|Salt Lake City, Utah|
Reading the official report from a journalist point of view is always somewhat of a challenge - what can we ascertain from this current report?
We finally do learn that the Executive Council officially rejects the Anglican Covenant (who would have thought that the Diocese of Sydney and the Executive Council would have something in common?). But the other piece of news take a bit more work to extract:
The first morning of Council brought three distinctive yet interwoven narratives from the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies and the Chief Operating Officer. Each made important statements about how the work of Executive Council relates to the larger narratives of the life of the Church. There were moments of conflict as values held passionately by the three speakers were openly expressed. There were admonitions to find Jesus among the poor, to honor the hard work and witness of the whole people of the Church in all orders, to express how we carry out God's mission in the shaping of a budget.
The experience of conflict in church meetings where budgetary discussions and vision are mixed together often make us wary of even trying to connect the dots, of weaving a whole story from the threads. Rich insights by committed leadership, accompanied by a common commitment to hear one another out, resulted in the beginnings of new stronger cloth.
|Executive Council meets at the Hilton.|
We learn in the next paragraph that the conflict seems to be over the budget. "The experience of conflict in church meetings where budgetary discussions and vision are mixed together often makes us wary of even trying to connect the dots," the Executive Council reports. So even as they are weaving they are waddling.
We do learn that the Executive Council passed the 815 budget (though we don't know how the worked out the Constitutional Convention proposed by Bishop Sauls at the recent House of Bishops meeting. We do learn that the Executive Board wants the House of Bishops to send out a press release on racism (though doesn't provide any background why this particular issue was picked except as a diversion from the serious issues TEC is actually facing as a church), and commended "peaceful protests in public spaces in the United States and throughout the world in resistance to the exploitation of people for profit or power." Don't think they mean Tea Parties.
Yesterday we learned that the Executive Council substantially reduced its loan support to the shadow Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, propped up by 815 after Bishop John-David Schofield and the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to separate from the Episcopal Church and now has joined the new Anglican Church in North America. Last June the Executive Council approved a loan up to a half a million dollars. The fledgling diocese asked for an additional $450,000 to help pay "operation expenses," but yesterday that amount was reduced to $285,000 (how they think that will be repaid is anyone's guess) plus an extra $40,000 grant on top of that. This is in addition to the $2.3 million in grants and loans from 815 shadow diocese has all ready received since 2008, ENS reported. Why do they keep propping up this small entity? The shadow Episcopal diocese is strategically required for the ongoing property litigation by 815, so an argument could be made that these loans and grants should be added to the litigation totals. The prudent thing would be to fold the few remaining Episcopal parishes into a neighboring diocese like California or the struggling El Camino Real.
But the major news is that the Anglican Covenant gets two thumbs down by the Executive Council. It seems impossible for the Covenant to go anywhere beyond Utah and one can imagine that if they could have, the Executive Council would have concluded their collective narrative with a ceremonial drowning of the covenant in the Great Salt Lake.
It does bring to mind the words from the Anglican archbishops at the emergency meeting called by the Archbishop of Canterbury when they wrote that the actions taken by the Episcopal Church General Convention in Minneapolis "will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church."
So much for weaving, can it not be said that this tapestry is in tatters?
Turning to our neighbors at Unity of Fairfax, we find tonight's ironic - and quite frankly considering the recent events in the Diocese of South Carolina - this selection from the Cafe Jukebox: