18 July 2009

Budget woes

Our blog-friend Elizabeth Keaton (That Keaton woman) has posted a thoughtful reflection on the reduction of the buget that eliminated thirty-seven of 180 positions. You'll find it at Telling Secrets.

Here is a quote
Already, I am told that one deputy figured out that if each deputation gave $1,000 each (8 deputies = $125 each, or responsible for raising that amount from 'back home') we would have more than enough to restore a few line items (read: positions) to the budget.
Please read Elizabeth's post.

Who was elected? Who was appointed?

These are the people you need to know for the next three years. They will, basically, be running your church for you.


Executive Council
    +Wendell N. Gibbs
    +Mark Hollingsworth Jr.
    Sarah Dylan Breuer
    Stephanie T. Cheney
    Scott Evenbeck
    Stephen F. Hutchinson
    Francisco Quinones-Gonzales
    Katie Sherrod (fellow blogger!)
    The Rev. Silvestre Enrique Romero
    Deacon Terry Starr
    Sarah Dylan Breuer, apointed
Church Pension Fund
    +Wayne P. Wright
    +Robert H. Johnson
    + V. Gene Robinson
    The Very Rev. Tracey Lind
    The Rev. Thomas James Brown
    The Rev. Timothy Mitchell
    Martha Bedell Alexander
    James E. Bayne
    Canon Karen Noble Hanson
    Margaret A. Niles
    Edgar S. Starns
    Sandra S. Swan
Court for the Trial of a Bishop
    +Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan of Connecticut
    +Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Bishop of Hawaii
    +Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine
    +George Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri
    +Catherine M. Waynick, Bishop of Indianapolis
    William Fleener Jr.
    Diane Pollard
    The Rev. Francis Wade
    The Rev. Carol Cole Flanagan
Court for the Trial of a Bishop for an Offense of Doctrine
    +Laura J. Ahrens
    +Robert L. Fitzpatrick
    +Stephen T. Lane
    +George Wayne Smith
    +Catherine M. Waynick
    +Gladstone B. Adams II
    +Lloyd Emmanuel Allen+
    John C.Bauerschmidt
    +Mark M. Beckwith
Court of Review of the Trial of a Bishop
    +C. Franklin Brookhart, Bishop of Montana
    +Mary Gray-Reeves, Bishop of El Camino Real
    +Samuel Johnson Howard

Title IV Review Committee
    +Dorsey F. Henderson Jr.
    +David C. Jones
    +C. Wallis Ohl Jr.
    +Bavi E. Rivera
    +James Edward Waggoner

And there was silence in the HOB

Yesterday IT over at Friends of Jake pointed us to an interview the Rt. Rev'd V. Gene Robinson gave the New York Times. The interview begins

Q: Thank you for making the time. You must have a lot of interview requests.

A: Yes, and I’m not doing any interviews, except this one. A lot of requests came in after the bishops’ first vote on Monday (to allow for the consecration of more gay bishops). Of course, the possibility of there being another gay bishop in the House is something I’ve longed for for a long time. But I didn’t feel like talking. I felt very sober. I know that what we’ve done here will be very difficult for a lot of people in that room, and in the Communion.
I think what +Robinson means is that, he's longed for another honest out bishop. There are several gay bishops in the house. They are just not honest about it.

When asked about what happened in the house of bishops after the vote to allow pastoral discretion in states where there is marriage equality, Robinson's answer is really stunning.
It was amazing. We took the vote, there were closing prayers, and usually somebody says amen and we’re up and out of there. But last night not a person moved, for 10 minutes. There was absolute silence. I think we realized the momentousness of what we’d done. People just sat their quietly praying. It was amazing. It was almost as if we didn’t want to leave each other.
I had that experience once in a concert. When we finished the monolithic War Requiem by Benjamin Brittan, the conductor put the baton down and there was absolute silence for five minutes. Not a clap, cough, sneeze or audible breath -- just total silence. We knew we had just experienced a profoundly holy moment. I understand what Bishop Robinson and the other bishops felt.

There is one bit of the article I want to draw your attention to. It comes when he is speaking of Bishop Love of Albany.
Bill Love is a faithful Episcopalian, a man of integrity, and I respect him deeply. (Bishop) Edward Little (also a conservative), I would trust my life to him. He is the one I asked to intervene with Rowan Williams when Rowan told me I could not go to Lambeth.
So the truth finally comes out. Rowan did say "you aren't welcome." But +Robinson, being the man of God he is, passed it off as a joint agreement for the good of the communion. RObinson's holines makes Rowan look like a snake. (And I think that is an insult to the snake.)

Jim Naughton in the Guardian

Our very own Jim Naughton has been published in Saturday's edition of the Guardian. I say, too cool.

Jim writes in response to NT Wright's FULCRUM propaganda published a couple of days ago. Here is a snippit of Jim's letter
Wright asserted that the Episcopal Church is seeking to perpetuate the schism it began six years ago in consecrating Gene Robinson, who lives in a civil union with his partner, Mark Andrew, as bishop of New Hampshire. This is not the case, but I am always grateful when Wright comments on my church. Those of us who argue in favour of the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the Anglican communion and against the centralising agenda of Rowan Williams are in need of foils, and Wright, who seems to believe condescension is a charism, fits the bill perfectly.
Go read it all, folks.

17 July 2009

"And that's the way it is . . . "

1917 - 2009
And that's the way it is, 17 July 2009
Thank you, Mr. Cronkite.

From a 1992 interview
"I got into a Boy Scout troop that met in an Episcopal church. The church had a wonderful minister who was also the scoutmaster. And I suppose you can say he proselytized me. At any rate, I was much involved with the church, and became Episcopalian - and an acolyte. Later, when I worked for a paper in Houston, I was church editor for a while. The Episcopal House of Bishops met in Houston one year, and I became intrigued by the leaders of the church - fascinated by their discussions and their erudition."

Evangelism department completely eliminated

In an effort to balance the budget, thirty-seven "815" employees have been terminated. In a stroke of stupidity, GC09 has completely eliminate the evangelism department. What a gross, gross mistake.

Fr. Martin writes about this on Fr. T Listens to the World.
One of the most frustrating things about this unexpected development was that it follows right on the heels of the positive time I spent last week with the Evangelism Legislative Committee as they carefully crafted various resolutions. There were plans in place to host evangelism events with our ecumenical partners, create an innovative evangelism "toolkit," and develop training programs for evangelists, among other things. All these resolutions passed both Houses. I was quite enthusiastic about those proposals. But now, since the entire Evangelism program is gone, I'm afraid there will be no one to implement those excellent ideas. How sad.
Let's write and ask the bishops to give up a portion of their salary for the sake of evangelism.

C056 approved

As expected, C056 was approved by the house of deputies.

Lay:78-23 with seven divided deputations (meaning count as no)
Clergy: 74-27-7

So, in 2012 the committee will come back with forms for the blessings of all people of this church. I hope that the forms they present as all identical for m/f and s-g marriage blessings.

For me, this is the important part of C056
That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th General Convention.
That may seem like a small step, or even just a not to what is going on, but, it is a huge step forward. I think I will live to see a gender neutral language marriage rite in the BCP.

GD09 will be seen as the Equal Justice Convention by historians and theologians.

UPDATE: Episcopal Life reports on this here.

