian theology and our modern world’s perception of human nature”.
 “There has, for one thing, been decided movement in the Church away from a tradition which grudgingly accepted sex for procreative ends only toward a more encompassing, psychosomatic view of sexuality as a good and desirable way of expressing a loving relationship between persons. One telling result of this theological shift is the general acceptance within the Anglican communion of birth control as a fully moral practice”.
 “In shifting away from an exclusively procreative view of sex to one of sex as a human expression of love, we move beyond explicit Biblical guidance. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us. The Church has re-awakened to the realization that Truth is an open-ended process of progressive revelation, and what we are witnessing in our time with regard to human sexuality is just such a process”.
 “For most people, however, this rethinking of the morality of sexual expression is yet to be extended to homosexual persons. I believe that their recognition as full members of the Church with the opportunities, rights, and responsibilities of all other members is based ultimately on Jesus’s view of human nature as reflected in the Gospel. Again and again, He broke through the prejudices of the day to accept and lift up those rejected and downgraded by others. And just as the reasons for their rejection were often beyond their control, so the homosexual person’s condition is generally not a matter of conscious choice… the sometimes violent social prejudice against the homosexual condition comes painfully close to the recorded targets of Jesus’s preaching”.
 “The force that shape sexual orientation are still somewhat mysterious, but there is general agreement that our sexuality is forged at an incredibly early age, long before puberty. Thus, a person’s sexual preference is not in the category of sin”
 “As a Church, we are only beginning to work out the complicated issues in the area of human sexuality. I plan to have some conferences in the near future to help us all in our thinking…Meanwhile, for those of you who have an interest in exploring the issue of the moment, I have listed some books that might prove helpful…”. The books Bp Moore recommends – by Weltge, Pittenger and McNeill – are all by ‘reassessers’ or ‘reinterpreters’ of traditional teaching.
 Rev George Hunter, Director of Admissions and Field Education at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge where he taught courses in the Department of Pastoral Theology wrote as a straight man in favour of the ordination of gay persons in Aug-Sept 77 (Vol 3 No 9)
 Although he stressed that “neither the Diocese of Michigan as a corporate body, nor I as a Bishop, has ever endorsed, condoned, or encouraged sexual activity between homosexual persons”, McGehee and Michigan had been engaging sympathetically with Integrity’s concerns for many years with a diocesan Commission on Homosexuality set up back in 1970 which resulted in what the first edition of Integrity Forum described as “the strongest Episcopal statement to date”. Back in Sept 1975 The Michigan Diocesan Commission on Ministry had adopted the following statement: “The Diocesan Commission on Ministry has as one of its responsibilities the duty of assisting the Bishop in his judgment on the emotional maturity and stability of persons seeking Holy Orders. The use that a person makes of his sexuality is one way in which he exhibits his responsibility and maturity in living with others. In attempting to give its best judgment on the general maturity and stability of an applicant for Holy Orders the Commission on Ministry finds it essential to consider each person individually. Any applicant for Holy Orders presenting himself as a ‘professed homosexual’ will be reviewed by the Commission on Ministry as an individual person and not as a representative of a particular life-style. Because the manner in which a person handles his sexuality can lead to maturity and stability or to a destructive disruption of his own life and the lives of others, the Commission on Ministry must concern itself with the manner in which a candidate’s sexual orientation finds its expression in his life.” (Jan 76, Vol 2 No 3). In Oct 1975, however, the diocesan Convention had rejected strong pro-gay statements approved by the Executive Council and which had the support of Bishop McGehee (whose speech was published in Jan 76).
 Bishop Barrett was a 1933 graduate of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge who served as a Professor of Pastoral Theology at General Theological Seminary from 1952 to 1955 and as Bishop of Rochester from 1963 to 1969. In his retirement he lived in Santa Barbara, California. He was one of the retired bishops who ordained the Philadelphia Eleven and the Washington Four. The diocese of Rochester itself had been prominent in supporting gay people, voting in 1975 and 1976 in support of the Gay Ministry founded with the support of the bishop in 1973.
