Thursday, July 9, 2009

Live From Anaheim II

There are so many things going on here all the time. It's hard to keep up and harder still to tell a coherent story of it.

The work of the Stewardship and Develoment Committee goes on -- day after day. We have dealt with a wide variety of issues: the Genesis Covenant; Millennium Development Goals; accommodations for persons wih disabilities; humane treatment of farm animals; the funding of a major develoment project at 815; strategic planning; etc. After some struggle, the issues have been dealt with thoughtfully and come to postitive results.

The House of Bishops (HOB ) has passed most of our work. They adopted the Genesis Covenant following the lead of Olympia and Nevada. HOB requested the reinstatement of funding for Millennium Development Goals -- funding had been entirely cut due to the financial crisis -- and actually increased funding to 1% of the 815 budget. All the national money will go to Nets For Life (mosquito nets) which is fine with me but I hope our diocese and parishes can direct some money to micro credits. I am learning patience with the process.

Our two Eucharists have been holy and inspiring. Bishop Katharine preached yesterday; Archbishop Rowan Williams preached today; Bishop John Bruno (LA) celebrated in Spanish.

Bishop Katharine and Archbishop Williams have both been appealing for unity and restraint -- but they have done so in markedly restrained ways. I dont' think anyone could say this time that there is any undue pressure. But as primates whose role in the Church is to maintain unity, they could not do otherwise than try to hold us together. They remind us of our essential unity in Christ despite our differences and that we need each other.

Yesterday evening, Archbishop Williams gave a program on Faithfulness in the Global Economic Crisis. He treated our financial situation as an occasion for spiritual converstion with implications for social justice and environmental responsibility.

Linda and I attended a late night meeting of the Deputies of Color last night. They addressed issues of shared concern calling for mutual support. It was good to see such diversity and such recognition of commonality. It was an honor and a privilege to be their guest. Tonight we had dinner with the Nevada deputation (plus visitors, ECW, etc.) and the deputation from Navajoland honoring our historic and continuing ties.

This morning, the deputations met together to practice Public Narrative -- story telling leading to a sense of mission. This afternoon, the House of Deputies began their open discussion of B033 -- the 2006 moratorium resolution on same sex blessings, openly gay bishops, and jurisdictional incursions. The House of Bishops will have a parallel discussion soon. We are working on some way to share the fruit of those discussions between the two houses before voting on specific resolutions begins.

As we approach these hard issues, I am struck by how different the situation is from just a few months ago. The Primates have demonstrated a marked change in attitude since Lambeth. They still appeal for the moratoria for awhile longer but acknowledge that some people of good faith may be bound by conscience to violate them -- which does not solve our issues but it does make the moratoria considerably less oppressive than before. The Anlgican Consultative Council has not pushed for the adoption of the international Anglican Covenant at this time -- as we all had expected them to do -- though they still appeal for us to continue the moratoria and the process of discussing the Covenant. The new President of the Anglican Consultative Council is my friend Bishop Jame Tengatenga of Mulawi, a brilliant, compassionate, open minded man.

Many of the more hard line bishops in other nations are on the verge of retirement and the younger bishops are more open to constructive dialogue. We are now hearing from GLBT Anglicans in other nations who need us to remain in relationship with their churches. These voices were not part of our discussion prior to Lambeth. Attitudes are shifting in developing nations, as we saw in the recent reversal of anti-gay laws in India.

In Nevada, I sense that we take these issues seriously but it is not a crisis. Thanks to the conscience clause in the last primate's communique, clergy in Nevada are now free to make their own discernment on this issue. That is not the same as an offically authorized rite. Some beleive that the action of several states in legalizing gay marriage -- in Nevada, legalizing civil unions -- calls for a new liturgical response. Others believe our liturgy should be grounded in our theology instead of tracking secular law. The theology committtee will be issuing its report next year. I anticipate that will very likely lead to a liturgical response.

The shifts that have happened, the shifts that are happening, and the shifts that are about to happen all bear on our deliberations. But there is much discussion and deliberation yet to do. We have a number of resolutions before us, but they are apt to be amended considerably before coming to a vote.


Matthew said...

I thought the purpose of the theology sub committee was to release two reports - one liberal and one conservative. At least that is what I read. The subcommittee has an equal number of liberals and conservatives. I read that their goal is not a position or compromise statement but two statements that represent the opposing views of the church.

Bishop Dan said...

You may well know more on this than I do but my impression is: our theology always goes "on the one hand this; on the other hand that" but we somehow manage to act out of that. The report would not mandate a liturgy; but it would be the context of forming a liturgy. So that would be my expectation.

Matthew said...

Maybe you are right and that is the point of the committee but what a disappointment. There are 50+ books written on this topic. The issue has been debated since the 1970,s and only now we are pondering the "on the one hand's" vs. The "other hands.". Somehow I doubt anything the committee says will be truly new. It seems the arguments have been rehashed for decades now that I'd be truly surprised if any of the arguments are new. Don't people already know the "on the one hand" vs. The other. If not I guess neither conservatives not glbt folks have been listened to which is most sad.

Matthew said...

The other thing that makes me sad is that this issue has been taken up by theology committees 10 times now over the years. What makes this commitees work so special or more likely to create liturgy than the others. It was also revealed in the spring that the committee members names were leaked and once again there appears to be no glbt representation so some have questioned the legitimacy of the committee.