Who signed the Anaheim Statement

Here are the bishops who have signed the Anaheim statement
  1. The Rt. Rev James Adams, Western Kansas
  2. The Rt. Rev Lloyd Allen, Honduras
  3. The Rt. Rev David Alvarez, Puerto Rico
  4. The Rt. Rev John Bauerschmidt, Tennessee
  5. The Rt. Rev Peter Beckwith, Springfield
  6. The Rt. Rev Franklin Brookhart, Montana (Voted Yes on D025)
  7. The Rt. Rev William Frey, Rio Grande
  8. The Rt. Rev Dorsey Henderson, Upper South Carolina (Voted Yes on D025 and C056)
  9. The Rt. Rev John Howe, Central Florida
  10. The Rt. Rev Russell Jacobus, Fond du Lac
  11. The Rt. Rev Don Johnson, West Tennessee (Voted Yes on D025)
  12. The Rt. Rev Mark Lawrence, South Carolina
  13. The Rt. Rev Gary Lillibridge, West Texas
  14. The Rt. Rev Edward Little, Northern Indiana
  15. The Rt. Rev William Love, Albany
  16. The Rt. Rev Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana
  17. The Rt. Rev Alfredo Morante, Litoral Ecuador (Voted Yes on C056)
  18. The Rt. Rev Henry Parsley, Alabama (Voted Yes on C056)
  19. The Rt. Rev Michael Smith, North Dakota
  20. The Rt. Rev James Stanton, Dallas
  21. The Rt. Rev Pierre Whalon, Convocation of American Churches in Europe (Voted Yes on D025 and C056)
  22. The Rt. Rev Paul Lambert, Suffragan-Dallas
  23. The Rt. Rev David Reed, Suffragan-West Texas
  24. The Rt. Rev Sylestre Romero, Assistant— New Jersey (Voted Yes on D025)
  25. The Rt. Rev John Sloan, Suffragan—Alabama (Voted Yes on C056)
  26. The Rt. Rev Jeffrey Rowthorn, Retired-Convocation of American Churches in Europe
  27. The Rt. Rev Don Wimberly, Retired-Texas

Eyes on the Floor - DOMA

Richard Helmer has a op-ed on the Lead titled Eyes on the floor: Matters of conscience, matters of psyche. The article is about C023.
    Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That this 76th General Convention reject the belief that the existence of marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership between same-sex individuals has a detrimental effect on opposite-sex marriage; and be it further

    , That the Convention
    call on Congress to repeal the so-called "Defense of Marriage" statute passed on September 21, 1996 [Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419, codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C]; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Convention call on all Episcopalians to work against the passage of so-called "Defense of Marriage" state statutes and state constitutional amendments, and, in states where such statutes or constitutional amendments already exist, to work for their repeal.

    Referenced Statutory Language:

    28 U.S.C. Section 1738C reads as follows: "No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian Tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."

    1 U.S.C. Section 7 reads as follows: "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."


    "Defense of Marriage" statutes and constitutional amendments increasingly have little relationship to marriage, let alone its "defense." Most of the amendments and citizen propositions passed in the last five years have included provisions such as that in the 2004 Ohio amendment, and "this state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status or relationship of unmarried individuals that intends to proximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of a marriage." This is intended to prohibit the recognition of domestic partnerships, civil unions and all benefits for partners of state employees - even when those benefits are achieved through collective bargaining. Ironically, even non-LGBT Ohioans have been affected since the courts ruled that unmarried persons may not seek protection from state-sponsored spousal abuse programs. The federal Defense of Marriage law has the effect of denying various benefits for same-sex partners - joint tax filing, survivor benefits under social security, and the state tax exemptions.
It is an excellent read dealing with DOMA and GC09's resolution passed by the deputies to urge all Episcopalians to work to repeal DOMA.
While I now am very clearly a supporter of same-sex marriage, both civilly and theologically, I remember once being in such a position myself: holding an inner tension that could not quite reconcile my care and concern for my LGBT neighbors and their rights with my world-view and emotional – visceral even – attachment to a particular understanding of marriage. It was this tension that I held for a long time in an attempt to find a middle position in the midst of an evolving conscience – or as my bishop put it to me in conversation this evening, a matter of change in the psyche.

Somehow, this tension about marriage and sexuality hits us at the very core of our self-identity. Maybe this is because all of us grew up and developed as thinking and reflecting individuals in relationship with a particular understanding of marriage – for good, for ill, or for both. To change that particular understanding is, of course, to send some unsettling questions into the deepest places of our souls – those places that formed even before we could speak. And to change those deep places requires of us a true inner leap of faith, of stepping into the unknown. I remember when I did precisely that on matters concerning human sexuality. It took me nearly six months to settle into a new understanding of the world. I was grateful to have a community – at that time a university chaplaincy – to support me during that time.
A San Diego deputie explained the debate this way
Some other significant legislation of the day included a resolution to ask Episcopalians to oppose Defense of Marriage Acts at the state level and work to overturn the federal law and in squeaker, a resolution to petition the government for a single-payer, national, all-inclusive health care plan - our deputation was divided on this one.

There is some disagreement among the deputies on whether the Church should advocate for public policy since it appears to speak for every member of the Church when we know that not every member agrees with the position approved.

TEC bishops reveal heretical theology

In a sweeping move to place themselves firmly in the heretic and non "orthodox" camp, the house of bishops has affirmed the virginity of Mary, the Mother of God. I'm not shocked; our bishops have been pagan ever since they voted for prayerbook revision back in 1892. and alowed prayers for the dead to be included in the PCB 1928.

To prove the heretical nature of the house of bishops, this shocking resolution passed unanimously.
The Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri, presented the resolution, noting that there had been some concerns expressed in committee hearings about the commons used for the Mother of God. There were “three ways to refer to her: Mary the God-bearer, the theotokos; Mary of Nazareth; and the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he said. Bishop Smith said using these varied terms underscores the theological diversity of views held within the Episcopal Church on the person and charism of Mary.

Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota stood and said “I rise in defense of our Lady,” eliciting guffaws from the house. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori noted, “I don’t think she needs it,” to more laughter from the bishops. Bishop Michael Smith then offered an amendment inserting the word “virgin” before Mary’s name where used in the new collects, stating that the church’s teaching on the virginity of the Mother of God should be underscored in the new rites.

The Rt. Rev. Otis Charles, retired Bishop of Utah, spoke in opposition, stating “the term theotokos stands by itself.” Mary the god-bearer was a term of “long tradition and honorable to Our Lady.”

Bishop Wayne Smith accepted the amendment, suggesting that Mary be styled, “the Blessed Virgin Mary, the god-bearer.” The Charles amendment was accepted by voice vote, with limited opposition.

The Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. William Love, rose to support the amended resolution saying he could “imagine all the spin that would come out of this convention” if the resolution was rejected. He said the headline “Episcopal Church Denies the Virginity of Mary” was one he did not wish to read, eliciting cries of shame from the bishops present.

Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart of Montana reminded the house of the words of the Chalcedonian Creed: “Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer, the theotokos,” and urged adoption of the resolution. It passed unanimously.
In seriousness, this resolution, unanimously adopted, shows how much TEC is firmly in the traditional catholic camp of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Another schismatic charge of heresy blown up in their face. In the Duncan organization, this resolution would not have been adapted - Evangelicals do not like the term "Mother of God."

