Monday, April 17, 2006

Good News for An Easter Monday

Happy Easter! As I used to tell the children when I was a day school chaplain, "Chaplain Susan didn't do 40 days of Lent to do just ONE day of Easter ... so we're going to celebrate all FIFTY days of Easter!" So let's start with some Good News to celebrate this Easter Monday: the platform just released by "The Consultation" offering not just a legislative agenda for General Convention but a vision for the Episcopal Church -- grounded in the one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism that bind us together as the Body of Christ called to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

It strikes me as an extremely hopeful sign that as we move closer to Columbus and General Convention 2006 there are faithful folks at work creating a proactive platform for a vision calling us to look beyond fighting over the unity of the institutional church to proclaiming the mission of the prophetic church: Alleuluia, Alleluia!

The Consultation Platform: The Consultation is a coalition of eleven independent organizations* in the Episcopal Church committed to peace with justice. We come to the 2006 General Convention in Columbus understanding clearly that the Episcopal Church is once again at a watershed moment in history. Now more than ever, it is critical to articulate what we believe and what we are called to do.

We affirm the goodness of all creation.
• We join our voices with God, who, after completing all of Creation said, “It is very good.”
• We see the image of God in one another and in all of Creation.
• We are inextricably linked in an interdependent web of Creation.

We have sinned and fallen short of the mark.
• We fail to recognize the image of God and the Christ in others and ourselves.
• We have by our action and inaction perpetuated a culture of greed, domination, and violence.
• We in the Episcopal Church have been complicit in this sin.

We have allowed our governance to be distorted.
• We believe that all the baptized are called to share in the governance and mission of the Church at all levels.
• We see the increase of power claimed by the episcopate as an imbalance in the Body.
• We compromise the church as sign and witness by not sharing our resources.

We reaffirm the promises of our Baptismal Covenant
• to continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.
• to persevere in resisting evil and, whenever we fall into sin, to repent and return to the Lord.
• to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.
• to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves.
• to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being.

Therefore, we call the Church, gathered at this 2006 General Convention, to:

1. Continue the radical reformation of the Church.
• remove all canonical obstacles to exercising the full baptismal ministry in the whole life of the Church.
• conform the canons to the baptismal theology of The Book of Common Prayer.

2. Invest in economic justice and eliminate poverty.
• support the U.N. Millennium Development Goals fully, including the 0.7%
allocation of funds.
• affirm worker justice, including the right to unionize.
• advocate for a living wage and health care for all.
• invest in economic justice to eliminate poverty.
• ask the Church Pension Group to provide equitable retirement policies for women.

3. Make reparation for slavery.
• commission a report to describe the Church’s culpability, preserve this chapter of our history, and make recommendations for compensation.
• support public legislation and compensation.
• apologize publicly for the Church’s role in this violation of basic human rights.

4. Dismantle racism.
• call upon every diocese to mandate anti-racism training.
• deepen our commitment to inclusive representation on slates for leadership at all levels of the Church.

5. End the culture of violence
• work for the end of violence against women and children throughout the global
• work to change federal budget priorities that fuel the culture of violence at the
expense health and welfare at home and peace abroad.
• include in Safe Church training orientation to issues of domestic violence and
appropriate responses.
• confess the violence inherent in using language for worship that is not inclusive,
expansive, and hospitable.

6. Build a culture of peace.
• call for an end to the war in Iraq.
• offer training in creative peacemaking in every diocese.
• inform our young people of the conscientious objector registry at the Episcopal
Church Center.
• add peace, justice, and nonviolence studies to the curricula of all Episcopal schools, colleges, and seminaries.
• encourage investment in enterprises that bring peace and prosperity to areas of

7. Clarify our theology of marriage, family, and human sexuality
• oppose the limitation of adoption and other civil contracts on the basis of sexual
orientation or marital status.
• relieve the clergy from their responsibility as civil magistrates in marriage.
• reaffirm that all orders of ministry are open to all the Baptized who are otherwise qualified.

8. Promote environmental justice
• mandate detailed energy audits and conservation measures, including recycling, in all Episcopal Church facilities and programs.
• commit the Episcopal Church to purchasing electric power from renewable sources.
• call for the federal government to fund fully its Environmental Protection Agency
• call upon our government to recommit to the Kyoto Protocols.

9. Reflect our mission priorities in Program, Budget, and Finance
• Urge Program, Budget, and Finance to restore the original askings for mission and economic justice programs.

