Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Live Blogging House of Bishops debate on C056

Bishop Whalon and Bishop Ely and twenty six bishops attended a meeting last night 9-11 and 7-9 a.m. for Indaba conversations. Those bishops all stand. I didn't see John Howe stand. This is not a committee or a committee report "but rather a renewed framework of our discussion" and are offering a C056 substitution, but they really aren't a committee (then what are they?).

Bishop David Jones stands and reads a substitute being put together by the Indaba Group which is not a committee and is not official and didn't check with anyone. They just met together just like it was official, just like they were a committee and no one seems surprised. Now they are handing out the substitute resolution for C056 from the committee that is not a committee.

Here it is:

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 collection of theological 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 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 further

Resolved, that the members of this church be encouraged to engage in this effort.

This is still and landmark resolution calling for the development of liturgies and authorizing same sex blessings as "generous pastoral responses" which is coded language for same sex blessings and marriages. With the development of rites, those rites can be used in trial as a way of testing them and once the door opens it will never, never close. As we've seen in the past, once this becomes the authorized statement of the church, dioceses that do not comply will be singled out as were the traditionalist dioceses who did not ordain women and saw the creation of tribunals at General Convention 2000 to investigate why those dioceses were not yet ordaining women.

This resolution also is a repudiation of Lambeth 1.10 which is the teaching of the Anglican Communion as well as the Anglican Covenant which seeks to unify the Anglican Communion not break it apart as this proposed substitute to C056 does.

It does not spell out - as it does when it calls for The Episcopal Church to "collect and develop theological and design liturgies" as well as to "provide generous pastoral response" for same sex blessings and marriages" what it means by a call to "continue to honor the theological diversity" of the Episcopal Church. Does this include electing Buddhist Bishops as well?

Some of the tables in the House of Bishops are laughing - wonder what's so funny?

5:19 p.m. 5:19: Amendment to the Amendment of a change to "to the 77th General Convention for further action" has now been passed to read "to the 77th General Convention."

A new amendment has been proposed to restore language from C056 "no bishop or other member of the clergy shall be compelled to authorize or officiate at such liturgies," into the second to second to last resolve.

Now voting - overwhelming voted no.

Holingsworth Ohio - offers an amendment to strike "and design liturgies" and insert "and liturgical" after theological so that it would read collect and develop theological and liturgical resources" - as a way to get around from using the word "rites" - but that disingenuous because that's what this is, these are rites, for heaven's sake. No one is fooled.

Robinson NH - speaks against the amendment. Speaks again of missing Lambeth and talks about taking part in the Indaba group last night. He's saying there's a difference between "developing liturgies" and "designing liturgies" and so he says to vote against the amendment.

Another bishop rises in favor and says it has a comprehensive stance for the broad middle of the church.

Another amendment to the amendment - delete "and develop" and instead "collect theological and liturgical resources."

Central Pennsylvania stands in favor of the amendment to the amendment - making it clear that we're not asking for formal work of design but it does allow for the dioceses and congregations to continue to develop resources that can be shared with the commission.

Alexander Atlanta - against the amendment.

Charleston California - opposes amendment. The House is learning to breathe again, he says. He says they lived in such a long time there has been no breathing because the House was so "doctrinaire" (code word for the orthodox element) - he says he opposes the amendment and prefers the one that says developing rather than a static collection of material.

Gregg North Carolina - also opposes amendment. Wants to give a sense of movement - frame the content.

It seems very clear that this House intends to establish rites for same sex marriages - make no mistake about it.

Irish Utah - proposes that the reporting comes to the House of Bishops - needs to wait, says the PB.

Beckwith Newark - calls the question.

collect theological and liturgical resources and report to the 77th General Convention.

Taking a hand count.

The amendment fails.

Collect and develop theological and liturgical resources ... - amendment - question called.

The amendment carries.

The amendment now is to change the reporting from General Convention to the House of Bishops.

Whalen says that it there is a process and stands against the amendment.

