Excuse my tardiness in posting Father Thorpe's (our inside man's) convention reporting. I've spent eight hours in the car today, driving from Connecticut to Virginia. Here are his thoughts on days 3 and 4:
More voting tehcnological difficulties in the HoDep.
I stepped out to get literature from everybody I could
think of: Via Media, Integrity, AAC, ACN, you name it.
There's lots of opportunity for group to get their
messages out here, but you have to know where to look.
Took the afternoon off for family time. Ate dinner
with the Albany delegation.
Morning was encouraging, afternoon was discouraging.
I've been altrenating days between the HoDep and HoB.
Today was HoB. I began at the Forward in Faith North
America Eucharist, held at the same time as the
Convention Eucharist. Quite a contrast:
FifNA Euch (hereafter FE) - processional cross right
up front and center, behind the altar. Convention
Eucharist (hereafter CE) - I had to look for a cross,
finally finding it off to the side. FE - also central
behind the altar, a large banner-icon of Christ. CE -
no visual imagry that reflected religious themes: only
flowers and sunsets. FE - music was simple, a single
organ. CE - music was glorious and varied, orchestras
and choirs included. FE - Firmly Anglo-catholic
liturgically, with incense, cassocks and surplices.
CE - convention style liturgy, which means just the
basics (to keep it simple), broad choreography to be
easily seen, etc. Alb and stole, no incense. FE -
tone of sermon was persecuted, offended, dependent
upon divine intervention, conscious of division. CE -
tone of sermon was confident, victorious, vibrant, no
mension of division or tension in the ranks. FE - upon
approaching the altar, I began to weep when I looked
in the eyes of Christ in the icon; had to dry my eyes
and glasses when I got back to my seat. CE - I had to
imagine a crucifix myself, because there is no imagry
of Christ in the place. it was still meaningful to me
as a Eucharist, but only because I brought that
meaning with me by repeating to myself phrases that
had not been heard in the liturgy, such as "Thank you,
Lord, for washing my sins away." at the FE I felt
meaning thrust upon me. This last affect is, granted,
purely subjective, but it points out the fact that
there was no image or visual invocation of Christ in
the convention eucharist for me to contemplate, while
such things were given high importance int eh FE.
So there were three signs for me that the church is,
at least in some measure, healthy. First, being able
to weep at the icon of Christ -- we are still able to
worship Christ and weep for love of Him in our church.
Second, I heard a bishop (with whom I usually
disagree strongly) speak of having heard the Holy
spirit tell him something and him obeying. We have a
church where the leaders sometimes listen to the
Spirit, genuinely hear Him, and obey. This is
healthy. Finally, I saw a woman praying over her
food. We still have a church where people are
encouraged to express their faith in public and take
it seriously that way. This is healthy.
but we are not entirely healthy. There's still much
work to do.
The afternoon was the HoB debate over some of the
Anglican communion resolutions. I dont' have time now
to go into details, but let me say I think Robert's
rules of order are outdated and inappropriate for the
HoB, that the house was not served well by the way its
officers ran the session. I'm also upset at their
disregard of the Arch.bp. of york's advice and their
strengthening of the impulse toward 'independence'
within the bond of Communion.