Daily Archives: July 17, 2009

Statement of South Carolina in response to the passage of Resolution C056

Steve Wood was waiting to say this but was not called on by the chair:

South Carolina stands before you with broken hearts. By passing Resolution D025 and C056 this General Convention has overturned the clear and consistent teaching of Holy Scripture and the Christian Church. We will have repudiated the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. The Communion’s patience and generosity toward the Episcopal Church makes our persistent refusal to heed their requests to us to honor the two called for moratoria all the more devastating.

Many of us us here this morning, and in Dioceses, parishes, and pews throughout the Episcopal Church, disavow this General Convention’s actions. We will now prayerfully seek ways to be faithful to the Anglican Communion and to the mutual responsibility and interdependence to which we are called, no matter what the cost.

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

House of Deputies about to get to C056

Mary Ailes has coverage here.

Sarah Hey is covering it here.

Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson are covering it there.

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

Living Church: Dissenting Bishops Issue 'Anaheim Statement'

Twenty-nine bishops have endorsed affirming their desire to remain part of the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church while being faithful to the calls for restraint made by the wider church.

Styled as the “Anaheim Statement,” the letter of dissent to the actions of the 76th General Convention pledged the bishops’ fealty to the requests made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the primates’ meetings and ACC-14 to observe a moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.

In the hours after its release, the statement drew support from 23 diocesan bishops, four suffragan and assistant bishops, and two retired bishops and included bishops who voted on both sides of D025 and C056 — resolutions that rescinded the ban on two of the three Windsor Report moratoria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

ENS: West Texas bishop drafts 'Anaheim Statement,' reaffirms moratoria commitment

Bishop Edward J. Konieczny of Oklahoma told a convention news briefing that “when the statement was read, it was clear to everyone in the house that this was not a statement of division.”

Rather, “it was a statement of unity and acknowledging and recognizing that we have listened to one another intently and we’ve done that with open hearts and mind, and that there was a thankfulness for that on the part of all. That particular statement was not intended to be anything other than them sharing with the wider communion that we are working together on this difficult issue,” he added.

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego agreed, adding that Lillibridge’s statement “was offered in a loving and appreciative way of the conversation we had.”

It included “clarity of where they are, but also in appreciation for the listening [that went on] in earlier conversations in the last few days.”

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of Newark Offers some Reflections on General Convention 2009

We are coming into the home stretch of this General Convention. We finish late Friday afternoon. Today a balanced budget for The Episcopal Church was passed in both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. There were no amendments to the budget, although some were proposed in the House of Deputies. There was virtually no discussion on the budget in the House of Bishops. It was a moment of legislative whiplash which, I suppose, reflected the feeling of futility that nothing could be changed. The lack of debate also honored the extraordinary work of the Program, Budget and Finance Committee that had the onerous task of balancing the budget that at one point was $24 million dollars in deficit. Many cuts were made, which means that lots of departments across the church have been reduced; and many staff jobs have been eliminated. There is a lot of hurt and loss to all of this — and I don’t think any of us really know the implication and impact of this yet.

“Mission” is our Presiding Bishop’s echoing metaphor. She describes mission as the heartbeat of the church. She invited — no, she challenged, us to hear the mission heartbeat in our bodies and souls. It will be more imperative than ever to respond to this challenge with deeper commitment — given that there are fewer financial resources to carry it out. Thus the Episcopal Church mirrors the experience of the dioceses — which is, to be sure, also the experience of congregations.
Yesterday, the House of Bishops passed a resolution that said a whole array of things — but mainly was focused on same-gender blessings and offering generous pastoral sensitivity for dioceses which perform them. The original amendment was almost brought to a vote the day before, but several bishops who were in the minority of the two-to-one vote the day before that (on affirming GLBT people for all levels of ministry) stood up to say that they felt marginalized and vulnerable. The legislative process was abandoned for the rest of the day — and a group of self organized bishops agreed to meet informally in order to try and move things forward.

