Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday lull (before the storm?)

After the glorious eucharist this morning with all the bishops of the church processing and the two past presiding bishops (Edmund Browning and Frank Griswold) flanking Katharine Jefferts Schori at the altar and all the ECW's, each diocese called by name, personally handing their United Thank Offering to the Presiding Bishop--plus music and dance to die for--there was a blessed break in the convention.

Today is too warm for me so I've spent some time in my room reading and resting.

The House of Deputies meets again from 3-6 pm and there is a chance we may get to the first significant piece of legislation entitled D025 (D means the original resolution came from a diocese--in this case several--which were cobbled together by the Committee on World Missions. Each resolution is assigned to one of the 20+ committees and might be drastically rewritten in committee before coming to the floor of the houses. D025 is coming to the HD first and when we have fiddled with it and if we approve it, it will go to the HBishops. If they change it members from both houses will meet to try to reach a compromise. Whatever fails in one house or the other fails. Both houses must pass the identical resolution for it to be inacted. (Sound familiar? Just like the House and Senate work.)

D025, in its present form, both affirms the EC's commitment to the Anglican Communion and, by implication, voids B033-2006.

Committees have both Bishops and Deputies on them (more Deputies since there are 835 or so of us and not nearly that many Bishops. The Committee approved D025 26-5 (dep. 24-2, Bish. 2-3!) Here it is in its wonderful parliamentary language.

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 76th GC reaffirm the continued participation of the EP in the Anglican Communion, give thanks for the work of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008; reaffirm the abiding commitment of the EC to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible, and be it future
Resolved, that the 76th GC encourage dioceses, congregations and members of the EC to participate to the fullest extent possible in the many instruments, net works and relationships of the AC, and be it further
Resolved, that the 76th GC reaffirm its financial commitment to the AC and pledge to participate fully in the Inter-Anglican Budget, and be it further
Resolved, that the 76th GC 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 GC has come to recognize that the baptized membership of the EC includes same sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships 'characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, care, honest communication and the holy love which enable those in such relationships to see each other in the image of God' (D039-2000) and be it further
Resolved that the 76th GC recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to
God's call and have exercise 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 GC affirm that God has called and may call such individuals to any ordained ministry in the EC, which call is tested through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the EC; and be it further
Resolved, that the 76th GC acknowledge that members of the EC as of the AC, 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.

It is, in my mind, a consummately "Anglican" statement, allowing for disagreement, pledging unity without uniformity, speaking boldly to the situation of our time and place. We shall see...perhaps today, surely Monday.

Got to go to the House now. (Well, it's not really a 'house', it's a huge room in an enormous Convention Center...but you know what I mean....)

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.