Thursday, July 12, 2012


Legislation passed at General Convention which causes me to rejoice.

• Authorized blessings for same-sex unions in dioceses with the agreement of bishop of the diocese.

• Explicitly included transgender people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church and as candidates to the ordained ministry.

• The Rev. Canon Gay Jennings elected President of the House of Deputies.

•  Byron Rushing elected Vice President of the House of Deputies.

About the legislation on restructuring, we'll see who is appointed to the task force and how that goes.  What I do not want to see is more power yielded to the bishops.  The hierarchical structure of TEC is entirely a good thing, but our shared governance by laity, clergy, and bishops is, I believe, our great gift to Anglicanism.

The budget?  That's not my area of expertise or even understanding, so I'll leave the commentary to others more knowledgeable.

Legislation passed at General Convention which saddens me.
The resolution on the Anglican Covenant at its core says, "as a pastoral response to The Episcopal Church, the General Convention decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant.”
Both Elizabeth Kaeton, who was present at GC, and SCG, who, like me, observed from afar, write with excellence about the failure of the Episcopal Church to take a position on adoption of the Covenant.

I understand the politics. Honestly, I do. But, I think the statement is inherently dishonest.

We could have easily said "no" to the Anglican Covenant in the House of Deputies.

I think we could have even released ourselves from being held hostage from a very few purple shirts in the House of Bishops and let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no'.

The folks on the legislative committee, however, chose to be careful. I keep hearing a line from the Sondheim play,
Into the Woods, "....and I was so careful, I forgot how to care...."

I don't know when "pastoral response" became synonymous with "weak" and borderline duplicity.  We kicked the can down the road on this one, sacrificing a great chunk of our integrity on the altar of expediency. 

I can't imagine that our friends around the Communion can't see right through this one.

Given the other acts of courage in which this convention has engaged, this one is an embarrassment.

Le sigh.
It's as if we are on a game show of "Who Wants the Anglican Covenant?" and the Episcopal Church is sitting on the hot seat, saying, "Gee, Meredith.... ummm... we think it's "No," but, well, gosh, "Yes" means we get to go meet with important people.  Ah, gee, ummmm...maybe, well, maybe we could ask the audience, but ummmmm...."

Meanwhile, those of us sitting at home are screaming at our computer screens: "No!!!  The answer is No!!!!"

Perhaps they needed the "Phone-A-Friend" option.  Call Scotland.  Call the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.  Heck, call the 26 diocese in the Church of England who had the guts to say "No"!
Please read both posts in their entirety.

From everything I've heard from those who were there and from what I've read here at home, the representatives of No Anglican Covenant Coalition, moderator, Malcolm French, and US convener, Lionel Diemel, both did a terrific job of advocacy at GC for a polite but firm "no" to adoption of the Anglican Covenant, and I thank them from my heart for their hard work.  The results were not what we hoped, but that is no fault of theirs. Well done!

Those of us in NACC who walked with our English friends (virtually speaking) through their courageous vote to defeat the Covenant in the dioceses in the Church of England and with the Scots through their clear vote against adoption at General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, so wanted TEC to support their brave stands against the odious Covenant with a polite but firm vote against adoption.  That TEC was unable to demonstrate support of our friends causes me shame and disappointment.  The legislation  that was passed smacks of hypocrisy, since there is no money in the budget for the "task force of Executive Council to continue to monitor the ongoing developments with respect to the Anglican Covenant" (whatever that means). Does it mean we'll sit and watch while other churches have the courage to make a decision one way or another?

Meanwhile, General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia passed legislation stating that the church is "unable to adopt" the Covenant. Congratulations!


  1. In fact, GC's action is similar to England's. What the English dioceses voted on was whether to bring the question of the covenant to the General Synod just ended. So the No votes in the dioceses were really a No to taking a position.
    Similarly, Canada declined to vote on the Covenant.
    IMHO, that's a good thing. The Covenant isn't worth any more attention.
    As for the idea that it's hypocritical because there isn't money in the budget, consider that the budget is drafted without regard to any unexpected moves Convention might make, and that resolutions like the one on the covenant rarely, if ever, include ezplicit provision for funding any requirements they set up. In this case, I'm glad there isn't money. Let the covenant die a quiet death, we don't need to kick it or waste any more time on it.

  2. Allen, I want the Covenant stone cold dead with no possibility of resuscitation, thus the legislation out of GC does not satisfy me. However, it is what it is, and I accept it as the position of the church - on the fence - a position that can become uncomfortable after a while.

  3. Mimi, I'll be a bit paradoxical here--GC voting against the Covenant would have been an action is the same spirit as the Covenant, GC not voting on the Covenant is an action which contradicts the spirit of the Covenant. Because the spirit of the Covenant is "top down governance" and "central authority making the decisions for everyone".
    I think GC feels there's no real consensus one way or another on the Covenant, and is waiting for it to be decided diocese by diocese (like it was in England), parish by parish, and is wise enough not to want to impose its own ideas on others. Especially if restructuring is going to be a difficult phase in the life of the Church.

  4. BTW, should one read anything symbolic into the name of the new PoHoD?

  5. kishnevi, a good many of the dioceses are not paying attention to the Covenant, and there will be no vote. In England, the vote was mandatory in the dioceses, but that is not the case with TEC. The decision that there was no consensus was made in committee, even after many testimonies against the document. No opponents of the Covenant were allowed to speak once the resolution reached the floor. Only persons who favored the resolution were given an opportunity to speak. I don't like the legislation, and I don't like how it was passed, but it's done now, and I will not flog it forever.

    BTW, should one read anything symbolic into the name of the new PoHoD?

    I'm not sure what you mean.

  6. "Gay" is an old, traditional female first name. I don't think it reflects the new Prez's sexual orientation!

    [I'm reminded of that wingnut "news" site, which *automatically* re-wrote "gay" into "homosexual." It reported that the winner of an important sprint race as (IIRC) "Dennis Homosexual"! *LOL* (when the man's last name was Gay)]

    1. I knew that, JCF, but found the confluence amusing. And as someone once said, "Co-incidence is simply God being more obvious than usual."

  7. Mimi, could it be because TEC has potentially more to lose? England voting against the Covenant will not remove the CoE from the heart of the Anglican Communion, but it was aimed against TEC in the first place, and TEC voting against it could have more final consequences? If so, it would be helpful if TEC had a conversation about what place it actually wants to have in this brave new world before voting?

  8. Erika, it's true that TEC has more to lose. What's also true is that there won't be much of a conversation, because members are generally not paying attention to the Covenant. What the legislation did was to punt the ball down the field where it will lie there until TEC is forced to take a stand, perhaps by the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, during which a time limit may be set for adoption of the Covenant. Since the Covenant is unamendable, and some might view the time limit as an amendment, difficulties in setting the limit could arise at the meeting. We'll see.

    Good, progressive legislation came out of GC, and perhaps a fudge on the Covenant was a sop to conservatives. Since there is no money in the budget for the task force to study the Covenant further, the legislation seems hypocritical to me.


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