It's must be sad to be a schismatic during GC09; they only way they can cry heresy is to be so deliberately obtuse and dishonest that they infer heresy into everything. Mark my work, this resolution will have a negative spin on the schismatic blogs.

In an unrelated matter, it appears that Episcopal Life will move to a quarterly publication. This is a mistake. If other denominations (mainline denominations) can produce a slick professional monthly publication, there is no reason TEC cannot do the same.

Ann Fontain's story

Online-friend and blogger, Ann Fontaine has an article titled The Story of me, the story of us, the story of now on the Daily Episcoplaian. Here is a snippit:

One day – I read that the Episcopal Church had done the most amazing thing. In 1969, Presiding Bishop John Hines challenged the church. According to the Archives of the Episcopal Church:

Following an eye-opening tour of Harlem with African American activists, Presiding Bishop John Hines pushed through the regularly convened General Convention of 1967 a “Special Program” (GCSP). The program was intended to respond to the poverty and injustice of the American ghetto. Executive Council re-directed the Church’s funds to community organizations and grassroots efforts aimed at the urban underclass throughout the United States.
I was stunned- the church of my birth and the dreams of my childhood of what to do with my life were merging. I returned to church and became active in all areas of church life. I had found a community of support to go out into the world. We founded the Food Bank in Lander in the midst of an economic downturn caused by US Steel suddenly ending 600 jobs that employed people in our town of 9,500. The widening circles of unemployment spread as those jobs disappeared and took the average of 5 jobs for every mineworker job, eventually taking the population down to 6000.
Go read, mark, inwardly digest.

16 July 2009

The 2009 Anaheim Statement

Approximately twenty bishops have signed this statement by The Right Rev'd. Gary W. Lillibridge of West Texas.
At this convention, the House of Bishops has heard repeated calls for honesty and clarity. As the conversation has proceeded within the HOB, repeated attempts to modify wording which would have been preferable to the minority in the vote were respectfully heard and discussed, but in the end most of these amendments were found unacceptable to the majority in the House. Many in the majority believed the amendments would make the stated position of this House less honest about where they believe we are as The Episcopal Church.

It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality. We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself. We are grateful for those who have reached out to the minority, affirming our place in the Church.
  • We seek to provide the same honesty and clarity. We invite all bishops who share the following commitments to join us in this statement as we seek to find a place in the Church we continue to serve.
  • We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538)
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to "continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship" which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in "interpreting the Gospel" which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.
Bishop Edward J. Konieczny Bishop of Oklahoma told a news briefing that "when the statement was read, it was clear to everyone in the house that this was not a statement of division."
It was a statement of unity and acknowledging and recognizing that we have listened to one another intently and we've done that with open hearts and mind, and that there was a thankfulness for that on the part of all. That particular statement was not intended to be anything other than them sharing with the wider communion that we are working together on this difficult issue.
The Rt. Rev'd James Mathes, Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego agreed. He said that Lillibridge's statement "was offered in a loving and appreciative way of the conversation we had."

English Bishops' hypocracy exposed

You must to read today's post at Changing Attitudes. It is absolutely, stunningly brilliant.
Bishops Tom Wright of Durham, Pete Broadbent of Willesden, Graham Kings of Sherborne (and Fulcrum), John Hind of Chichester and others have criticised TEC.Each of them is deeply compromised and lacking in integrity. Perhaps those newly appointed don’t yet know the reality of life in every diocese of the Church of England (I’m trying to excuse Graham Kings who I count as a friend).

Tom Wright knows partnered gay priests in his diocese. He knows he is impotent to discipline them. How dare he criticise The Episcopal Church for passing Resolutions which give permission to do things that happen in his own diocese and in the Church of England.

One of the other bishops named above is in a diocese where a previous diocesan was gay and another of the bishops is a partnered gay man.

John Hind is Bishop of Chichester, a diocese with one of the highest concentrations of gay priests in England, many of them partnered, and where a previous bishop was gay.

Pete Broadbent is a bishop in the Diocese of London, another diocese with a high number of lesbian and gay priests, many of them partnered.

Graham Kings has recently been consecrated and arrived in the diocese where I live, where I have Permission to Officiate and where there are many lesbian and gay priests. Graham knows many gay priests himself and it saddens me to read what he has written on the Fulcrum web site.

Bishops Tom Wright, Pete Broadbent, Graham Kings and John Hind have deeply compromised themselves, their truthfulness and integrity, by criticising The Episcopal Church. The Lambeth Conference may have passed Resolution 1.10. The prejudice and ignorance of the majority doesn’t make the attitude of 1.10 towards LGBT Anglicans right.
Go read it all; its a great article.

Guardian reporter nearly nails it

A comment posted on IT's thread, Why GC matters outside TEC over on Friends of Jake, pointed me to an article in the Guardian by Stephen Bates. The article, although showing a wee lack of when the schism happened, is good. And, he puts NT Wright's fanatical op-ed in its proper perspective. Here it is.

    There have been many predictions of dawning schism in the worldwide Anglican communion over the last six years – as the Guardian's former religious affairs correspondent I wrote some of them myself – but the decision of the US Episcopal church to affirm its belief that gays, lesbians and transgendered folk are eligible to be considered for ordination may indeed mark a watershed.

    Behind the studiously constructed words of resolution DO25, passed by the church's triennial general convention in Anaheim, perhaps better known to the secular world as the home of Disneyland, lies the potential for a Christian milestone that may ultimately rank the Los Angeles suburb alongside the Council of Nicaea, the Synod of Whitby, or the Edict of Nantes. Or possibly not.

    On the face of it, and perhaps in the depth of it as well, the resolution simply states the Americans' belief that God has called and may call such individuals to any ordained ministry within its portals. It does not, technically, end the moratorium the church agreed at its last convention three years ago not to elect any more gay bishops, following its experiment with the consecration of Gene Robinson, a partnered, gay, clergyman, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. It just signals that it may do so, just as Christian churches including our own dear CofE have done, knowingly if discreetly, for centuries.

    But of course the symbolism of the resolution is much more than technical, the culmination of a six-year split since Robinson's election by his parishioners and one which has been anticipated with varying degrees of relish by both sides, especially the conservatives opposed to gay people, ever since. They have responded characteristically to the convention's vote, although their outrage at the thought of any accommodation with gay people who might actually want to belong to their church has been well-honed and practised for years.

    As Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, expostulates in the Times, it gives active expression to any and every sexual desire. This, as Wright – a clever if conceited man – ought to know, is simply not true. The sort of relationship that the Episcopalians might sanction is not any old promiscuous or abusive perversion, but a lifelong, loving commitment between two persons of the sort you might think the church would welcome and which Wright could find any day of the week among the currently ordained clergy of the Church of England. In a church which marries without question promiscuous heterosexuals, sometimes several times, and blesses pets and nuclear submarines without a qualm, you might think the expression of mutual commitment, which may or may not have a sexual element if you are prurient enough to ask, would be welcomed rather than spurned. After all, the church some time ago accepted the reality of divorce (its founder Henry VIII was rather keen on the idea) about which the Bible has much more disobliging things to say than homosexuality.

    As it is, this week's Anaheim resolution will probably become the occasion for a split in the ranks of worldwide Anglicanism, the third largest Christian denomination. The Americans insist they don't want it and indeed it has almost exclusively been the church's conservative, largely evangelical, movements and pressure groups which do and have done all along.

