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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Legislation: another step taken

Good evening.

After a tedious and sometimes tense session this afternoon, we have another step of progress to report. The House of Deputies passed, by a two-to-one margin, Resolution D025. You can look it up at:
It passed without any floor amendments. It is now sent to the House of Bishops for their consideration. It is very difficult to assess the sense of the Bishops, since we haven't seen any of those preliminary votes that give you a clue about how a subsequent vote might go. The decorum of the House of Deputies prevailed when the vote was finally announced (no significant cheering, applause, or other noisy reactions). You could see faces that were clearly elated and others that are genuinely troubled.

The resolution does recognize the realities in the Episcopal Church regarding GLBT folk and their relationships. At the same time, it expresses the desire to remain in communion with those who disagree. It acknowledges disagreement within the Episcopal Church and within the Anglican Communion over these issues. It's "out-front" and honest about it. One thing the resolution does not do is repudiate (or choose your synonym) B033. To quote several of the witnesses, it describes how we are now, regardless of how we might have been described earlier.

The vote was done by orders. This means that:
The clergy in the House of Deputies must vote in favor.
The laity in the House of Deputies must vote in favor (and the votes of the two orders are not combined).
If either fails to vote for it, it does not pass. This type of vote is the ultimate empowerment of the laity, because the lay vote alone can prevent the resolution from passing.
On top of that, the clergy of each deputation has only one vote; the laity of each deputation has only one vote; if either order is equally divided on the issue, the vote is recorded as "divided" but that counts as a "no".
With all dioceses required to vote, both orders voted for it by two-to-one. The margin was not statistically different between the two orders.

What might the House of Bishops do with this? For one, they could pass it. I've suggested in an earlier post that the 3-2 vote of the bishops on the committee to reject probably doesn't represent the sentiment of the full House. It is entirely reasonable that they would simply concur this measure. It is entirely possible that they would pass it with amendment. That would send it back to the House of Deputies to concur on the amendment(s). They could simply reject it. I suspect that the bishops will concur - perhaps not in overwhelming numbers, but in substantial agreement with a relatively mild, decidedly honest, and non-incendiary resolution. It isn't usually announced as to which bishop voted yes and which voted no, unless the individual bishop chooses to reveal his/her vote. But if there is a summary rejection of D025, quite a few bishops will have some explaining to do when they get home.

I think it behooves those of us heartened at this level of acceptance by our church to be sensitive, caring, and healing with those others of our fellowship for whom this is troubling. Reconciliation in love is our challenge and our goal. It's up to us to live up to the call of the Gospel and the promises of our Baptismal Covenant to be reconciled with our troubled brothers and sisters in Christ.

The "other" issue remains the same-gender blessings. This is still in committee, to the best of my understanding. Tomorrow morning I will try to track down what is happening on that front and will report back on this blog. I'll also try to find out if and when the House of Bishops is open to observers. That might be very revealing.



  1. I'd seen the news about D025, Don, but thank you for this report.

    Would you please tell us how Missouri's clergy and lay orders voted on it? [I need to know when I can retire my "My manner of life ..." t-shirt, Lydia. ;-) I wore it this morning under my cassock and surplice.]

    I'm pleased to hear that you think the HoB will concur. I doubt it, but I pray to be surprised.

    And I concur with you that we not be "dancing in the streets," given how much this surely troubles some members of our church.

    Many thanks for the news, insights, and perspectives.

  2. Lisa, I'm ever the sceptic about the possibility of good things happening. Then, when they do happen, I can really have a good time rejoicing. I hope this holds true for the bishops' vote.

    The Missouri deputation in both orders supported D025 unanimously. It was exciting for me to be sitting in for another deputy and voting on the matter.

  3. Don,
    Thanks for the excellent post and for keeping us informed. I agree that we have to keep in mind that those whom we disagree with are our Sisters and Brothers in Christ and we should show them the same love and respect that Our Savior always gives them.
    Keeping you in prayer,

  4. We voted by orders and Missouri voted for D025 in each order, I believe unanimously. But that does not mean that we are unaware or insensitive to the fact that for many in the diocese this will seem painful or misguided, even as it will help others experience healing and hope.


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