Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Posts 6 a.m. - 9 a.m. Wednesday

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For those of you who like this kind of thing
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 8:56 am

Stand Firm have dug into ECUSA’s Canons related to the joint session of Bishops and Deputies:

Canon regarding right of PB to call joint session

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Episcopal vote backs gay bishops
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:49 am

Columbus, Ohio - After days of deliberation, the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies voted against restricting the consecration of bishops living openly in same-sex unions.
The decision came Tuesday at the Episcopal Church’s 75th General Convention just one day after the same body voiced regret over the rift caused in 2003 when the denomination consecrated an openly gay man, the Rev. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire.
The debate over homosexuality has not yet ended, though. The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops discussed a similar resolution Tuesday night and resolved to resume debate today, possibly in a joint meeting between the bishops and deputies….

Conservatives voiced a mixture of defeat and muted optimism.

Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker predicted fallout from the Anglican Communion. ‘It’s a great disappointment to those of us who are trying to rebuild the relationship with the greater Anglican Communion,’ Iker said. ‘I expect there will be some kind of statement from the archbishop of Canterbury tomorrow. I think he’ll respond with disappointment.’

The Rev. Kendall Harmon, the South Carolina Canon theologian and a convention deputy, holds out hope that the convention will pass a resolution to satisfy the Windsor Report. Issued in 2004, the report came out of a commission appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to mend fissures in the Anglican Communion.
‘It’s not over until it’s over,’ Harmon said. ‘But the possibilities to positively respond to the Windsor Report are increasingly slim.’

Read it all.

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Clarifications from Bishop John Howe
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 8:46 am

In response to many rumors circulating on listservs and various websites, Bishop Howe has written a clarification of where he stands and what is happenig for his diocese. Received via e-mail and posted with permission.

Bishop Howe writes:
General Convention has reached an impasse. Resolution A161, which bundled most of the “Windsor” responses into a single resolution, was defeated by the House of Deputies. The incoming President of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, moved for reconsideration (which requires 2/3 agreement), and about 60% of the Deputies agreed to reconsider. Reconsideration was defeated.

The Bishops of the Special Committee immediately flew into gear to redraft Resolution A162, which they had previously planned to (ask to) dismiss. In effect, they recreated A161, although the paragraphs were slightly rearranged.
Under the rules of the House of Deputies, “Neither a Question once determined, nor any Question of like import, shall be drawn again into debate or presented for action again during the same Convention, except upon the adoption of a motion to reconsider….”
Since a call to Reconsider has already been made and defeated, I raised a point of order in the House of Bishops of whether our consideration of A162 wouldn’t be an exercise in futility, since, whatever we might do with A162, the Deputies could not consider it.
We did not consider the Resolution in a legislative sense, but we discussed the issues for about an hour and a half, before the Presiding Bishop said he would call for a special joint session of both Houses tomorrow following the Eucharist.

He asked the members of the Special Committee to draft a new Resolution to be considered by both Houses.

Let me tell you where I think we are. I have never heard such a high level of hope and desire among the Bishops to preserve our relationship with Canterbury and the rest of the Communion. This is real. It is deep. It is impassioned.

But for many, almost certainly a majority of our Bishops, their view that these matters are “justice” issues for gays and lesbians, and that “we cannot preserve the unity of the Communion at the expense of one segment of the Body of Christ” is equally real, deep, and passionate.

Thus, we are, quite simply, “one church with two minds” as one of the Bishops put it.
Somewhere I read that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” We can (and do) admit that we are divided against ourselves. Which is to say that we are united about being divided! But whether we can live with the division is what (part of) this whole debate is all about.

I have consistently told you that I can envision no scenario in which we will adequately agree to what the Windsor Report and the Primates have asked of us. (I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong about this tomorrow!) It is remarkable that we are coming down to the closing hours of the Convention, with many people already leaving, and this most urgent piece of business, which has been before us for the past three years, is still so undecided.

A bit more about Katharine Jefferts Schori. At the time of her election I did not know she had authorized same-sex blessings in Nevada. Of course I knew she had consented to the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire, but we were (and are) in the process of re-evaluating that decision, and responding to the Communion’s objections to it.
Thus, when I said to her, “Come visit Central Florida,” it was on the assumption many of you would want to meet the new Presiding Bishop, and interact with her first hand.
I have since questioned her about the blessings. She said she has not authorized them in the sense of approving or establishing a Rite, but of “permitting a pastoral response” within a congregation that wishes to provide support to a gay or lesbian couple. She said she believes there have been two such instances that have taken place in Nevada.
I told her our Diocesan Convention was very clearly on record as not wanting anyone who had made even that kind of an authorization to be invited to Central Florida, and that we probably would not be able to arrange for her to visit.

I understand it has been reported that I voted in favor of her election. I did not.
I told you I will “support” her. Of course I will, as I would anyone who was elected Presiding Bishop. Does that mean I agree with her? Of course it does not. I am simply amazed that anyone could even ask the question.

It has also been reported that I am about to try to take the Diocese of Central Florida out of the Episcopal Church, and that I “have the papers all drawn up.” (Whatever that means!) Equally false.

Please pray for us as we go into tomorrow’s session. I cannot overstate how much hangs in the balance.

John W. Howe
John Howe is the Bishop of Central Florida

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From the Keep Your Sense of Humor Department
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:39 am

So far I have walked into two closets in bathrooms instead of the exit door. Today I did even better.

I left the hotel room with the computer bag but not the computer.

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Sam Candler: The Episcopal Church Needs Mercy
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:59 am

“Show us your mercy, Lord; and grant us your salvation.” I plead this morning for mercy, mercy from our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion, from within our own Episcopal Church, and from the world itself that is waiting and watching for salvation.
Have mercy on us as the Episcopal Church clings to two different, and perhaps competing, truths.

One truth is that we commit ourselves to this evolving and sacred mystery that is the Anglican Communion. We are Anglicans and proud of it. We earnestly desire the highest degree of communion possible with other Anglicans. We want to walk together with folks who share our common heritage (and with Christians everywhere, for that matter).
The second truth, just as urgent for many of us, is the truth of blessed same-sex unions among our faithful local communities. We have witnessed some of that blessed grace on the very floor of convention, and many of us believe that God can call such leadership to the episcopate. How, and where, can these truths be expressed together in a coherent way? I believe there is such a place, a place described in Psalm 85, where “mercy and truth meet together, where righteousness and peace kiss each other.” Let us cling to that place.

I believe we can go forward in the name of mercy and truth, and with deep, deep respect for the right and for the left in this church. The Episcopal Church walks in the Spirit when we do not discard the right and when we do not abandon the left.

The Episcopal Church is not the middle way. The Episcopal Church is the comprehensive way, which includes fully the right and the left. Mercy and truth can meet together. It will be a miracle, yes, and I believe in miracles.

–The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler is Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, Georgia

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Schism threat after failure of middle way
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:54 am

The strategy of leaders of the Anglican church at Columbus had been to engineer the moderate middle ground to be Windsor-compliant, marginalising the radical liberals and the orthodox, for the sake of unity.

This strategy failed.

In the end, the key resolutions were too liberal for the conservatives or too conservative for the liberals.

Read it all.

There is a thought–a strategic failure. A systemic failure. A leadership failure. So far, it has been all those things.

Let us not then blame Kendall Harmon or Susan Russell for asking for honesty and clarity and calling people to vote for their convictions. Nor let us blame the many good government and due process types who could see an inadequate resolution for what it was. But let us also see what today brings and whether we will respond clearly and honestly to what the Windsor report specifically asks of us as a Province–KSH.

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