Thursday, June 29, 2006
Recently, Bishop Griswold said about the dioceses seeking APO, that such seeking is “consistent with their implicit intention of walking apart from the Episcopal Church.”
I would agree. But here's the crux of the matter: what happens when the Episcopal Church is determined to walk apart from the Anglican Communion? Is it obvious that every bishop and every diocese is obliged likewise to walk with ECUSA apart from the Communion, and apart from the overwhelming majority of the rest of Christendom, in this matter?
The principle I am working with: our allegiance is to the undivided, universal Church, the mystical body of Christ. We must therefore submit our judgment, not to the most immediate institutional expression of the Church within which we find ourselves, but to the broadest institutional expression, the one most in accord with the whole Church. ("Catholic" / "kata holos" / "in accord with the whole.") When, therefore, ECUSA is at odds with the Communion, our allegiance must be to the Communion. When the Communion is at odds with the judgment of the undivided and Universal Church, our allegiance must be to the latter.
Another germane point, made by Father Thorpus in the comments on Bp. Louttit's letter (below) is that theologically we believe in three (major) orders: bishops, priests, and deacons. The fundamental, sacramental units constituting the One Church are jurisdictions under the oversight of bishops (i.e. dioceses), themselves constituted by parishes, etc. Bishops are the chief pastors of their dioceses. And the One Church is governed by the collegium of bishops. The rest (archdeacons, archbishops, primates, metropolitans, monsignors, cardinals, etc.) are accretions instituted by man (as opposed to the orders of bishops, priests and deacons instituted by God himself) for practical reasons. I'm not saying that archdeacons, metropolitans and the rest are BAD, I'm just saying that they weren't instituted by God, like the threefold apostolic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons. Exceptions, in terms of honor, are those sees with apostolical foundations, Rome being preeminent among them, as is attested by the fathers of the Undivided Church, East and West, of the first millennium. But those preeminences are preeminences of honor. This is a point on which Anglicans, historically, have disagreed with Roman Catholics.
I'm sort of rambling now. But I'm still stuck in Alabama with little else to do. The main point I want to make is this: our institutional allegiance is to the broadest doctrinal expression of the One Church. That's a big part of what it means to be a "catholic" Christian. And that's the mistake I believe Bp. Louttit is (and other ECUSA bishops are) making by saying that they themselves personally believe the catholic teaching on human sexuality, but they submit their judgment to the ECUSA episcopal collegium. They (especially as bishops) are not bound by the ECUSA episcopal collegium when it is at odds with the Catholic episcopal collegium, as it now is with regard to sexual moral doctrine (as well, by the way, as it is with regard to the doctrines of Apostolic Order, i.e. the priesting of women).
Anyway, read about it here.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
"Different from some friends, that I respect, I believe what Jesus said
about not dividing His Body the Church outweighs my personal
interpretation of the text on sexual morality."
But Bishop Louttit's teaching on sexual morality is the same as the teaching of the Church Catholic. He is in the catholic / universal majority. ECUSA / TEC IS NOT THE CHURCH. It is but an insignificant and heretical backwater of the Universal Church which runs throughout the world and throughout time, and which transcends not only ECUSA, but Anglicanism as well. The teaching of this Church, the only One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, is what matters. And ECUSA is deviating from the teaching concerning human sexuality of the Universal Church. It is ECUSA that is in rebellion, and ECUSA that is schismatic. It is ECUSA that is dividing the Body of the Lord Jesus, and it is those within ECUSA who have pushed this novel teaching on sexuality who will have to answer for the divisions in the Body that have resulted.
St. Paul said "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1.10). What mind and what judgment, if not the mind and judgment of Christ himself? Bp. Louttit is implying that the mind and judgment of Christ himself are expressed by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, that Christ uses the judgments of ECUSA to admonish and correct (and contradict) the clear and consistent teaching of the saints in the Church Catholic, throughout the world, and throughout time, since the days of the Apostles themselves. I'm sorry, but that is a ridiculous notion. Our allegiance to ECUSA (and to Anglicanism) MUST ALWAYS BE subordinate to our alleigiance to the Bride of Christ, to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
As Archbishop Williams pointed out just yesterday, "Unless you think that social and legal considerations should be allowed to resolve religious disputes... there has to be a recognition that religious bodies have to deal with the question in their own terms. Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching." ECUSA has not done that. ECUSA has abandoned any pretense of being a part of the Catholic Church. This can be clearly seen in ECUSA's having failed, to date, to present a coherent theological apologia for its actions, demonstrated from Scripture and from Tradition. ECUSA hasn't done so because it can't.
One is tempted to ask, following Paul in 1 Cor. 1.13: Was ECUSA crucified for you? Or were you baptized into ECUSA? No. You were baptized into the one Lord's death and resurrection, and thereby incorporated into his one mystical Body. And that Body is not coterminous, thanks be to God, with ECUSA.
Here is Bishop Louttit's letter:
The Reverend Clergy and Laity
The Diocese of Georgia
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I copy two Bishop's letters to their congregations. I love and trust both Bishops.
The two letters see the actions of the General Convention very differently. I do not see how both can be correct. However, I believe Bishop John Howard of Florida is recording better than I could what I believe General Convention did.
I served on the Special Committee on the "Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion." I have read all of The Windsor Report a number of times! I have heard hours and hours of arguments and discussion of it's meaning on disputed points. I believe the General Convention answered the way Windsor asked us to if we wish to walk together. Except we strengthened the scope of what we asked Standing Committees and Bishops to honor as Bishop Howard, a lawyer, states.
I have worked with Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori. I look forward to her ministry as Presiding Bishop. She is very thoughtful, highly educated, and listens carefully to the person speaking to her. She is a pastor! She has excellent leadership qualities.
Her daughter, an Air Force Pilot, when stationed at Mood A.F.B. attended Christ the King. Bishop Jefferts-Schori has visited Christ the King in our diocese.
She is liberal in the sense she believes women can be ordained and that monogamous homosexuals should be eligible for ordination if they meet the other qualifications. I think the majority of deputies elected by our dioceses favor the ordination of monogamous homosexuals as do a majority of living and voting Bishops (retired and active). I think I am in the minority.
Different from some friends, that I respect, I believe what Jesus said about not dividing His Body the Church outweighs my personal interpretation of the text on sexual morality.
Henry I. Louttit
Bishop of Georgia
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion:
then were we like unto them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter:
and our tongue with joy.
Then said they among the heathen:
The Lord hath done great things for them.
Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already:
whereof we rejoice.
Turn our captivity, O Lord:
as the rivers in the south.
They that sow in tears:
shall reap in joy.
He that now goeth on his way weeping, and beareth forth good seed:
shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:
And to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.
++cantuar's proposal: 'the challenge and hope of being and anglican today: a reflection for the bishops, clergy and faithful of the anglican communio
You may read the whole thing here.
It is possible – indeed, it is imperative – to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation, and still to believe that this doesn’t settle the question of whether the Christian Church has the freedom, on the basis of the Bible, and its historic teachings, to bless homosexual partnerships as a clear expression of God’s will. That is disputed among Christians, and, as a bare matter of fact, only a small minority would answer yes to the question.
Unless you think that social and legal considerations should be allowed to resolve religious disputes – which is a highly risky assumption if you also believe in real freedom of opinion in a diverse society – there has to be a recognition that religious bodies have to deal with the question in their own terms. Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching. And, to make clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about ‘inclusion’, this is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against – and so it is a question about how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures.
And this is where the real issue for Anglicans arises. How do we as Anglicans deal with this issue ‘in our own terms’? And what most Anglicans worldwide have said is that it doesn’t help to behave as if the matter had been resolved when in fact it hasn’t.
The recent resolutions of the General Convention have not produced a complete response to the challenges of the Windsor Report...
[Saying that they are out of full communion with ECUSA, some Anglican Churches are] saying that, whatever the presenting issue, no member Church can make significant decisions unilaterally and still expect this to make no difference to how it is regarded in the fellowship; this would be uncomfortably like saying that every member could redefine the terms of belonging as and when it suited them. Some actions – and sacramental actions in particular - just do have the effect of putting a Church outside or even across the central stream of the life they have shared with other Churches. It isn’t a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognising that actions have consequences – and that actions believed in good faith to be ‘prophetic’ in their radicalism are likely to have costly consequences.
But let’s suppose that there isn’t that level of clarity about the significance of some divisive issue. If we do still believe that unity is generally a way of coming closer to revealed truth (‘only the whole Church knows the whole Truth’ as someone put it), we now face some choices about what kind of Church we as Anglicans are or want to be.
The Church worldwide is not simply the sum total of local communities. It has a cross-cultural dimension that is vital to its health and it is naïve to think that this can survive without some structures to make it possible.
The basic challenge that practically all the churches worldwide, of whatever denomination, so often have to struggle with is, ‘Are we joining together in one act of Holy Communion, one Eucharist, throughout the world, or are we just celebrating our local identities and our personal preferences?’
The reason Anglicanism is worth bothering with is because it has tried to find a way of being a Church that is neither tightly centralised nor just a loose federation of essentially independent bodies – a Church that is seeking to be a coherent family of communities meeting to hear the Bible read, to break bread and share wine as guests of Jesus Christ, and to celebrate a unity in worldwide mission and ministry. That is what the word ‘Communion’ means for Anglicans, and it is a vision that has taken clearer shape in many of our ecumenical dialogues.
But what our Communion lacks is a set of adequately developed structures which is able to cope with the diversity of views that will inevitably arise in a world of rapid global communication and huge cultural variety. The tacit conventions between us need spelling out – not for the sake of some central mechanism of control but so that we have ways of being sure we’re still talking the same language, aware of belonging to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ. It is becoming urgent to work at what adequate structures for decision-making might look like. We need ways of translating this underlying sacramental communion into a more effective institutional reality...
The idea of a 'covenant' between local Churches... is one method that has been suggested, and it seems to me the best way forward. It is necessarily an 'opt-in' matter. Those Churches that were prepared to take this on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness; and some might not be willing to do this. We could arrive at a situation where there were 'constituent' Churches in covenant in the Anglican Communion and other 'churches in association', which were still bound by historic and perhaps personal links, fed from many of the same sources, but not bound in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion, and not sharing the same constitutional structures. The relation would not be unlike that between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, for example. The 'associated' Churches would have no direct part in the decision making of the 'constituent' Churches...
...we need closer and more visible formal commitments to each other. And it is not going to look exactly like anything we have known so far. Some may find this unfamiliar future conscientiously unacceptable, and that view deserves respect. But if we are to continue to be any sort of 'Catholic' church, if we believe that we are answerable to something more than our immediate environment and its priorities and are held in unity by something more than just the consensus of the moment, we have some very hard work to do to embody this more clearly. The next Lambeth Conference ought to address this matter directly and fully as part of its agenda.
Being an Anglican in the way I have sketched... provides at least for ways of sharing responsibility and making decisions that will hold and that will be mutually intelligible. No-one can impose the canonical and structural changes that will be necessary. All that I have said above should make it clear that the idea of an Archbishop of Canterbury resolving any of this by decree is misplaced, however tempting for many. The Archbishop of Canterbury presides and convenes in the Communion, and may do what this document attempts to do, which is to outline the theological framework in which a problem should be addressed; but he must always act collegially, with the bishops of his own local Church and with the primates and the other instruments of communion.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
23rd June, A.D. 2006
A Pastoral Letter from the Moderator
TO ALL THE BELOVED OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION NETWORK:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
A new day is dawning. It is a new day for all of us who understand ourselves to be faithful and orthodox Anglicans, whether within the Episcopal Church or gone out from it.
It is with sadness, but also with anticipation, that I write to you now that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has provided the clarity for which we have long prayed. By almost every assessment the General Convention has embraced the course of “walking apart.”
I have often said to you that the decisive moment in contemporary Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion history occurred at General Convention 2003. At that time, in the words of the Primates, the Episcopal Church took action that would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level.”
Since that time, the tear has widened. While we had hoped that this Church would repent and return to received Faith and Order, General Convention 2006 clearly failed to submit to the call, the spirit or the requirements of the Windsor Report. The middle has collapsed. For that part of the Network working constitutionally within ECUSA as over against the dioceses represented by the thirty progressive bishops who issued their Statement of Conscience, we are two churches under one roof.
Even before the close of Convention, Network and Windsor bishops began disassociating themselves from the inadequate Windsor resolution, and thus far one Network diocese has formally requested alternative primatial oversight.
More initiatives are underway. Pastoral and apostolic care has been promised without regard to geography. All I can tell you is that the shape of this care will depend on a very near-range international meeting. Other actions will follow upon continuing conversations with those at the highest levels of the Anglican Communion. Over the course of the month of July, many of the things we have longed for will, I believe, come to pass or be clearly in view for all.
The Anglican Communion Network has never been more united. We are gaining strength, both domestically and internationally. This is the time for biblically orthodox Anglicans to hang together, supporting one another in solidarity, in prayer and with expectancy.
My prayers are with you all, especially those whose plight is most difficult and whose patience is most worn. Pray for me and for all the leadership in Network, Episcopal Church, and Anglican Communion, and most especially for the Archbishop of Canterbury in this crucial moment in modern Anglican history. Again I say to you that a new day is dawning.
Faithfully in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network
Friday, June 23, 2006
Most Anglicans, Lutherans,
Presbyterians and Methodists, who regard themselves as “orthodox” or
“biblical” or “evangelical” or all of these, seem to regard the
presence of women as ordained clergy as being in general a good thing.
In making this assessment they usually are thinking of the ability, the
graces and gifts, the charm and compassion of the women and their
dedication to the tasks in which they engage. No-one in a rightful mind
would doubt that most women clergy are very able and committed
ministers, often more gifted then their male counterparts.
if the assessment is based, not on the dedication and ability of the
women which are very real as we all know, but on the impact that women
in leadership and headship roles have upon church doctrine, worship and
discipline then the assessment will need to be modified and possibly
The reasons for making this suggestion may be stated in these preliminary terms:
The admittance of women as pastors of the flock raises problems about
the way the church is to read Scripture and to interpret it as “Word of
God” today. There is very clear teaching in the New Testament, which
asserts that a man is to be head of the family and also head of the
congregation of Christ’s flock. To have women in this position of
headship requires that the teaching of the N.T. be regarded as, at
least in some cases, culturally conditioned. If so, where does this
cultural conditioning begin and end? Any innovation today, which has no
specific sanction in Scripture, can be brought into the church by the
claim that where it, or something like it, is forbidden in Scripture
the whole passage needs to be interpreted by experts to show the amount
of cultural and societal conditioning present.
2. The presence
of a growing number of women as Ministers has led to the demand that
the received biblical language used for naming and addressing GOD be
modified so as to be in harmony with the presence of female clergy
speaking to God. (If men address God as Father, why cannot women – as
does the new Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA – address God as Mother!)
That is, to hear masculine terms for Deity from a female minister is
deemed odd and she should be able, it is said, to use feminine terms,
or at least, a mixture of names and descriptions in order to remove
perceived patriarchalism and sexism from “God-talk”. Here we may note
that the changing of Names may also mean the changing of identity and
thus the changing of doctrine concerning the Nature, Character and
Attributes of God and God’s relation to the church and world.