Chane Washington speaks against the amendment - and proposes and amendment to the amendment - but that's actually what the text actually says, so it's withdrawn.

Two bishops rise in opposition to the amendment to send it just to the House of Bishops, the last one because of the culture of secrecy and let the deputies also have a position in this debate.

Texas - moves previous question.

Voting on where the reporting will go - House of Bishops or General Convention.

No one said aye. So it's still General Convention.

Thu - we used to call him "Shorts" former bishop NH - talks about honor -- next to last resolve, Whalen says that the form that "honors" is not in order. That this Convention honor -

John Howe - proposed amendment on line 24 and remove final resolve.

A bishop rises against it saying that members are now encouraged.


Hands raised.

Call for a count.

I think that by leaving the final resolve in there is an assumption that all the dioceses must take part in this effort - that General Convention encourages all dioceses to take part.

56 yes
57 no

The amendment fails.


A call for discharge of the resolution - he believes it do

Sean Rowe is saying that this is calling us to do what we've been called not to do. Something is emerging and let's allow it to emerge not legislate. "How is working for us?" It doesn't work - it doesn't work. It simply doesn't work - it will further divide us.

Smith Arizona - Fully support the intent of the resolution, fully support same sex blessings - but yesterday he was moved by Rowe and by Jenkins - to find a way forward that is not legislative. Wants to think outside the box. Was disappointed to find themselves back in the box to have an amendment after amendment after amendment. Supports this move to discharge. Suggests a pastoral letter.

Gene Robinson - doesn't believe that the legislative process should not be demonized. This is a legislative body. If there might be a better way of working, we have canons and constitution to change it to something else, but now it's legislative. How this legislation affects our body is how we interpret. If we are using our leadership as bishops, he says, doesn't have to be demonic but helpful in respecting the needs of so many.

Chane - meeting in group yesterday and spent a great deal of time working on a piece of legislation and this is legislative body. For me, to discharge this, dishonors us and dishonors the great deal of work done.

Lane Maine - He believes that the bishops are an important voice in the church, but not the only voice. It needs to be considered by the whole church and needs to be shared with the rest of the church and needs the opportunity to respond. To discharge would be to deprive the others of the opportunity to share their voice.

Debate continues.

Shaw Massachusetts - Speaks against discharging. He believes this resolution represents significant discernment.

Alexander of Atlanta - Against discharge.

Fitzpatrick Hawaii - speaks in favor of discharge. The legislative process can be a way in which the church moves, but sometimes it's better to be silent, that we have generous pastoral action in this house for and with one another, it would allow movement and also allow the conversation to continue, sometimes it's time not to act.

Burrnet of Alaska - also against discharge. A self select group did a lot of work and discernment and gave a framework for discernment.

Doyle Texas - Favor of discharge - Discharge is a legislative act, it asks us to do something different, to act in a different way, as is a the substitute resolution. Like Sean he thinks that the House of Bishops need to be proactive and not just in passing legislation. Doing something different.

Call the question.

Voting by roll call.

42 yes
94 no
1 absention

Amendment changing "collection" to "consideration" in line six so it reads, "and for an open process for the consideration of theological resource and liturgies for the blessings of same gender relationships."

Question called.

Roll Call:

104 - yes
30 - no
2 - abstentions


rwk said...

Wow, I can think of a half-a-dozen ways that "honoring the theological diversity of this church" could be turned around to force priests and bishops objecting as a matter of conscience out of the church. The recent votes in the House of Bishops also makes it clear that no person who is not in agreement with "the new thing" will ever be confirmed again. There just aren't the votes. Clarity, in spades.

donbullockjr said...

Has the large opera singer sung?

1662 BCP said...

If your Father was an Episcopal priest in Alaska, I went to school with him at St. Vladimir's Seminary in NYC in the early eighties, while he was on sabbatical.

donbullockjr said...

1662 BCP: That was my Dad. He later became an Orthodox priest after he retired from the Episcopal Church. He passed away this last December Memory Eternal.