Thursday, January 15, 2009


With General Convention looming now less that seven months away, the HoB/D listserv is beginning to heat up over potential specific resolutions. One of these--not yet crafted and submitted to my knowledge--will be to repeal Resolution B033 from 2006--the one that, by some accounts, effects a moratorium on the consecration of more partnered gay bishops. I share below my own most recent contribution to the conversation.

No surprise here, but I'm going to weigh against anything that even smells like repealing B033.  Not that I was particularly crazy about it at the time; I didn't think it was strong enough, and was dismayed that it did not address the question of the blessing of same-sex unions.

Of course, I realize that mine is a minority viewpoint, and there is nothing to be gained by arguing my point, as it were, "on the merits." It seems expedient, however, to remind the members of this list, particularly those who are new deputies at this year's convention, of the context in which B033 was moved and carried.

The issue on the floor was the Episcopal Church's formal response to certain requests contained in the document known as the Windsor Report, produced by the international commission appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to what were widely perceived as the provocative actions of the 2003 General Convention. A special legislative committee was tasked with crafting, and bringing to the floor, resolutions that would address these requests, one of which was to effect a "moratorium" on the consecration of any more non-celibate gay bishops. The committee's resolution on this question had been defeated in the HOD two days before the scheduled close of convention. At stake was the participation of members of TEC in the wider councils of the Anglican Communion, including the Lambeth Conference. This is why Bishop Griswold and Bishop Jefferts Schori advocated so assiduously for its passage.

Contrary to what some have written, the purpose of B033 was not to smooth the way for conservatives in certain offshore provinces to participate in Lambeth and other meetings. It was to ensure that TEC would have a place at such venues. And it was, by all accounts, successful. While some, myself included, have at times contended that it was not worthy of such success, B033, together with the HOB New Orleans statement in September 2007, was a key ingredient in the issuance of invitations to our bishops to attend Lambeth '08, to say nothing of the Presiding Bishop's continued participation in the Primates' Meeting.

Even though there has been no recent drama, Deputies and Bishops should be under no illusion that "all is well" with respect to TEC's relationship with the Anglican Communion and continued unclouded communion with the See of Canterbury. The reports of the Windsor Continuation Group at last summer's Lambeth Conference, along with the presidential addresses of Archbishop Williams, can lead to no optimism for our continued place in the communion should we back off from what are understood by the rest of the communion to be commitments on our part. Those for whom such considerations are of marginal importance may well feel emboldened to make the mind of this Church with respect to "full inclusion" crystal clear. But those for whom our place in the Communion is still a non-negotiable mark of Episcopalian identity will, no matter what their opinions may be on the sexuality issues, want to think long and hard before voting Aye on any resolutions stemming from such boldness.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Dan
Any guesses about possible changes to the BCP at GenCon09?

YBIC Dcn Dale

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Dan:

And what will YOU do when B033 IS indeed overturned by GC 2009, as I am sure it will be??? Inquiring minds want to know.....

Grace and Peace,

Deacon Francie

Daniel Martins said...

Amending the Prayer Book concurrence from two consecutive General Conventions, and, according to the pattern of the last revision, follows an extended period of trial use. None of that sort of thing is going on. I wouldn't expect an actual revision of the BCP for several more triennia, though more approved supplementary rites are always a possibility.

At this point I don't think B033 will be overturned. The Deputies may well vote to do so but I don't think a majority of the bishops are foolish enough. OCICBW.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Dan, I would like you to evaluate this comment from the P.B. and see if she isn't hinting that B033 will be REPLACED not revisited.
I would like you to take a second look at this comment from the P.B.
"I've said I don't think it's helpful to revisit B033. It is far more helpful for us to say something significant about where we are in 2009. Conventions have passed resolutions in the past and they have rarely been revisited. New resolutions have been passed that state where the church is at that point," said Jefferts Schori. Dcn Dale

Anonymous said...

From the Living Church, we get this:

Bishop Robinson recommended that next July General Convention say:
"We will not leave the Anglican Communion, and we hope not to be thrown out of it.
"We need the church in the Third World to speak to us in the Episcopal Church.
"We will be the church that God has called us to be.
"We understand there are those who do not understand it.
"We will consecrate bishops in same-gender relations and write blessings for same-gender unions."

Also, see Ephraim Radner's latest public letter to the Covenant Design Group where he writes:
So why would someone like Bp O’Neill go forward in contradicting these affirmations and at this time, given his previous willingness to hold back in the context of these kinds of common views? What has changed?

Sorry Dan, but I think that Robinson's view will win out. It is bishops like O'Neill who would need to hold the line on B0039 and I simply don't think he will.

Daniel Martins said...

James W,
I am, of course, disappointed in Bishop O'Neill's actions. But I cannot say I am surprised. I served with him on Committee 26 in Columbus, and I have never doubted that he is more committed to the agenda of "inclusion" than he is to the Anglican Communion. He was probably the single most critical factor in weakening the language of the resolution that the committee eventually reported out, and which was soundly defeated, thus necessitating B033.

Anonymous said...

The best thing that could happen is for ECUSA to clearly and unambiguously renounce its feigned concern for the communion, and go ahead and do what it wants to do. The sooner we can get this division over with, the better. Unfortunately, our bishop in northern Indiana is an institutionalist, and will support the Schori regime instead of the Christian alternative of a new orthodox jurisdiction for Anglicans in North America.

Charles Hohenstein