This was the hardest moment of Convention for me. It turned out that it was the hardest moment of Convention for the 26 bishops who met that night and early the next morning — and for 26 different reasons. I felt that there was a movement afoot to scrub the decision of full inclusion; others said that the church was moving too fast for them. We expressed our thoughts and feelings in an Indaba-like atmosphere (which we had learned at the Lambeth Conference a year before). As the discussion progressed, we decided to move beyond creating a process of winners and losers, and instead to intentionally come up with a statement that included the ideas and feelings of as many as possible. We wanted to build a tent that was high and wide enough for as many as possible to gather underneath.

The resulting resolution (which five of us wrote) reflected the diversity of perspectives. When presented on the floor of the House of Bishops, there were more amendments — and amendments to the amendments; but they were, for the most part, attempts to better articulate what we were about rather than efforts to discredit or distort.

The final resolution passed by a three to one margin. It recognized our diversity. Instead of trying to restrict dioceses — the intent of the resolution was to trust the integrity and practice of bishops in their respective jurisdictions.

I think it was an important step forward.

Your deputation will be coming home tomorrow — and over the weekend. Many of us from General Convention will be present next Thursday, July 23 — from 10am-12 noon, and 7pm to 9pm, at St. Agnes Church, 65 Union Avenue, Little Falls, to tell our stories of Convention and to entertain your questions and hear your concerns. Each session will essentially be the same — and anyone who wishes to is invited to come.


–(The Rt. Rev.) Mark M. Beckwith is Bishop of Newark

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

The New York Times Interviews Gene Robinson

A: The most significant thing that happened was on Tuesday, after the House of Bishops stopped the debate on same-sex blessings and decided to have a smaller group of bishops meet to discuss it further. They said anyone could come, and it turned out it wasn’t a small group at all. There were 25 to 30 of us, and it turned out to be the most significant interaction I’ve had with the bishops since I’ve been elected.

It was profound and it was inspiring. People stood up and spoke their own truth, both the pain and the joy. Everyone spoke honestly about what they needed to go home with, what they could live with and what they couldn’t.

Q: So how do you explain the vote counts? The bishops passed both of these measures resoundingly, and we are starting to hear of many moderate-to-conservative bishops who voted “yes” on both ordinations and gay blessings.

A: Everyone acknowledges they know where this is going, that gay marriage is becoming a reality. But we’re trying to bring our people along. One bishop said to me he voted “no” so he could go home and do this work, as he explained it, “so I can bring my people along.” He used the Nixon in China analogy. This was a bishop who voted “no” on my consent in 2003.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Living Church: Retired Bishops Keep Their Vote

The House of Bishops has rejected the second reading of a constitutional amendment that would have stripped retired bishops of their vote in meetings of the house.

During Thursday morning’s business session of the House of Bishops at General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., the bishops voted 72-39 to refer resolution A052: Amending Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, to committee. Moves to strip retired bishops of their vote in the House of Bishops began in the 1940s, and failed at the 1979, 1988 and 1997 General Conventions.

Read it all.

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

Church Times: English bishops say Swedish proposal redefines marriage

The letter from the English Bishops, dated 26 June, notes that Swedish approval of such blessings is already “problematic” for the Church of England, and reiterates the position expressed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference that same-sex sexual relationships should not be blessed, and those in such a relationship should not be ordained.

Describing the new Swedish proposal, as currently understood, to be apparently “a fundamental redefinition of the Christian doctrine of marriage”, FOAG says it is “acutely conscious of the immediate and negative consequences of moves within any of the Porvoo churches to revise Christian teaching and practice in matters of sexuality”. Such changes would have “particular implications for the limitation of the interchangeability of ordained ministry”, and could even “further undermine the fragility of the Anglican Communion”.

Read it all.

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

Anglican sees 'unilateral departure' from tenets of faith

Dr. Kendall Harmon, Canon Theologian for The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, calls the vote a “unilateral departure from the Christian faith and practice.”

“It’s a continued intransigent insistence on their own way in the face of repeated requests by all the Anglican instruments of communion, most recently the Archbishop of Canterbury [Rowan Williams], who in the midst of the debate said after the House of Deputies voted and before the bishops voted, that he thought it was an unfortunate vote because it was going to further hurt the unity of the Communion,” he notes. “And nevertheless, the bishops went ahead and clearly overturned any kind of meaningful moratorium.”

