Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Remembering Diocesan Council 2006

NOTE FROM BB: This is from my report from the Council of the Diocese of Virginia 2006 where I was a delegate as President of the Diocese of Virginia's Region VII. Thought it might be helpful to remember this right now:

Saturday, January 28, 2006
Diocese of Virginia Annual Council
Richmond, VA

Dear friends,

If I were to tell you what was one of the more memorable moments at the Virginia Annual Council was, it was the moment when the Council delegates took a vote on an amendment proposed by Dan Van Ness, Delegate, Truro. Following what now seems like a Virginia tradition, the Resolution Committee took seven of the original resolutions and compiled them into one big resolution called R-17. Here is how the final resolution begins as I have it:

Whereas, We in the Diocese of Virginia, members of the Anglican Communion, united in Christ, called to live out our witness, are "gathered in the spirit" and moved by thanksgiving for the many gifts that mark our life together now, and over the last 400 years; and

Whereas, The Lambeth Conference and Windsor Report have called us to acknowledge and respond with compassion and understanding to the pain and suffering of those who, because of their sexual orientation, endure marginalization and rejection; and ...

Here is where Dan Van Ness rose and offered an amendment that clarified what the Windsor Report actually said, rather than only half of what it said. The Windsor Report called us not only to show compassion and understanding to those who suffer because of their sexual orientation, it also called us to affirm that sexual expression is confined in the marriage between one man and one woman (this is a paraphrase of Dan's amendment - I think I was so darn tired I can't even read my own handwriting!). But those who have read the Windsor Report know that the authors made it clear that marriage and sexual expression is between one man and one woman. If this wasn't so, there wouldn't be the call for regret and repentance. If this wasn't so, the Episcopal Church would not have had its seat removed in the council of the Anglican Communion. To allude to only part and not the whole of the report is very dangerous, especially in these times. This amendment would clarify what the Windsor Report actually calls us to do - compassion to those that suffer as well as commitment to the fidelity in marriage between one man and one woman.

Dan's amendment was defeated, 274 against the amendment and 169 in favor. By defeating the amendment on marriage, the Diocesan Council embraced only a section of the Windsor Report that suited the majority of the delegates of the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia. It was a stunning insight into the diocese - that the majority of Council could not agree with the Windsor Report's call to affirm the traditional definition of marriage. Not a happy moment and a vote to ponder. How serious do we take this Windsor Report and the fabric of the communion torn by the actions of the Episcopal Church? Now we are taking out the bits that are uncomfortable, the bits that cause us trouble, and retaining the bits we like, the bits that make us think we're unified when in fact, we are not.

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