Welcome Home

The House of Deputies and the House of Bishops have, amazingly, both passed Resolution D025, which reaffirms The Episcopal Church's commitment and desire to be part of the Anglican Communion but which also affirms that this church believes that God may call and does call all sorts and conditions of people to serve in all orders of the ordained ministry. Here is the resolution as amended slightly by the HOB before they passed it:

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm the continued participation of The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; give thanks for the work of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008; reaffirm the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations, and members of The Episcopal Church to participate to the fullest extent possible in the many instruments, networks and relationships of the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion and pledge to participate fully in the Inter-Anglican Budget; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm the value of "listening to the experience of homosexual persons," as called for by the Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998, and acknowledge that through our own listening the General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God" (2000-D039); and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church,; and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge that members of The Episcopal Church as of the Anglican Communion, based on careful study of the Holy Scriptures, and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.

On Lisa Fox's blog, which can be accessed from the link in the sidebar, the joy is evident. Lisa is a gay woman and many of her readers are also gay, both ordained and lay. I was touched by one comment in particular, which read: "you realize what this means? none of us are going anywhere! we're already home praise God."

As a straight woman priest, ordained in 1978 when it was a tremendous struggle to find my own place at the hearth in this church, and even today know that there are firesides where we are still not welcome to warm ourselves, I can say to all our GLBT brothers and sisters, welcome home!


A Prayer for General Convention

I saw this prayer used on Lisa Fox's blog, My Manner of Life, which you can visit using the link on the sidebar here, and though I was unable to find out how to communicate with its author, Paul, I hope he won't mind if he sees it on my blog, too. I think it's terrific and wanted to share it.

Dear God, you are our Source, our Goal, and our Way. Your Word calls the cosmos into being and sustains it, your Spirit gives it life, blessing us with an endless diversity and that unity which is your gift to creation. Some of us are prone to anxiety and dread when church legislative bodies gather. Lift that cloud from us, we pray, and remind us that when your faithful people gather it is you who have called them together, you who are in their midst, you who work your purposes through the most fragile, flawed, and recalcitrant vessels. Pour out your Spirit in abundance on the Deputies and Bishops gathered in Anaheim and open their hearts to you and to one another. Keep us all ever mindful of the mission of your Church and of your initiative for the salvation and sanctification of the world, that we may align ourselves to your intentions and work rather than presume to harness you for ours. May our representatives in General Convention and all of us never lose sight of those we are called to serve. If it is not too presumptuous of me to ask this, please remind the bishops that they are the junior house in our Church, called to serve and not to rule, and feel free to use a two-by-four if necessary. Help us all to love one another and unite in shared mission and ministry.
--Your wayward brat, Paul



What Church????

I've been reading a few blogs and their commenters regarding what's going on, or not going on, at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church which is meeting right now in Anaheim, California. What gets decided there will have profound effects on how the Episcopal Church interacts with its GLBT parishioners and the "Anglican Communion." [I feel I have to keep putting the AC in quotes because it's so difficult to believe that such a thing exists any more, except as some club that requires a strict application and acceptance process. For some reason, the Episcopal Church--or a significant part of it--seems to be obsessed with not being left out of the Old Boys' Club and are prepared to sacrifice themselves, and a lot of others who haven't agreed to being sacrificed, in order to be in it. I suppose membership has its privileges, but the dues are excessive, IMO.)

Anyway, the commenter on one blog I was reading was cautioning the blog author against leaving the Episcopal Church if the decisions of General Convention went in an unfavorable direction to what was hoped. He said that no matter what, he intended to remain inside and to continue to be a thorn in the side of the Church. Leaving simply allows the Church to exercise the "out of sight, out of mind" process. Staying says "this isn't going to go away."

I think that's where I come from, too, in my own way. The catch for me is that not only don't I know what the Anglican Communion is any more, I don't know what the Church is, either. And I'm not sure I ever have. I've had a recurring dream my whole adult life that I'm trying to find "the church," but I never quite do. In this dream, I often can see the church and it seems to be within reaching distance, but I never quite reach it.

I've found this dream to be very profound in its revealing of my conscious and unconscious conflicts with what the Church is, isn't, should be, will never be, but might be. And added to the dream's message that I want to be in it, but may always be just outside it, struggling and moving toward it, is the present day upheaval that has made the definition of what the Church is even harder to hold onto.

But what I'm growing more and more to feel about my relationship with this bizarre creature we call the Church is that I'm destined to remain at least close enough to it to continue to be as much of a thorn in its side as I can manage! I don't know what that means right now and I sure don't know where any of this is going. As one other commenter on another blog put it, "My crystal ball sucks!" But all the fertilizer (read: s##t) being tossed around out there is simply nourishing my thorns and I'm taking aim!