    The conservative forces are ready to go and have their organisations and lobbyists already in place and flexing their muscles, keen to take over the communion and reshape it in their image – though, interestingly, the conservatives are already falling out among themselves, united in what they oppose rather than what they agree. In England certainly if the conservative evangelicals get their way the established church will look very different from the broad, tolerant institution that it has been up till now – even Tom Wright might find himself anathematised. Some of them insist that the 17th-century Reformation did not go far enough and needs to be finished, which may come as a surprise to the high church Anglo-Catholics with whom they have allied, whose dearest wish is to reunite with Rome. Perhaps someone should tell them.

    If the Americans are shown the door the consequences for worldwide Anglicanism are incalculable and not just because the wealthy US church largely pays for and sustains the communion, including in those parts of the world where the church's mission would not otherwise survive. In the Church of England there are many who find they have more in common with their American brethren than with the strident, coercive voices they hear from the conservatives.

    All of which leaves poor old Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and as such nominal head of the Anglican communion, with a dilemma which has loomed over his head ever since his enthronement six years ago. Who ultimately to run with? As he sits lonely and anguished in his study at Lambeth Palace, or heads off with his bucket and spade to a lonely beach in Wales this summer, he may wonder whether it has all been worth it.

    His tactics of delay, procrastination, conciliation and appeasement – so often useful weapons for Anglicanism in the past – have failed to reconcile the irreconcilable. Now it may be too late to be firm. As a bishop once said to me: Rowan's been too damn Christian towards them – meaning the conservative splitters – a verdict that on the whole the archbishop might appreciate, but which hasn't worked in stemming the rift. Turning the other cheek might be a virtue, but not necessarily against opponents determined to get their own way. Time for a prayer?

A Eucharistic Miracle, appeasement, and family

From The Lead.
At a Chicago Consultation lunch, Bishop Bruce Caldwell of Wyoming used the public narrative model, much in favor at this General Convention, to tell his story of how an “elk-hunting, horse-riding bishop” became a GLBT activist. You can watch his speech here.

In 1998, after Caldwell became bishop of Wyoming the previous year, Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed near Laramie. Shepard, an active Episcopalian, was targeted by his murderers because he was gay. Bishop Caldwell presided at Shepard’s funeral Eucharist in front of, as he recalled, flowers sent by Elton John.

When it was time to distribute the elements, Caldwell went to the furthest corner of the parish hall. Gay and lesbian people came with open hands outstretched, he remembered, “and they came, and they came. “ As he was distributing the bread and wine, he thought, “Why are they here? Why would they have hands outstretched after the way they’ve been treated?”

That moment, at Matthew Shepard’s funeral, is when Caldwell became an activist. He concluded his speech on Sunday by saying, “My question that I pose today, because those hands haunt me: Is it time to fill those hands? Can we fill those hands together with the absolute love of God?”

Miracles do happen at Communion, folks; they really do.

From Issues we read this from Caro Hall:

Last night I had dinner with friend who is just ‘coming out’ and we talked about the reactions of those she has so far told that she is lesbian, and her fears of how most of her family will act. For many LGBT people ‘coming out’ is an act of courage as there are few families who relish the news that a beloved son or daughter is called to a different and often socially unacceptable path. It is not unusual for LGBT people to choose to ‘pass’ as straight – to appease their conventional family and friends by laughing at gay jokes and nodding to homophobic references. Even when the family knows, there is often a period when the LGBT family member doesn’t bring their friends home, carefully talks about neutral things, tries not to upset the applecart any further and even tries extra hard to remember birthdays and to be helpful at family events. A period of appeasement.

Finally the LGBT person says enough is enough, if they can’t accept me as I am I’ll get on with my life and hopefully they’ll get over it. Often after a period of adjustment the family regroups including the LGBT member. Sometimes it doesn’t.

In 1997 there was a move by conservative Primates, led by the then Archbishop of the Southern Cone, to exclude the Episcopal Church from the Lambeth Conference. Why? Because for over a decade our conservative wing had been trying to persuade the church to formally exclude LGBT members. When in 1996 an Ecclesiastical Trial Court declared that there was no ‘core doctrine’ which prevented the ordination of LGBT Episcopalians they took their case to the global south bishops. So for twenty-two years the Episcopal Church has been ‘coming out’ in the Anglican Communion.

Finally, in the passing of D025, we have ended the period of appeasement. Of course we have concerns about how it will be received. But we are no longer looking over our shoulder, moving furtively around, trying to appease the family. Will the Anglican Communion regroup and include the Episcopal Church? I believe so.

Let us not forget that the Episcopal Church existed for almost one hundred years before the first Lambeth Conference, long before the Anglican Communion began to come into existence. Our existence and our flourishing depends on the dancing triune God, not on Canterbury.

Powerful statements.

15 July 2009

Bishops adopt statement about Jesus and salvation

Now that the "hot button" resolutions are behind us, I've been reading though some of the other equally if not more important resolutions.

One such resolution of concern to me is A074, Endorse Theological Statement on Interreligiuos Relations. It has been endorsed by the bishops of this church and is on its way to the house of deputies for concurrence.

Detractors of TEC have long claimed TEC departed from historic Christianity and no longer believes in the divinity of Jesus, the Christ. I hope that those detractors will take a few minutes to read A074.

Here is Section V of A074
Salvation in Christ and Interreligious Relations

22. The most sensitive aspects of interreligious relations concerns any religion's claims to unique or exclusive authority or revelation, including Christian traditions and teachings such as the incarnation, cross, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians affirm that God "has created all men and women in his image, and he wishes all to enjoy that fullness of life in his presence which we know as salvation" (Generous Love, Section 1). We also recognize that our efforts toward this goal are futile without the assistance of God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are dependent on the grace of God--God's unconditional, undeserved love for those God has made. The source of salvation is God alone. Christians believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

23. As Christians "we are saved by grace through faith, and this is not our own doing, but the gift of God, not the result of works so that no one may boast. For we are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand to be our way of life" (Ephesians 2: 8-10). In various ways, language of salvation refers to a form of deliverance from sin and the finiteness of this life as we experience it, with all its hardships and joys. Our hope of salvation expresses our expectation that we shall share in the life of God, and do so not only after death, but now.

24. The Christian scriptures proclaim that Jesus is "the Word made flesh" (John 1:14) and as such he is "the Way and the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). As stated in our creeds (Apostles', and Nicene) and liturgy, Jesus Christ is the full revelation of God. Since God has chosen to share our life, we affirm that God is intensely concerned about every human life. Among Christians, Episcopalians have a particular appreciation of this teaching, in that we believe that the coming of God in Christ has already begun to transform all of creation.

25. The human response to God's incarnate love was "to crucify the Lord of Glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8). The cross is the Christian symbol and act of self-emptying, humility, redemptive suffering, sacrificial self-giving, and unvanquished love. We believe that we have been reconciled to God through the cross.

26. In the resurrection we believe "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and giving life to those in the tomb" (BCP, p. 483). By our baptism into Christ's death and resurrection we enjoy new life as members of the Body of Christ, called therefore to become ourselves ambassadors of reconciliation (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20).

