Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Posts: Midnight - 6 a.m. Wed June 21

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June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 6:29 am

To help the server during periods of overload, we’ve reduced the number of entries on the first page. Some of this morning’s posts will scroll off very quickly, and there are a few posts from late last night (11 p.m. Eastern) that many may have missed that are already on page 2. To see the previous entries click here.

Oh, and while we’re giving helpful advice: Don’t forget, we’ve created a Titusonenine BACKUP blog where you can see all the recent posts (last 24 hours or so), and where we’ll post news should the main CaNNet site crash. Bookmark this link:

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In Response to the Exhausting caricatures of Reasserters
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:12 am

In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of General Convention the ability to keep some kind of perspective is not good at all.With that said, however, there is a theme which I find very frustrating in what I have been able to read this morning.It is the tag against reasserters (interestingly in a number of places it is only reasserters who get the blame) that somehow we are trying for failure.

Here for example is Jim Naughton:

“What’s happening is that the left, which doesn’t want to restrict us on the gay bishops issue, and the right, which wants us to fail to respond to Windsor in any meaningful way so that this failure can be used against us in the Communion, are outmaneuvering the middle.”

Or here is one of many emails:

“Those on the left are happy to be thumbing their nose at the Anglican Communion and asserting our American individualism, which is really just another form of imperialism. Those on the right are glad to speak and voteagainst A161 so now they can claim the Episcopal church has turned its back on the Communion (indeed I’ve already heard that).”

While I grant that there perhaps are a very very few reasserters here who really do want this (and I marvel at people claiming to know others motivations in these contexts anyway) it is an unfair caricature of the vast majority of us who are here. We are seeking to ask the General Convention to adopt the basic calls of the Windsor Report which themselves are a compromise. It is unfair and untrue to portray us as is being done above.

I have made this argument already but it is worth quoting again:
“We believe the Windsor Report is a big compromise. There are all kinds of extremely important issues which remain unaddressed in the report’s recommendations. It is, however, a unanimous report by some Anglicans throughout the world, which has been viewed as the positive way forward by many Anglican leaders and groups. We take this very seriously as a minimum step to create the space necessary for any healing for a Communion that has been severely damaged by conflict.”

My deep disagreement with what I am reading is this: these are intraprovincial perspectives. In other words, they take as their starting point our own province, and really our own General Convention, and they seek to use that as the entirety of the backdrop in which is played out.

Hello–this is a global Anglican crisis! Where is the reference to what the rest of the Anglican world is saying and what the rest of the Anglican world thinks? Why is General Convention and committee 26 the only focus instead of the Primates meeting, the Archbshop of Canterbury, and the Windsor Report, and other international factors?
Frank Wade, deputy from Washington, keeps talking about continuing the conversation. We cannot possibly do that unless we stop doing what we are doing. It makes no sense for the Communion to talk about whether to do something which the Episcopal Church is going to continue to do, especially since it is a decision for the whole church and the majority of Anglicans believe the what TEC has done is a departure from apostolic faith and practice.

This is the issue–will we agree to stop doing what we have been asked to stop doing. THAT will create space. THAT is a compromise. THAT is what has been requested of us. THAT is what reasserters are after at this Convention.

Seeking that goal is anything but extreme. The fact that it is being caricatured as such simply reflects how distorted things are from inside the world of TEC in general and General Convention in particular–KSH.

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Bishops, Deputies to meet in joint Windsor session
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:48 am

Lipscomb moved that the House adopt the Windsor Report, and to send a message to the House of Deputies but later withdrew the motion to honor the Presiding Bishop’s request for the joint session.

Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy said “we’re dealing with a relative impasse. It’s extraordinarily painful, but I believe that’s what’s occurred.”

Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana said the Church should “shift the anxiety back to those who gave it to us, put it back where it belongs. I believe what we have is one church with two minds. To say that is to say something very plain to the Anglican Communion.”
Bishop William Gregg of Eastern Oregon pointed out that the Windsor Report invites the Episcopal Church on a journey and calls all its members to conversation. “Not that we have answers. We’re going to explore. We’re going to ask the questions, we’re going to get it wrong, we’re going to fall down, but we’re going to do it together,” he said.

Building upon comments by Jenkins, Pierre Whalon, bishop in charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, said, “it is one church of several minds.”

After an hour’s discussion, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold asked for the bishops and deputies on the Special Committee to meet to prepare a resolution for the joint session.

