Monday, March 05, 2007

It Ain’t Over till It’s Over

Last night, the Executive Council of TEC issued a Letter to the Church.

Here is an extract:
Executive Council recognizes that the requests made by the Primates, directed to the House of Bishops and the Presiding Bishop, raise important and unresolved questions about the polity of the Episcopal Church and its ecclesiology. We have authorized the appointment of a work group to consider the role, responsibilities and potential response of the Executive Council to the issues raised by the Primates. The work group will make a report and recommendations at the June 2007 meeting of the Council.
We wish clearly to affirm that our position as a church is to welcome all persons, particularly those perceived to be the least among us. We wish to reaffirm to our lesbian and gay members that they remain a welcome and integral part of the Episcopal Church.
Further, we offer our prayerful affirmation to all who struggle with the issues that concern us: those who are deeply concerned about the future of their Church and its place within the wider Communion, and those who are not reconciled to certain actions of General Convention. We wish to reaffirm that they too remain a welcome and integral part of the Episcopal Church
This statement is already being perceived as too weak by some on our side of the aisle (that locution is adapted from Elizabeth Kaeton.) See for example this comment by crucifer at daily episcopalian:
Need I remind any reader here that that's exactly the same statement that any conservative, homophobic member of this church would say? They insist we are "welcome and integral" and "disordered" and "in need of repentance."
For the life of me, tonight I cannot tell the difference between TEC's Executive Council and the Network or AAC.
In a comment at Father Jake’s, I said
I, too, would like to see Executive Council make a stronger statement but I see two problems -- the first and most serious is B033. I don't think Executive Council has the authority to contradict B033, much as I wish they would.
Second, this is really early in the process. We are not quite three weeks into the process of responding to the communique.

Susan Russell points to a "verbatim" from the discussion around the final draft of the Executive Council report-out-letter here. (And may I just say: GO BUTCH GAMARRA!!!!). ( I don’t want to link direct; so go via Susan or daily episcopalian.) I second Susan’s kudos to Butch Naters Gamarra (who was briefly Rector at St. Mary’s in the early 1980s. Another Executive Council member, Winnie Varghese, also spent time at St. Mary’s and is now just up the avenue at Columbia University.)

Now that I’ve read the “verbatim,” I want to downgrade the importance of B033 and emphasize the fact that it is really early in the process. By my count, the communique gave TEC 31 weeks to respond. Executive Council’s letter came at the end of the third week. I am impressed that we have made so much progress.

It’ll be an uphill struggle to persuade moderates that we need a strong response. That struggle is going on now. It has to conducted with patience, love, and determination.

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Allen, what is hopeful to me about this work group is that it will not be bishops talking to bishops only. I have had enough of that for a while. Lay persons and priests will have a voice. That's a beginning. I say give it a chance.