Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rev Sue Speaks Out

Rev Sue Emeleus was deacon at my mother's church for many years and my mother was greatly nourished by Sue's ministry. I have written of my mother's wonderful smile when Sue came, in the last week of Mum's life, and anointed her with holy oil from Jerusalem. In Sydney Diocese Sue cannot administer the sacraments, that had to be done by a man whom Mum only slightly knew.
A week later Sue officiated at Mum's cremation and later at her memorial service.
In her sermon she obliquely referred to Mum's acceptance of my sexuality
" To our shame we still haven't learnt that lesson, but Jesus continues to plead with us through the scriptures. These are the things I would regularly speak about at St Luke's, and one of my most enthusiastic of hearers was Marge. How many 90 somethings do we know who can see beyond the traditions they have been brought up on and say, yes, I think you are right. I think Jesus is inclusive, never exclusive, and therefore so should we include everyone.

Marge Ralph was intelligent, thoughtful and a woman of God.
She listened to God's voice, and when she believed she could
hear it, she would welcome it and say amen. I'm sure our
inclusive God has already welcomed her home, but I know I
will remember her as a woman ahead of her time, who saw
Jesus as representing a God in whom there are no exclusions.
She would often tell me how much she agreed with something
I'd said, and always it was something about being more
inclusive and less exclusive. If only the church would hear the
feelings and opinions of people like Marge Ralph. God go with
you all as you journey on the difficult road of living without
her physical presence. In spirit I have no doubt she will always be with us. Amen."

Sue has just written in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is in response to an article last weekend which I do not think is online
Please read Sue's words and pray for Godly women in Sydney who are oppressed by the Diocesan leaders. I am sure this will not further her popularity with them.


Steve Carlisle said...

As a fellow deacon, I do not agree with what she has stated, but I do agree with her ability to speak freely about her beliefs.

It is important though, that I am allowed to hold my opposite beliefs, and hold then strongly, without being classified in a perjorative manner, just as she is in the paper today

Brian R said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting Steve. Not sure what you mean by pejorative. When people are oppressed by those who rule the church in our diocese and the result is that many (most)gay men reject the Church and God as well, it is no wonder those like me who by the Grace of God have managed to survive in our faith, become very angry.

Alcibiades said...

Steve: The problem is that in Sydney Rev. Emeleus doesn't have the ability to speak in the manner to which she has been called by God - as a Priest serving God's people in God's church.

You are indeed free to hold your beliefs, but you must understand that her beliefs, unlike yours, are not serving to prevent anyone from ministering in the manner to which they have been called by God. She, and those who support her, have never campaigned to prevent you from being ordained Priest in the next 12 months or so. Nor is she part of something which, as Brian makes very clear, alienates and oppresses a great many people whom God loved so much that Christ became incarnate and died so that they might be reconciled with the One who created them.

If you, quite understandably, don’t appreciate being referred to in a pejorative manner, might I suggest you give a moment’s thought to how women called by God to ministry, as well as the great number of people whose sexuality is perhaps somewhat different to your own, feel every time they hear those who purport to lead the Sydney diocese speak about them, their ministry and those whom they love in a way that Christ never did?

Brian: Thanks for this powerful piece. I've already been called by several people who were inspired by this article, which i missed yesterday. The original article by David Marr is here.

Brian R said...

Thanks for the link Alci. My sister had informed me her copy had been recycled. I will post my thoughts about it after I return to Australia but must concentrate on my final travel post this morning. And it particularly shows the fear within the diocese. Any priest in Sydney who values his position or hopes to advance will never find it wise to speak out. They may not be publicly vilified but their career is at an end.

June Butler said...

Brian, thanks for the link. Sue has written a fine article. I'm pleased that she was there for your mother's last days for her anointing, although she could not administer the sacraments.

I'm a late-in-life convert to inclusion, but now I'm here, I don't see how I could have ever thought any other way. There's no turning back. Thanks be to God.

Prayers for a safe trip home.

Brian R said...

Thanks Mimi, Closing computer and heading for airport NOW