7/14/2009

Great Getting Up Morning

One thing to say about General Convention: If you don't pace yourself, the wreckage can be seen for miles. Over the last few days the legislative sessions have gotten longer, the debates more complex and the issues of greater and greater import. All the while the legislative committees are hard at work with the continuing flow of legislation. But when it works it works well.

So today, Tuesday, is a great getting up morning. Here
on the "other" coast it is 6 AM and I am finally able to comment on the work of Sunday and Monday.

Sunday the House of Deputies passed D025, which legislative name will come to be as well known as B033. Monday the House of Bishops passed D025 with two amendments. It now goes back to the House of Deputies for a vote on the amended resolution. I hope it passes without any further revision and without much debate.

D025 revised is as follows:

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm the continued participation of The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; give thanks for the work of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008; reaffirm the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations, and members of The Episcopal Church to participate to the fullest extent possible in the many instruments, networks and relationships of the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion and pledge to participate fully in the Inter-Anglican Budget; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm the value of "listening to the experience of homosexual persons," as called for by the Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998, and acknowledge that through our own listening the General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God" (2000-D039); and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church,; and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge that members of The Episcopal Church as of the Anglican Communion, based on careful study of the Holy Scriptures, and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.

The original text of B025 was crafted by Deputy Rebecca Snow and others, it was then worked on by the World Mission legislative committee and a subcommittee of that group and by a small writing group. We remained faithful to Deputy Snow's intent, drew in matters from other resolutions, avoided the blame game, stated what the life and experience of the church is and moved on.

It is helpful to remember that B033 was itself not a clear moratorium, but rather a church-wide cautionary urging. It was as close as the last convention could get to a moratorium and was understood to make it virtually impossible for a gay - in - relationship bishop elect to get the required consents from bishops and standing committees of dioceses. What D025 does is to return the matter of restraint to the diocese and its bishop, and retains the canonical provisions for election to the Episcopate in place. The end result is that bishops and standing committees are free to exercise their conscience as always.

The really important thing that D025 does is state matters as they stand. We are both part of the Communion and exercising our vocation in God's call to us.

So, now off to legislative committee. We have miles to go before we sleep and 6 hours of House of Deputies time on the floor.

More to follow.

21 comments:

  1. Thank you, Fr. Mark, for a very clear presentation of what D025 is and does. And thanks be to God for where this Church is going on these matters. I had tears in my eyes as I was reflecting on this last night. I am so happy to be an Episcopalian this morning!

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  2. And any of this is important....why?

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  3. Sorry, Mark, but as sympathetic as I am to the gay community and absolutely detest Duncan and his crowd, the reality is that the two extremes have held the church hostage since 2003 over this single issue. Having done so, they have alienated some in the vast middle of the Episcopal Church. The "left," so to speak, has been as guilty of ignoring the spirit of the Windsor Report as the extreme right. The action by GC has all but dared Rowan Williams to recognize ACNE (ooops, I mean ACNA) as a parallel province here in North America, which will complicate our life as the church further.

    I don't think one can say with integrity that we can pass D025 AND remain in communion with the Communion. Wouldn't it be more honest to say, "we're moving forward on the full inclusion of gays in the life of the church and if you don't like it, well, do what you have to do."

    Frankly, I would have preferred a resolution that muzzled/disciplined both extremes.

    --Bob in Exile
    ........

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  4. Well done to all involved.

    This clears the way for the majority of my parish to meet apart from the church property and decide how to leave TEC....with our property. What's a few hundred more missing in each diocese?

    Thanks goes out to the Integrity lobby for pushing their agenda and making it very clear to those who have been sitting on the fence in my church.

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  5. Okay. Lisa Fox was willing to eat crow, so I'm at least willing to have a wing, now that equal parts fever and nausea have passed (sick yesterday, so understandably negative).

    It is more than I ever expected to see - I especially like that reminder that TEC is a constituent member of the AC - there would have been no AC without Episcopalians helping to promote it (for which we have and will pay), and Canterbury is not Rome - it doesn't have a right to a worldwide communion by virtue of its own say-so.

    Yet . . . this is not, as so many have said, the end of B033, but a rather nuanced statement that gives a certain amount of plausible deniability to bishops who still refuse to stand up for justice. Don't pin any real hopes on this - it's still just going to prolong the agony.

    The only real answer is to refuse to recognize the AC while Rowan Williams - a true self-promoting power merchant - is still ABC, and refuse to receive those who continue his policies. We can do without the AC, I'm not sure they can do without us, and I'm pretty sure we cannot survive with our souls intact as long as we serve an Anglican Communion under a would-be autocrat like Williams.

