Daily Archives: July 12, 2009

Kendall Harmon on General Convention 2009 (II): Listen to the Deafening Silence (A)

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Book Silver Blaze we read this wonderful encounter:

[Scotland Yard Inspector] Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Sherlock Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
[Scotland Yard Inspector] Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Sherlock Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

I bring this up because I think the most important stories of General Convention are not what is being proposed, nor what is being opposed, but what is entirely missing–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Living Church: Preparation Credited for Steady Pace in House of Deputies

The house will begin debate of Resolution D025 on Sunday afternoon. The resolution by the Committee on World Mission is a compilation of more than a dozen resolutions seeking to overturn, amend or repeal Resolution B033, the controversial resolution approved three years ago which calls on “standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on the communion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, House of Deputies President

Center Aisle's Edition for Today

Read it all (2 page pdf).

Today’s Center Aisle Editorial “Room for Optimism” is about Resolution D025:

The work on this resolution is not done. Bishops on World Mission voted 3-2 against the proposal, while deputies on the panel approved it 24-2. Though D025 doesn’t explicitly repeal B033, the compromise resolution from 2006, it does raise legitimate concerns by affirming that “God has called and may call” gay and lesbian persons “to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church.” That language could be interpreted as a unilateral lifting of the moratorium on gay bishops.

Still, it’s encouraging to see how effectively World Mission has drawn on language of reconciliation from past Conventions and how deftly it has integrated our Church’s “abiding commitment” to the Anglican Communion with a reaffirmation of our inclusiveness as a community of faith.

It’s a reminder of how precise wording can be far more than lawyerly nitpicking; it can be a catalyst to building bonds of trust. Recall past statements by Anglican bodies for “gracious restraint” and “bonds of affection.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Episcopal Life's The Daily for Today

Check it out (16 page pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Senior Scottish Episcopal cleric comes out for gay weddings in church

A Senior Scottish clergyman has “come out” and launched a campaign for gay couples to be given the right to get married in church.
The Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth has spoken publicly about his sexuality and called for Holyrood to change the law to allow same-sex partners to tie the knot in the same way as straight couples.

In a frank and outspoken interview, the Provost of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow said that gay clergy would eventually be able to get married in their own churches and offered a “blessing of peace” to an Anglican bishop who called on homosexuals to “repent”.

He also claimed he was aware of “numerous” gay and lesbian priests employed by his church and insisted that Scotland was “more grown up” than England in dealing with issues of sexuality.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality

One Story from Uganda in 1973

The year was 1973, the place: Uganda:

Then [Idi] Amin ordered his soldiers to execute some of the people they had arrested. They were to take the prisoners to their home towns. The towns’ people would be ordered to watch the soldiers shoot the prisoners.

Three of the men were to be shot in the stadium in Kabale, the town where Festo [Kivengere] and [his wife] Mera lived.

“I should go to the president. I should talk to him about what is happening. Maybe he will listen to me,” Festo said to Mera. “He thinks we’re trying to overthrow his government. We need to convince him we’re not.”

Now, this was a very brave thing to do! To walk right into the palace and face the cruel president was risky, to say the least. After all, Amin was killing and torturing Christians and other leaders. He might kill Festo, too!

Festo went anyway. He drove to the president’s palace in Kampala, with Hark riding nervously in the backseat.
The president greeted Festo warmly. (Hark was surprised by this. And so was Festo!) Then Amin told lies.

“It is all right,” he said. “You are quite safe. Yes, some of the soldiers are doing bad things. But I am punishing them when they do. So don’t worry about it,” he said with a smile.

“Mr. President,” Festo said, “I hear you have told everyone in Kabale to come to the big stadium to watch three men be shot. Please let these men live. Forgive them for what they have done.”

Hark saw a big scowl on Amin’s face. Oh dear, Hark thought, now he’s mad.

Festo wasn’t allowed to stay any longer. Sadly, he (and Hark) left the palace and headed home.

“How terrible,” said Mera when she heard about it. “You mean thousands of people have to go to the stadium to watch the executions?”

“Amin thinks it will stop people from trying to overthrow him,” Festo replied. There was nothing for them to do but what the president demanded. When the day came, they went to the stadium.

Three thousand people were forced to attend the shooting. No one was speaking. Dark fear filled people’s hearts. Festo turned to two of his pastor friends.

“Let’s see if we can speak to the three men before they are shot,” he suggested.

“The soldiers will never let us,” replied his friend.

“Well, let’s ask anyway,” Festo said.

“Please, sir,” said Festo approaching the soldier in charge. “I am a minister. I’d like to speak some words of comfort to the three young men before they die.”

No one expected the soldier to agree. But to Festo’s surprise, he said gruffly, “All right. You can talk to them in the arena just before they are killed!”

Festo began to pray. Hark could hear the quiet prayers (angels can, you know). He wrote them down carefully.

“Please, Lord,” prayed Festo, “give me the right words to say to these men.”

A truck drove into the arena. The soldiers unloaded the three prisoners in the middle of the stadium. They were in handcuffs. Their feet were changed together. The firing squad stood at attention, their rifles ready.

In the stands, the silent people sat as still as statues. There was a horrible feeling in the air. Festo and his friends walked across the huge arena and came up behind the prisoners.

“Oh, dear Lord Jesus! What shall I say? What shall I say?” Festo said out loud. The three prisoners heard him and turned around to face the church leaders.

“Oh!” gasped Festo when he saw their faces. They seemed so peaceful!

Festo didn’t have to say anything. As he approached the prisoners, one of them suddenly thanked Festo for coming! The man told Festo he knew Jesus had forgiven his sins. Then he asked Festo to tell his wife and children he would be waiting for them in heaven. He hoped they would accept Jesus, too, so he could be with them there.

The second man said the same thing. He raised his hands in joy and smiled bravely at Festo. Then the third man said, “I am at peace!”

Festo looked at the wonderful smiles on the men’s faces. “Why,” he said to his friends, “we need to talk to the soldiers in the firing squad, not to these men!”

Festo explained the prisoners’ words to the soldiers. When they heard what Festo said, they were shocked. For a moment, they didn’t seem to know what to do!

The three prisoners stood tall, smiling at the huge crowd of people. Then they raised their handcuffed arms and waved. Everyone waved back! People who were near had heard the brave words the prisoners had spoken. They saw the peace of God on the men’s faces.

Then the shots rang out, and the three men fell.

Now they’re safe in heaven with Jesus, thought Hark, standing beside Festo.

Then everyone went home.

–Jill Briscoe, The Man Who Would Not Hate:Festo Kivengere (W Pub Group, 1991), which was read by yours truly in this morning’s sermon

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Katherine Grieb: Perspective – Our turn to listen, watch and pray

The best thing that could happen to the proposed covenant for the Anglican Communion at this General Convention is nothing at all.

Though there undoubtedly will be strongly worded resolutions proposed from several quarters, the committee or committees handling these resolutions would do well to promote one that expresses the ongoing commitment of the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Communion in general and to the Windsor/covenant process in particular””and nothing more.

That’s because the present draft of the proposed covenant is not yet in its final form. There has not been sufficient opportunity to study it carefully. The time is not yet ripe for General Convention to engage in extensive debate and formal consideration of this proposal.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

South Carolina Deputy John Burwell on General Convention Yesterday

Best Line of the day – Overheard at lunch:
I’m so tired of being invited to tell my story. Let’s tell God’s story – the story of redemption in Jesus Christ!

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

B033-related legislation to move to House of Deputies – Committee vote shows Bishops Deputies Differ

(ENS) Following a public hearing and several late-evening and early-morning sessions, a WMC subgroup offered an amended version July 11 for committee review and approval. After cordial discussion and revision, “perfecting the resolution and passed it handily” the vote split between the two houses — with deputies voting 24-2 for approval and bishops rejecting it 3-2 — appeared to come as a surprise.

Afterwards, Douglas said: “I am very moved by the way the deputies on the world mission legislative committee were able to trust the process, including the Committee of the Whole sessions and the legislative hearing and then, based upon what we heard and experienced in these sessions, were able to come together in an effective, positive, forward-looking manner and I believe that the work of this committee was both faithful to and led by the Holy Spirit.”

Despite the split vote, the measure will move to the House of Deputies since the committee on dispatch decided it is the house of initial action “and we’re recommending it be adopted,” Douglas said.

