Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday: Live Blogging the House of Deputies

As the deputies arrive in the big hall at the Anaheim Conference Center this morning they are greeted by the sounds of this filling the halls:

Alas, the video they are showing with the Beatles classic is a showcase of scenes from General Convention.

We are hearing short comments on William White who was the first (and fourth) Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. The speaker notes that today is that that Episcopalians remember him. The speaker says Episcopalians owe their polity to William White. Then the speaker goes on to talk about the goal of making human energy and God energy compatible. Have no idea what that means.

"God's energy passes through bishops, priests, and deacons" was a focus of William White, we're told, something that is not true in other parts of the Anglican Communion - or so says the speaker.

Here's what Wiki says about William White, "Rector of St. Peter's and of Christ Church for 57 years, White also served as Chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789, and subsequently as Chaplain of the Senate. White was the only Episcopal cleric in Pennsylvania who sided with the American revolutionary cause, while the other ordained priests remained loyal to the British."

It seems as though - in the midst of broken friendships - the focus is on William White the Revolutionary, as The Episcopal Church makes radical decisions that cause it to walk apart from the official teachings of the Anglican Communion.

Have learned that the entire South Carolina deputation has gone home but one, Steve Wood. Many do leave on Friday thinking that General Convention is basically over. But for veterans, this is a misnomer. Much of the landmark legislation comes up on the last day - this happened in my very first General Convention in 1994 and it happened at the last one in 2006 when B033 was put before both houses in the waning hours of General Convention in Columbus. Even the dreaded and controversial "Dennis Canon" was passed in the final minutes of General Convention in the 1970s, long after deputies and bishps have become so punchy all they want to do is go home, it's been such a hard day's night. But cheers and prayers to Steve as he remains as the voice on the floor for the Diocese of South Carolina.

LATER: Lydia Evans was also present in the South Carolina delegation. ;-)

There is now a call to suspend House Rule 24 for the remainder of General Convention. Rule 24 says that accept by a vote of 2/3rds, no new business requiring action shall be introduced into the house - and no new business in the last two business days, etc. So the deputies are preparing to suspend Rule 24, which is habitually suspended it's sort of hard to figure out why it's there at all.

Reconsider C023 is now being presented. This is the resolution on opposing the Marriage Defense Act that requests all Episcopalians to oppose. The deputy says that though he voted for it he thinks it was poorly understood and all the non-US dioceses voted no. Now debate is underway - with another deputy saying the bishops will amend it. The next deputy says its in opposition to Angilcanism since it says "all Episcopalians." Next deputy also support reconsideration. Amendments want to be presented to temper language. Obviously they have heard from people back home.

Deputies are now voting to reconsider. Reconsideration fails, the vote was not two thirds but seemed fairly split with the no's still outweighing the ayes.

Now attention turns to other legislation which is just being read out as a list of items discharged (in other words they will not be acted on at this General Convention).

Louie Crew is seated near the press section. Coincidence? He keeps walking over to the press section to talk to people - just as he's done in years passed. Louie is a long-time deputy for the Diocese of Newark, former member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, and founder of Integrity. Many of the press are in support of C056 and represent organizations supporting Integrity. There is virtually no one here in the press area from the orthodox side, they are just not here.

Question being asked on C007 - it was on the consent calendar and discharged because the issue has all ready been dealt with, on the understand the action on B033 has been acted on. The chair of World Mission is being called on. The chair says that B025 deals with B033. B033 in other words is dead in the water. Fascinating.

Has anyone noticed how QUIET the Anglican Communion has been as TEC comes to this moment?

C056 Debate begins ...

Here is C056:

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention charge the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music with development of liturgies of blessing for same-gender commitments to be presented to the next triennial General Convention in 2012 for inclusion in "Book of Occasional Services"; and. be it further

Resolved, That in the meantime the Ecclesiastical Authority of each diocese may authorize for use in the diocese liturgies for blessing same-gender committed relationships of enduring love, mutuality, and fidelity; and be it further

Resolved, That, with respect to such blessings, no bishop or clergy of this Church or any other person acting on behalf of this Church shall be required or expected to perform an act contrary to a deeply-held position of conscience.