The acceptance of women as clergy arose in the 1970s in the main-line
denominations not because the churches had studied the Bible and they
had seen in its pages a failure by the contemporary churches to obey
what is required by the Lord Jesus and his apostles. No! It was very
much because of the feminist movement in western society with its call
for full rights, dignity and opportunities for women in all job
markets, including the churches. On the back of this powerful movement,
texts from the Bible and arguments from theology were put forward, but
they were essentially in support of what arose in secular culture and
rushed into the churches. Thus the presence of women as clergy stands
as a permanent sign of the commitment of the churches to justice and
human rights for women and as such it encourages other groups (e.g.,
LesBiGay activists) to base their claims for recognition on human
rights and dignity, with fulfillment therapeutically. It may be
suggested that the ordaining of women and their deployment has opened a
door wide through which others are entering to demand their full
rights, and the churches now do not know how to evaluate all these
Other suggestions could be offered but these three are sufficient for the beginning discussion.
the doctrine first used by the Church to explain to pagans why there
were no women priests in the churches, when there were women minister
at pagan temples, was that of God’s order for creation. God made man in
his own image; in the image of God created he male and female (Genesis
1 and taken up by the Lord Jesus). God’s order is that the man is first
in order and the woman second (equal in dignity but not in order). And
later the doctrine developed that as the Second Person of the Trinity
became Incarnate as a Man, then only men whom He calls can be His icon
when presiding at the Table of the Lord, where the Heavenly Banquet is
experienced, with the exalted Christ Jesus as Host.
The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)
From CaNN, via Father Nelson.
. . . .
What I hear the ‘Windsor bishops’ asking for, in other words, is in part nothing more or less than the right to be bishops in an old fashioned sense, and recover or even discover a new polity for a US church whose heritage is allowing this kind of polity meltdown to occur.
We need to consider very carefully whether being a ‘constituent member’ of the Anglican Communion means having a polity more closely akin to Anglicans elsewhere, and now explicitly say so. These General Conventions have become parade examples of a polity gone wrong: almost more ruthless in their democratic, neurotic frenzying than any Southern Baptist gathering one might have considered, on its worst day. At least they are honest about their democracy and then learn to regulate it accordingly.
Read the whole thing here.
The number of references to the Holy Spirit were astonishing both in quantity and quality. Again and again I heard people refer with great confidence to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the gatherings and deliberations. I could not help but think of Bishop Butler’s remark to John Wesley that “this pretending after special revelations of the Holy Spirit is a horrid thing, a very horrid thing.” Among a great many people in the Convention there is clearly more confidence in their feeling that there is a present illumination of the Holy Spirit than in the scriptures or traditional teaching of the church. I suggest the Charismatic renewal movement from whom the church has had so many good things should look long and hard at this phenomenon and think what lessons are to be learned about grounding devotion to the Holy Spirit in sound doctrine.
Amen. Amen. From Father Leander Harding about General Convention. Read the whole thing here.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
You all deserve a few days vacation. And you certainly have my thanks and blessing.
Every baptized Christian has the privelege and the responsibility to approach the Father, through the Son, and "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Our salvation is in Christ, and our salvation is a salvation from sin. And each and every single one of us is deeply marred by our sin.
The pundits of ECUSA's New Religion cut LGBTQQ people off from the throne of grace. They teach that it is only with fear and trepidation and second guessing about what is and what isn't a sin that we approach the throne of the Father's grace. Or, what is worse, they tell LGBTQQ people to approach the throne of the Father's grace with confidence that they do not need mercy and forgiveness for at least area of their sinfulness.
By teaching that homosex is not, in fact sinful, that it does not need to be washed with the blood of the Lamb, the teachers of the New Religion exclude LGBTQQ Christians from the fullness of the life of the Body of Christ. Our Lord was clear: he calls all, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, to himself. And we come to him by repentance.
"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5.32)
Lying across the pathway of repentance that leads to the loving and affirming embrace of our Lord is the insidious lie of ECUSA's New Religion: that repentance is not necessary if you are LGBTQQ. But The truth is: without repentance, there is no divine mercy, no love, no affirmation. Without repentance, the way to Christ, and to his love and affirmation is definitively blocked, and without Him, there is only judgment, only death.
[Note: LGBTQQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, and Questioning. Note too, that this little essay is in response to the Minority Report of Bp. Chane, et alia, entitled A Statement of Conscience, and to other expressions of the same damnable lies to which many in ECUSA have fallen victim.]
This seems very appropriate. MM reminded me tonight of something very simple, but easily overlooked: to pray. All of you bloggers and blog readers: we are called to do more than eagerly follow the news of our Communion. We are called to pray and to love. Love and pray for those about whom you read and write. I'm serious. Here's a place to start. Take a few minutes and say this litany with a special intention for some or all of the following: the end of General Convention, against heresy and schism, for the Anglican Communion, for priests, (especially) for the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the persecuted faithful, for deputies, for all bishops, for conversion of heart, for gays, lesbians, and transgendered people, for the Network, for the bishops and dioceses of Fort Worth, San Joaquin, and Quincy, for the primates, for your own bishop, for your rector and those priests and deacons who serve you.
V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother's womb, [etc.]
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon You.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.
Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.
Sources in the HoB tell me the debate there was "a
hatchet job", "very political", that there were
attempts to amend the resolution but that they were
defeated, that the PB was "spazzing out".
Louie Crew spoke in the HoDep, saying he opposed the
resolution, that it "cuts the tongue out of the Holy
Spirit." Other deputies supported it because it was
the best we could do, but my sense was still that
there was a noticeable split between the left and the
moderates. This changed when PB-elect Jefferts Schori
came to speak to us. She said, "I find the language
exceedingly challenging", but it's the best we can do.
This is NOT slamming the door on full inclusion of
GLBT folks. "I'm committed to full inclusion, ut this
si the best we're going to manage at this point in our
There was an unscheduled moment of silence after her
speech. Debate continued. An amendment was offered
to put a time-limit on the 'moratorium' of GC 2009.
This failed. The vote on the main resolution was by
Lay yes 72, no + div. 32; passed.
Clergy yes 75, no + div. 34. Passed
Our official 'moratorium' then, to be in compliance
with Windsor, is a weak-willed suggestion that we not
consecrate any more gay bishops, and an absence of any
statement about same-sex blessings. I dont' think the
Communion will buy it.
The afternoon session will be a sleeper -- pass as
much as you can without thinking, just to get the
business done by the mandatory closing time of 6PM.
I haven't had a chance to review any other
commentaries on the convention, but I look forward now
to a chance to check them out, check them against my
Today for the first time there was palpable tension in
the house of Deputies, and that was only because the
PB and PB elect wanted something that the left wing
didn't. the PB got his way.
This has had two effects: first, the Presiding
Bishop's address this morning (more about this later)
was punctuated by blasts of thunder. Some said it was
thunder, others the voice of God, but I saw no dove
descend upon his head. Second, I came so close to
actually getting to sit on the floor as a deputy and
vote. One of our clergy deputies had to leave early
to get his plane, and the plan was for the Bishop to
appoint me in his stead (he has the authority to do
that.). The storms, however, have delayed his flight,
so he stays, and I stay in the gallery. :(
The reason we received an address from the PB this
morning is that he called a surprise joint session to
deal with the Windsor resolutions (don't know why they
don't do the last two days in joint session anyway,
just to remove the problem of late amendments needed
action by the other house when the other house has
adjorned). There must have been politicking going on
late into the night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel,
because Griswold got up this morning and said,
essentially, that if we don't do SOMETHING, we'll get
kicked out of the Communion. We don't want that,
because we want to give our new PB and others the
chance to convince the Communion through conversation.