    It's time to ask ourselves: Do we really believe in what we are doing, or not? If we cannot answer that with straightforward and - yes - defiant action, then we need to back down, apologize, and make reparation to ACNA and anyone else who feels we driven them away over what is an experiment.

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  6. Sir, while I do not agree with many of TECUSA's revisionist actions, I RESPECT HONESTY and I am pleased that TECUSA has not compromised its principles to give the ABC some veneer of institutional unity. All of us will be better off without pretending to be in communion despite all the evidence to the contrary..... TECUSA's honesty at GC09 gives all AC a better chance of a happy life without all the infighting. THANK YOU for not compromising on your principles!

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  7. Thanks Bob!!

    Satan has been holding this Church in Exile since the UBER CHRISTIANS ..the so-called orthodox, have Raided the Church!!

    The TRUTH MUST BE TOLD!!

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  8. Well Gee, Brad... If it ain't of import, then ignore it?

    Or wasn't that the point of your comment (after all)?

    Bob, if I may: As a straight Piskie, I don't see it quite that way.

    How, exactly, HAS the lgbt community held the church "hostage" when, in fact, they have never been equal and have never held a position of power that would lend such a role?

    Doesn't this action actually return us to a state where nothing is advised etc. and where each parish/diocese can work through this on their own with the overarching caveat that we do so with the blessing not only of the HOD but HOB?

    I see it as freeing, actually, in oh so many ways. It allows yesses and nos for all the right reasons.

    And Bob, let me ask you this, if I may, and I am quite serious about it:

    Here, in the US, we move in our own way, rather delicately. To the contrary, we have a bevy of Anglican leaders in Nigeria, Uganda and Sudan (for instance) advancing (collars and stoles on) a state position of secular imprisonment for those who are lgbt in these (and other) nations. We have Communion partners advocating for imprisonment and death of lgbt persons, Anglican or not.

    Since when did our Communion become judge and jury? Since when should our Communion do this?

    For me, being in a Communion where holy people advocate for the reduction, destruction or demise of human beings is the lowest act one can advocate for. To me, it is pathological in the extreme and as unholy as it gets.

    Now I fully realize their arguments, believe me. And with a generous heart (though this is not my personal position by any means as many well know) I wonder why instead of going the extra length to verbally assault lgbt persons in our Communion, they did not/do not stay silent on the matter.

    That is not, however, the reality.

    You can say that the cultures are different and thus the difference. Yes, that is true in part. Remember that the next time you criticize TEC on this matter.

    Here in the US, many DID choose to abide Windsor (which was a choice; it certainly was never mandatory under Windsor or likewise mandatory through B033).

    NOWHERE have I seen a choice in the US by those akin to Duncan to do likewise in their similar pursuits (restraint).

    The Chapman Memo and other documents sheen the point of it all, which was to fragment the church though a number of means which, indeed, they carried out to a large extent and continue to do so (largely to no avail). As those who have left in the past preferred to do so, these are the same. Maybe they will and maybe they will NOT rise to Communion status.

    We cannot look ahead to trouble and use it as an excuse to deny truth. Jesus didn't, neither should we.

    But the larger point, at least to me--and this is where we may seriously differ--is that we have now determined that we shall not let our sheep die in a bog of indifference or sheer difference while the Duncans of the world have already commanded them to death.

    So as to your final para about muzzling... Muzzling for a thirsty animal is death. Salt in the water at baptism... thirsty for Christ.

    Connect the dots, Bob, and while you may have difficulty with this at first, I think you would agree that in God's house, no one should go thirsty. That thirst comes in many different ways as I am sure you would agree.

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  9. ".....decide how to leave TEC....with our property." Leaving TEC is your call, Allen. The property, however, is for the courts to decide, so don't hold your breath.

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  10. Poor Allen; your a** must be very sore from all of that fence sitting. Goodby, good luck---and keep your fingers off the family silver as you exit our church.

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  11. Once again, from folks like Allen, we hear the voice of anti-gay scapegoating: a church that includes God's gay children can't include them, so they'll leave (with their precious "property") and they'll blame the uppity homosexuals.

    As I struggle to love as Christ loves, I will say... Allen, we want you to stay and be with us; but if you must go, I bless you in the Name of the Lord and hope you will be a blessing to the world.

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  12. I'm happy to be Episcopalian today.

    Thank you Mark+.

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  13. Well Bob, I'd say I'm glad that "we're moving forward on the full inclusion of [all the baptized] in the life of the church and if you don't like it, well, do what you have to do."