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 and liturgies for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further

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

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation 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 continue to 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.

Debate will begin shortly. Rules are being reviewed now - there is a resolution on how the debate will be conducted and that is being reviewed now.

Deputies are lining up at the microphones preparing for the debate. The chair is now reading the introduction from the committee and it's recommendation to concur. Chair is speaking first, defending this resolution, giving its history and his confidence in it. A gentle and modest way forward, is how the chair describes this resolution.

Central Florida: Questioning the constitutionality of this resolution and that it's out of order, to conform to the doctrine of the Episcopal Church, conform to the laws of this church on solemnization of holy matrimony as being between a man and a woman - asks for ruling from the chair. Chancellor goes to the mic. Chancellor says there is nothing in the canons to change the rubrics of marriage or the Book of Common Prayer.

Question on liturgical resources vs liturgies - a wide variety of resources, not just rites, from around the church (so rites are not excluded).

Ian Douglas - ACNA will attempt to marginalize us and franchise them as genuine, but he believes they are being faithful to the spirit and not being unfaithful to God and the Anglican Communion and calls for reconciliation (the hypocrisy is just incredible). Because then the next speaker says this is about blessings and rites for gay couples.

Move to a Vote by Orders from Albany and Central Florida.

Deputy says that they will be undoing every shed of work done over the past three years, rejecting Windsor, on this day my church is covering itself in shame and I am profoundly sorry, he says.

Next Deputy is in favor, a student. "Now it's time to walk to walk," he says for all Episcopalians to support this resolution.

Connecticut - speaks against the resolution, particularly the 4th resolve, since unspecified rites can be authorized and is an invitation for disaster. We don't all agree that the spirit is calling for a new definition of marriage. The way to do this is by changing the canons.

Alaska supports resolution.

Albany opposes resolution.

They are going back and forth between those who support the resolution and those who do not. Albany is speaking on "generous pastoral response" which is a euphemism for same sex blessing, we all understand what this means. This breaks B033 completely.

Those with green cards support the resolution and those with red cards oppose the resolution.

The laity in the pews are voting and they are voting with their feet, says one deputy opposing the resolution.

15 minutes has passed.

Christopher Wells - C056 sets up possibility for use of liturgies, this flies in the face of the letter and spirit of the Windsor Report fourth moratorium as does the generous pastoral response and urges defeat for the visible unity of our communion.

Western Michigan - in favor.

Next deputy opposes - saying the church has lost its focus on Jesus Christ and scripture, instead to focus on our way and avoiding compliance with Windsor.

Next deputy - is a monk who supports the resolution in a changing world.

Springfield - Remember the Ubuntu of the larger communion, Archbishop of Canterbury was distressed with B025, the nail will be in the coffin for B033 and any semblance of compliance with Windsor. It's not just the economy that caused the budget cut, he stands to lose half or more of his congregations.

Wyoming - supports it - need to move forward that all the sacraments are available for all the people (does this mean marriage as a sacrament like the Roman Catholics believe? Baptism and Eucharist are available to all - not sure what that means).

If a deputy speaks too long, they just hack off the mic.

Next deputy - Ubuntu is an empty phrase. This resolution will alienate people across the globe.

Central Florida - speaks against C056 and reads statement from a member of the youth presence who urges the deputies to vote no.

Southern Ohio - There is a need for a pastoral response to same sex unions. Develop liturgies for these unions.

Springfield - urges rejection. Put off pride and vote no.

5 minutes left for debate.

Northern California - support C056 as it was overwhelming passed by the bishops. When same sex unions were legalize in California his phone rang off the hook, with people asking for their marriages to be blessed. Because of the Episcopal Church's support for the California legislation, this is a pastoral and mission response, the deputy says.

Central Florida - this resolution says that it recognizes the change circumstances in the U.S. The resolution is lacking in calling for a faithful response to the biblical teaching and the teachings with the holy catholic apostolic church - if we pass this resolution we go on record that our doctrine of marriage is being changed, the deputy says.