27. Professing salvation in Christ is not a matter of competing with other religious traditions with the imperative of converting one another. Each tradition brings its own understanding of the goal of human life to the interreligious conversation. Christians bring their particular profession of confidence in God's intentions as they are seen in and through the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the bishops at Lambeth 2008 noted, "The purpose of dialogue is not compromise, but growth in trust and understanding of each other's faith and traditions. Effective and meaningful dialogue will only take place where there is gentleness, honesty and integrity. In all of this, we affirm that Christianity needs to be lived and presented as 'a way of life', rather than a static set of beliefs (89)."

28. Claiming Jesus as the Way, therefore, requires us to "respect the dignity of every human being" (BCP, p. 305). This grounds our expectation that we shall discover new insights and develop new relationships through interreligious dialogue. In mutual encounters and shared ascetic, devotional, ethical, and prophetic witness, we dare to hope that God will reveal new and enriching glimpses of a reconciled humanity.

It cannot get any clearer than that and I submit that the above statement, adopted by our "heretical bishops" makes us quite "orthodox."

You might also wish to read D020, Provincial Acceptance of Anglican Covenant. The so-called global south won't like what it says.

C056 clears the HOB with revisions

Moving forward in faith and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the house of bishops voted 104:30:2 to approve C056. The resolution approves that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological, and liturgical resources for use in same gender celebrations of union.

Before you get your hopes up, or go off on a "heresy" fit, please note that this does not approve same-gender blessings for the church. What it does is to direct the CLM to study the issue and to develop rites to be presented at GC12.
    Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention charge the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music with development of liturgies of blessing for same-gender commitments to be presented to the next triennial General Convention in 2012 for inclusion in "Book of Occasional Services"; and. be it further

    Resolved, That in the meantime the Ecclesiastical Authority of each diocese may authorize for use in the diocese liturgies for blessing same-gender committed relationships of enduring love, mutuality, and fidelity; and be it further

    Resolved, That, with respect to such blessings, no bishop or clergy of this Church or any other person acting on behalf of this Church shall be required or expected to perform an act contrary to a deeply-held position of conscience.

    Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources and liturgies for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological, and liturgical resources and design liturgies and report to the 77th General Convention; for further action; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further

    Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

    Resolved, That this Convention continue to honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further

    Resolved, That the members of this Church be encouraged to engage in this effort.

Once again, take note that no rite for "gay marriage" has been sanctioned by the house of bishops. This is merely a directive to study the issue and develop possible rites in response to the legal status of same-gender marriage in the United States and elsewhere in the Western World.

I particularly like the opening statement:
[T]he 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances ... that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church...

I think the resolution will pass the house of deputies, but one never knows.

Although I am not physically present at GC09, what I sense is that there is no divisiveness at this convention. That is in start contrast to GC06. Both houses have made the same statement - that all God's children are welcome without reservation -- the mechanics just have to be worked out.

Make sure to read Jim Naughton's excellent post on this resolution.

D025 as viewd from the Texan Episcopalian

All of the bishops from the state of Texas voted against D025. I would think that a statement from the Diocese of Texas in the Texan Episcopalian would, therefore, accurately reflect the conservative view of the D025. Here it is:
    The Episcopal Church Recommits To The Anglican Communion And Affirms Transparency In Its Ordination Processes

    The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church today completed passage of a revised Resolution D025, Commitment and Witness to the Anglican Communion, at the Church’s triennial General Convention in Anaheim, California.
    The resolution…
    • Reaffirms an abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion, noting that it will seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible;
    • Encourages 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;
    • Reaffirms its financial commitments to the Anglican Communion and member Churches.

    In addition, D025 affirms transparency and openness in The Episcopal Church’s ordination process. The resolution…
    • Affirms the value of "listening to the experience of homosexual persons" as called for by multiple Lambeth Conferences.
    • Restates 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" (B039, 2000).
    • Acknowledges 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;
    • Affirms that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Church;
    • Acknowledges that members of The Episcopal Church are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.
I certainly hope NT Wright sees a copy of this from the conservative Texan bishops.

For Fr. Martin's thoughtful take on D025 and the spin, see Fr T Listens to the World.

Nick Knisley also has a good write-up on his blog.

And on an unrelated subject, CONGRATULATIONS to Katie Sherrod who was elected today to the Executive Council! I can't think of a better person to serve on the committee. Katie is a blog-sister over at Desert's Child.

St. James' prevails in two motions

On July 13 Judge Thierry P. Colaw denied two motions brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles .

The Diocese brought a demurrer — a formal objection to an opponent’s pleadings — to the St. James cross-complaint, arguing that the California Supreme Court’s February 2009 decision definitively awarded St. James property to the Diocese.

The Diocese also argued that a Diocesan-issued 1991 letter waiving the Diocese’s trust interest over the property on 32nd Street had already been addressed in favor of the Diocese by the California Supreme Court.

Attorneys for The Episcopal Church brought a similar motion, arguing that they prevailed on their complaint on similar grounds. Judge Colaw sided with arguments made by St. James’ attorneys.

St. James' Church filed a petition for writ of certiorari on June 24, 2009, with the Supreme Court of the United States asking the Court to overturn the California Supreme Court’s decision which awarded the property to the diocese.

Keep in mind this is not a "victory" for St. James'. It is the court attempting to be impartial. If the Supreme Court denies the writ, the property stays with the diocese.

C061- gender identity; the bishops get it correct

An amended version of C061 has been accepted by the house of bishops. The major change is that the canon, if the house of deputies concurs, would say that "all baptized persons" have full access to any ministry, lay or ordained. The amended measure proposes a change to Title III, Canon 1.

In the bishops' version, the words"gender identity or expression, race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age" have been eliminated.

Instead, the bishops eliminated these descriptions. They felt that such terms were unnecessary and "perhaps even limit the resolution's primary intent of including 'all baptized persons.'"

I like the way Catherine Roskam, bishop suffragan put it:

What is it about 'all' that we don't understand? It's like trying to thank the ECW. There will always be someone's name you've left off. I propose we go with the 'all' and let it be 'all.'"
To that, I say, "amen."

The resolution goes back to the House of Deputies for consideration.

UPDATE: The house of deputies reject the bishops' amendment. The deputies prefer the original language what specifically states the categories of people included. So, "all" is out and "trans gender" is in.

Center Aisle has a good commentary on the "no" vote.

Fr. Scott takes on +Wright

Fellow blogger and new on-line friend the Rev'd Scott Gunn has taken Bishop Wright on in a game of bridge. Wright had arrogantly bid 7-no trump and he was Gunn'ed down by Fr. Scott. When the smoke cleared, Wright was down by 13-tricks.

Here is a snippit:
[Wright's letter] was all a justification for supporting the supposed conservative victims. The problem with the fiction of pastoral provision for conservatives is that they are not, in fact victims. No one has ever asked them to leave. No one has said women priests or straight priests have to be in every congregation. Congregations are free to call lesbians or WASPy men, as God guides them. No one will have to perform same-sex blessings. Seminarians can go to Nashotah House or EDS.

But it’s much more convenient to justify schism if one plays the victim card.

Let’s all be clear about two things. First, the Episcopal Church is (imperfectly, to be sure) trying to answer God’s mission imperatives in this place and in this time. Second, we are committed to our bonds of affection with our sisters and brothers overseas. To say otherwise is to distort the truth and to refuse to listen to what our General Convention and our Presiding Bishop have repeatedly said.