Essentially, he realized that saying nothing slits
our throats -- our last chance to have our cake and
eat it too is to pass some manner of fudge and through
skillfull maneuvering to stay at the table. he
offered a resolution [paraphrased]:
Resolved, that the 75th Gen. Conv. receive the Windsor
Report's call for a process of reconciliation and
healing; and Resolved, that it urge standing
committees etc. to exercise restraint by refraining
from consenting, electing (etc.) bishops whose manner
of life represents a challenge to the communion.
No moratorium on same-sex blessings.
Griswold is trying to re-forge the alliance between
the moderates and the left by throwing the left their
bone of same-sex unions, but by keeping the moratorium
on bishops. I dont' think it'll pass, but it's
pending now. B033 is the number. It has to be
formally moved, etc. to get into the schedule. but
there's no blinkin' way this will be perceived as
Windsor compliant. It simply isn't, no matter how you
slice it. I think the longer we wait for the vote,
the more the deputies will see this and the less
they'll be willing to pass it, Frank's appeal
notwithstanding. But it will all depend on the
efficiency of their politicking, who they've been able
to get to support this resolution against their better
judgement. Note that he felt no need to compromise
with the right wing, except in the language, "We
accept the Windsor Report ('s call for reconciliation,
etc. -- even that doesn't stack up.)
We'll see how it comes out.
unlooked for, to reconsider the vote on A161. This
was entirely unexpected by most of the house. The
deputy who so moved also let everyone know what she
intended by this: to restore the blue-book language
which preceeded the big hearing and the committee's
swing to the right -- essentially, to restore the rich
Anglican fudge that had first been proposed to the
commission. It was just that language that NT Wright
railed against as being entirely inadequate to
Windsor's requests. The motion to reconsider needed
2/3 support to pass. If it passed, the substiution
would be made, and the house would vote on A161 again,
it needing only 50% + 1 to pass. Essentially, then,
it was easier for the orthodox to defeat it at the
level of the motion to reconsider than to let it go
through and then have to defeat the fudgy resolution
on the floor. The vote to reconsider was taken: it
received 59.1% support -- not enough to reconsider.
The fudge had been defeated, but we still had nothing
but silence to give back to Windsor's call for
moratoria on gay bishops and gay unions.
An analysis which I heard from my delegation, which
seems accurate to me, is that normally the moderates
in the middle vote with the left wing progressives
against the right wing orthodox. In this resolution,
however, the ends were played against the middle.
Neither the progressive left wing nor the orthodox
right wanted fudge: both have called for clarity one
way or the other. It was the moderates who wanted to
apologize without apologizing, to have their cake and
a chance, if the cards were skillfully played, to eat
it too. But they lost.
there was an evening session at 7:30 which I was not
able to attend, and from what my delegation has told
me nothing substantial was decided.
Day 9: last day, last chance.
There are some 40 resolutions that need concurrence,
having already been passed in the HoB. There are
others that will probably never get considered by
either house. Rumor is that Werner and Griswold are
both interested in stringing all this legislation out
as long as possible to avoid debate, or perhaps to be
able to say to the Communion, "We tried, we really
did, but we were just too busy to get a Windsor
response through. Sorry."
committee recommended consent, seeing as how the
bishops had already consented. There was a minority
report which is very well written and worth reading,
if you can find it somewhere online. Kendall Harmon
spoke first from the floor, saying [paraphrased] "this
is a broken church, and a broken moment. It's a
question of the wider church, not any particular
diocese. This person could not even serve as a
priest, a priest, in the diocese of South Carolina.
How can we recognize him as a bishop?" Those who
supported Beisner argued something like this: How can
you vote against that face? He's a nice guy, we all
like him, we don't care in N. Cal. about his marital
problems. We kind of like them. He's a niiiiiice
guy, really, so let's just vote him in. They
succeeded. Rhetoric is dead.
Resolution A160 passed by 67.8%, expressing regret for
'straining' not 'breaching' the bonds of affection.
Resolution A161 sought to establish moratoria on new
bishops "whose manner of life may represent a
challenge to the Communion" (the Archbp. of York and
other voices from the wider communion have said this
language is too vague), and on same-sex
blessings/marriages. The committee's report said
[paraphrased] that there was a wide diversity of views
on the committee itself, that they had tried to
adherer to the Windsor Report, and they believe the
wider Communion will accept this language. This will
keep TEC in the dialogue, at the table, but not
passing it will threaten our status as part of the
communion. One lesbian committee member said she did
not like a lot of this resloution, but she was mindful
of the Archbishop of York's question, "where are the
marks of crucifixion?" We should "sacrifice" and
"stand down our call for justice" for the sake of
unity. This response creates space for further
Debate was long and the HoDep had to adjourn for the
evening. Yesterday, Day 8, they took it up again in
First, however, they wanted to get Beisner's consent
passed because it has been such a strain on him and
his family to wait for consent. he's the one who's
married for the third time. However, a motion was
made from the floor to suspend consent until after the
vote on A161, because Beisner might just be one of
those bishops "whose manner of life represents a
challenge to the wider communion." If we take that
seriously, said the deputy, we should wait on this
consent. The motion needed 2/3 to pass, passed with
so they went on to A161 again, this time allowing
procedural motions. Amendments and substitutions were
proposed, including one that was strictly Windsor
compliant. None passed. In the afternoon sesion they
finally voted on the language of A161 that came out of
committee, that which had swung way right after the
big hearing. The vote was by orders with a divided
delegation counting as a 'no'. Lay votes: yes 38, no
53, div. 15; that makes 38 yes vs. 68 no+div., motion
failed in the lay order. Cergy: 44 yes, 53 no, 14
divided; that's 44 yes, 67 no + div.; motion fails in
the clergy. This meant we had almost no response
whatsoever to the Windsor report's call for moratoria
-- quite literally, silence. '
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Virtue's allegation that the PB election was heavily,
even unduly, influenced by Bp. Bruno of LA. Check out
VirtueOnline for details. [Here is the link.]
The same sources tell me that the Network bishops and
those bishop who wish to be windsor-compliant are
meeting secretly every morning, often in the
afternoons, and occasionally in the evenings.
Last night was debate on A160, the expression of
regret. With an amendment that changed 'breached' the
bonds of communion to 'strained' (because they really
can't believe any communion has been actually
breached), the resolution passed the deputies. They
began debate on A161 last night, which effects the
moratoria on bishops "whose manner of life represents
a challenge to the Communion" and on same-sex
blessings/marriages. Debate continued this morning
with a substitution being debated right now (noon-ish)
to substitute in place of this reslolution another,
that is strictly Windsor-compiant, even quoting from
the WR. We'll see how that goes.
Word from the traditionalists is that this whole thing
is carefully orchestrated, that everyone knows we're
going to tell the Communion to go jump (and even put
outselves, with our 15 international member churches,
in competition with the Anglican Communion) and take
our new PB and go. I'm not sure I see that happening
myself: Special Committee #26 swung pretty far right
after its big hearing, and the current Windsor
resolutions are very close to being compliant. It is
a battle, in HoDep debate, whether to try and fudge
the issue again or go for clarity one way or the
other. I think I see the HoDep being comcerned to
stay in the Communion, but I could be wrong. Debate
is orchestrated to allow equal time, so it's hard to
gauge what the whole house thinks.
More when i get the chance,
debate on Beisner's consent until today, day 8.
A160, the rsolution expressing regret for our actions,
went into long debate last night. The committee said,
[my paraphrase] "let's look at the big picture. The
ABC asked Windsor commission for the 'highest degree
of dommunion given our differences." no one is being
asked to change their beliefs. The Windsor rept. is
therefore NOT an ultimatum, nor should we give
ultimatums back. We aim for continuing conversations.
This resolution does not represent the view of any
one faction: it is therefore complex. No resolution
can make abuse of itself impossible. Each of us
should be wiling to surrender our agendas to the Holy
Spriit in the diverse center.
