A familiar "urban myth" has resurfaced in recent discussion on the House of Bishops/Deputies listserve. The myth goes something like this:
Back in the halcyon days of yersteryear there were to be two allowable theological positions in the Church concerning the ordination of Women. One "No women", and the other allowing Women. The two were to be considered valid, and one could take no vengence on the other. In 2000 those who disagreed with the ordination of Women were made heretics.
So let's play now ... TIME TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT:
1974 was year eleven women were ordained in Philadelphia
1976 was the General Convention where those ordinations were "regularized"
1977 was when the bishops met at Port St. Lucie and came up with their "conscience clause" suggesting that individual bishops had the right to refrain from ordaining women as a "matter of conscience"
I've never -- in all my increasingly-long years of doing this church stuff -- met anyone who argued that bishops who did not believe in the theological efficacy of the ordination of women should be "required" to ordain them.
Rather our position has been -- and continues to be -- that parishes within a diocese where the bishop held a position contrary to the canons of the church on the ordination of women should be allowed to receive the ministry of ordained women if they are so inclined.
What happened in Denver 2000 was about conforming to the canons of the church ... not about turning people into "heretics."
After 30 years there continues to be a theological minority of folk within the Episcopal Church who do not accept as valid the orders of women in ministry. It is their prerogative so to do. They are and continue to be welcome at the table -- they just can't expect to be agreed with. And they can't expect their re-writing the history of this church to conform to what they wished would have happened to go unchallenged.
Here endeth the history lesson.