Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Posts from 10 pm to Midnight Tuesday

Lowell Grisham: Tuesday Wrap up
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 12:24 am

Lowell Grisham (clergy Arkansas) has a helpful summary of today in the House of Deputies:

Tuesday, June 20, afternoon & evening
Tuesday Afternoon

We’ve tried unsuccessfully a couple of times to reintroduce A161 (the Election of Bishops) to give the house a chance to consider (for the first time) the wording as it was originally offered from the Special Commission. Rumor around here has it that we’ll get a chance to add it as an amendment to another resolution from the Special Committee.
We’ve made some progress on a resolutions calendar that is far behind. Dispatch of Business will have to work up a list of resolutions that will take priority since we are unlikely to be able to act on all of the matters that have been filed.

After lengthy discussion the deputies concurred with the bishops to confirm Barry Beisner who was elected Bishop by the Diocese of Northern California. Beisner has been divorced twice and married three times. Although that was not an issue in his diocesan election, it has been heatedly debated at General Convention. His election was confirmed, but not without considerable dissent.

We passed the Budget.

We concurred with the House of Bishops on a first reading of the Constitutional change that would give all bishops voice in the House of Bishops but give vote only to bishops having jurisdiction and bishops holding an office created by General Convention. It also defines a quorum as a majority of all Bishops entitled to vote. There have been times when the House of Bishops has had trouble getting a majority vote because of the large number of retired bishops who are absent but who are counted for a quorum.
We adjourned at 6:00 p.m. and returned for an evening session at 7:30.
Tuesday Evening
The chair announced that the Presiding Bishop has called for a joint session of both houses tomorrow morning. The assumption is that Bishop Griswold wants the houses to work together on our response to the Windsor Report. The Special Committee is working with the Presiding Bishop and other leaders to perfect some alternative language for us to consider tomorrow. I assume we would have to suspend the rules in order to do that. Some powerful negotiating is going on.

Our first consideration tonight is A159 — Anglican Communion: Commitment to Interdependence in the Anglican CommunionThis resolution reaffirms “the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of church that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible…” Our house had already passed this resolution on June 14. It was amended by the House of Bishops in a way the bishops felt protected our autonomy. The Committee believed that the Bishop’s insertion sent conflicting messages. A conference committee re-wrote A159, and we now are considering that substitute resolution. The intent of the resolution is to say we have a basic commitment to the Anglican Communion. The voice vote to affirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion sounded unanimous. Amazing!

The next resolution is the more controversial “Anglican Covenant Development Process” resolution. It is imagined that a Covenant process would take nine years in taking form. There are at least three possible forms of Covenant that have been imagined — theological, canonical, or relational. This resolution only asks us to support the idea, follow it, and report back. It is not a commitment to a form of covenant or to accept whatever may be proposed. There is some suspicion that this is a “blank check” resolution. Will we be included the process of the creation of a Covenant? There is nervousness that we will be committing ourselves to something about which we will have little influence. The resolution is carefully crafted so as not to commit us to a Covenant but rather to get us in the conversation about whatever Covenant might be developed within the Anglican Communion. The house voted overwhelmingly in favor of the un-amended resolution. There is some momentum building.

We’ve just extended the time of adjournment. It is ten minutes until 9:00 p.m. We want to take on the major work of amending the Canon III ordination canons. This is big work to try to make the processes for ordination for deacons and priests more similar, and to delineate the formation processes more clearly. This is a 38 page resolution. It’s been a hot topic of conversation and study. There are new policies for receiving and forming clergy being received from another denomination. The excellent work of the committee was rewarded. At 9:20 p.m. we passed the Canonical changes without amendment. We’re cooking!

We’ll start a little earlier tomorrow.

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The (London) Times: A house divided
June 20th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:27 pm

The Archbishop of Canterbury has sought to urge restraint on everybody. He did so again in his reaction to the elevation of Bishop Schori yesterday. His aim has been to minimise public hostilities and then seek a truce that will keep all sides within the fold at the Lambeth Conference. Yet it is surely obvious that containing Anglican factionalism is beyond his capabilities.

That being so, Dr Williams has to take certain risks with his leadership. He would be wise to recognise that a serious dispute is unavoidable and to dedicate himself to finding the least damaging formula for easing friction inside the Church. It is not impossible that the warring camps might be willing to remain in a federation, a looser organisation than the current Church, in which they were all in communion with the Archbishopric of Canterbury, but not, technically, with each other.