When asked why the measure failed with bishops, he replied: “You’d have to ask the bishops that. For some reason or another, while participating in the process when it came time for the vote, three of them couldn’t support the final product.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

NPR: Should [Non-Celibate] Gays Serve In The Episcopal Church?

The 76th Episcopal General Convention is underway in California, where clergy will deliberate whether to bless same-sex marriages, and if an informal ban on gay bishops can be dropped. Ed Little, the Episcopalian Bishop of Northern Indiana, and the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., debate gays in service to the Episcopal church.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Lowell Grisham (Arkansas) on Yesterday at General Convention 2009

Dr. Te Paa served on the Windsor Commission. I started trying to type what she was saying, but I had to stop and simply listen. Her word were incredible and moving. (After we adjourned I ran to the Media Center to see if they had the text of her speech, but it was hand written. Someone is typing it. When the text is posted, I’ll send the part of it that was so captivating.)

She said that as she worked on the Windsor Commission, “We were never fully apprised of your policy.” She said that they didn’t understand the policy of shared leadership that is so core to the Episcopal Church’s decision making. She regrets the vilification of the Episcopal Church, especially its leadership, within the Windsor process. She thanked us for “Your generosity of spirit, despite what you have suffered through these years.” “I am a little surprised and saddened that too many Episcopalians are being affected by their sense of loss of face or vulnerability in belonging to the Anglican Communion,” she said. “I am dismayed at the extent to which that seems to be prevalent.”

As the others nodded in agreement, Te Paa said, “I don’t believe that that is so ”¦ it is not how I perceive the rest of the communion regarding the Episcopal Church to be honest.” This is another perspective of the Anglican Global South she said of the group on the platform.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Lisa Fox will consider "worship at St. Arbucks" if the House of Bishops block the House of Deputies

And I will be tempted to quit the Episcopal Church once and for all ”¦ as I did during my “sabbatical from TEC” in July 2006, after B033. If the bishops of TEC choose schismatic bullies like Akinola over me, then I will have to look elsewhere. I do not want to be “tolerated” or “accepted on sufferance.” I recognize what I experienced back in 2006: that no other church has the theology and liturgy that drew me to TEC. I tried them all: Romans, UCC, Disciples, ELCA. In this part of the world, they are all spooky-conservative and/or liturgically impoverished. Having made those explorations in 2006, I know I won’t find another church home in this place. I’ll just join the increasing number of Americans who worship at St. Arbucks on Sundays.

I love this church. The Episcopal Church has challenged me again and again to wrestle with my baptismal covenant and forces me ”“ Sunday after Sunday ”“ to consider whether I am living the holiness of life personally and in community. If I have to leave this church, it will be as painful as the most painful divorce.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury in bid to prevent church split over homosexuality

Dr Rowan Williams flew to America last week ahead of moves by church leaders in the US to introduce rites for same-sex unions and to promote more gay bishops.

Conservatives in the Church of England are threatening to divide worldwide Anglicanism if the liberal Americans force through radical reforms at a crucial meeting in California this week.

Dozens of members of the General Synod have backed a motion that calls on the Church to recognise a breakaway movement in the US opposed to the pro-gay agenda.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Neal Michell (Dallas) on General Convention Saturday, July 10

Today we heard Ray Suarez, Correspondent of the Lehrer Report News Hour preach at the daily Eucharist. He spoke of our being a welcoming church, made references to his and his family’s involvement in mission trips to the Lakota Reservation and Honduras and so many of the things we as the Episcopal Church have to offer.

I have been serving on the World Mission Committee. This has been particularly time-consuming. We have been dealing with this convention’s response to B033 (the moratorium on consenting to bishop elections whose lifestyle would cause a problem in the larger Communion) and the Covenant, among other issues. On most days my day starts with committee hearings at 7am and ends with the close of committee hearings at 10pm

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Living Church: Resolution to Repeal B033 May Face Test in HOB

General Convention’s Committee on World Mission spent nearly 90 minutes Saturday morning revising a resolution that, while using polite language about preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion, ultimately repeals Resolution B033.

The amended form of Resolution D025 says the 76th General Convention acknowledges that God may call gays and lesbians, “like any other baptized members, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Windsor Report / Process