A lesbian member of the committee testified that she
didn't like this resolution, but that she thought it
really was the right thing to do. Anyone who has been
a part of the committee or really looked at the
situation abroad inevitably has their mind changed and
supports compliance with Windsor for the sake of unity
with the Communion. it's only those who are focused
on the sometime prophetic situation in the US that
want to forget the communion.
A youth deputy actually said something coherent during
this debate. I note this because by and large they're
still in the business of shouting parroted opinions in
incoherent sentences. It would be more entertaining
for the PB to bring up an actual parrot to say "Polly and
Molly want a marriage."
funded by the Institute for Religion and Democracy.
The AAC briefing spent a lot of time denying this, adn
the president of the IRD spoke and denied it as well.
I think it's odd that they talk here over and over
again about how important our youth presence is, yet
we want to join the Religious Coalition for
Mission, for this convention, means the Millenium
Development goals. I can't type now what the nine
goals are, but I know they were set by the U.N. So
now the Episcopal church's great commission comes from
the United Nations, not Matthew 28?
[You can read about the Millenium Development Goals here.]
They presented the budget yesterday: all the speakers,
like peeping chicks hungry for food, wanted to know
why their little program had been cut. The answers
can be put into two categories: "It wasn't, look on
page X;" or, "I'm sorry, but making Justice and Peace
our #1 budget priority through the MDG's just didn't
leave enough for your program." One [liberal] deputy
got up and asked why a program that directly enables
her parish to minister adn evangelize received only
40% of what it asked for? Drew Smith of CT explained
that making the MDG's a priority took that program's
Jefferts Schoir was "the least qualified candidate",
had never been a rector. She is "the perfect person
to lead a dying church." Parsely, who came in 2nd,
did NOT vote for Gene Robinson's consecration, but
only, he says, because he was afraid of what would
happen when he got back to his diocese. On second
thought, said Beckwith, maybe HE was the perfect
person to lead a dying church.
Here are some quotes from the Episcopal News Service
press briefing re: Jefferts Schori's election:
"historic", "groundbreaking", "palpable sense of the
Holy Spirit", "with all due respect to those who
disagree, God led this." "Time and conversation will
take care of all concerns [in the Anglican
Communion]", "All barriers are down, all baptized
individuals have access to [ordination and the other
David Anderson said, "We will nto appeal to Canterbury
[meaning, I think, the panel of reference] a second
time. Justice delayed is justice denied."
Bp. Nazir-Ali was quoted as saying, "There are 2
churches under one roof. Schism HAS occurred."
Worth, not Dallas, that asked for alternative
primatial oversight, on the suggestion and approval of
In the morning I sat in on the HoB. Some resolutions
that bear watching are:
Resolution D067 - affirms marriage as man and woman,
no one ordained or consecrated unless faithful or
Resolution A014 -- eliminates bishop/clergy/lay quotas
for legislative committees -- this would give the PB
and President of the HoDep almost unlimited ability to
stack committees however they want.
Resolution D030 -- resolved... that we repent of the
institutional prejudice and injustice perpetrated on
individuals or groups on the basis of gender, age,
race, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. WE
reject any action that would give a wrongful witness
to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by enabling ignorance,
intolerance, and lovelessness. "Gospel" at this
convention is code for "social justice and radical
Resolution A132 -- seeks to eliminate the stigma of
HIV/AIDS partially through 'education' of our members
and elected representatives "with the goal of creating
knowledgeable, compassionate, and sensitive public
policy." Don't tell me liberal churchpersons aren't
on why i am not pursuing ordination (with generous congratulations to the world's first woman primate)
I consecrated my life to Jesus Christ when I was about three. I study theology. I start ministries and spend a lot of time figuring out how to better serve the Body of Christ. I preach. I evangelize. I am usually bursting at the seams with annoying evangelical zeal. I officiated at a marriage as a laywoman last fall; and this past weekend, I donned a cassock to assist at another friend's wedding. "You look GREAT in vestments," some ECUSA friends told me with a wink and a nudge. I was honored beyond words by their loaded statement. But I will never be a priest.
The ordination of women, celebrated yesterday by the [Episcopal Church's] decision to promote Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada as its presiding bishop on Sunday, making her the first woman to lead a church in the worldwide Anglican Communion, apparently enacts themes of "liberation" and "revolution" and "inclusion" familiar in Christ's renewal of the world; but the ordination of women and the installation of Bishop Katherine does not ring with the faithful tradition of the Church because it does not, in fact, accord with the actual enactment of Jesus.
The Church has, until the past century, always held that despite great and immediate need, no one might presume to take up the task of laboring in the Lord's fields without actually being sent by the Lord of the Harvest Himself. Christ fulfilled His own command and prayer that workers might be send among His people by selecting and sending twelve particular men and their deliberately ordained successors to continue His work in the world. The Church has long held that her authority to ordain her clergy is purely derivative from the enactment of Christ Himself in sending twelve particular men to be His apostles; as such, the Church simply posesses no authority to ordain women. Certainly women are pastorally skilled, intellectually and emotionally capable; certainly they posess every dignity and God-given right held in common with men; certainly the Church might ordain them on account of such capacities. But the Church, founded on historial realities bounded by particularity, simply does not have that option. The Church is bound, for better or for worse, to follow the example of her Lord, who chose twelve men to be His apostles.
Yes, this "limitation" has caused me some personl grief within the Tradition that is not mine to revise or re-create. But honestly, I'm not that worked up about the sacredotal impulse that so often provokes people to run to serve at the alter, as though the apostolate of all believers and the mediation of Christ's life into the world were not the privilege of every baptized.
I remember Mary. The archetypal woman in the life of our Lord and in the life of His Church was not made an apostle. Yet she is the one who definitively presents God to humanity in her own flesh so that He might take take us into His very life. Our Lord may have charged the male Peter with the care of His flock and the keys to His Kingdom, but He entered Mary's very body. It is Mary whose heart is so united with His as to be "pierced" with His. It is Mary who enjoins our Lord's first public act of service for His people. It is Mary who then commands servants in His name. And it is Mary, singled out among the twelve at Pentecost, who stands for womankind at the formation of the Church- more intimate with their Lord then they, more powerful than they, more honored than they- and yet, not an apostle. Mother of the Church, yes; bishop, no.
The Church has a Mother; and in Mary's motherhood, all women can comprehend the immediacy of God's calling to their innermost being, and the extent of their capacity to gift their very selves for His Church, and can rest in the profundity of this vocation.
Monday, June 19, 2006
At each step of the way, Rome pleaded with Anglicans to reject such grave departures from the orthodox Christian tradition. It may be that there will emerge from the breakup a new configuration of the Anglican Communion with which serious dialogue can be resumed. A few bishops of ECUSA and a larger number of clergy and parishes are involved in “continuing Anglican” movements and are working in tandem with the African and Asian provinces. A great deal depends upon how Canterbury, meaning the Church of England, positions itself in the rapidly advancing dissolution of what was the Anglican Communion. As of this week’s General Convention, however, one thing seems certain beyond doubt: The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has declared itself to be just another liberal Protestant denomination, in deliberate defiance of the Anglican Communion and in scornful indifference to a long history of hope for reconciliation with Catholicism. Yes, many, going back to John Henry Newman in the early nineteenth century, said that this would be the inevitable outcome of Anglicanism’s claim to be a “middle way” between liberalism and Catholicism, but it is nonetheless very sad to see it come to pass, and to see the self-congratulatory rejoicing of Episcopalians in celebratory assembly at the death of an honorable, if finally untenable, hope for greater Christian unity.
Read the whole thing here.
