As I began this post, I was at clergy conference. I sat at dinner with my bishop. I reminded him, as I do each time I see him, "I'm still praying for you - for you and for all the bishops." He answered, as he does each time I tell him this, "Thank you. Keep praying!"
I do pray for my bishop daily, and for all Episcopal and Anglican bishops. I don't pray for most of them by name - my own bishop, and Katherine, and Rowan, and these days for Trevor - but I intend that all be included. I intend all "Anglican" bishops. And what of all the new bodies that take shape, and take off, leaving the Episcopal Church? In a positive counterpoint to the old movie line, I pray for them all, and let God sort it out.
And our bishops need prayer. The bishops of the Episcopal Church - or at least those with any intent to remain bishops of the Episcopal Church - are preparing to gather in New Orleans. They will, please God, work hard together, both manually in reconstruction work, and theologically and intellectually and spiritually in figuring out how to appropriately respond in these troublous times.
Before their Spring meeting I indulged in some brainstorming for the bishops. I haven't done that for this meeting, although others have. I did share one thought with my bishop over lunch, to wit that the Presiding Bishop on her own authority (that is, without consultation of foreign prelates) ask Bishop Mwamba of Botswana to serve as Primatial Vicar for dissenting parishes and dioceses. In light of recent events, I thought it perhaps ironic. My bishop seemed to consider it something of a grim jest. He gave a bleak smile (or was that a grimace?) and just said, "That's a dead issue."
It remains to be seen what other possibilities are "dead issues." The question was raised in my hearing as to whether there is a "loyal opposition" (as opposed to the clearly disloyal opposition), and it seems likely there is; but how that will be made manifest remains to be seen, not only in New Orleans, but also in subsequent other meetings at home and abroad.
Many and great expectations have been raised for this meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops. Great expectations regularly result in great disappointment; and this time, too, I expect there will be more than enough to go around. And in the meantime - and I know I'm not alone in this - I will keep praying; I will keep praying....
After my own bishop's comments on a Primatial Vicar designated by Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, there is this item from The Living Church that speaks specifically to that issue. Very interesting....