Read it all.

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Episcopalians defeat bid to nix more gay bishops
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:44 am

Bishops agonized over a response last night, deciding to hold an emergency joint session this morning with deputies to try to persuade them to change their minds, although it was not clear they would succeed. The bishops said they felt pressured by the Windsor Report, a 2004 document by international Anglican leaders in response to the 2003 consecration of openly homosexual V. Gene Robinson as New Hampshire bishop, demanding that Episcopalians cease from allowing same-sex blessings and homosexual bishops.Bishop Robinson begged deputies last night not to block men like him from the episcopate.“I desperately want to preserve this communion,” he said, “but I cannot do so at the expense of my own integrity and those of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom would make great bishops … . How can I vote no from any resolution that removes gay and lesbian people from the Episcopal gene pool?”What killed A161 was a potent combination of liberal and conservative Episcopalians who either said the resolution was too strong or too weak. Both factions going into the nine-day convention said they desired “clarity” on where the 2.2-million-member church really stands on sexual-morality issues.But Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee, a member of the subcommittee that drafted A161, pronounced himself “disappointed” with the resolution’s failure.“I really think the bishops will want somehow to recover that some way,” he said, adding that bishops may cobble language from A161 into another resolution or, as a last resort, come up with a “mind of the House” of Bishops stating that they at least intend to comply with the Windsor Report.“That would be a less-authoritative statement by the Episcopal Church,” he said, “but at least it would deal with the basic question of consent to [homosexual] bishops.”

Read it all.

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John Burwell’s report on General Convention Day Eight (yesterday)
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:39 am

Read it all.

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Lionel E. Deimel: Is the Episcopal Church About to Surrender?
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:32 am

On Thursday, June 15, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold asserted that—I apologize if this is not an exact quotation, but it is what I wrote down—“God’s concern is the world, not the Church.” That observation should inform what General Convention does at this critical time.

The actions of the 74th General Convention (and the years of discussion and steps taken that brought the church to where it found itself in 2003) were driven by pastoral concerns, by a willingness to be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and by an understanding that there is no such thing as “the clear meaning of Scripture.” Being a Christian does not absolve a one of the need to do hard work to discover what God would have one do in a particular time and place.

What is clear in Columbus is that the Episcopal Church, at least as represented by those participating in General Convention, believes in what was done at the last General Convention. Elements of the Anglican Communion reacted badly—I choose the word advisedly—to our actions. We have been asked to repent, and to declare moratoria on the consecration of openly gay bishops and on moving forward on the blessing of same sex unions.

The question we should ask is: Are we to follow our notion of what God is calling us to do in his world, or are we to try to “preserve” the Anglican Communion, a part, albeit a small part, of Christ’s Church? Is our concern the world or the Church?

Read it all.

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A Houston Chronicle editorial: Wrong division
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:26 am

This is an era when the nation is at war with global terrorists and could be attacked at any time. Many Americans are trapped in poverty and ignorance, and most face an uncertain future. At such a time, the deep national divide and animosity over same-sex unions is unnecessary and inappropriate.

So it is with Episcopalians. In his sermon on June 11, Trinity Sunday, the Very Rev. Joe D. Reynolds, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, stated the case as well as anyone:
“In the religion section of the Houston Chronicle yesterday the dominant headline … says: ‘Episcopal Struggle Heats Up.’ The article deals mostly with the controversy surrounding the inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church … .

“I would like to see different headlines … I would like to see a headline that says, “Episcopal Church Explores the Possibility of Peacemaking” or “Episcopal Church Brings Its Resources to Bear on the Plight of the Poor.”

Read the entire piece.

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Episcopal, Presbyterian Leaders Rule on Gay Clergy
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:23 am

Episcopal church leaders on Tuesday rejected a temporary ban against gay bishops, while Presbyterians agreed to let local and regional governing bodies decide whether to ordain gay or lesbian ministers.

The actions by the churches’ governing assemblies could cause further rifts in denominations already coping with theological divisions over homosexuality and declining membership.

The Episcopal House of Deputies, composed of more than 800 lay leaders and clergy, has been meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The Episcopal Church, with 2.3 million members in the U.S., is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Leading Anglican officials had asked the U.S. church to approve a temporary ban on gay bishops after V. Gene Robinson, who is gay, was elected bishop of New Hampshire three years ago. His election outraged conservatives, who constitute a minority in the U.S. church but who dominate some congregations overseas.