In a break with tradition, the installation mass was held immediately following the election in the Madonna Room of Circus Circus. The service featured a magnificent new organ-grinder concerto commissioned especially for the event, as well as a moving liturgical dance by the Folies Bergere showgirls. An ecumenical sermon was delivered by Sri Svanapanda Prabhubada of The Society for Krishna Consciousness, entitled “Jesus Schmesus – The Many Paths to Niceness.” During the offertory, the new bishop herself went up and down the aisles collecting donations in a tin cup. Communion was given using banana slices and mango juice instead of the traditional bread and wine.
Integrity, a group of moderate laity and clergy within The Episcopal Church, released a statement praising the selection of Muffy as a “bold move forward which demonstrates The Episcopal Church’s commitment to inclusivity for all living things.” Integrity spokescreature Shamu expressed hope that a future convention would go beyond “animal chauvinism” to elevate a being from one of the other kingdoms of life to the primacy. Bishop Phyllis Creeper of South Florida, a split-leaf philodendron, is considered a leading candidate for the next Episcopal convention in 2024.
Read the whole thing here.
pseudo apology and temporary moratorium
--though the liberals scored a nice move in getting the woman PB --they will
I am sure try to say that anti-women issues are now the real driving factor
behind the conservatives to try and distract people from the sexuality
--that is always what strikes one about the liberals they are so good at
keeping the agenda moving forward in one way or another such that when there
is a set back on one issue they instantly push on another --running circles
round the orthodox all the while and relentlessly pushing back the
boundaries. Mind you I imagine Henry Parsley is hopping mad as he fell
victim to the liberalism to which he has so tastefully sold out for so long!
Standing committee meeting last night and communicated
afterward with their delegation here. This morning
the chair of their delegation rose to the microphone
in the HoDep to request immediate alternataive
I have it from a source in a purple shirt that there's
a suspicion that some of the orthodox bishops voted
for Jefferts Schori simply because she was the 'worst'
and this would push us over the edge. Others among
the orthodox voted for her over Parsley because
Parsely has been so 'mean' to the orthodox in his
diocese, and Jefferts Schori has less chance of being
More later. All the Windsor resolutions are coming up
in the HoDep today. Watch the site I referenced
yesterday for the current text and status of these.
Correction: it is the Diocese of Ft. Worth, I'm pretty sure, that Father Thorpus means when he says "Diocese of Dallas" in the first paragraph.
Read the whole thing here.
As I told you, I took the day off for Sabbath and only
connected with Convention news when i attended the
Berkeley dinner this evening. That's when I found
out. They elected The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts
Schori, Bishop of Nevada, for the next Presiding
Bishop. The only woman on the slate, and the most
liberal candidate, fully in support of the inclusion
of gays and lesbians at all levels of the church.
Her bio from the Episcopal News Service is pasted
At the Berkeley dinner the mood was elated. Bp. John
Chane of Washington, D. C. said that this proves
"listening to the Holy Spirit drives a process that by
human hands would have been impossible." He said
there was not a lot of politicking at the election,
but lots of hymns and prayer. Bp. Jeffrey Rowthorn,
retired bishop of Europe, sat at my table: he said
that as they read out the count for the last ballot,
there was a moment of stunned silence, like everyone
was thinking "i can't believe we just did that." Then
the whole place erupted in applause. I sat next to
George Conger, priest and reporter for the Living
Church and other publications. He showed me the
ballot count. She was elected on the 5th ballot, but
had tied for the lead on the 1st and stayed there.
Second in the running was Henry Parsley, Bp. of
Alabama. Jenkins never had a chance. After about the
second ballot, all the traditionalists seem to have
migrated toward Parsley and the progressives toward
Schori. Congar said he was on the phone with Lambeth
palace just after it happened -- the Archbishop of
Canterbury was in evening prayer and had no statement
as of yet. He called back 30 min. later and was told
the prepared statement (ready for the insertion of the
name of whoever won) had been torn up, and the
Archbishop himself would write the official statement
(which he rarely does). Congar predicted the Queen
would be incensed: she never appoints women priests to
the chaplaincies she controls, and the Queen Mother
(God rest her soul) refused to recieve communion from
women priests. congar and I discussed the
ramifications of this election for the Communion.
Several provinces, of course, still do not believe
women to be validly ordained. This means they can't
be assured of the validity of any Eucharists,
ordinations, or consecrations of bishops that Schori
presides over (I don't know WHAT we'll do in Albany
come September, when our consecration is scheduled.
Hopefully Griswold will still be in office.). This
means our very claim to the historic episcopate could
be in jeaopardy in the future. (great move for
ecumenical relations, I gotta say in all sarcasm)
When I asked Congar what the Primates' meetings will
be like, he replied, "Well, they'll have to build
Also present at the dinner were the Rev. Harold Lewis,
dressed in his best white suit, Bp.
Bennison, and Harry Attridge. Dean Britton expressed
over and over again, during his own remarks and
inbetween the remarks of others, as MC, what a great
day this was and how elated we all must feel. He
claimed that "as a church we have grown impatient with
our lack of attention to the gospel [by which he means
the gospel of social justice and inclusion)" and that
"we are all feeling the pressure of the Spirit calling
us back to the bedrock of the identity of the church
as a place of the gospel." He repeated several times
that students at Berkeley want to be firmly "grounded
in the gospel".
congar showed me some of his notes from short reaction
interviews with several important figures. Kieth
Ackerman, when asked what do we do, said something
like, "Well, if you believe our church is protestant,
get out now. If you believe our church is catholic,
stay in and wait for the councils of the church -- in
a catholic church decisions are made by the [wider]
councils and not by one particular church." That's
slightly paraphrased because I dont' have the direct
quote in front of me. Words like 'devastating' and
'destructive' were used by my bishops. Most everyone
else, though, is highly elated.
Congar thought this left-ward swing would be balanced
by a right-ward swing on the Windsor response. I
wouldn't bet on it, if my time watching the HoB is any
Ok, that's all I've got. More tomorrow when I get the
response of my delegation and can talk to my bishops.
God help us. I'd love to hear your thoughts, of
course, but mostly just be assured your prayers are
mingled with mine.
The Peace of the Lord,
Katharine Jefferts Schori, 51, was consecrated the
ninth Bishop of Nevada on February 24, 2001. She
serves a diocese of some 6,000 members in 35
congregations. Jefferts Schori is the first woman
selected as a nominee for Presiding Bishop.
Her service to the wider church includes current
membership on the Special Commission on the Episcopal
Church and the Anglican Communion; the Board of
Trustees, Church Divinity School of the Pacific in
Berkeley, California; the CREDO Advisory Board; the
House of Bishops peer coaching program; the General
Board of Examining Chaplains; the Board for Church
Deployment; the House of Bishops' Pastoral
Development, Racism, and Planning Committees; the
Court for Review of a Trial of a Bishop; the Episcopal
visitor team for the Community of the Holy Spirit; and
the Bishops of Small Dioceses group.
From 2001-2003 she was a member of the 20/20 Strategy
Group, and served as secretary of the House of Bishops
Ministry Committee at the 2003 General Convention.
She is the author of "When Conflict and Hope Abound,"
Vestry Papers (March-April 2005); "Building
Bridges/Widening Circles" in Preaching Through Holy
Days and Holidays: Sermons that Work XI, Roger Alling
and David J. Schlafer, eds. Morehouse (2003);
"Multicultural Issues in Preaching" in Preaching
Through the Year of Matthew: Sermons That Work X,
Roger Alling and David J. Schlafer, eds. Morehouse
(2001); and "The Nag" in Preaching Through the Year of
Luke: Sermons That Work IX, Roger Alling and David J.
Schlafer, eds. Morehouse (2000). Her Maundy Thursday
sermon was included in What Makes This Day Different?
by David Schlafer, Cowley (1998).
She is an active, instrument-rated pilot with more
than 500 hours logged.
