Thursday, July 9, 2009

The wheels of legislation....

This afternoon the HofD began a committee of the whole conversation regarding numerous resolutions, all of which ended up in the
Committee for World Mission, which seek to, in one way or another, deal with B033 from 2006. B033, to remind you, was the resolutions from the house of bishops that was (my description) forced down the throats of the H of D on the last day of the GC in Columbus. It said that bishops and standing committees--a majority of which are required to approve the election of a bishop--should 'exercise restraint" in approving any bishop-elect whose 'manner of life' would strain the 'bonds of affection' with other churches in the Anglican Communion. Translation: don't approve any gay or lesbian candidate for bishop who is in a committed relationship. The irony and hypocrisy of that is that the House of Bishops has always had gay members. I talked to a priest from Nevada today who told me he has served under 5 bishops and 3 of them were known to be gay.

At any rate, the committee outlined the options facing the 76th GC and B033;
1, do nothing (allowing B033 to remain in place)
2. reaffirm B033
3. overturn B033
4. pass a resolution affirming the Canons as the only
guidelines for approving Bishops (B033 violates the
non-discriminatory canons of the church)
5. pass a resolution affirming inclusion of all the baptized
in every aspect of the life of the church.

You see, a resolution only loses it's authority if a) expiration is built into the resolution (B033 has none) b) it is specifically overturned by another resolution or c)a resolution that obviously negates it is passed.

I'm relatively sure the HofD will pass something like 3, 4 or 5. My bet is #5, so we'll see how prophetic I am in several days. The House of Bishops is another matter. I believe the bishops have a majority that would like to void B033 but I'm not sure the 'will' is there to challenge the rest of the Anglican Communion by doing so.

The AC came into being in the 20th century (I'll look up the date for you) and it was established with worship as our defining characteristic, not doctrine and in face encouraged varieties of doctrinal stances within a worshiping communion. That's why it's the Angilcan COMMUNION rather than the Anglican CONFESSION or Anglican THEOLOGICAL UNION.

Certainly more on that issue. I know lots of people wish we could get beyond this issue. But this is the issue that we must first 'get beyond'. Passing either 3, 4,or 5 above would do that--if we have the courage.

There are lots of other things we need to deal with and I will report on them in the days ahead.

My postings aside: There is lots of stuff to carry around if you choose to carry it around. The 'blue book' of reports weighs about 5 pounds and our note book is about 20 inches by inches and 4 inches thick. Then there is all the stuff you pick up every day--reports, at least 5 daily news reports, position papers, handouts from church groups, etc, etc. I leave the big stuff on the table where I sit overnight. Many people take them with them and carry their laptops everywhere. So a considerable # of people are wheeling around carry on size suitcases to carry their stuff. These are remarkably dangerous. I trip over them several times a day and the collective noise of all those wheels on marble floors and sidewalks is almost deafening. I considered proposing a resolution forbidding them from the GC. But given how many people do that, it would surely have failed.

I was minding my own business today at Eucharist when a deacon came up and shoved a pitcher of wine in my hand. "Carry this and follow me", she said. So I found myself up at the altar where 4 dozen or so pitchers of wine were placed along with a dozen huge baskets of fresh baked bread. (It's a big altar!) I got to stay down off the podium with a good view of the consecration and then went up again to carry the wine to one of the communion stations. I never volunteer for such things but someone didn't show up and when she handed me the pitcher I gladly carried it.

This taught me a lesson I 'know' but don't live into much. When the church 'asks' for volunteers for something in a newsletter or bulletin or even an announcements you may get some. But if you hand it personally to someone, they'll almost always carry the pitcher to the altar. We need to do more 'asking personally' at St. John's. I'm always amazed at the people who bring up the bread and wine and pray the earth prayer--it's not because we asked for volunteers but because the ushers and Lucille Ladden simply ask them personally to do so--or in Lucille's case, she says, ' you'll be doing the earth prayer next week...' And they do. "Ask and you shall receive" sounds familiar. We need to do that more and more.

I saw Bp. Smith right after the Eucharist. He was astounded to see me up at the altar. He told me he said to himself, "Shoot," (or something to that effect) "that's Bradley up there...." He may have been concerned that I was in such close proximity to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was at the altar, knowing I'm not a big fan of the ABC. But I DO believe we are made "one" in breaking bread and not in our opinions, so Rowan Williams was safe.....

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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.