To achieve that end, Dr Williams has to abandon the notion of being an “honest broker”, which, in reality, has made him appear weak and become an advocate for his own solution. The quest is to manage differences rather than hope to split them.
The Archbishop needs to provide a series of addresses and sermons setting out his vision for a decentralised Church, preferably in a language and style that is accessible to those who do not hold a doctorate in theology, and make the case for Anglicans to stick together, but with a less adhesive glue. Divorce is not a course that a faith should undertake lightly: an unorthodox marriage would be a better option.

Read it all.

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From Sarah Hey’s Invaluable Liveblogging of the House of Bishops Today
June 20th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:26 pm

Note especially the end which gives hints about what MAY be coming tomorrow–KSH.

Jenkins, Louisiana — support bishop on joint session — we are trapped by our processes — feel as if we have stepped off into the Twilight Zone — keep doing same thing over and over again — important to shift the anxiety in this house back to those who gave it to us, back where it belongs — believe we have one church with two minds. Resolution to present to joint house.

Our process always involves a minority report — often generated apart from this house. Seems to some that minority report is somewhat disloyal to the mind of the house — one church, two minds gives us the chance to demonstrate honesty and intergriy, sacrifice. Does not offer a solution that may be beyond our capacities.

Duncan, Central Gulf Coast — want to say that I think the Presider has a good idea in calling us into a joint session — I look at the resolution on table in front of me — all trying to look at WR — how to say that we want to move forward with our partnership with the AC — first resolution says that we won’t authorize blessings during this 75th GC — submit that we have done this in fact and not in word.

Griswold — that is true — there has been no authorization of those rites.
???, Eastern Oregon — good opportunity — greatest anxiety about this piece is that we come to a conclusion prematurely. Language of adoption, as if we know what we are doing — we have decide and we know what it is — short circuits what invites us into a journey and a process. Would reduce anxiety if clear and specific conclusions — but I’m of a mind that we don’t know how to do that — don’t know as a communion, never had to do it — that’s nothing in the scheme of time.

Reminded of image of the story of the monk — “walk along and we fall down and we walk along and we fall down” — doesn’t include that we walk along with each other. Don’t know how to do that with each other.

Maybe what we can say with our heart and soul is that we are trying. We are committed — not so much to have tidy answers but to try.

Appreciate Charles’s image of one church, two minds. . . .

Maybe that’s what we need to say — not that we have answers but that somehow by the grace of God that we’re going to try, we’re going to explore, that we’re going to get it wrong, that we’re going to fall, but we’re going to do it together, but in due time when the kairos time is right we will decide.

What we need to do is resist the temptation of premature conclusion — know who loves us — we don’t know but the one who loves us will show us the way — but the truth will come and it will be right and good, and all of us will be at the table together. Thank you.
Porter Taylor, WNC — think that Bishop Duncan was talking about naming this honestly — but there are wheels within wheels within wheels — incredibly complex — any attempt to label what has occurred will not be the whole truth.

Ihloff, Maryland — sometimes our history helps to inform us — since January of 2004 have passed several minds of the house resolutions which have been lauded in number of places, including chairman of the Special Committee that even that went further than his expectations — cited that at hearing — seems important to acknowledge variety of expectations about Windsor Report. That which primate of Ireland finds acceptable others on committee either do or do not find acceptable. We want to live into the WR in ways that suggest only one interpretation but I want to suggest that there are multiple interpretations.

Present ??? to HOD which we know that Eames seems to feel is adequate.
Want to reiterate that there has been a lot of emphasis on new consensus that will be formed — but we relate to each other as if new consensus will by my way or your way, rather than new consensus that may well be the realization of a way that our unity is not based on agreement on this. . . . Believe that there is considerable unity in AC and in this church and that to suggest that we are irreconcilably divided is a faithless and deplorable concept.

Smith, Western Missouri — Nehemiah faced with difficult task of building temple — people stood on edges and disparaged efforts. Trying to rebuild the temple and facing disparagement. Church asking for leadership and for good or ill the leadership has to come from us. Watched senior house — struggling mightily — seemed to be moving apart from one another while trajectory in this house seems to be moving together.
Might not have been ready for leadership in Camp Allen — provisional — not prepared to take bolder step — perhaps won’t get clarity from both houses — perhaps left to us to provide that leadership. Ask that our ecclesiology not be limited by our polity.
Griswold — suggest when we come to 7:30 a way forward —
??? — need to be succinct — about ready to faint I think — large Anglican church left diocese and affiliated with another province — but he was divorced and remarried — did not realize that the Province did not accept divorced/remarried clergy.
Building on what bishop of Louisiana says — several minds — begin work of crafting new resolution for joint session — that resolution could begin with recognition that GC since 1979 has wrestled with this issue in a way that we find less than satisfactory — so many things left dangling. From there we could begin to address some of the specific things that other people would like to see us do while we are doing our process. Bishop Salmon has been saying that we need to have the theological conversation. If that could be the suggested way forward — global recognition that we are still in middle of process. Still in process of revising this teaching — we’re not of one mind of this but we promise to do better.