At the time of her election as bishop of Nevada,
Jefferts Schori was assistant rector at the Episcopal
Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Oregon,
where she also served as pastoral associate, dean of
the Good Samaritan School of Theology, and
priest-in-charge, El Buen Samaritano, Corvallis. She
was ordained deacon and priest in 1994. Prior to
ordination, she was a visiting assistant professor at
Oregon State University's Department of Religious
Studies, a visiting scientist at Oregon State
University's Department of Oceanography, and an
oceanographer with the National Marine Fisheries
Service in Seattle.
She received a B.S. in biology from Stanford
University, 1974; an M.S. in oceanography from Oregon
State University, 1977; a Ph.D. from Oregon State
University, 1983; an M.Div. from Church Divinity
School of the Pacific, 1994; and a D.D. from Church
Divinity School of the Pacific, 2001.
Jefferts Schori was born March 26, 1954, in Pensacola,
Florida. She has been married to Richard Miles Schori.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Episcopal Church on Sunday elected Nevada Bishop
Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first female chief pastor of the
denomination and the first female leader in the history of the world
The choice of Schori as presiding bishop complicates the already
difficult relations between the American denomination and its fellow
Read the whole thing here. Kyrie Eleison.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
GLBT people. What's bad about this resolution is that
it commits us to an understanding of sexuality that
leads to the conclusion that it's all about 'civil
rights.' I don't agree at all that sexuality is a
civil rights issue, nor do many in the church, and I
dont' appreciate the attempt to make that the official
view of the Episcopal Church.
Resolution A053 commits us to joining Christian
Churches Together in the USA, or CCT-USA, the largest
group of churches ever to enter an ecumenical
dialogue. I like this, but it will be interesting to
see the fruit of it in the upcoming years.
Resolution A054 gives guidelines for bishops and
priests participating in ordinations for other
denominations, and them in ours. Why can we
acknowledge that ordination is an act that 'belongs
[only] in ecclesial communion" but we can't
acknowledge that sex is an act that belongs only in
marriage? Go figure.
Resolution A159-166 These are the ones everyone is
watching, that deal with our response to the Windsor
Rept. and the Anglican Communion. So far all are
still in committee or pending for future action.
Resolution D049 -- the canos "are to be completely
rewritten so as to change the institution of marriage
to a civil event presided over by an agent of the
state and requiring that members of the clergy be
responsible solely for the blessing of the union as a
Holy Act and thus no longer be authorized by the
church to act as agents of the state for any kind of
civil marriage or civil union." Hmm.. I don't quite
know whether I like this or not. I'd love to hear
Whitehall's readers on this resolution.
Resolution B023 -- The Episcopal notes that it "may be
in systemic decline" and wants to respond to this by
"initiating. . . a national consultation on methods
and strategies to reverse the decline in [all?]
mainline denominations." Yet we can't let the
Resolution reaffirming Jesus as the only way out of
committee. Wonder why we're in decline?
And from our beloved Youth Presence comes this tidbit
of wisdom, reported in Episcopal Life's Convention
Daily (winner of the feel-good paper of the year award
for journalistic optimism): Our prayer book is already
outdated and it is hard for my generation to relate to
everything in it," said Hannah Anderson, from Northern
California. She guestured to seven young adults who
joined her at the podium. "Standing behind me is the
future of the church," she said. "I dont' think you
want to lose that. Revise the prayer book and next
time there might be more of us here."
Ok, so first of all, they cant' relate to the BCP
because they can't read, because the schools suck. If
it's outdated after 25 years, that's because these
kids can't remember back more than 5 or 10, and Star
Wars Episode II is outdated to them. I note that the
1662 book in England lasted longer, as has the KJV,
oddly enough, even without teenagers supporting it.
Whaddya know? Second, she's asking for a BCP revision
by next Gen con? What the heck? That takes decades.
These kids don't know what the heck is going on.
Listen to the lauded 'wisdom' of the youth presence
and we'll be including spongebob liturgies and prayers
to the Creator of Xmen. Think we're 'trendier than
thou' now? Third, the youth weren't elected, they
were appointed. Them being there has absolutely
nothing to do with whether youth are connecting to our
liturgies. But this kid doesn't know that. And
everybody says, Awwww, claps, and marvels at the
'mouths of babes.' Lord, have mercy.
HoDep or in committee (you can track the status of
these resolutions at www.gc2006.org/legislation/):
Resolutions to limit the introduction of new
resolutions to 60 days before the next GC.
Resolution D084 to commit us to closed communion --
only the baptized.
Resolution D013 -- Deputies want a voice in the
election of the Presiding bishop (right now it's just
the bishops -- similar to the election of a pope)
Resolution B031 -- a resolution to protect theological
minorities in diocese. If this is needed, has DEPO
Resolution D055 -- supporting the ACC resolution on
global warming. "Include enviornmental education as an
integral part of all theological training." did you
have room for that in YOUR seminary curriculum? put
that in place of, um, history, or maybe bible, or how
about sexual misconduct, as the 'cause du jour'?
Also this one asks us to 'revise our liturgies and
calendar (?!) and lectionaries (revise the bible?!) in
ways that more fully reflect the role and work of God
as creator." It also commits us to political activism
"before governments" to end global warming. I thought
it was the Christian right that wanted to mix church
and politics. This would mean it would be an official
church act to be a political activist -- shouldn't the
IRS have a say in this? would it threaten our status
as a tax-exempt non-profit? Surely this, if passsed,
will lead to a showdown with some circuit court
Resolution D073 -- The "government of the United
States be encouraged to grant asylum to those whose .
. . lives are threatened" by either being gay or
advocating for GLBT rights. "Resolved, that the
Episcopal church aid in the resettlement of such
individuals. . . " Again, wasn't it the Christian
right that wants to mix church and state?
seminarians with educational debt. If they really
wanted to help, they'd fund our educations.
Resolution A129 - The Episcopal Church is officially
evolutionist. it "affirms God as creator" adn affirms
that it's ok to believe ebolution; then it encourages
teaching "according to the best scientific standards"
(i.e. evolution) and seeks the assistance of science
experts to help us determine what really is valid
scientific knowledge. Ok, so I could care less about
evolution itself. What bothers me about this
resolution is that it seems to be targeting the
supposedly fundie right wing. This is aggressive
liberalism, not tolerant or cooperative in the least.
You know, of course, that 'valid scientific knowledge'
means 'tell us why the fundies are nuts' instead of
'show us the proper limits and boundaries of science,
and where the difficult boundaries may be between
science, philosophy, and religion.'
some thoughts on day five. I'm on a public computer
monitor with a 5 minute limit, so this will probably
come in chunks.
Day five reaffirmed my impression that the HoDep is
dull as can be. They've gotten the voting techniques
down ok, but there's still nothing going on.
Everybody's noting how tame it is thus far. THe
bishops, on the other hand, allow plenty of debate,
and they're actually getting stuff done.
For a church that talks so much about the sabbath,
you'd think we would schedule a lighter day on Sunday.
No such luck. Saturday's (today) a little lighter in
the morning due to the UTO ingathering mass, but we've
had a long legislative session in the afternoon, if
only the HoDep could manage to do more than consent to
legislation passed already in the HoB and run a few
elections in 4 hours. Actually, though, the elections
are really very important precisely because no
significant work gets done on the floor of the house.
It all happens in committee, even the weeding out of
candidates for PB gets done by a committee. If you
want to make a substantive contribution to the church,
committee is the place to do it, and do it with
impunity and no accountability, I might add.
gotta go. next one soon.
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.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Here are my thoughts: +Griswold came across as really weird. +Robinson came across as being a nice guy. Canon Anderson came across as not a very good spokesman, letting a number of rhetorical opportunities slip by, and occasionally sliding into seeming incoherence. The Baptist did pretty well. The lesbian UCC pastor was pretty lackluster. The RC priest did alright; seemed nicer but just as orthodox as Canon Anderson. Larry seemed clearly to sympathize with the liberals.
