Monday, June 26, 2006

In favor of and against B033

Here's the text of what was finally passed on the last day at GC in response to the Windsor Report:-

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

The debate on this issue has been reported extensively at ENS and elsewhere. Bishop Gene Robinson has written an open letter in The Witness to lbgt people in the aftermath of GC alluding to the debate. He makes the point that it was the appeal of Presiding Bishop elect Katharine Schori that tipped the opinions of many to vote in favor of the resolution at great personal cost.

Let's remember that a statement of dissent from B033 on the basis of conscience has already appeared from Bishop Chane supported by Bishops from dioceses including Vermont, Chicago, Newark, Northern Michigan and Rochester. This is an indication of principled support for the nominations of glbt clergy to the episcopate, recognizing ministries of glbt folk in the Anglican communion and condemning the coersive elements of the debate in the House of Deputies.

B033 is of course a response to the Windsor report. Passing B033 is a way of making sure that Presiding Bishop-Elect Schori gets invited to Lambeth. One could say that Bishop Schori's election guarenteed the passage of a resolution like B033. The question is whether the compromise that B033 represents (and with which no one is happy) is worth it.

I am reminded of Paul's attempt to coerce the Corinthian body by arguing against women prophets in I Corinthians 11 finally from custom and with all the weight of his personal authority that such a custom isn't recognized and just isn't done in the churches. This kind of argumentation tells us far more about how Paul uses his personal authority in the service of community order to coerce women prophets and far less about women prophets in the Corinthian community. And so it seems to be in the debate about B033. It is entirely up to dioceses to raise up candidates for episcopal office and I trust that this will continue without an eye to resolutions like this.

1 comment:

Rev Dr Mom said...

Certainly Newark wasted no time in demonstrating that it would raise up candidates w/o regard to this resoltuion.

I hadn't thought of B033 as +KJS's ticket to Lambeth, but in that light perhaps +FTG's pressure to pass it makes more sense. It seems a high price to pay, and possible futile as well.

I notice that in an article about the Diocese of SC's breakaway statement the chair of the standing committee specifically mentions the election of +KJS as the precipitating event. So it seems that being female might also present a challenge to the wider church.

And have you seen the t-shirts? :)