Griswold — now 7:30 — interjected my own thoughts — Lipscomb suggested resolution endorsing resolution as it is . . . what I would like to do is have the bishops of the Special Committee meet with their analogs in the HOD, put together something as direct as possible that might be the basis for reconsideration by the HOD if they choose, then do mind of house resolution, tomorrow both houses may do something and concur or it may be that we pass the mind of the house resolution.

Read it all.

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Episcopalians balk at call for moratoria
June 20th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:04 pm

On Tuesday, the House of Deputies, a legislative body of nearly 900 clergy and lay delegates, did not approve the measures called for in the report.

The failure to act sparked frustration among both liberals and conservatives that two days of discussion had not yielded a compromise and that the church had failed to fashion an adequate response for international leaders.

“We were disappointed we were not passing a resolution that would bring clarity and do what we had been asked to do,” said Canon Sandy Herrmann, a deputy representing the Diocese of Quincy, Ill., and rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“There was an eerie silence and sadness and kind of a pall that just came over our House of Deputies.”

Chicago Bishop William Persell said he hoped the House of Bishops, the church’s other legislative body, could reach a compromise “to keep the communion alive, ” with or without the deputies’ approval.

“It does put us in a difficult position,” Persell said of the deputies’ decision. “There’s a strong feeling here that we need to come up with something in response to the Windsor Report. At the same time that is coupled with the strong feeling that we don’t want to sell out gays and lesbian members of our church.”

Many leaders said the weeklong convention did not allow enough time to ponder the report. They also insisted that the discussion was far from over, citing two upcoming resolutions regarding ties with the Anglican Communion.

“People are acting as if it’s done and it isn’t done at all,” said Canon Kendall Harmon….

Read it all.

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Canadian observers weigh in on General Convention
June 20th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:01 pm

Read it all.

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Notable and Quotable
June 20th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:54 pm

“I feel like I am living at the Mad tea party.”

–Diocese of Albany deputy the Rev. Ellen C. Neufeld just a moment ago to me in the elevator at the hotel

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Integrity’s Take on Today: Moratoria Resolution Fails to Pass in House of Deputies
June 20th, 2006 posted by kendall at 10:52 pm

The resolution that sought to stop the consecration of gay and lesbian bishops and the blessing of same-gender unions failed to win passage in the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church this afternoon.

Earlier, a substitute resolution crafted by conservatives was challenged on constitutional grounds, and was ultimately declared unconstitutional because its resolves exceeded General Convention’s authority. With that out of the way, the House of Deputies voted on the resolution “by orders.” Both the original and conservative versions were crafted as acts of compliance with the Windsor Report, whereas Integrity has called for participation in the listening process recommended by Windsor.

In a surprise to many on the floor, a number of conservatives joined progressives in voting against the resolution. Nevertheless, conservative leaders immediately said that the Episcopal Church was continuing itstrajectory to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. Both David Anderson of the American Anglican Council and Kendall Harmon of the Anglican Communion Network declared that the motion as it stood had not adequately met the concerns of the Windsor Report.

At the end of this afternoon’s business in the House of Deputies, it appeared that the Episcopal Church had voted to continue with its 2003 policy in regard to gay bishops and same-sex blessings. Integrity expressedhopeful confidence that as the remaining Windsor-related resolutions were discussed, the Episcopal Church would continue to declare its support for the full inclusion of all the baptized in all orders of the Church.
Then, as things have had a habit of doing at this convention, what seemed finished was not quite finished. The House of Deputies continued work into the night on resolution A159 on interdependence in the AnglicanCommunion–which Integrity supported in its original form. The resolution passed after debate. As we file, the House of Deputies also approved resolution A166–calling for a process toward an Anglican Covenant.
Now, word has come that a joint session of the two Houses has been called by the Presiding Bishop for tomorrow morning, to hear and discuss an alternative proposal from Special Committee 26 on the Windsor process. Stay tuned.

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