I am pleased beyond measure that this conference has elected to include a consideration of polity along with that most dreaded fifth horseman of the Apocalypse, canon law. Neither is really as mysterious, and certainly not as malevolent, as some would suggest. Neither is arcane nor, despite the fact that they are legal, legalistic. Both are simply applied ecclesiology, which means they are entirely theological in nature. Both are disciplines that may well help us think through our current challenges. Both are relationally and spiritually
healthy, as they express the agreed-upon boundaries of our community life. Both are important to our life together because the alternative to the rule of law on this side of the kingdom of heaven is not grace, but the rule of men (and I use the gender-exclusive term quite intentionally), men who equate their prejudices with God’s word, their ambitions with God’s will, and their agendas with the tradition of God’s Church. Polity and canon law are the security of God’s people against the wrongful exercise of power.
Entitled "Our Constitutional Heritage: Why Polity and Canon Law Matter" it is the work of +Stacy Sauls (of Bishop of Lexington fame) and it quite clearly and methodically outlines the history of our Episcopal Church polity.
HIGHLY recommended -- whether you need a refresher course or never TOOK the course -- it's "Episcopal Polity 101" in a nutshell and many thanks to Bishop Sauls for making it available!
And now, back to All-Advent-All-the-Time-at-All-Saints-Church!