Read it all.

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

Diocese of West Texas: Bishops Release Statement Affirming Membership in Anglican Communion

“The majority voice has spoken at this General Convention,” said Lillibridge later. “But I think it is important to also hear from the significant minority that represents about one-third both in the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.”

He said that in the Diocese of West Texas, the focus will remain on being a part of The Episcopal Church and continuing as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

“Out of all of this,” said Lillibridge, “what I want to bring home to the diocese is the deepening of our conversation regarding the issue of human sexuality as well as the relationship between minorities and majorities as we all seek to work together.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Updated: Group Of Bishops Reads Anaheim Statement (in private session) in the House of Bishops

This is the statement (read by Bishop Gary Lillibridge on behalf of the group)

The Anaheim Statement, General Convention, 2009

At this convention, the House of Bishops has heard repeated calls for honesty and clarity. As the conversation has proceeded within the HOB, repeated attempts to modify wording which would have been preferable to the minority in the vote were respectfully heard and discussed, but in the end most of these amendments were found unacceptable to the majority in the House. Many in the majority believed the amendments would make the stated position of this House less honest about where they believe we are as The Episcopal Church.

It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality. We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself. We are grateful for those who have reached out to the minority, affirming our place in the Church.

We seek to provide the same honesty and clarity. We invite all bishops who share the following commitments to join us in this statement as we seek to find a place in the Church we continue to serve.

* We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.

* We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538)

* We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.

* We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.

* We reaffirm our commitment to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship” which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in “interpreting the Gospel” which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.

When I spoke to Bishop Lawrence midday, there were 12 bishops who had signed, and my understanding is that as of tonight that number is higher. I do not yet have all the names of those signing it–KSH

Update: Just got off the phone with Bishop Lawrence, and he said Bishop Lillibridge read the statement and it now has over 20 names

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Terry Mattingly: How about some ecclesiastical math?

Read it all.

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

Daily Mail: US Anglicans head for schism with worldwide Communion by dropping gay bishops ban

Anglican leaders in the United States have paved the way for a schism in the church’s worldwide congregation by lifting a ban on the ordination of gay bishops.

Bishops, clergy and lay members voted overwhelmingly to open up ”˜any ordained ministry’ of the Episcopal Church ”“ the US branch of the 77-million member Anglican Communion ”“ to gays and lesbians.

The decision was made at the denomination’s General Convention in Anaheim, California.

By defying traditionalists, the move will deepen theological fissures that now make an eventual split with the wider Anglican Church almost inevitable.

Read it all.

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

Terry Mattingly–Religion: A history of Episcopal battles

The resolution from the 1979 Episcopal General Convention in Denver inspired a small wave of headlines, even though it simply restated centuries of doctrine about marriage.

“We reaffirm the traditional teaching of the church on marriage, marital fidelity and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality,” it said. “Candidates for ordination are expected to conform to this standard.”

However, 21 bishops disagreed, publicly stating that gay sexual relationships were “no less a sign to the world of God’s love” than traditional marriage. These bishops — including the Rt. Rev. Edmund Browning, who was chosen as America’s presiding bishop six years later — warned that since “we are answerable before almighty God … we cannot accept these recommendations or implement them in our dioceses.”

It was the start of an ecclesiastical war that has dominated the 70-million-member Anglican Communion for decades.

Read it all.

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

Washington Times: Episcopal bishops approve same-sex blessing

U.S. Episcopal Church bishops authorized the church to draft a proposed blessing for same-sex couples Wednesday here at the Episcopal General Convention, although the measure still needs approval of the priest and lay delegates.

On Tuesday, the church decided to permit [non-celibate] gay bishops, which passed 99-45 among the bishops and by a 72 percent to 28 percent margin among the church’s deputies.

When the gay-blessings resolution was brought to the House of Bishops for consideration Tuesday, only supporters of the bill rose to speak. Gay blessings were raised during the 2003 General Convention, Bishop John B. Chane of Washington said, and then “the time was not right” to proceed.

However, “now is the time to proceed with these rites,” Bishop Chane said.

Read it all.

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