Robinson is the nation’s only openly gay Episcopal bishop, though in May, two gay men and a lesbian were among six finalists to become bishop of a Bay Area diocese.
“I was very pleased that they voted it down,” said the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, who was at the meeting.

Bacon, in a telephone interview, said conservatives who want to stay with the Anglican Communion were disappointed by the vote. “I would say right now the church is significantly polarized,” he said.

Read the whole piece.

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Presbyterians revisit the Trinity
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:20 am

The divine Trinity–”Father, Son and Holy Spirit”–could also be known as “Mother, Child and Womb” or “Rock, Redeemer and Friend” at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church’s national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to “receive” a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won’t be required to use them.

“This does not alter the church’s theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership,” legislative committee chairwoman Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday’s debate on the Trinity.

The assembly narrowly defeated a bid to refer the paper back for further study.
A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek “fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God” to “expand the church’s vocabulary of praise and wonder.”

Read it all.

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From the Email Bag
June 21st, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:19 am

I know this is a busy and trying time for you, and I don’t know when you’ll actually read this note, but I was reminded of the quote below in reading coverage of the effort to draft suitable resolutions for ECUSA’s response to the Windsor report.
In 1888, there were some significant theological debates going on among English Baptists, being conducted under the auspices of Council of the Baptist Union. The robust and powerful preacher Charles H. Spurgeon wrote to the Council urging clarity of speech in the interest of honesty.

“Whatever the Council does,” wrote Spurgeon, “let it above all things avoid the use of language which could legitimately have two meanings contrary to one another. Let us be plain and outspoken. There are grave differences–let them be avowed honestly. Why should any man be ashamed to do so? . . . [C]ompromise by the use of double meanings can never in the long run be wise.”

In such controversies, Spurgeon was consistently opposed to “unity” that was merely a verbal technicality. It is always dangerous to say “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. I have long worried that the genius of Anglicanism is the facility to craft language that obscures matters about which we deeply differ.
God be with you,

The elves must add a P.S. to this. The “coincidence” (Not!) is too stunning. While Kendall was posting this, we were busy working on the GenCon06 blog where our prayer leader, “the mitred abbess” has posted today’s devotional from Spurgeon, having no idea re: what Kendall was posting here on Titusonenine about Spurgeon. Awesome. Here’s the link

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David Simmons: Is this my church?
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 2:08 am

The odd voting pattern on A161 certainly has gotten folks attention. Here’s what David Simmons (”Ask the Priest”) has to say”

What was more disturbing was how people voted. Both the extreme left and the extreme right voted “no” in a rather unusual alliance. The only way I can interpret that is that they are both disinterested in a Via Media or middle way. The right would like to see these defeated so they can then claim we “failed to honor Windsor.” The left is unwilling to compromise their perception of justice even a bit. Both sides would rather maintain the purity of their position than enter into a costly relationship that means compromise for the sake of Christ.

IS there a place left for me as a moderate in the Episcopal Church, or do you now have to choose between two dichotomies? If so, it simply means that the modern American Political culture has overtaken the diverse church I love and we are unable to act with prayerful compromise like our forbears have done at General Convention for a couple of centuries. Some of this may have to do with generational theory, but I’m not going into that here.

Luckily, the deputies are not the entire General Convention. The Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, has called for a joint session of the houses tomorrow. I believe he will gently tell us how much is at stake and how we need to give our new female presiding bishop SOMETHING to take to the Anglican Communion since she’s already at a disadvantage.
Stay tuned…..

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The Battle in the Heavenlies
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 1:39 am

Of particular note, Fr. Andy (Colorado) discusses the “conspiracy theory” rumors that the Network dioceses deliberately undermined passage of A161.

Day#8: The Battle In The HeavenliesJune/20/2006 10:37 PM

The summary of the key events of this day: with everything hanging in the balance — constraint, conciliarity, communion, and covenant — the General Convention of the Episcopal Church failed to respond with sufficient clarity to the recommendations of the Windsor Report. With stunning speed in the first half hour of the afternoon session, the House voted out of order a substitute resolution that would have put before them a series of quotations from Windsor. It then proceeded to defeat handily an Omnibus Resolution representing the Special Committee’s balanced best work and good faith on the two key moratoria asked for. Regarding the question of moratoria, it looks like the Convention will give no response to Windsor.