Colorado - supports it as a gay partnered man urges deputies to move on.

Dallas - against the resolution, the truth of the matter is marriage is between a man and a woman, the truth of the matter is that if you even if you think you can fly, if you step off the roof of this building you will fall. It doesn't change the fact that it's still not right, and it's not the truth, and goes against God's word.

Last word - Deputy stands in favor and urges support and it's time to move and with that, debate ends.

The deputies are being asked to leave their mics and they do and voting preparations are now underway.

Voting Part One: (coming soon)

Voting Part Two: (coming soon)

Here is a statement from the deputation of the Diocese of South Carolina:

Madam President:

South Carolina stands before you with broken hearts. By passing Resolution D025 and C056 this General Convention has overturned the clear and consistent teaching of Holy Scripture and the Christian Church. We will have repudiated the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. The Communion's patience and generosity toward the Episcopal Church makes our persistent refusal to heed their requests to us to honor the called for moratoria all the more devastating.

Many of us us here this morning, and in Dioceses, parishes, and pews throughout the Episcopal Church, disavow this General Convention's actions. Will will now prayerfully seek ways to be faithful to the Anglican Communion and to the mutual responsibility and interdependence to which we are called, no matter what the cost.

The President of the House of Deputies chose not to call on South Carolina and the statement was not read to the floor before the vote, even though the President of the House of Deputies has now called on someone who wants to give the Secretary shoes.

People are way too giddy in here, full of frivolity. Does this house even have a clue of what they have just done?

We are now awaiting the results of the vote by orders for C056.

Well, they are now closing up shop for the Eucharist and lunch - so the announcement will probably not come until after 2:00 p.m. PDT.


Phil said...

Something tells me William White would vomit at being associated with this organization.

Anonymous said...

Yes BabyBlue they do understand exactly what they are doing that is why it is being done.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely, viscerally, stomach-turning. I don't know how the orthodox bishops, priests, delegates, etc etc have had the endurance for this convention. All I can think is that they just want to be sure that there is SOME opposition on the record. Reporters like you, my dear Baby Blue, have a high calling and I am certain you will need to do major de-toxing of some sort after. Thanks for the information. Sad, sad, sad. But, like all things earthly - a reminder that all good things must come to an end - instead of in Christ Jesus! Amen!

Fr. Darin Lovelace+ said...

Making sure this misses the morning news cycle in England?


Pageantmaster said...

It is 7:30 pm here in England, but I would be surprised if you have to wait long to hear from us.

Anonymous said...

Dallas speaker who mentioned what would happen if you jumped off the roof was Dana Pope. You go, girl!

Anonymous said...

Working for a large corporation, I assure you it is well known that if you want news buried, you announce it as late as possible on Friday.

p.s. the word verification I got for this comment is "gogene". I love it!

Larswife said...

"Has anyone noticed how QUIET the Anglican Communion has been as TEC comes to this moment?"

One is always quiet when observing the death of someone/something once so dearly loved.


donbullockjr said...

I can't wait for the next GC. I'm busy making a list of my favorite sins so that resolutions may be passed to bless them.

The world may change, but God is constant. The issues addressed in D025 and C056 are not new. Doctrine should not be changed or compromised by resolution. In my humble opinion, we should work to move the world toward God not try to manipulate our understanding of God to fit where the world has wandered. Keep the faith.

Luke 23:34
John 14:6

Anonymous said...

Does GC and Shori know what they have done?

Will will now prayerfully seek ways to be faithful to the Anglican Communion

Absolutely they do. In fact, I can hear the abandonment letters being drawn up as I type this

Let's be very very clear: that statement by SC will ahve taken great courage, because we can be sure that Short et all will interpret it as SC leaving TEC and will depose them all for sure!

You can no longer be a Christian and remain in TEC - just as you cannot be a Christian in say the KKK.
Sorry Sarah Hey - but that's how it is now.