Monday, July 13, 2009

General Convention: Resolution on new gay bishops moves forward

It is time to check back in on General Convention where developments are cooking. But before we return to the politics of the church I do hope you will scroll down and look at the photos from our Shrine Mont weekend. We had fishing derbies, hikes and dances and a good time was had by all.

Ok, back to convention...

I got a call last night from our own Paul Brockman, an alternate deputy at convention, reporting passage by the House of Deputies of a carefully worded resolution that affirms The Episcopal Church's commitment to remaining a full and supportive participant in the life of the Anglican Communion, and (here's the kicker) also affirming that gays and lesbians, like others who are baptized, must be allowed to discern and respond to their call to serve God in the church. That call may include being ordained a deacon, priest or bishop.

Please note: The action by the House of Deputies does not take effect unless also approved by the House of Bishops. We know that the bishops held a closed-door session over the weekend to discuss the issue, and most are predicting that passage by the bishops is a close call at best. I will keep you posted in this space as developments unfold.

The resolution, entitled D025, would essentially lift the moratorium on ordaining any new bishops who are openly gay. That moratorium had been approved by General Convention three years ago to give the rest of the Anglican Communion "breathing space" in the wake of the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. The new resolution, however, does not repudiate the earlier resolution but, as one of its authors pointed out, is attempting to describe a "comprehensive description of the church's current reality."

You can read the full text of the resolution as it passed the House of Deputies last night by clicking HERE (and it is worth a careful read).

You can also bet that if both houses pass this resolution there will be sharp reaction on both sides of the issue. My prediction is that a diocese will soon elect another openly gay bishop, for example in the Diocese of Los Angeles where the search is underway for new suffragan bishops (assisting bishops). 

How the rest of the Anglican Communion will react is hard to predict; our relationships with some provinces, for example Nigeria and Argentina, are already broken for all practical purposes. There may be more churches who breakaway from the Episcopal Church, but they would probably break away anyway.

You can read the Episcopal News Service story on this by clicking HERE.

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