    That's what this is really all about - not TEC maintaining its status as a cozy club for Anglophiles ;)

    (from yet another straight, white, married, middle-aged, male Piskie)

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  14. Actually, Allen, the average Sunday attendance of your average parish is 69. I take this statistic as implying that many of these parishes in the left part of the bell curve, i.e., average or smaller parishes, are in the just-getting-by category. Even if this causes a 10% decline, it takes many of these into the non-viable category. This at a time when diocesan coffers are empty and can no longer support non-self-supporting parishes. With a large number of parishes going from 60 or 70 to zero, say, there is going to be large stair step decline as a result. Lots of empty barns with drastically less sheep.

    See Stacy Sauls diocesan report for corroboration of this. Ironic that he is quoted as saying that "We are prepared for the consequences."

    I note that all the overseas dioceses save the controversial diocese in Ecuador, Churches in Europe and Puerto Rico (whose attendance dropped 18% last year alone) were against the measure. Ironic that the measure came up through the World mission committee.

    One of the areas that 815 has expressed interest in encouraging is outreach to the immigrant community here in the States. That is simply a sham to even discuss it, and we all know it. We will have a very exclusive, "inclusive" church.

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  15. .....@allen

    because if gays are included, then you are somehow pushed out?

    There is no logical sequelae there, unless you belong to a church that has as a core doctrinal issue the exclusion of GLBT people.

    I don't think that's TEC.

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  16. My wife and I have decided to stay in TEC thanks to the actions of the GC.

    And weren't the so-called "fence sitters" like Allen already out of here, anyway?

    Door-Way-Out

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  17. There you go again, Robroy, and I'll just "call" it again: scapegoating. The Church is in decline, you say, and it wouldn't be if the uppity homosexuals weren't being welcomed and included.

    For the record, the average Sunday attendance at the "inclusive" parish where I worship is 200 ... and our numbers continue to grow as we attract and welcome gay and "straight" folks of various backgrounds.

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  18. IT asks a very good question, "because if gays are included, then you are somehow pushed out?"

    Ruth Gledhill asks pretty much the same question. My response:

    Paraphrase question: "Why can't we all get along?"

    The revisionists that care more for the homosexual agenda than the church have long discovered to their advantage that they simply need to stay in the media spotlight to make the evangelical's position untenable. The only difficulty is to keep the media's attention. So the actions get more and more outrageous. No longer sufficient is Bp Bruno riding in a gay pride parade with biker dudes in leather chaps missing the hind quarters. We need June Bride events held just before Lambeth. We need "marriages" at St. Barts complete with a string orchestra. We need inauguration speeches. But they have quite a way to go with their outrageousness.

    With each new media barrage, statements from the likes of Father Jon Richardson Scripture is holy and Christian marriage is sacred become compromised to the point of irrelevancy.

    So no, we can't just "get along."

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  19. The revisionists that care more for the homosexual agenda than the church....

    Once again, the scapegoating.

    There is no "homosexual agenda" (except maybe this: get up in the morning, say Morning Prayer, get the kids breakfast and off to daycamp, get to work, come home, spend some time together as a family, say our prayers, go to bed)....

    There are God's gay children, baptized into the Body of Christ and made Christ's own forever. Their full inclusion is a vital work of the Church. It's not a matter of being able to set something over against or ahead of the Church.

    Sorry, Robroy, that the uppity homosexuals won't stay quiet and docile... just like those uppity "Negroes" back in the 1950s and 1960s wouldn't stay quiet and upset so many people by getting so much attention. You should read some of the critiques of MLK Jr. and the Civil Rights movement from those decades. They'll 'ring a bell' in relation to your condemnations of "revisionists" and "the homosexual agenda."

    If you can't stay in the same church with God's much-loved gay children, then you will need to go, if you haven't already. But know this: the door is open and we'll leave the porchlight on for you, and the Table is always spread and you can feast with us whenever you decide. The Episcopal Church Welcomes YOU.

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  20. "One of the areas that 815 has expressed interest in encouraging is outreach to the immigrant community here in the States. That is simply a sham to even discuss it, and we all know it." Want to talk about the membership statistics - and the demographics - of PB Venables' province of the Southern Cone, RobRoy? The Southern Cone within its canonically defined borders, that is.

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  21. William: Your attempt to box in those who disagree with your opinion as practicing "scapegoating" is your attempt to silence, marginalize and trivialize those who disagree with you. In other words, you are simply trying to shut them up. The rhetorical devise of labeling "them" as something objectionable is itself an objectionalb practice. Don't do it.

    Paul

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.