Following the General Convention, most of you heard me read from the pulpit (or have had an opportunity to read) Bishop Lawrence’s letter to the Diocese. In that letter, he stated that The Episcopal Church had now “crossed a line” in terms of changing the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church in such a way that his own personal conscience could not go. Asking for a point of personal privilege, he addressed the House of Bishops, stating the issues on his heart, and then left the Convention floor, returning early with five of the seven Deputies from our Diocese (Fr. John Burwell and Mr. Lonnie Hamilton chose to stay.)
On Wednesday, the Bishop addressed his clergy for the first time directly. We were shown a film giving a pastoral rationale for the changes in Canon Law that allow transgendered persons (those who have been surgically altered from their birthassigned gender) to have full access to all positions in this Church, including ordination to the priesthood (and one would deduce, the episcopate). It seemed to me that this change was far more troubling to our bishop than the proposed rites for same-sex blessing. The same-sex blessing rites are proposed, provisional, and can only be used with the permission of the local diocesan. In other words, Bishop Lawrence is not in any way bound by them. But these canonical changes are permanent, and it was at this point that the bishop simply said to us, I think I have crossed a bridge.