*Integrity is one of the eleven member organizations of The Consultation.
Other member organizations are:
Episcopal Urban Caucus
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Episcopal Women's Caucus
Union of Black Episcopalians
Episcopal Ecological Network
Episcopal Church Publishing Company
Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Advocates
Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission
Province 8 Native American Ministries Network



Thanks for the "prompt," Jeff -- have added the organizations along with links to websites.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this information.

I am pleased to see that the promises and responsibiliies of our Baptismal Covenant are being held up as the clear basis for full participation in the life and work of our Church.

As we performed baptisms and renewed our vows this past Vigil, I was struck at how crystal clear the words of the Covenant are. The Covenant is very simple and powerful and easily explains what we are, what we hope, and what we may do, not just as Episcoplains but as followers of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes an accident provides humor, and this is the case due to the typo in the last entry: "Episcoplains." I suggest that we who are growing weary of disagreeing on issues within ECUSA are not simply complaining, but Episcoplaining. Alert the media!

Anonymous said...

Why are anti-racism measures not included in the required curricula of all Episcopal schools? Why did you not include a statement supporting changing public policy so that LGTB persons could be included in civil marriage and have a church blessing?

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Could you provide some examples of the second item in number one (conform the canons to the baptismal theology of The Book of Common Prayer)?

I have heard this mentioned before, but I don't know what changes in canon law are being recommended.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Would ending the culture of violence include the killing of babies in the womb?

Chip Webb said...

Reading this reminds me of Tony Campolo's comments once to a National Council of Churches gathering: the platform (with the exception of the section on the Baptismal Covenant) sounds like it's from the based on the platform of the Democratic party, not Scripture. (The National Council of Churches had asked Tony to critique the platform and tell them how to make it more appealing to evangelicals. For more details, go to Christianity Today's website and look for their 2003 article on Tony.)

It's particularly disheartening to me that sin is discussed only on the corporate level, not the individual level, and that we are proclaimed to be "good" without reference to our fallenness.

And when we say that "all orders of ministry are open to all the Baptized who are otherwise qualified," aren't we dangerously close to saying that ordained ministry is a right rather than a calling from God?

Peace of Christ,


chip -- I believe that a call from God is PART of what we name as "otherwise qualified!" No argument there! As for the "individaul sin" piece isn't that part of the historic yin and yang of our Anglican comprehensiveness?

The social gospel wing of the church needs the evangelicals to call them back to their personal relationship with Jesus and their individual failings while the evangelicals need the social gospel folks to call them off the "me and Jesus" mountain-top and work on the "inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these" part.

We need each other and perhaps my deepest sadness about the current challenges facing ECUSA is we'll lose each other as part of the same Body and that would be a very great loss. For all of us.

Chip Webb said...

Rev. Susan,

To a large extent, I'm very much in agreement with you. I agree that people on the social gospel and evangelical ends can have much to teach each other about a wholistic Christian way of life. Speaking personally, I've been challenged in some good ways by progressives. So in some ways, your words resonate with me.

What keeps me from going with you wholeheartedly is the sense that reappraisers and reasserters are not just looking at the gospel from different angles (that would be fine), but that our two groups fundamentally define the gospel differently, despite similar terminology. Yeah, we've had discussions about this before, so I won't rehash the same concerns again.

Nonetheless, thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent reply. We do have some points of agreement here.

Peace of Christ,

Anonymous said...

So, is the Consultation ready to return to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship? Are they ready to commit to following the moral and ethical teaching that the Apostolic Church has taught for the last 1900 years?

Remember, to continue in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship is the first promise of the Baptized.

Phil Snyder

Anonymous said...

My "trackback" didn't make it through your system.

While I disagree with much of the platform and the underlying theology, I salute The Consultation for being clear that we face "watershed" choices.

My commentary at
voices my disappointment in the omission of a priority for an "evangelical" (in the historical understanding of that tag) aspect in the mission of the church.

I believe history shows this omission to be fatal to a church.

Anonymous said...

Usually on this blog, questions are promptly answered,which is why I am curious at to the strange silence since I asked this question: "Would ending the culture of violence include the killing of babies in the womb?"

Would anyone like to take a shot (I was going to say stab, but thought better of it) at this one?

Anonymous said...

Tony, I think the dropped jaws are speaking volumes....Good question. Don't expect anyone posting on this blog to have an answer though :->