(AI) TEC Bishops narrowly reject call to study question of Communion of the unbaptized

The House of Bishops has rejected the call to revisit the issue of allowing the non-baptized to receive Holy Communion. By a vote of 79 to 77 the bishops rejected Resolution C010 “Invite All to Holy Communion” which called for the creation and funding of a task force to study…[communion of the unbaptized].

During the afternoon session of the 7th legislative day on 30 June 2015 at the 78th General Convention meeting in Salt Lake City the House of Bishops took up three resolutions submitted for consideration by the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music.

Without debate the bishops endorsed Resolution A067 “Revise Book of Common Prayer for Revised Common Lectionary”, which calls for the church to use the lectionary found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and not the Revised Common Lectionary for services during Holy Week.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

9 comments on “(AI) TEC Bishops narrowly reject call to study question of Communion of the unbaptized

  1. Undergroundpewster says:

    Look for this to keep coming back until it passes.

  2. Karen B. says:

    Pewster, yes, I think there have already been two or three comeback attempts this convention, including AGAIN today.

    It’s zombie-like or the Episcopal version of whack-a-mole…
    See Dan Martins’ blog entries for more…

  3. Undergroundpewster says:

    The “wear them down” technique has worked in the past and it will eventually work here.

  4. Jim the Puritan says:

    The fact is it’s already happening.

  5. tjmcmahon says:

    There are entire dioceses that already do it as a matter of policy, and there has been absolutely NO discipline for any priest or bishop who violates rubric and canon on the issue. So what difference does it make how they vote if everyone can do whatever they want to. Most of the bishops who voted in favor of the task force already practice communion without baptism, and yet remain bishops regardless of having abandoned the communion of the church in a very literal sense.

  6. driver8 says:

    Bishop Martins reported on his blog that he believes the Presiding bishop elect voted with the losing minority in favor of establishing such a task force.

  7. Katherine says:

    Bishop Curry is a church radical in all respects, #6. HIs support for this change would be no surprise.

  8. Karen B. says:

    I commend to all T19 readers a really good (albeit a bit long) reflection on CWOB by Derek Olsen

    Olsen is against CWOB, but he presents his argument in a way which I think really responds to the points made by Pro-CWOB advocates, demonstrating an understanding for what motivates them, and a respect for their concerns – something I think many of us could learn from, for instance, in our defense of marriage. A few excerpts:

    [blockquote]Thus, the question is usually constructed along these lines: Should the canon be overturned for the sake of the pastoral act? Again, this is the wrong question because its an imprecise question that skips over important considerations. It’s far better to break this into at least two big questions with attendent discussions beside. These are the two big questions: What are the practices of hospitality in our worship gatherings? and How does the church understand the relationship between the sacraments with regard to discipleship and the broader life of faith? […]

    Typically, the argument for CWOB is directly connected to its “missional” character. That is, CWOB is understood by some as a means of sacramental evangelism. The logic is that properly welcoming a stranger into our midst means allowing them to participate in every activity that everyone else does. I’m not sure this is actually the case and gets into the broader question of our confusion and uncomfortability with boundaries—when they are appropriate and when they are not, where they are helpful and where they are harmful. As a community that—in theory—is willing and—hopefully—eager to welcome strangers in, how do we do that properly? […]

    My fear is that, in some places, we choose to be bad hosts because it is the easier option. If no announcement is made, if the practice of the church is simply skipped over, no-one has to feel excluded or uncomfortable. CWOB becomes the default because the host is not willing to speak up. The real problem here is that it sabotages the agency of the guest. Those who are baptized, who are the leaders in the church, are robbing the guest of even knowing that there is a choice to be made. They are imposing their own sense of propriety (and sometimes their own anxieties) upon a guest who may not share them at all. […]

    In some of the rhetoric in favor of CWOB, the Eucharist is presented as a generic sign of God’s love, affection, and grace. To withhold it, then, is seen as ecclesiastical control and therefore denial of God’s love, affection, and grace to the unbaptized. This is both false and a misconstrual of what the church teaches about both Baptism and Eucharist. I’ve already written at some length on this point so I’ll refer you to that discussion if you want to see the logic, but the prayer book clarifies that the grace channeled to us from God in the Eucharist is grace to better inhabit and more fully embody the covenant relationship created in Baptism. Apart from that relationship it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense! The sacraments were given to the church for a reason. Through them, we enter into the reconciliation offered to us by God through Christ mediated by the Holy Spirit. They are a means of helping us live more fully and share more deeply the life of God, which—on our end—looks like a life of discipleship chiefly oriented around following Jesus on the way of the cross. To offer the Eucharist apart from Baptism renders our sacramental theology incoherent. This relates directly to the issue of altering the canon. If we simply remove our church-wide canon against the unbaptized receiving the Eucharist, we will be establishing a policy of incoherency. This is fundamentally different from the pastoral question of whether an unbaptized stranger can or has been moved by a form of prevenient grace that has inspired them to broach the obligations of hospitality and receive the Eucharist. […]

    Do we believe that the Eucharist is something special, something sacred? And if so, do our practices demonstrate that? There is a perception—often in the name of inclusion—that boundaries are exclusive by nature. I would suggest that the boundary around the Eucharist is not one put in place for the purpose of excluding but for the purpose of demarcation in order to preserve the logic and intention of the sacramental life of discipleship. What is exclusive, therefore, is not the fact of a boundary, but the practices of hospitality around it—do we indicate its reason and purpose in a way that invites the stranger to investigate and understand what we find so compelling about it, or are we simply refusing themmin a truly excluding way, or are we abdicating our hostly responsibility because it feels nicer, gratifies our self-image, and absolves us of the need to do the engagement of evangelism?[/blockquote]

  9. Karen B. says:

    Here’s an article at Anglican Ink with more detail about why the question of Communion w/o Baptism was re-opened in the HOB yesterday after having been defeated on Tuesday.


    The request to re-open the debate and create a task force on CWOB failed. BUT there was still a move afoot to create an “unofficial” task force. Sigh.

    I guffawed outloud at one line in the article, however. Pure comedy gold if this was said with a straight face:

    [blockquote]Several bishops rose to endorse the formation of a task force, and the call for theological diversity made by the Waldo Amendment. [b]The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, Bishop of Virginia,[/b] concurred, noting it was important that the membership of the task force not be skewed to insure a specific outcome. [b]He was “wary that task forces can in fact be de facto works of advocacy.”[/b] [/blockquote]

    Really Bp. Johnston? Ya think?! Gee, I’m sure that NEVER EVER EVER happened in Virginia with Bp. Lee’s endless task forces on sexuality and the listening process. No. Never. Sigh.