I strongly urge you to read today's post at Seven Days a Week. Trust me, you will be glad you. I think we should take Fr. Scott on the road with his rebuttal. We could call it "Have Gunn, will travel."

Why are you still here? GO!

Top secret news - a birthday is upon us

Shush, don't tell anyone, but someone by the name of Fran is having a birthday today. I wonder who it could be?

+Durham cannot read the English Language

Apparently, Rowan Williams is not the only English bishop who has the inability to read the English language - or at ease the American version of the English language. The Rt. Rev'd Thomas Wright is a true scholar so it's really difficult he could be so intentionally ignorant.

But what can one expect from a man who thinks America is the modern Caesar?
He argues that America in particular and the West in general need to be regarded as exercising a form of economic and political ‘imperial’ power, casting America in the position of Caesar relative to the claims of Christ.
And what are the "claims of Christ?" Calvinism, of course, because he is a Calvinist:
Wright was very much operating within the context of theologically Reformed Anglican evangelicalism and he speaks of the way in which he regarded any books not published by very conservative evangelical publishers as suspect.
Wright has written an opinion in the Times wherein he begins
In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion...
He then prattles on about how TEC has chosen to ignore the moratorium and the Windsor recommendations (and that is exactly what they are).

But, he is absolutely silent about border crossings and the shenanigans of the so-called global south who have never acknowledged any part of the "Windsor Report" as existing except, of course, the "moratorium."
Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other “instruments of communion” that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practising homosexuals as bishops. They were rejecting the two things the Archbishop of Canterbury has named as the pathway to the future — the Windsor Report (2004) and the proposed Covenant (whose aim is to provide a modus operandi for the Anglican Communion). They were formalising the schism they initiated six years ago when they consecrated as bishop a divorced man in an active same-sex relationship, against the Primates’ unanimous statement that this would “tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level”. In Windsor’s language, they have chosen to “walk apart."
Really? What about that statement from the "unanimous" primates about "no border crossing?" Wouldn't that be Windsor language that they have chosen to walk apart? Oh, sorry, as a Calvinist, is in sympathy with the schismatic band of thieves, it's best to ignore that "walking apart."

The deputies and bishops of The Episcopal Church did now exactly what they were doing. They were saying to a significant portion of both this church and the world: "The Episcopal Church: where all God's children are welcomed." The deputies also knew exactly what they were not doing. That was made clear by the statement by the presiding bishop:
"I do not believe D025 repudiates the moratorium -- 'exercising restraint' continues.
We have not rejected "the pathway to the future." That pathway was rejected long ago by border crossing Calvinistic wolves in episcopal vestments.

This is, I suppose, the most interesting part of his diatribe
The appeal to justice as a way of cutting the ethical knot in favour of including active homosexuals in Christian ministry simply begs the question. Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace. The appeal also seriously misrepresents the notion of itself, not just in the Christian tradition of Augustine, Aquinas and others, but in the wider philosophical discussion from Aristotle to John Rawls. Justice never means “treating everybody the same way”, but “treating people appropriately”, which involves making distinctions between different people and situations. Justice has never meant “the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire”. [Emphasis mine]
Justice doesn't mean treating everyone the same way? It's a good thing Jesus didn't know about that. Too bad Wright wasn't there to tell Jesus he was dead wrong. (That's such a Calvinist trait, you know.)

Wright is correct about one thing; no one has the right to be ordained. But, all have he right to access the process whereby discernment will work. To deny any one or any group of people access to the process is to limit God by stating God cannot use anyone whom he chooses - and that you know better than God knows. That, Your Grace, is pure unmitigated arrogance.

But that has always been the problem with the Calvinist schismatics - arrogance and pride.

Your name may be Wright, but you're as wrong as Corrigan.

14 July 2009

Ethel Marple CPC president, seriously ill

According to a report in Convention Daily today, the Episcopal Church Women delegates are keeping Ethel Marple in their prayers. Ms Marple, newly installed national president of Church Periodical Club. She was stricken with pneumonia July 7 just hours after her installation by Presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and rushed to the hospital. she remains in intensive care.

As Church Periodical Club’s president Marple is a delegate to ECW’s triennial. Karen D. Powers of the Diocese of Fond du Lac said, “We prayed again for her this morning, and our chaplain, Ellen Sloan, blessed a prayer shawl made by Valerie Meiners of lead, south Dakota, which was brought to triennial.” The shawl was to be delivered to Marple’s daughter Laurel, who has traveled from Virginia to be with her mother.

D025 - as predicted

There isn't any need to post on this as the result was a foregone conclusion, but, the HOD accepted the HOB's revision of D025.

Bishops: 78 deputations in favour and 21 opposed with nine deputations divided (therefore counts as a no vote).

Some blogs and other news sources are stating that this repeals B033: it does not. Do not confuse fact with fiction. When we see a GLBT person elected and receive consent, then we'll know what D025 really has done.

The presiding bishop, responding to a question from the bishop of Kentucky said, "I do not believe D025 repudiates the moratroia -- 'exercising restraint' continues.

And there you have it folks.

Anointing and speaking the truth

I urge you to read the blogs of Elizabeth Keaton and Bishop Robinson, today.

Elizabeth's post made me well up with emotion and pride that we have the sacraments and that those outside TEC recognize the power of the priesthood.
"Mother," he said (as I winced), "would you stay with us at the end of the march? We're asking some of the clergy to anoint the workers, and it would be wonderful to have you with us."

I was initially taken aback. 'Anoint' he said. What did he mean, really? Did he mean anoint with holy oils or just extend a hand in blessing?

I wanted to make certain I had a correct translation from his Hispanic, Roman Catholic culture to my progressive Western European, Anglo-Catholic understanding.

So, I asked.

"You may not be aware, Mother," he said politely, "that for the workers, this Prayer Vigil and March is a big risk. We need to be anointed for the work of justice, after this event, so that we will find the strength to go back to our jobs. Just a little sign from God that He will continue to be with us after the support of this event."

"We know you have probably not brought your oils with you to this place, so we will have some for you. Will you help us? It would mean so much to some of us for a woman to anoint us for the work of justice."

"Anointed for justice."
Wow! Read the whole post at Telling Secrets

Bishop Robinson's post is a humble post (not that his posts are ever arrogant). It shows what a truly Christ-like man he is.
This is the Church I've been telling my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters to come to, or to come back to. This is the Church that sees the face of Christ in the poor, the despised, the neglected and the marginalized. This is not the "gay Church," but the Church who values those who are gay, women, people of color, those differently abled, as well as the white, male and middle class. It is a Church for ALL of God's children -- all sinners redeemed by a loving God who gave God's self for ALL on the cross. This is a day to rejoice for the Church -- no, let me be more specific, this is a day to rejoice in The Episcopal Church, which once again has stood for the full inclusion of all.

One of my brother bishops confronted me about something I had written here on this blog, reminding me that my words weren't just going to the people of my diocese (for whom my blog is primarily written), but to the many people who come to read my reflections. He disagreed with my perceptions of the House of Bishops (even though they were written as MY perceptions), feeling that they fueled the often-heard perception that there was a divide between the Houses of Deputies and Bishops. He felt -- and I seriously listened to and contemplated -- that I had exhibited the kind of arrogance that I had accused my brother bishops of.

I have and will continue to contemplate that, searching my soul for the kind of sin I accuse others of. (Jesus had something to say about the mote in someone ELSE'S eye!)

