- In revising the revision of the Book of Occasional Services, one member, a bishop, pointed out the conclusion to a prayer in one of the liturgies, a conclusion that was attempting to be trinitarian without using masculine language (Father, Son), so it read, "Creator, Word, and Holy Spirit." The bishop (rightly) observed that to use "Creator" as a surrogate for "Father" is theologically questionable, since all three Persons of the Godhead are involved in the act of creation. So he suggested "Fount" instead, citing ancient sources as precedent. This led to a longish time of vigorous debate, and the committee finally settled on "Holy and Undivided Trinity" instead of delineating the individual Persons. This is ridiculous, of course, because you can't indefinitely avoid saying "Father" when talking about God. You can temporarily do so for some individual instance--though, as we saw today, not easily--but eventually you have to come back around to "Father" or you lose your moorings entirely. As another bishop pointed out to me yesterday, "Jesus' devotion was focused on the Father. How can ours do anything less?"
- There was, once again this convention, as there has been at least for the last two, a resolution asking for the study of the practice of offering Holy Communion to unbaptized persons. Pleas for it in testimony were quite passionate. But they were all completely non-theological, focusing rather on strategic and hortatory concerns like hospitality. In the end, I am grateful to say, the resolution was defeated among both the Bishops and the Deputies on Committee 12. It fails. But we will, no doubt, see it again in three years. It's an old friend.
There were a good many questions, and a relatively small amount of actual debate, but in a relatively short time, this substitute was adopted and became the main motion and was passed overwhelmingly, with scarcely audible opposition. I find this a surprising and positive development. It will allow Episcopalians in places that are minded to do so to continue worshiping in the familiar forms without the shadow of revision constantly looming over them. It will now go back to the House of Deputies, via a newly-appointed small conference committee, and Committee 13. This is an encouraging development.
I should not fail to also mention that the readmission of the Diocese of Cuba back into union with General Convention, following a 52 year hiatus, passed overwhelmingly and joyfully. The Bishop of Cuba was immediately seated on the floor of the House.