Monday, September 24, 2007

Afternoon Session

Ian Douglas is now up at the podium and talking about Lambeth. He's on the Design Committee. Originally, they had wanted Lambeth in Cape Town, South Africa but they couldn't get the logistics right. That would have been a political move, to hold Lambeth in the one province that is aligned with The Episcopal Church.

There is something sort of surreal here about talking about Lambeth as though there isn't anything wrong, as though it's "business as usual." The presentation is as though this is 1997, not 2007 and we're all One Big Happy Family. It's sort of weird to hear Ian talking about and there's Gene Robinson sitting there. TEC must be pretty confident that he's going, no matter what. Why else would they be so rude to talk about a party that he's not invited to.

Now Ian is talking about Encountering God's Story. It's clear that they are trying to not allow what happened last time, where they lost control of the conference when the majority of the bishops showed up with ideas of their own. Don't want to let that happen.

This is an interesting sales job for Lambeth. It's as though they are trying to tell the bishops, hey, not matter what happens here we're all going to Lambeth. And if they are so sure that there's going to be nothing that comes from this meeting that might put Lambeth in jeopardy. But what we're getting "group" stuff. Ian is diliberately downplaying the legislative aspect of this gathering. He's making it sound like it's some sort of Retreat with an agenda to "educate" all the bishops into group thinking. Not exactly inspirational.

There is no funding for a spouses program. Now he's making a financial pitch to fund a spouses program. He still hasn't mentioned that Lambeth is in jeopardy.

Now he's mentioning the meeting in Spain (Madrid) - he's denying that there's no collusion between Madrid, but it's going to be run just like Madrid. Trinity Wall Street paid for Madrid, he tells us.

There will be "non-controversial supporting affirmations" at Lambeth. That will be conversation and affirmation.

Question: There was no mention of worship. Will there be any worship?

Ian: Forgot to mention that. Yes.

Question: What is the financial involvement besides travel?

Ian: Registration Fee includes Room & Board.

By the way, we were hearing that the Bishops were going to go back into Executive Session today. But it appears they want to make sure the press hears that TEC is all set to go to Lambeth.

Jim Stanton - Last Lambeth there was a weekend break and the Global South was stranded and the kitchens were closed. Is there any plan for that this time?

Apparently there will be opportunities for other activities this time. Hmmm ...

Writing Committee is up next and HOB will be back in session at 4:30 p.m. Will we stay or will we go?

4:27 p.m. Just learned that when they went into Executive Session, the Chane Resolution (which we wrote about earlier) was introduced to the House. The Writing Group was sent off. It may very well be that the Chane Resolution will be substituted for the resolution this morning.

Having started with a resolution that was so objectionable (it basically said no to all of Dar Es Salaam) they may now introduce the one that the ACC backs.

5:40 p.m. The PB returned and asked the bishops if they wanted to go into Executive Session (i.e., toss us out). There was a resounding "YES!" Then she asked if they wanted to come out of Executive Session before the end of the day and there was a resounding "NO!"

So out we went. Now we're waiting for the press conference - obviously they need to manage the message better.

By the way, Bishop Lee came by, said hello to me and we shook hands. If anyone thinks that this meeting isn't painful and sad should think again.

LATER: The problem of this e-mail being sent through the House of Bishops is that the bishops were caught managing the process by introducing what the Writing Group had been working on all weekend to form the basis of the official statement. Now that it was made public (they did invite all the media into the room) they think that it was reported as the official statement. Draft. D R A F T. Here's what's being sent to the bishops via e-mail. The message is written by Don Johnson. This may be why we were resounding requested to get out of the House.

Following the September 24 morning session of the House of Bishops, reports claiming to give, in part or whole, a message from the Bishops to the larger Church have been appearing on various websites and blogs. These reported official statements of the House of Bishops are not true. A clearly marked document entitled “A Preliminary Draft for Discussion Purposes Only” was presented to the Bishops by an ad hoc writing committee of the House. It was given to the House of Bishops solely for the purpose of giving a starting place for our formal deliberations scheduled for later in the meeting at our official business session. As a result, those preliminary discussions have already resulted in a number of suggested ways to strengthen, clarify and expand the Bishop’s anticipated response when the time is right. Therefore, do not be confused by this early release of the preliminary document intended “for discussion purposes only.” Our official statement will be coming in the next two days. Thank you. +Don

Interesting, isn't it?

Here's what Steve Waring at The Living Church is reporting:

As members of the House of Bishops began filing out of the plenary hall for lunch Monday, several expressed dissatisfaction with the direction taken in the draft statement proposed by the writing committee. The proposed draft attempted to incorporate the main points contained in many of the resolutions previously submitted for consideration, albeit with watered-down language in at least some cases.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori suggested that the statement by the writing committee should be considered a substitute version of the original resolutions that were submitted. The writing committee is not scheduled to present a revised draft of its statement until Tuesday morning, the final day of the House of Bishops’ Sept. 20-25 meeting in New Orleans.

“We need to give the Archbishop of Canterbury something more than this,” said Bishop John Chane of Washington. Bishop Chane said he would seek a point of privilege to debate a revised version of a resolution that Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana originally submitted before the meeting began. Bishop Chane said he and Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles had been working with Bishop Jenkins to perfect the original language.

Under the rules of procedure by which the house is governed, Bishop Chane’s motion may be denied or accepted for a vote by Bishop Jefferts Schori, who presides. If accepted, his proposal to change the agenda would require approval from a majority of those present.

So TLC is reporting that the Draft from the Writing Group's statement should be considered a substitute of the original resolutions. Not exactly what the writer of the e-mail said. But of course, there is the Chane Statement (note who is quoted in the article) that has also been worked on all weekend. Will we find the MacPherson resolution wrapped up in that one? Remember, we are looking for honesty and clarity, not fudge.

There appears to be some sort of power struggle going on - but not the usual kind. There aren't enough orthodox here to blame them. The Writing Group draft basically said no to everything. The Chane group includes support from the AAC (we have Jim Rosenthall here in the newsroom doing a walkabout).

Looks like the press conference is about to start.

Read the entire article at The Living Church here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Mary I presume you mean ACC instead of ACC in this section:

The Chane group includes support from the AAC (we have Jim Rosenthall here in the newsroom doing a walkabout).