But the point I want to make in relating this personal interaction is that he SAID it. What a gift it is when people speak the truth in love to you. There was no question in my mind that he spoke those words in love -- and that is what makes the Church, and yes, the House of Bishops, a holy place. We're all doing the best we can, and being human, we don't always have the full perspective we'd like. And when we err, fellow Christians correct one another in love. As long as THAT commitment persists, we will be all right. No, we will be better than all right. We will be the community of the faithful God would have us be.
What a holy man he is. Read his post at Canterbury Tales from the Fringe.

D050 - Questionable consent

It is always interesting to hear how the workings of TEC and GC are viewed by those outside the provincial boundaries of The Episcopal Church.

Longtime reader and on-line friend David (Da-veed) pointed me to a real story behind a story I'd missed. It seems that the House of Bishops elected a bishop for the Diócesis de Ecuador Central to the objection of the convention of that diocese.

Members of the diocesan convention felt that the provisional bishop, Wilfrido Ramos-Orench, had steered the election process in Ecuador, and then, eventually, directing it to the HoB.

The convention was upset that no Ecuadorian clergy were deemed qualified to run for election and that the women members of the diocesan search committee were "run off the committee."

The resolution, D050, itself claims to have the support of more than 50% of the Central Ecuador clergy and much of the laity.
    Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church not confirm the election of Rev. Luis Fernando Ruiz Restrepo as Bishop of the Diócesis de Ecuador Central; and be it further

    Resolved, That the Diócesis de Ecuador Central begin once more the election process for a Diocesan Bishop with the approval of the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

The resolution lists thirteen reasons why the "election" should be set aside. The resolution then asks the convention to consider that:
  1. The election process was totally contaminated with nullity from the beginning
  2. It would have been fair, ethical and moral to hold the diocesan emergency convention, as established in canon and duly constituted, and elect our bishop and, if this does not lead to a final and firm election, then to move the process to the synod of Province IX, to the canonically appropriate party in the secession and of which the Diocese Central del Ecuador is a member.
  3. The interim bishop with jurisdiction was at fault both pastorally and ethically when he used his vote to define a situation that he had encouraged
  4. The result of this process repels and drives away our dreams for growth, development, strength and autonomy of Anglican perspective and Christian faith
  5. A new and immediate election process should be organized in accordance with canon 11, section 5 of the general canons.
  6. To make all of this possible and in defense of the unity of our diocese, we reiterate to the House of Deputies of the 76th General Convention to not ratify the election of Diocesan Bishop the Rev'd Luis Fernando Ruiz Restrepo
What did GC09 do? It consented to the election, of course - over the objection of an apparently sizable portion of the laity of the Diocese of Ecuador Central.

Reader, David, comments:
What I find astounding is the hubris of the provisional bishop to call one of his clergy a liar publicly in an open meeting of the HoB discussion. He only made "I" statements; he was concerned about his integrity and his reputation. There were no true remarks of concern for the people of Ecuador and all that they have suffered since their former bishop was deposed by TEC as a thief.

The folks in Ecuador Central do not have anything against the bishop-elect per se, just that they feel shut out of the process. I do not see any of this leading to healing here.
I agree with David.

Episcopal Life had this to say about the matter
The Rev. Gay Jennings (Ohio) served as consultant to Ecuador Central's election process and visited the diocese five times. She said the process that led to Ruiz's election was proper. "The process was in full accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and the canons of the diocese," she said.

She acknowledged that some in the diocese are unhappy that a native Ecuadorian wasn't elected and that the diocese itself never had the chance to vote on their bishop. But in the end, she said, Ruiz will be a good bishop for the diocese. [Emphasis mine]
Let's see - bishops electing bishops, the laity having no say in who their bishop will be?. That sounds a lot like the Duncanite organization to me.

It seems that as we take one step forward, not only do we step on toes, we actually take a step backwards.

For more information on this please see here, here, and here.

Tip of the biretta to David for giving us the rest of the story.

Title III.1.2 - C061

Before Fr. Jake's days' I didn't knowingly know any transgendered people. But through his former blog and TTLS, I have come to cyber-know several transgendered Episcopalians. And I'm glad that I have had that opportunity. Each is a wonderful person, and their comments and e-mails to me have been very spiritual. I hope C061 (Massachusetts) sails though the committees and houses with the same witness that the "other" resolutions this weekend did

C061 will amend Title III.1.2 in a further attempt to make the ordination process available to all members of this church.
    Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That Title III, Canon 1, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church is hereby amended to read as follows: No personnone All baptized persons noneshall be deniednone have full noneaccess to the discernment process for any ministry in this Churchnone, lay or ordained, in this Churchnone except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No person shall be denied access or have his or her discernment process terminated nonebecause of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expressionnone , disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established.


    Title III, Canon 1, Sec. 2 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church states: "No person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established." This resolution would revise this canon by adding "gender identity and expression" to this list of protected categories of access, but not of right.

    This revision is based upon our increased understanding and practice to respect the human dignity of transgender people-- transsexuals, and others who differ from majority societal gender norms. Gender identity, in and of itself, should not be a basis for exclusion from consideration for the participation in the ministries of the Church.

Will some knowing person please explain to me why all these resolutions are underlined?

D025 a centrist document: what does it really mean

I rarely edit comments made on TTLS and I've only removed two comments in the past year. Monday, I removed a third comment. It was from one who found the way to this blog via a schismatic blog. I haven't figured out just how the connection to TTLS was made.

The commenter said, and this is a paraphrase, "Well, you've thrown B033 under the buss [sic] and moved on...." The commenter then went into the usual hate speak.

The comment did make me wonder, though: Does the passage of D025 really mean we've moved on? Does it mean we have repealed B033? I'm not so sure we have, at least yet. I expect the house of deputies to pass the revised D025, but there is more to "it" than just that.

Yes, by word we've stated our position of reality: Any qualified person will be considered for any office in this church, episcopate included. That is the reality we live with, today and in honesty, we have lived with it for quite a while.

However, what does that really mean. Absolutely nothing. It will mean nothing until a qualified person in a same-gender marriage, or who is simply honest about her/his sexual orientation, is elected to the episcopate. Then we will see just what D025 means in light of it being a centrist document. And, it really is, folks. It doesn't go far enough to be "liberal" nor is it conservative enough to qualify for that moniker.

Will the bishops, who seem to have listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit working in The Episcopal Church, withhold their consent merely because of the same-gender issue? Or will they add their actions to their words and thereby repudiate B033.

I must admit that at this moment, I have no guess; God is still working his purpose out. But, I believe that it will be quite a while before the test case presents itself.

In all of this, we need to remember that not all those in TEC are rejoicing over the votes the events of the past two days. Many of our fellow Episcopalians see this as another hurt. And, the hurt is real and we must acknowledge that hurt. Feelings are always absolutely valid can cannot be summarily dismissed "forthwith."

I think it is a very good sign that I have seen no gloating over recent events. Shock, yes; but gloating, no.

Let us pause, as do the Jewish people at Pesach, to remember the hurt felt by others. None of us is above a moment of confession.
    Everliving God, whose will it is that all
    should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ:
    Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the
    power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection;
    who lives and reigns with you
    and the Holy Spirit, one God,
    now and for ever. Amen.

13 July 2009

Episcopal LIfe and D025

Episcopal Life has posted a good article on the resolution and its time in the HOB.

