The title of this post refers to the fact that General Convention ends tomorrow. But still ...
After thinking that C056 would come up today, and then finding out that it's scheduled for a "time certain" at 9:30 AM tomorrow, the rest of the day was kind of anti-climactic.
The low-light: By a relatively close vote by orders (only 55% of the clergy deputations), the Deputies called on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, and urged "all Episcopalians" to join in that effort.
The high-light: After an emotional (and worse still, emotion-based) appeal to give the eighteen members of the "official youth presence" not only the seat and voice they already enjoy, but the vote as well, sanity and rationality suddenly (and temporarily, no doubt) invaded the House and the resolution was discharged to the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons for further study during the triennium. Once we start using demography rather than geography to govern the church, there will be toothpaste all over the counter that we will never get back into the tube.
The no-light: After an hour of quite tedious debate, we passed a budget. It is severely straitened in comparison with its predecessor, in view of drastically reduced income projections. This means that quite a number of jobs will be lost at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City (aka '815'). While I feel appropriate sorrow for those whose lives will be adversely affected by these cuts, they are, on the whole, a good thing for the church. The 815 bureaucracy has been bloated for decades. Since bureaucracies are inherently incapable of self-reform, they require a kick-start from outside. The drying-up income stream is providing us just that.
Over in the House of Bishops, a minority report is circulating that is already being referred to as the Anaheim Statement. We may look back on this as the activation of what has been referred to as the "Communion Partners strategy." Communion Partners Bishops (full-disclosure: my bishop is one) and Communion Partners Rectors (full-disclosure: I am one) is a still fairly loose coalition of bishops and clergy whose discerned call is to remain in fellowship with the Episcopal Church but to clearly differentiate themselves from its institutional leadership, such that, in the event that TEC is placed on "associate" status within the Anglican Communion, they will have an umbrella under which they can gather to escape whatever sanctions are imposed and remain in unhindered communion with the See of Canterbury.
At any rate, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. I have a huge reservoir of goodwill toward my friends who are in the ACNA. I wish them well. And I am not called to be with them. I am called to bear witness in the Episcopal Church--to do my job as well and as faithfully as I am empowered to. It will not be a cakewalk. It will hurt. It hurts already. Bring it.
One of the curious aspects of my convention experience this time has been the number of people--strangers, mostly--who come up to me and shake my hand and look me sincerely in the eye and say something like: "I don't agree with your positions, but I'm sure glad you're here. We need your voice." I generally smile as graciously as I can and thank them. Here's the response I wish I'd given, and will do so on any future such opportunity: "And as one whose views are aligned with the majority position in the Anglican Communion, I sure wouldn't want to lose you becasue of your dissenting views. I'm glad you're with us. We need your voice. Please don't leave." The biggest irony in Anaheim is that the convention theme--Ubuntu: You in me and I in you--is being understood totally from a constricted provincial perspective. The universe in which the "spirit of Ubuntu" is ackowledged to operate is limited to "this church." If we were able to get beyond our own collective narcissism, and hear the rest of the Anglican Communion saying "Ubuntu" to us, we would see what hypocrites we are.