Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"The Day After"

Responses are now coming fast-and-furious to the statement from the House of Bishops yesterday. A press conference at Camp Allen is scheduled for this afternoon so more from there shortly, but for now here's a round-up:

I'll start my favorite ... Elizabeth Kaeton's "In Praise of Servant Leadership" from her blog:

As I reflect on the Statement from the House of Bishops the early morning light of a new day, I must say that what our bishops did was the best example of a healthy family system dynamic that I have ever seen in the church by a collective body of servant leaders.

Self-differentiated, non-anxious clarity is what we expect from leaders. No emotional cut off. No symbiosis. No dire warnings. No empty threats. No finger pointing. No ultimatums. No coercion. No shame. No blame.

Just a simple, clear, strong statement that this is who we understand ourselves to be as a family of God, and that we are willing to stand by all of the members in our family, even if that means we must pay the price of being abandoned and having others walk away from us.

The ordained leaders of our church in the House of Bishops have shifted the anxiety that was placed on our system back where it belongs and from whence it originated.

Our Katharine has modeled excellent leadership in this regard. It is an amazing time to be a Christian and a rare privilege to be part of the Episcopal Church which is playing a part of the reformation, reconciliation and renewal of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop Chane writes to the Diocese of Washington ... here. These resolutions make clear that in spite of our differences on human sexuality and other issues, a solid majority of the House viewed the recommendations contained in the Primates’ communiqué from Tanzania as offensive to our Church and disrespectful of the way that we discern and respond to God’s will.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a release ... here. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said, “The U.S. House of Bishops has made an unequivocally strong and courageous statement in defense of full inclusion of the thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Episcopalians. With this resolution, the bishops have taken a clear stand on the side of justice.”

Rachel Zoll weighs in for AP ... here. In the strongest and most direct language yet defending their support for gay relationships, the bishops said that accepting a second leader for traditionalists would violate Episcopal church law and the founding principles of the church.

Dan Martins (Diocese of San Joaquin) ... read it all here .. not a lot new but I'm a little flummoxed by this quote ... does he REALLY think we're not paying attention? And, as always, wondering why I'm surprised by the militaristic images so rampant in neo-con/"orthodox" land: I'm officially disappointed, and even a little bit surprised. Not a lot, but some. Two days ago (most recent post before this) I wrote about the Primatial Vicar scheme being "under the radar." Well, it's now very much on the screen. The bishops have "acquired the target" and fired their missiles. They don't like the PV idea one bit, and they've urged the Executive Council not to cooperate with the scheme in any way.

The American Anglican Council has a statement here ... I'm not in the mood to quote from it.

And the Lamberth Palace has sent out via email this "statement" from the Archbishop of Canterbury: "This initial response of the House of Bishops is discouraging and indicates the need for further discussion and clarification. Some important questions have still to be addressed and no one is underestimating the challenges ahead."

[Hmmm ... even the AAC allows as how the statement is "clear" ... not sure what kind of clarification he's looking for.]

Father Jake has broken his Lenten fast from blogland to weigh in here ... with this closing caveat: Now, will I be returning to silence? Hmmm...probably not, since I've pretty much broken it already. But I wasn't going to miss this opportunity to commend our Bishops ... who knows when we'll get another chance? Bless you, Jake .. and welcome back!

Last but not least Integrity issued the following statement ... available here ... but of course I'm going to post it all ... because I wrote it:

March 21, 2007—Integrity is gratified by the strongly worded resolutions passed yesterday by the House of Bishops. "The bishops have offered the church a way forward that affirms both its commitment to the Anglican Communion and its commitment to the gay and lesbian baptized," said Integrity President Susan Russell. "It is a sign of both health and hope for all Episcopalians that the bishops have refused to be blackmailed into abandoning the historic polity of the Episcopal Church by threats of institutional exclusion from the Anglican Communion. For gay and lesbian people, the bishops' actions bring us closer to turning the church's 1976 commitment to a 'full and equal claim' from a resolution to a reality."

By rejecting the proposed "Pastoral Scheme" and urging the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet directly with them, the House of Bishops has proactively claimed their leadership as bishops in the Church of God—and Integrity applauds them for it. At the same time, by including the Executive Council in their process, they have resisted the temptation to speak "for" the church—we believe that action deserves even greater applause.

