Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One More Time: D025 from the Floor of the House

So now D025 is back with us again. It is back to us because of a handful of words. The bishops added reference to the Episcopal Church as “a constituent member” of the Anglican Communion; and an acknowledgement that “God’s call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people.” Will we have another long stretch over so few words?

Once again there will be a vote by orders – no surprise there. What more needs to be done?

It is an opportunity for some to speak again in favor or against. It’s an opportunity for some to try to kill by amendment, as the saying is, “to be nibbled to death by ducks.”

There is the occasional new image, like suggesting that the “season of B033 has passed like a bout of the flu.” There is, for the first time, a reference to how American money is perceived outside the Episcopal Church. Young people speak of their generation, and some speak of the change among their peers, and how the Church is seen as unfriendly to glbt persons. And yet some speak as young conservatives, themselves not wanting to align with so many of their peers.

We have not operated under a special order, and so the time for debate was no longer than for most resolutions. The predictable motion to extend the time of debate was made, but too late, after the time for debate had already expired. I would have expected such a resolution to fail anyway: clearly, many in the House want to see this done, to see what we had already done completed.

Is the resolution better for the addition of these few words? It is at least no worse. The words are accurate, in that we do consider ourselves “a constituent member of the Anglican Communion,” as we state in the Preamble of our Constitution. And certainly vocation is “a mystery which the Church attempts to discern.” For many the argument for this resolution has been that it is simply accurate, reflecting where and how we are in the Episcopal Church. For some the argument against this resolution has been its failure to address explicitly 2006-B033; but they would find these words no less accurate.

The vote is being taken. We will be waiting, even while we try to get on with business, to see the result.

It passes and it is done. The margin was not close – certainly well more than two thirds. Here is the final form.

So, now it is done. Or is it? There are a few related issues that will come up yet. However, this one is complete. We have as a General Convention said that we will follow the Canons, and that no single characteristic of will bar a person from consideration of call. That doesn’t create a “right” to ordination; only a right to full and reasonable consideration. We have as a General Convention said that we are committed to the Anglican Communion, even to the point of financing. That doesn’t create a right for other Anglicans to dictate to us, any more than we claim a right to dictate to them.

No, I think this is done, at least for a while. We’ll be arguing about exactly how to apply each clause. Some say it rescinds B033; but it doesn’t say that. Some say it changes nothing; but that doesn’t seem quite right either.

No, in a way we’re still where we were before we had a report of the vote. Folks across the spectrum will be deciding what they can and can’t do based on this; and until they do, until they actually take steps based on D025, we won’t know what that means. So, we were earlier today, we will be waiting, even while we try to get on with business, to see the result..

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