Monday, September 24, 2007

PRELIMINARY Draft Statement from New Orleans HoB Meeting


This is a draft.

If this had been an ACTUAL statement, you would have been instructed to tune to one of the ususal suspects in your blogsphere for comment and commentary.

Thanks to Matt Kennedy over at Stand Firm for this transcription of the Prelminary Draft of the Message from the House of Bishops presented this morning in New Orleans. Frankly, I have my own opinions on whether or not it's the best possible "process" for a deliberative body (eg. the HoB) to invite the whole blogdom into their sausage making process but they have so here it is. Stay tuned for further developments ... there will DEFINITELY be some! (And no, I don't have all the names of the drafting committee ... yet.)
Here begineth the preliminary draft:

1. We affirm and support the PB’s plan to provide Episcopal visitors for dioceses within the Episcopal Church. The Windsor Report (paragraph 152) affirmed that our plan for DEPO is reasonable and saw no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by bishops from within this province. We believe the Presiding Bishop’s plan is consistent with DEPO and we thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry.

2. While we have already expressed concerns about the recommendations made by the Primates for a pastoral scheme, we nonetheless urge the PB to continue conversations with those requesting alternative oversight, seeking ways to create and implement arrangements which meet pastoral needs and which do not violate our Constitution and Canons. We urge those requesting such oversight to participate in these conversations and to assist in finding appropriate solutions. We pray that a way forward can be found which will bring an end to the incursions of extra-provincial bishops. These incursions imperil the Communions principle of honoring one another as we work together in good faith on these very difficult issues.

3. We continue to invite all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to join in the listening process which was embraced by the 1998 Lambeth Conference I prayerfully considering the place of gay and lesbian people in our common life. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process from every province if the communion and to our own continuing participation with others in this crucial project. We see an important role for the ACC in helping to accomplish this objective, as well as in addressing other important issues that come before us. The ACC is representative of both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches, and it is the only body possessing a written constitution.

4. We have attempted to respond to the Primates questions regarding Resolution B033. in honesty we must report that within the HOB there is disagreement as to how this resolution is to be interpreted and applied. As we live with this painful reality, conversation study and prayer will continue. We recognize the challenge our disagreement presents for some in the Communion and we respectfully ask for their patience and forbearance.

5. Because we are a liturgical church our actions concerning blessings are expressed in public liturgies. No rite of blessing for persons living in same sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. We wish to make it clear that the House of Bishops has not voted to authorize such liturgies. Even in the absence of such public rites, we acknowledge that the blessing of same sex unions, no matter how public or private, is unacceptable to some of our brothers and sisters in our own House, in our church, and in the Communion. The issue remains perplexing for us as we seek to balance these concerns about rites of blessing and the pressing pastoral need that confronts us. We wish to offer respect for these differing viewpoints.We are grateful that the Primates have articulated their support for meeting the individual pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons. In 2003 they wrote "there is a duty of pastoral care that is laid upon all Christians to respond with love and understanding to homosexual persons." The Primates have writeen that there must be a breadth of private and pastoral responses to individual situations. It is the case that for many decades, the Episcopal Church has explored the most faithful ways of ministering to and with gay and lesbian people who are part of our common life. We acknowledge that in some of our dioceses this includes the blessing of same sex unions.

6. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish those relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on those partnerships.We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to Lambeth. We are also mindful that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a way to include Bishop Robinson in the Lambeth Conference. Because we believe that this is a matter of importance to the House of Bishops, we propose that the Archbishop of Canterbury invite a small group of bishops appointed by the Presiding Bishop to assist him in facilitating Bishop Robinson's presence and participation.

7. We reaffirm our March 2007 statement in which we said, "We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their difference, often in the name of God."
Frankly, I have my own opinions on whether or not it's the best possible "process" for a deliberative body (eg. the HoB) to invite the whole blogdom inton their sausage making process but they have so here it is


JimB said...

This is a conversation the progressives are having with themselves. Does anyone think, even for a moment that regardless of how much we surrender our lesbian and gay siblings we can satisfy +Nigeria, the Nutwork or the clutch of "African" bishops now breathing fire across North America? Really, it is rather a waste of time.

On the other hand, I suppose one needs find the least destructive stupidity available when the HoB meets without the constraint of the HoD!

If we want a really useful resolution, how about, "It shall be a violation of canon, resulting in deposition to propose or vote in favor of any governance resolution by any house of General Convention absent a session of the other. Only the Church Council shall exercise corporate jurisdiction, with the PB unless the GC is in session."


Anonymous said...

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church.

This is simply not true. We all know it's not true. I think even the very dullest bishops know it's not true.

If the HOB now thinks it can just outright lie whenever it seems convenient and expect the rest of the church to sit back and not notice its deceit... well, then we are further gone than even I thought.

Reading the Howe resolution I realized that only Satan himself can so twist people's minds as to make something like that seem reasonable and now the father of lies tries to slip in this little gem.

The bishops have at long last stopped working on behalf of their own egos and started working for the devil himself!

They must be stopped.


Howe's resolution is DOA.

They know that.

The "end game" now is to get it on the floor and voted down as a wedge to use with the Primates.

Stay tuned.

Jack Sprat said...


I'm with you, I don't see how putting a picture window on this process is going to give people the chance they need to deliberate in a contemplative manner. I don't suggest that the proceedings be secretive, simply that once the doors are closed, the grandstanding can potentially be stopped.

Goodness knows, we're all aware of how much will be written AFTER the fact, which should give us the transparency we need.

Then again, I'm not a bishop.


Anonymous said...


Do you mind if I share this with the folks on PEP Chat? Thats Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, our Via Media Affliliate.


Anonymous said...

Susan--Please! Bishop Bruno said in the press conference that the blessing of same-sex unions don't happen in his diocese. We know he officiated at Malcolm's service. What gives? Is this not the bad old days of secrecy?

africantrekker said...

I am saddened by this. I came to this church because I saw full inclusion. I have such great frustration that we are attempting to please everyone at the expense of the g/l/b/t Christian. The surest way to failure is to try to please everyone. It feels like I am issue to be dealt with in ways that dont make others upset. There is more to my Christianity than just my sexuality. Why is it that we become pigeon holed?

Is this going to result in a religious "dont ask, dont tell?" Or is this already happening?

We have lots of work to do!


Padre Wayne said...

Yes, Kelly!

Susan: We need clarification asap. The "other side" is going bonkers over this and +Jon is becoming the laughingstock of our adversaries. Say it isn't so!



See just posted "Lions and Tigers" commentary.

All for now!

Mark K said...

This draft statement seems to add little to the conversation. It appears to be a restatement of what the Bishops have already said and what convention has said and a statement of the ongoing issue. Not much new -- and maybe that's the news. No reactivity, no drama, no response to the Primates in any substantive way.Clearly the "leaking" of the statement is a means to judge response before the the final draft emerges.

Unknown said...

Is "mumbling at great length" a mandatory course at all seminaries? How about "coming down firmly on both sides of the fence"?