 June/July 77. Although he did not mention this it is perhaps not insignificant that around this time the Vatican ordered the Jesuit John McNeill to be silent and announced that the “imprimi potest” would be removed from future editions of his book, The Church and the Homosexual.
 “It is foolish to quote Biblical texts that reflect far different cultural conditions in a manner that suggests a literalist or pre-critical attitude toward the interpretation of scripture or a naive natural theology that takes little account of actual biological and psychological complexities”.
 “Many people seem to assume that until more is known about homosexuality, homosexuals should not be ordained. However, it will be a long time before Christians agree on this sensitive subject, judging by the emotional level of the current comments. In the meantime, shall we deny that homosexual persons can be called to the priesthood or demand from them a standard of celibacy not expected of others?…Can anything more be expected of Christians, ordained or unordained, that they strive to live lives of value and dignity, always knowing how short we fall and how great is our need of forgiveness? Can anyone say with assurance that God’s purpose for the homosexual is something other than living out his nature with dignity?”
 “It is very distressing to note that some people are willing for homosexuals to be ordained, as indeed a great many of them always have been, provided they do not admit their inclinations publicly. Thus we shall perpetuate a conspiracy of silence with its guilt, fear and hypocrisy. Critics seem to have overlooked the fact that many homosexuals feel called to minister to the “gay” community, to people seeking to find and maintain a human and Christian identity. Can this be done from the closet or with the tacit assumption that such folk must “repent” by denying themselves to a degree not required of others?”
 “But Christians must learn to live with fellow Christians who are homosexual, just as Jewish Christians had to learn to live with Gentile converts. Bitter trauma seems to have been or to be involved in both instances”.
 “The doctrine of “collegiality” in the House of Bishops is advanced as an argument for inaction or delay. Obviously bishops should consult and counsel with each other on matters of substantial consequence to the faith and to the Church. But for them to bind themselves and each other to certain courses of action is to circumvent the constitutional and canonical procedures provided for the orderly governing of the Church as well as to abdicate the responsibility for leadership laid upon bishops by the very virtue of their office. There may be extreme instances when certain bishops alone or with others feel that they must go beyond normal canonical rules, but to interpose a binding of collegiality is to exceed constitutional standards”.
 “The protests show little or no evidence of dialogue with homosexual persons or communities, of listening to their needs, aspirations and anxieties, to how they understand and value their sexuality and relate it to the whole of their Christian profession”.
 “This [lack of dialogue] brings to mind similar insensitivities such as white people discussing among themselves (often very charitably) how far to go in granting freedom or civil rights to black people, or men deciding among themselves whether women should have the right to vote or be ordained as priests”.
 “We need taboos against waste and pollution of human resources that could rob our children of life and health, taboos perhaps against several cars for at least most families, against overpopulation and the alleged right of every couple on earth to have as many children as they wish; taboos against indiscriminate development of nuclear energy, a far greater threat to the human race than almost any number of homosexuals. And need we not develop taboos against violence and the attitude that one man shooting another or beating him into unconsciousness is somehow natural while two people embracing in love, whatever their sex, is not? Are there not more consequential areas in which to expend our energies and to seek to learn the will of God for our time?”
 Statement of Feb 8, 1977 published in June-July 77 (Vol 3 No 8). The editor introduced it with the comment, “Bishop Krumm has in the past offered some modest leadership in changing the Church’s ecclesiastical and pastoral attitudes towards gay people, but now he seems to have lost his nerve. His pastoral letter in response to the Barrett ordination is an expression of poor hermeneutics, bad theologizing and outmoded psychology. With sadness we reproduce that letter”. Krumm had, for example, been one of eleven Episcopal bishops, alongside Paul Moore, signing in support of a statement by gay Roman Catholics (Feb 1976, Vol 2 No 4). He returned to this stance at General Convention in 1979.
