Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Joint Session

As I'm stuck in a motel somewhere in Eastern Ohio, I am now dependent on the net for news about what is going on in Columbus. Regarding what might be discussed at the Joint Session being held right now, we do have this report to give us some insight. Here's what apparently transpired in the House of Bishops yesterday, which led to the call for this Joint Session:

...Bishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, co-chair of the Special Committee, subsequently told the bishops that A161 had failed in the House of Deputies.

"In the last few minutes I have taken A162 on which we were prepared to recommend dismissal and have substituted language dealing with the substance of A161."

Immediately Bishop John Howe of Central Florida called a point of order that the new language of A162 was "word for word" the same language as A161 and that, under rules of the House of Deputies, could not be presented for consideration again...

...Several bishops suggested the possibility of drafting a mind-of-the-house resolution, which expresses the views of the house but is not binding and carries no legislative weight. Such a resolution would need to express that the Episcopal Church is taking the Windsor process seriously, according to Bishop John Croneberger of Newark...

...Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh disagreed with proposals for a mind-of-the-house resolution and asked for honesty...

...After an hour's discussion, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold asked for the bishops and deputies on the Special Committee to meet to prepare a resolution for the joint session.
So, we can assume that the Special Legislative Committee, which was asked to reconvene last night, will have some kind of resolution to present that will incorporate some "Windsor compliant" language.

This may be A162 (blessings), which the Committee had incorporated into A161. But since A161 was defeated, A162 now becomes the most obvious one for some of the content of of A161 to be tacked on to and pushed through. I don't think the Deputies will go for it.

Consequently, maybe there will be some joint statement issued. Beyond that, the Bishops will have to issue their own statement, which is going to be problematic. If you recall, when the Bishops met shortly after the release of Windsor, one of their arguments for pleaing for more time was that they did not have the authority to make such decisions alone. They insisted the Communion wait until General Convention. Well, GC is here, and it look like we still don't have much to say to the Communion.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing. We considered the recommendations, and have said "No, but thanks for sharing." That certainly seems to me to be an honorable response.

It is interesting to note that it was Bp. Howe (Network) who shot down presenting an amended A162. And it was Bp. Duncan (Network) who disapproved of issuing a "Mind of the House" statement. Combined with the comment from Bp. Wimberly suggesting that there was a push from the extremist bishops to elect Bp. Jefferts Schori, and considering Deputy Cantrell of Fort Worth submitting a resolution including the "moratorium language that he knew would never pass, it sure is beginning to look like there is a concerted effort on the part of the extremists to orchestrate matters so the Episcopal Church will look as "non-compliant" of Windsor as possible.

As I've said before, the game has not changed.

Keep General Convention in your prayers. The next few hours will tell the story.


UPDATE: Here's the resolution that just passed the House of Bishops and is headed for the Deputies:

Resolution B-033

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report's invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconcilation; and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

The Rev'd Dorsey F. Henderson (Upper South Carolina)

The Rt. Rev'd Peter James Lee (Virginia)
The Rt. Rev'd Edward S. Little II (Northern Indiana)
The Rt. Rv. Robert J. O'Neill (Colorado)
The Rt. Rev'd Geralyn Wolfe (Rhode Island)

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