Virginia recalls missionary to Sudan

A Statement from the Bishop’s Office, Diocese of Virginia:

Last January, the Rev. Lauren Stanley, appointed missionary of the Episcopal Church and priest of the Diocese of Virginia, made comments at the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia in Reston that were deemed offensive to partners of the Diocese in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. As a result, the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, requested that she be withdrawn from that mission field permanently. Bishop Lee brought Lauren home in early March in response to that request.

Bishop Lee has commented that Lauren has served faithfully in the Diocese of Renk, Sudan, for nearly four years, receiving widespread support among her students and the local community. In addition, she has worked hard to spread the story of the Gospel, and of the Church in the Sudan, in parishes in the United States. She is a faithful advocate for the overseas mission of the Church. Lauren is now seeking a new mission placement for which she has the support of the bishops. Until she begins her new assignment, she continues to visit parishes and groups in the Diocese of Virginia and beyond, describing the experience of Christians in Sudan and the opportunities that American Christians have for sharing in the worldwide mission of the Church. She will also serve the Diocese of Virginia at General Convention 2009 as a staff writer for Center Aisle, the daily publication offered to the Convention by the Diocese of Virginia.

Mary Ailes (Babyblue) blogged the council’s debate in January on resolutions on human sexuality. Stanley participated in that debate.

Among the resolution votes at annual council were R-4a: Integrity of Committed Relationships and R-9s: Resolution Referral to the Windsor Dialogue Commission.

Stanley has written extensively for the Episcopal Café’s Daily Episcopalian as this google search shows.

Here’s a portion of an essay she wrote in February 2008:

Sitting in a meeting recently, discussing issues relating to the great sexuality debate, I heard the old bugaboo raised once again:

“Please don’t do this,” one person said. “It will cause problems with the Anglican Communion.”

You see, I live, as often as is possible, in that Anglican Communion, and for me, it is not some amorphous monster lurking outside my door. It is my home. And I, for one, am getting very tired of hearing the “Anglican Communion” held up as some cudgel over our heads.

In March 2008 she wrote,

On this past Sunday, our preacher at the Cathedral of St. Matthew was The Very Rev. Martha Deng Nhial, possibly one of the first African women to become a cathedral dean in the Anglican Communion.

Using texts from Luke on forgiveness and Matthew on temptation (“lectionary” frequently is a loosely followed word here), Mother Martha got right to the point: We have to forgive, she said, because Jesus said so. If we don’t forgive those who have wronged us, she stressed, why should God bother to forgive us?

And then she brought in the devil. The devil, she said, doesn’t want us to forgive. So the devil instead comes into our lives and tells us that we don’t have to forgive, because the other person isn’t forgiving us.

“The devil is not far from us,” she said. “He will be with you, eat with you, sit with you all the time. And because the devil is right there in our lives, we don’t forgive.”

Forgiveness – with all its attendant difficulties – is a very personal, absolutely urgent issue here….

In a column this week in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star the editor of the Center Aisle wrote, “There are some who say we’ve been listening too long, that’s it’s time for up-or-down votes on whether the Episcopal Church should allow more gay bishops or should officially bless same-sex relationships.”

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