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We are a tithing community. The first 10% of every collection goes out to others. 5% goes to the national Ecumenical Catholic Communion to support our common mission, and 5% goes to outreach in our local community.

 

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Response to Supreme Court Rulings on DOMA and Prop 8:

Today the Supreme Court handed down decisions in two important cases. It struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, thereby extending federal rights and protections for legally marred same sex couples.  And, it dismissed an appeal regarding California’s Proposition 8, clearing the way for same sex marriage to resume in California. We applaud the Court for taking these steps, and look forward to the changes which these decisions will bring about in our society.

While these rulings are positive steps forward, they are only two steps in the  process of establishing equal rights and protections for all. Currently, same sex couples are allowed to legally marry in only a handful of states.  We must continue the efforts to bring full equality for all in each state.

Since some have opposed the extension of legal rights and protections to same sexed couples on religious grounds, we offer our perspective on this matter as Ecumenical Catholics.  We affirm the goodness of creation, and the human body, in the context of the incarnation of God in Christ. We regard the teaching of Jesus, and of the whole New Testament, as overpoweringly in favor of love of neighbor and concern for the welfare of others. Therefore, we maintain that gay and lesbian persons should be accorded the same dignity and freedom that is the gift of our Creator.

The community of faith continues to develop our understanding that the love of God is present in all creation, and therefore in every human being irrespective of race, gender or sexual orientation. The moral issue for Christians is not whether love is homosexual or heterosexual, or on a continuum between these two. The moral issue is the extent to which our love is characterized by the fruits of the Spirit (i.e., love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). This applies to all people, whatever their sexual orientation. And it is the standard by which Christian behavior is evaluated.

Therefore, we welcome gay and lesbian individuals and couples fully into our faith communities. And, we proudly count among our ordained clergy a number of gay and lesbian individuals.  We embrace these sisters and brothers, welcome them into the household of faith, and provide a context in which to live out the ideals of love, fidelity and commitment to one another. In order to strengthen their shared life together in Christ we offer, to those who desire it, the graces of a holy union blessed by the Church, including legal marriage in those states where this is currently possible.

We applaud the actions taken today by our highest Court.  These decisions resonate with our experience, individually and communally.  We encourage others to embrace these decisions, and to continue efforts to extend these legal rights and protections to all of our citizens.  We particularly call upon religious leaders from every perspective to embrace these decisions; to see in them the expansion of the boundaries of justice for our citizens, and an opportunity for our society to move in the direction of increased tolerance and respect for the natural diversity in all of God’s creation. 


Most Rev. Peter E. Hickman

Presiding Bishop

Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Response to the Letter from the Archdiocese of Seattle on Referendum 74

 

Our initial response to this letter of April 2012  is to send our readers to the Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality: The Sacred Body, published by the Presiding Bishop's office of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. We will have an additional response from our community of Emmaus ECC soon. Here is an excerpt from the Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality: The Sacred Body:

"The Christian understanding of sexual morality, like many other issues in Christian teaching, has developed over time. What remains consistent is the standard of measure, which is love. In order to clarify and contextualize our understanding of same sex relationships in the life of the Church, we have used the great commandment of love to frame this document. We affirm the goodness of creation and the human body in the context of the incarnation of God in Christ, and believe that we are called to respond to God’s presence with love for God and for our neighbor."

 Our Response to The Archbishop of Seattle

 

Letter to the parishes
In response to the letter that the Archbishop of Seattle sent to the parishes in Lacey and Olympia WA, we make the following statement:

There is more than one way to be Catholic:

The Roman Catholic Archbishop Peter Sartain sent a letter to parishes in Olympia and Lacey, claiming that only faith communities in union with the Pope can properly call themselves “Catholic.”  He mentions our Emmaus Ecumenical Catholic Community by name so we believe it is important to clarify who we are. 

We make no claim to being Roman Catholic. Rather, we are a parish in the international Ecumenical Catholic Communion. We share theological and liturgical tradition with them as part of a wider or “universal” Catholic Church. We consider our clergy successors of the apostles, as do the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Old Catholic Church, and others.

We follow the Old Catholic tradition of refusing to accept the infallibility of the Pope as proclaimed in 1870 by the First Vatican Council.  We honor the Pope as the first among bishops, but not as having final authority in matters of faith and morals.  Because of this decision all Ecumenical Catholics participate in selecting our bishops and in making decisions for our Communion.

We are an inclusive, welcoming, equalitarian faith community.  We welcome anyone to worship with us, particularly those who have left the Roman Catholic Church and are seeking a spiritual home.  We are here to stay!

Response of our Presiding Bishop

 Although the RomanChurch can be properly called a Catholic Church it is one among many. Historically, there have been many Christian churches that have identified themselves as “Catholic” for nearly two millennia that are not in union with Rome. The various Eastern Orthodox Christians, the Coptic Christians of Egypt, the Syriac and Armenian Christians of the East, as well as the Old Catholics to name but a few. The original use of the term “catholic” by ancient churches meant that a so designated faith community was trinitarian, apostolic, creedal, and sacramental. It would be more precise to say that “only those faith communities that are in union with the Roman Pope can properly be called “Roman Catholic.” Catholic is too general a term to be applied to only one church exclusively especially since many Christians use that term in reference to themselves. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all church leaders who use the term catholic in their name to employ a modifier such as Roman, Syrian, Old, or Ecumenical to avoid confusion among the faithful.

Bishop Peter Elder Hickman 

 

 
   
 
   

 

 

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