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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

C056 - Blessings

Good evening, all. I haven't yet received the press notices from Integrity and other sources, so I'll get right to the meat of things.

This afternoon (LATE afternoon), the House of Bishops passed resolution C056 by a vote of 104 yea, 30 nay, and either 2 or 4 abstentions. (Some of us have cloudy memories about the abstentions.) It is public record that Bishop Smith voted for it. Several of us were present, forgive if I forget any, but Jason Samuel, John Speller, and Heidi Clark were all there. Not absolutely sure, but I believe our friend formerly at St. Peter's, Rev. Emily Mellott, was there too. I sat in the center of the gallery immediately in front of Susan Russell, retiring president of Integrity, and several other Integrity leaders. Major votes in the HoB were by roll call. Both houses did not recess until about 6:30pm today, even though a 6pm close was scheduled.

Now, the big issue is: What did they pass? As of the present moment, the legislation page has been updated to reveal the actual text. The observers in the room heard the text read aloud, but no observer had the printed text from which they started. And then there were amendments to the amendments, and, without even the original text, it was difficult to follow. In essence, this is the third version of C056, and though our original text is long gone, it still shows as submitted by the Diocese of Missouri. You can read it for yourself and see what you think it says. To me, it seems to say that we will make progress toward new and (before too long) permanent liturgies for same-gender relationships. The fourth "resolve" is pretty clear about allowing individual bishops to have "a generous pastoral response" to church members' needs. But it doesn't give much support or guidance to individual bishops as to how they should proceed during the next triennium. And there is no date-certain as a target for approval of the liturgies.

I observe that there are two references to being open and transparent. I'm not sure the "why here?" of this, but it might be sensitivity to the flack from what has been called the "secret" House of Bishops Theology Committee. That Theology Committee was mentioned in earlier versions, but is not in the final one. It also might be to let the Anglican Communion know that we're not hiding anything. Notice, too, that EVERYBODY avoids the word marriage to the greatest degree possible. We still have some linguistics to work out in the future.

What's next? Well, some form of approval has to come from the House of Deputies, who will presumably deal with it sometime tomorrow. Ron Clingenpeel is concerned that it might require a legislative session at 8pm tomorrow. One is on the schedule as a "possibility" if needed, but it would be best if it could be avoided. We presume that the deputy committee chaired by Sam Candler of Atlanta will hear C056, most likely at 7:30am if they didn't meet this evening, and then promptly send it on to the full House of Deputies. The deputy committee was in on earlier discussions, but they have never seen the text the Bishops passed today.

Again, there was no "gloating", no cheering in the gallery, or any thing comparable. I remind you that some folks, some of our sisters and brethren in the Lord, are troubled by all this. Let us be ever sensitive to their concerns.

After the meetings today, several of us went to a celebration in the Anaheim arena adjacent to the Convention Center. The Diocese of Los Angeles had an innovative program entitled "A Liturgy for Transformational Living", more or less based on Evening Prayer, with some unusual blending of art forms: music and drums, poetry, visual painting on a back-lit canvas with materials that looked like giant-size finger paint, even a little modern dance. Bishop Bruno of LA led part of the liturgy, but the main speaker was Brian McLarien. The whole thing was produced by the Center for Creative Ministries. Visual art credits go to
I had been led to expect loud rock stuff (forgive me for still being an old geezer), but it actually was very sensitive and nice and even inspiring. Not over-loud. Just a touch of CW, too. All of it nicely done.

Tomorrow night is the U2Charist put on by Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation. Our own Mike Kinman will be the preacher. I'll try not to miss this one and will report about it tomorrow.

We (or at least I) am getting weary. But the end is in sight. And the comfort and ease of being at home is not too far away.


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