 “Since the bishop in each diocese, by his sacramental office, presents and represents the universal church to the people of his local diocese, as a brother in Christ, I must report the deeply deleterious effects of Ms. Barrett’s ordination upon the clergy and people of this diocese. Shock wave after shock wave of disappointment and bewilderment are striking the faithful in this portion of God’s vineyard… The difficulty in which we now find ourselves once again involves the nature of episcopacy and the relationship of individual bishops to the wider, universal church. Bishops, as individuals, may not appropriate their sacramental functions to their personal views. The demand to accept a controverted life style, for example, in the name of the sacramental recognition of Holy Orders is to misuse and appropriate a communal expression to one’s own perspective. It is to make a sacrament a means to an end extrinsic to its nature. So to use a sacrament as a means to an end beyond itself in an argument, is to damage the sacrament’s effectiveness in the very community it is supposed to serve. The subversion of the church’s sacramental structure to the opinions and positions of individuals is what the church must not allow! In advocating different positions within the church, partisans should argue in such a way that they alone bear the consequences of their argument. That is where Christian charity has failed us in recent years”. (Quoted in April 77, Vol 3 No 6).
 Whereas nothing in the canons of the Episcopal Church forbids the ordination of homosexual persons, closeted or avowed, latent or active; and Whereas “sexuality” has never been set forth canonically in the Episcopal Church as an issue in ordination or licensing procedures; and Whereas the decision of the 1976 General Convention not to consider the question of ordaining, or not ordaining, homosexual persons cannot be construed in any way as a prohibition against the ordination of such persons; and Whereas many persons who are known to be actively involved in sexual relationships with members of the same sex have been and continue to be ordained, and licensed, as deacons, priests, and bishops of the church; and Whereas candor about oneself has never been deemed an impediment to ordination and has in fact been expected in the canonical processes leading to ordination; and Whereas Ellen Marie Barrett had fulfilled all canonical requirements, and was judged qualified for ordination by the General Theological Seminary, the Standing Committee of New York, and the Bishop of New York all of whom were aware, at the time, of her sexuality; and Whereas, with the permission of the Standing Committee of the Diocese and in the presence of other laypeople and clergy from the Diocese, the Bishop of New York, Paul Moore, ordained Ellen Barrett to the diaconate and to the priesthood; THEREFORE, 1. We extend our support to our sister priest, Ellen Barrett, noting especially her call, her candor, her courage, and the irreversible sacramental validity and canonical regularity of her Holy Orders. 2. We extend our support to our bishop, Paul Moore, and to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York, noting especially the canonical precision with which they undertook the processes leading to Ellen Barrett’s ordination; the strength and courage of their corporate conviction; and the justice of their willingness to treat Ellen Barrett as they would, and do, any person whom they believe to be spiritually, morally, mentally, academically and otherwise canonically qualified for ordination. 3. We urge the Bishop of California, Kilmer Myers, to re-issue a license for Ellen Barrett to function as a priest in the diocese where she presently resides. The Rev. Laurel Artress-Ulrich; The Rev. Columba Gilliss, O.S.H.; The Rev. Emily Hewitt; The Rev. Carter Heyward; The Rev. Barbara Schlachter; The Rev. Julia Sibley; The Rev. Mary Michael Simpson, O.S.H.
 June/July 77, the first edition edited by Doubleday, who had himself recently been denied ordination. A letter by an anonymous seminarian in Aug-Sept 77 described one such situation.
 EXC041977.16 – Executive Council Minutes, Apr. 27-29, 1977, Louisville, KY, pp.26-30, 33.
 Myers had been the celebrant at the second Integrity Convention in San Francisco in 1976, produced the dissenting statement against the House of Bishops (later in 1977, see below) and received Integrity’s award in 1979 before his retirement in 1980 (his speech at the Convention appears in Advent 79, Vol 6 No 1 where he asked, with Stringfellow, if God had abandoned the church given its lack of support for gay Christians).
 Quoted in ENS 77153, May 12th 1977 which reports Myers’ struggles with this dilemma and his consultations with other Episcopalian leaders. I assume he licensed Barrett in the end but have been unable to find evidence to confirm this.