The program reminded me of what I believe: (1) That its not fair for homosexual Christians to have an exemption from their particular sinful proclivities. What about my sinful proclivities? Why don't I get any exemptions? What's so special about homosexual sex such that it isn't subject to moral critique, whereas simple fornication or bygamy is? Its not as if people don't have innate inclinations to fornicate and bygamize. (2) The gay, lay Catholic kept talking about how sex is just a small part of his gayness, that its more about love and commitment and friendship and what not. But if that's so, then what's so terrible about the conservative position? It only targets a very small part of being gay (i.e. sex). What conservative is against gay people being commited, being friends, or loving one another? (3) The notion that a homosexual orientation is a "part of who gays are" is a diabolical lie. Sexual attraction, homo or hetero, is not a part of who anyone is fundamentally. That would mean that without that homo or hetero inclination, they would stop being who they are. But that is incoherent. If I stop or start having a particular sexual inclination (a.k.a. "orientation"), I won't thereby stop or start being Father WB. On this score, +Robinson, +Griswold and co. need to go back and take a crash course on Aristotelian Metaphysics. That's not something I would normally recommend, but I think it would really help in their cases.
PS: Another thing: Bishop Robinson mentioned Jesus ministry among those "on the margins," and the fact that he was always associating with tax collectors and sinners. But the problem in ECUSA is not that people want to be with gays and lesbians -- that would be terrific -- but that they want to say that these people, qua gay and lesbian, are actually not sinners. And that is a very deep point of difference between their ministries and that of our Lord. Our Lord's own commentary about his ministry among those on the margins was that they need a physician, that they are spiritually sick (Mark 2.17). Our Lord's ministry was all about repentance, turning from sin (Matthew 4.17), and his consistent message to those on the margins to whom he ministered and among whom he healed, was, without condemnation: "go and sin no more" (John 8.11). It was NOT "Go, for you have not been sinning to begin with."
And you can get the transcript of Larry King Live here.
a day at the episcopal convention; liberals, conservatives, u2charist & bishop robinson & little chance of further catholic-episcopal dialogue by dav
In some ways walking around the Episcopal gathering at the
And here is a very interesting bit:
Dave Hartline What about the decline of the mainstream Protestant churches that have embraced a more liberal theology?
Bishop Robinson I think the Bush Administration has a way of scaring Americans about minorities and other religions. They scared us into war as well. People go with what they are familiar with in times of trouble. However, I want to be clear. I call myself an Evangelical. We need to talk more about the Living God and less about church. People’s eyes glaze over when over whey they hear the word church.Huh. +Robinson sounds a little paranoid. "What's wrong with the mainlines?" "Well, the Bush Administration...." And it would be amusing, if it weren't so sad, that Bishop Robinson finds common ground with Evangelicalism in their common lack of an adequate (to say nothing of orthodox) ecclesiology. Read the whole thing here.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Daily Eucharist: When it came time to pass the peace,
I turned around to shake hands, and there was PB
Griswold. So I shook his hand.
In the morning I sat in on the HoB. Much more
exciting than the HoDep, just because there's more
real debate and they can actually vote without having
to spend an hour and a half getting instructions for
their electronic keypads like the Deputies do.
The bishops took up debate on several resolutions, the
most significant of which was one removing the right
to vote in that house from retired bishops. There was
long debate over this, and finally it was sent back to
A youth deputy was allowed to address the bishops. He
spoke of how great it would be if we could all be
blind to theological differences. Dang those
theological differences! If only we could forget
theology, how happy we could all be, living in a
yellow submarine and all. He also said the church's
mission was to 'spread peace, love, and happiness.'
Is this what our youth are learning about
Christianity? I heard another youth delegate address
Special Committee 26, and he asserted with all
vehemence that there had never been a central
authority in the Anglican Communion, that responding
to Windsor as to an authority was completely out of
line. I guess he hasn't studied the reign of Good
King Charles, or Elizabeth, or Henry, or really any of
Anglican history. The Youth delegates, so far,
haven't added a single constructive thing. All we're
teaching them is to have zeal without knowledge, to
speak with vehement ingnorance in the presence of
their betters, and to think they're more important
than they are. Oh yes, and to interrupt the HoB to
tell stories from camp.
The HoB voted to adopt the Revised Common Lectionary.
The best question asked, I thought, was "who, then,
are we giving control of our bible to?" The
resolution said we would start in 2007 printing BCP's
with the new lectionary, and whoever opposes this
change would have until 2010 to get in line. Tell me
this: a parish has 100 BCP's, and needs 50 new ones.
These new ones have the new lectionary, while the old
ones don't. Isn't that going to be confusing? And do
you who have your own prayer books want to go out and
buy a new one? Completely aside from the question of
whether to adopt the Revised Common Lectionary (which
I could go either way on), there's the question of HOW
to adopt it. This resolution was impractical, and
we'll see if those concerns come up in the HoDep.
What the bishops should have done, if they wanted to
do this, is to direct whatever Committee will be in
charge of the next BCP revision to be sure it contains
the new Lectionary.
The AAC lunchtime briefing was good. Jack Iker
reported on the HoB. Maryn Minns is on Committee 26
and reported on its work. NT Wright's paper showed up
and everybody read it right there.
After lunch the HoB had some secret ballots, and the
Deputies still couldn't figure out their voting
machines, so I left early after visiting the exhibits.
I asked the Via Media booth whether they had daily
publications and analyses: they looked at me blankly,
then said, No, but hey, that's a great idea. It is a
great idea -- it's what the AAC is doing. Clearly the
orthodox groups are more organized here, between these
daily digests, their own offsite masses in the
morning, the lunchtime briefings, and their ability to
disseminate information like NT Wright's paper. Via
Media's head is spinning, and it'll be interesting to
see if they try to catch up. but lest anyone think
this disparity is evidence of a vast right wing
conspiracy, let me say that the opposition being set
up here is not between the AAC and Via Media, or
Integrity; but between the AAC and its affiliates and
the ECUSA administration. The liberals are, in fact,
well organized and in control of convention processes
including committee work, and it's this monolithic
force that the AAC and it affiliates are working to
Can't get a read on the new president of the HoDep.
She's doing a good job with procedure, though, despite
having to fight the confusion around the whole keypad
thing. Imagine having to explain your own cell phone
to 830 people and get them to use it correctly.
That's it for day two. I'll try to send thoughts on
day three tomorrow.
. . . .
In the evening I attended Special Committee 26's
hearing. This is the committee charged with crafting
the resolutions responding to Windsor. There were
1500 seats -- all full, plus more in the balcony (I
got the absolutely last one), plus standing room,
full, plus a line outside in the lobby listenin to an
audio feed. I recorded 58 of the probably 65
statments to the committee: 8 liked the resolutions as
they stand ('duplicitous' according to NT Wright); 24
wanted full compliance with Windsor (the conservatives
had their talking points from Wright's paper); 21
wanted clearer language stating that we have nothing
to repent for, that what we did in 03 was good and
right and we're going forward; and 5 were 'other'.
Bob Duncan and Gene Robinson spoke back to back, by
pure coincidence. Robinson's statement got on TV this
morning, of course. Duncan quoted Wright's paper and
said he believed it was impossible to hold the
progressive and othrodox parties together in one
church. His Grace the Archbishop of York made an
unscheduled appearence and was hustled to the front of
the line: he agreed with Wright that the resolutions
as they stand are inadequate to meet Windsor's
demands. Susan Russell, president of Integrity, and
the Director of Changing Attitudes UK both spoke, both
said Windsor is not monolithic but is open to
interpretation. Those bishops present who had wide
experience in other parts of the Communion were of the