Finally, we concur with the bishops' statement that "…the number of those who seek to divide our Church is small, and our Church is marked by encouraging signs of life and hope." Integrity is committed to the growth, strength, and vitality of this Episcopal Church—which we claim as our church. We believe the increasing participation of gay and lesbian people in all orders of ministry and the blessing and celebration of our relationships are among those signs of life and hope.

We look forward to opportunities in the days ahead to continue to bear witness to signs of life and hope. We will continue to challenge our church to live into its high calling to fully include all of the baptized into the Body of Christ. There are miles to go before we rest, but today Integrity celebrates with our bishops and with our church in making a giant step forward on that journey.


John Gibson said...

"This initial response of the House of Bishops is discouraging and indicates the need for further discussion and clarification. Some important questions have still to be addressed and no one is underestimating the challenges ahead."

They probably said much the same thing about the "statement" from the Continental Congress in 1776!

John Gibson said...

From the AAC comment:

"The bishops did not address the key issues on which the primates have requested a response—namely, whether TEC will abide by the Communion’s standard of teaching on human sexuality (as expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10)"

If I remember correctly, didn't the Diocese of Los Angeles address this very subject at its 1998 convention by a resolution approved by Clergy and Laity? Perhaps we should dust it off and see whether TEC might put it to wider use!

Fred said...

"The Day After" is truly a bad day for Kendall Harmon and his bunch of "reasserters".....he can't even get his website up. The venom must be spewing up to the boiling point over there. I don't think they saw this strong a reaction from the HOB coming. Heck, none of us did. Hurray for the collective backbone that grew out of the dust of Texas!!!!! The work of the Holy Spirit perhaps?

Jim said...

From Sue-z, "That large splash the ABC heard may have been tea in Boston harbor."


Catherine said...

Without a doubt, the work of the Holy Spirit.

Linda in VT said...

Here we go again: ". . . the Communion's standard of teaching on human sexuality (as expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10)." Isn't the whole point of the bishops' resolution(s) that this Church doesn't live by "doctrine" established by some extraterritorial all-episcopal body? Note their references to the Preamble to our Constitution; read, mark, and inwardly digest!

RonF said...

"…the number of those who seek to divide our Church is small,

True enough. There are reputedly about 77 million people in the Anglican Communion, and TEC is a very small minority in that.

and our Church is marked by encouraging signs of life and hope

Marked by the growth in those areas where traditional doctrine and teaching is upheld.

Unless, of course, you see "our Church" as the very limited and shrinking TEC, rather than the Communion as a whole.


Jim Trigg said...

My only complaint about Rachel Zoll's coverage is the unbelievably positive spin given the Primates' treatment of the foreign poaching. They did not, as she claims, promise to stop it if we agreed, they merely suggested that those responsible were likely to stop if we agreed.

Frair John said...


I'm not to sure about where you get the idea that the Church is "growing" where "traditional doctrine" is being taught. Truro Church has a huge number of people on a Sunday, and something like a 600% turnover, or some such. Same with most of these "Mega Church" style parishes. My parish has shown an amazing growth since 2003. In fact, the number of people coming in has, easily, out stripped the ones who left by about 100 fold. The Diocese of Maryland is alive and well and Proclaiming the Good News of Christ, and we do it without a superiority complex over liturgy or a specious morality based less on scripture and more on needing to feel superior. (BTW- SOMEBODY tell me when we decided that Donatus was right and his heresy became "traditional doctrine." I, apparently, missed the memo.)

Dennis said...

Rowan needs some pressure at home... any way we can encourage the progressives in England to quit being so polite and open up a little more "push back" on his home territory?

Any English progressives reading here, please ask your MP to ask questions on the floor of the HoC if Rowan Williams is using any British taxpayer moneys to fund his involement in the internal matters of the American Episcopal Church. Also ask your MP to also submit an "early day motion" (it won't go anywhere it'll just be published in Hansard but it will be seen) stating that the mind of the HoC is that any English taxpayer money given to the CofE should only be spent building up the English Church, not in involvement in the affairs of churches in other countries.

Rowan needs a good shot across the bow at home.