A Role Call of the vote was read and it was striking how many “conservative” diocese voted this resolution down with the others. Still I would like to put rest immediately a grassy knoll theory you will hear, that is, that the left and the right joined together to deny the middle. That would not get at what happened here. Not an hour later I ran into Ellis Brust, the public relations officer of the AAC. He confirmed that there are at most 10 “Network” Dioceses. In a vote by orders the lay and clerical votes of each Deputation are counted as one vote. The resolutions were defeated by a margin of 12 votes in the Clerical Order and 17 votes in the lay order. [Math checked by none other than Larry Hitt, our Diocesan Chancellor!]

So did the minoritarian right join the majoritarian left to defeat the vast middle? The gap just cannot be bridge by purely conservative votes, though it might bear more expert analysis. Even so, it is notoriously hard to say how and why folks in the minority vote their conscience. I don’t believe any resolution on these matters would have passed period, much less if all the “strict Windsor constructionists” had voted for them. The House has shown on the key issue, that it is just not prepared to distance themselves, slow down, or otherwise step back from the action it took in 2003.

So now the question becomes, is any response better than none? Earlier this week I had thought that the chief goal was to get language that could echo Windsor as much as possible and that might pass the House of Deputies. But it appears that the prophetic-secretariat on both the left and the right has understood how the legislative process of our church works, better in fact than those in charge of it. For some mysterious reason, the Windsor resolutions were always sent by Dispatch to be heard first by the House of Deputies. At first I thought this was a good idea because it meant that the House wouldn’t feel dictated to by the Bishops. But then I listened to the Bishops and realized it was otherwise.

Here’s what happened late this afternoon. Hearing that the Windsor Resolutions were defeated, the House of Bishops realized it needed to do something. So they began to debate whether they could offer the Deputies another resolution or the Communion a “mind of the House” resolution. What unfolded was far from assuring. It turns out that the Bishops had really never had this debate before, and that they are a group that is much less “political”. After all, for the most part, they like each other, they like being bishops, they like doing things in a very gentlemanly and sisterly way. As bishop after bishop rose to speak, as if talking past each other, making it clear they had delayed this conversation for months, I could conclude only one thing: there was no leadership here.
I began my first blog thoughts coming to Columbus thinking that it would be the Bishops for once that would show leadership and guide us through. Unless they can pull off a miracle tomorrow with a planned joint session of the House, it will appear that I was naive and that the prophets will have a field day. I am praying that the Bishops can act effectively tomorrow as the stated goal is to bring another resolution to the floor, if even to express honestly that the Episcopal Church is official[ly] a “house divided.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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+Peter Lee: Action of Some Clarity is Needed
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 1:34 am

Action of Some Clarity is Necessary
By The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee

These words are written before the outcome of the 75th General Convention is clear, at least in the area of the Convention response to the Windsor Report. What is clear is that the complexities of the Convention’s legislative process get in the way of a prayerful process of different people from different perspectives coming to a unity of mission that transcends differences.

But that prayerful process has certainly been present. I served on the Special Legislative Committee that dealt with all resolutions having to do with the Windsor Report. Complex procedural processes were present but did not silence the civil and courteous exchanges that led our committee to offer resolutions that most of us believe represented a substantial response to the requests of the Anglican Communion through the Windsor Report.

The challenge before both houses today is one of seeking a way to say clearly to the Anglican Communion that we are committed to the Communion, that we accept the cost to us of following the recommendations of the Windsor Report, and that we do so while simultaneously recognizing and listening to our gay and lesbian brother and sisters and responding to their concerns.

The legislative barriers today include the understandable desires of bishops and deputies to speak often and to amend frequently. Those desires should be restrained. It may be necessary for the House of Bishops today to exercise leadership by adopting a Mind of the House resolution that commits the bishops to follow the Windsor Report. It is far preferable for the whole convention to act, but action of some clarity is necessary.
In Executive Session yesterday, one bishop told the touching story that he gave a son a prayer book autographed by Katharine Jefferts Schori and Gene Robinson because they are signs of the broad embrace of the church of the future.

To enter that future, we need to walk with others in the Communion. And with the inspired leadership of Bishop Jefferts Schori, we will enter the Communion of the future with the broad embrace that is characteristic of who we are.