The bishops amended the fourth resolve, which originally read "that the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church which call is tested through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church." They inserted the words "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" after the words "to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church" and deleted "which call is tested."

And this interesting bit of information:

Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, chair of the World Mission legislative committee which crafted resolution D025, had advised bishops to reject the measure because it could threaten a proposed Anglican covenant and undermine "mission at home and abroad because it presumes a theological understanding that we have not in fact established."

But Bishop Mark Hollingsworth of Ohio, who authored the amendment, and other supporters said the vote is "an honest reflection of who we are as a church and where we are. B033 was about moratoria and about restraint, and I think it remains to be seen if this affects those two."

Bishop Stacey Sauls (Kentucky) said that D025 and B033 together offer

A true picture of where our church stands at the moment: That our canonical process is open to all people, including gay and lesbian people. We are concerned about our relations in the communion, and we have asked people to exercise restraint while we get that worked out.

I think that's probably an advance, and I think people will know we're through exercising restraint when we've stopped doing it.

Bishops say "yes" to ammended D025

Well, I'll have to eat my words, won't I. And, glory be, +ECR voted yes. I'm absolutely gobsmacked. In fact, that is more surprise to me than the passage of D025 by the HOB.

99 Aye
45 No
2 Abstain

This is a "double whammy" to the ABC who came to tell TEC what we would do. First house of deputies told him, thanks, but this is our church, and we have our ways of doing things. Then, the house of bishops by about 2/3 told him that regardless of Lambeth, TEC has its own polity.

Jim Naughton reports that the bishops' amended version is not significantly different from that passed by the HOD and, therefore, should not present a problem for re-passage in HOD. (The resolution must go back to the HOD because the wording has been changed.)
    Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm the continued participation of The Episcopal Church as a constituent member ofnone innone 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 which call is testednone 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.


    This resolution provides clarification in light of the Windsor Report (2004) and subsequent discussions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

    The first resolve reaffirms resolution A159 adopted at the 75th General Convention General Convention, in 2006. While much attention has been focused on official statements and resolutions from the primates meetings, Lambeth Conference 2008, and Anglican Consultative Council meetings in 2005 and 2009, our participation in the Anglican Communion consists of a much richer tapestry of ministries and networks as well as personal relationships. Hence the second resolve encourages Episcopalians, individually and in dioceses and parishes, to build relationships with our sisters and brothers around the Anglican Communion by participation in these networks and ministries.

    Another sign of the Episcopal Church's commitment to the Anglican Communion is financial. In 2007, The Episcopal Church budgeted $661,000 for the Inter-Anglican budget, which sustains the work of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Anglican Communion offices in London. The 2007 financial report of the Anglican Consultative Council (the latest available on the Anglican Communion website) reports a total income from Inter Anglican Budget contributions as £1,134,745 ($1,864,574.36, using 2009 currency rates). In other words, The Episcopal Church contributes a substantial portion of the Inter Anglican Budget. This resolution reaffirms our financial commitment.

    Our relationships in the Anglican Communion have been tested by the question of the ordination to the episcopate of individuals living in a same-sex partnership. Resolution D-039 of the 73rd General Convention, in 2000, acknowledged that the membership of the Episcopal Church includes persons living in same-sex relationships; established an expectation that "such relationships will be 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"; and further denounced "promiscuity, exploitation, and abusiveness in the relationships of any of our members." Three years later, the 74th General Convention reaffirmed this expectation. These standards thus provide guidance for access to the discernment process for ordination to the episcopate.

    The acceptance of the ministry of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons is not settled in The Episcopal Church or in the Anglican Communion. While the church continues to discern God's will in these matters, it is important to remind ourselves that sacramental theology since the time of Augustine of Hippo has affirmed that the validity of sacraments does not depend on the character of the ordained person celebrating those sacraments.

From Jim Naughton:
    Alabama No
    Aslmon No
    Asst Chgo Abstain
    Central Fl No
    CGC No
    Suff No
    Dominican No
    FL No
    Fon Du Lac NO
    Fry No
    GA No
    Haiti No
    Honduras No
    LA No
    Litoral No
    Suff NO
    Mc Al No
    Milkwaukee No
    MS No
    N Dakota No
    N Indiana
    Nw PA No
    NW Texas-????
    Rowthorne No
    SC No
    Suff Chap No
    Suff Texas No
    SW FL
    Taiwant No
    Sff No
    TN No
    Virgin Islands-
    W Kansas
    W LA No

    W Texas No
    W Texas No

    W VA No
Pass the salt, please.

Lambeth Kool-Aid

Go read Elizabeth Keaton's post today. As usual, her post is balanced and informative and she used a term I used last August about the Lambeth experience. You'll find Elizabeth's post here. Here is a snippet
C056 a major resolution on same sex blessings has cleared the Prayer Book Committee by a huge margin (6-0 among bishops, 26-1 in deputies). This is a critically important resolution which will direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music SCLM), in consultation with the House of Bishops Theology Committee, collect and develop theological resources and liturgies of blessing for same-gender holy unions, to be presented to the 77th General Convention for formal consideration.

It also stipulates that all bishops, noting particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships’ are legal, may provide generous pastoral response (B012) to meet the needs of members of this Church.

This, folks, is huge. HUGE.

It is expected to pass the House of Deputies and will then move on to the Bishops.

There's another breaking story that, until the other day, was being told in hushed terms. The "moderate" publication "The Center Aisle" had another story in this morning's edition.

"Lambeth Kool-Aid"

You hear the term in not-so hushed, concerned conversations on both sides of the aisle in the Exhibit and Convention Hall, usually in response to the question, “What will the bishops do?”

Some long-time deputies are lamenting that they’ve never seen the split so deep between the two houses.

Others refer to it as “a rift” between deputies and bishops. Our baptized sisters and brothers who wear varying shades of purple are being described, alternately, as “more conservative,” “anxious,” “fearful,” and even, “depressed.”

It’s about that time that the term “Lambeth Kool-Aid” begins to surface.
It's so nice when others pick up my terms. But in seriousness, Elizabeth points out one of the elephants in the room - the rift between the prince-bishops and the deputies. I think those who founded our church in the 1789 would be rather shocked to see which house was, or at least is attempting, to run TEC today.

D045 No more secret committess - kinda sorta

According to JB Chilton at The Lead, D045 has passed. Kudos and many thanks to Katie Sherrod who proposed this resolution.

    Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention direct that the membership of all committees, subcommittees, task forces, panels or other bodies elected or appointed by any body or leader throughout The Episcopal Church including, but not limited to, the House of Deputies, the House of Bishops, the Executive Council, Standing Commissions, Committees, Agencies and Boards of The Episcopal Church and their respective Presiding Officers and Chairs be publicly available within 30 days after election or appointment.


    The Episcopal Church should model in its governance and life the transparency and openness all Christians are called to demonstrate. Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to seek Christ in all people and to respect the dignity of every human being. Transparency in our dealings with one another is one way human dignity is respected. Conversely, secrecy is destructive of human dignity and of our common life. Making public the names of persons elected or appointed to any body charged to work in Christ's name for the good of the Church serves the Church's health and promotes trust in one another.
Emphasis mine, of course. The "kinda-sorta" bit is because they can be secret for thirty days. Too long in my opinion.

Many thanks, Katie! Ya done good; we're proud to know ya.