Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wild Wednesday

As is so often the case, we started off slow this morning. Lots of announcements, procedural questions and reports from the House of Bishops. Then we did elections for the Executive Committee and General Seminary's Board of Trustees (it is the only seminary owned by the Church so we have to do this).

Then it was time for the Eucharist and I was so tired, I came back to the room and took a long nap, almost missing lunch. I gave up coffee today and I guess it really does perk me up! This afternoon, we passed the Denominational Health Plan, Lay Pension Plan and a long document on interreligious conversations. We also heard from the Program, Budget and Finance Committee. The budget is seriously cut. They listened to our Bishop's resolution and cut the interim bodies' budgets by almost half. The House of Bishops and the Executive Council also took cuts so there will be fewer face to face meetings for everyone in the next triennium and that's a good thing. We are also going to try having an eight day convention in three years. While that feels like it is impossible, the fact that the interim bodies have less time to work will lessen our work as well.

The exciting news on the liturgy front is that the bishops passed an amended version of the resolution on same gender liturgy. It will come to the House of Deputies tomorrow at some point and we will move to concur. Rather than summarize, here is the text:

"Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consulation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological, and liturgical resources and report to the 77th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consulation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further

Resolved, That the members of this Church be encouraged to engage in this effort. "

I know there are many who will be upset about this and I am sorry about that. This is a justice issue for me. It affirms that there is but one baptism and it is not qualified in any way. Jesus made it pretty clear that the neighbor we are to love is more often someone it is hard to love rather than someone just like us.

And now I am heading for bed. Many of us went to LA night at the Arena and I'm sure one of them will fill you in. I needed the down time in order to make the next two days. We are pretty much assured of a night session tomorrow.

Peace to you all.

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