This Convention revealed the diversity of our Church, the limitations of a legislative process to pastoral and mission concerns, and the hope of the future with the election of Bishop Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop, the adoption of a mission-oriented budget, and the Church’s commitment to the Millenium Development Goals.

From the Center Aisle for June 21

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Walking Together or Walking Apart?
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 1:31 am

David Montzingo of San Diego explains what actions he believes point to a decision to walk apart:

Walking Together or Walking Apart?
The last paragraph of the Windsor Report (157) begins with these words: “There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together. Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to learn to begin to walk apart.” After today’s General Convention actions, I feel we are on the brink of choosing to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion. Perhaps something will happen tomorrow in an extraordinary joint session of the Bishops and Deputies, called by the Presiding Bishop. However, in all honesty, I am pessimistic about our chances of remaining together. Why do I feel this way?

First, because we rejected the call of the Windsor Report to effect a moratorium on the selection of any bishop in a same-gender relationship and on the approval of public rites for blessing same-gender relationships (paragraphs 134, 143). We had both a very weak resolution and a strong substitute for it to consider today—both were voted down. We did pass resolutions expressing our desire to remain within the Anglican Communion and participate in the development of an Anglican Communion Covenant. But these are simply not enough.

Second, because we voted to discharge (not deal with) a resolution titled “Salvation Through Christ Alone.” The debate about dicharge centered around the question, “Why do we need to even consider a resolution such as this one?” But as people spoke, it was clear to me that many in our Church are uncomfortable with Jesus as the only way to salvation—it seems narrow, restrictive, and insensitive. I wonder how this unwillingness to affirm a core doctrine of our Christian faith will play in other provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Third, because we consented to the consecration of Barry Beisner as the next Bishop of Northern California. Canon Beisner is, by all accounts, a gifted priest and likeable person. However, he has been divorced and remarried twice. While we have other bishops who have been divorced and remarried, he will be the first to have done so twice. In both 1 Timothy 3.2 and Titus 1.6 St. Paul writes that a bishop should be “the husband of one wife.” This is usually taken to mean that divorce is an major impediment to the office of oversight in the Church. Taken together with Bishop Robinson’s same-gender relationship, the Episcopal Church appears to have abandoned traditional sexual morality at every level, including its leadership. Our Anglican brothers and sisters in other places will have more problems with this.

Fourth, because our new Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, appears to be willing to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion in order to maintain the present direction of the Episcopal Church. While she values our relationships with other Anglican Churches, she is wary of letting them dictate policy to us. But the Windsor Report does ask us to cease moving in certain directions unless a new consensus develops in the whole Anglican Communion. Her words and deeds will be scrutinized closely by other Anglican leaders to see if she wants us to pay the price for walking together.
Personally, I want to thank the Rev. Rober Certain, rector of St. Margaret’s Church in Palm Desert, for allowing me to take his spot on the House of Deputies’ floor this morning. It feels much different being on the floor than it does being in the alternate area. Unfortunately, during my time on the floor, we voted only on procedural matters, not on substance. The Deputies spend way, way too much time on procedure and process, and not nearly enough time on substantive debate.

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Elizabeth Kaeton on A166 — the Anglican Covenant Process
June 21st, 2006 posted by admin at 12:37 am

Elizabeth Kaeton shares her concerns about Resolution A166. She says ECUSA just wrote a blank check and that the result will be a magesterium and foreign rule.

However, we wrote a blank check in Resolution A166 – the Anglican Covenant Development Process. We have no active participatory role in the development of this Covenant.

Take a minute to get your head wrapped around that one. I don’t think even the Radical Right has taken in the full implication of that one yet.

Okay, ready? I’m going to repeat it. Here it is again: We have no active participatory role in the development of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

We are “supporting the process,” and asking the Executive Committee and our members of the Anglican Consultative Council – who, you will remember, were DISINVITED while we continue to fully fund our membership – to “follow” the process of covenant development and report it to the 76th General Convention.

Nothing else. Our role is essentially passive. We granted ourselves no active participatory role in the development process.

So, here’s my question: How can there be an authentic covenant if there is not active participation of all of its constituent members in its development?

Ahem . . . . Can you say, ‘magisterium’?

It is becoming reality – The Episcopal Church is becoming more and more dominated by the same ‘foreign rule’ that provided the impulse for the first Reformation. Except, of course, that the purple sacristy slipper is on the other foot, as it were. Now it is England that is the “foreign rule” to America, instead of the Britons objecting to Roman rule.

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