Small Dogs & Imperfect Words
Today, the House of Deputies took up two resolutions that are the result of a special commission's work. The commission, created by the Presiding Bishop was assembled of people of varying theological standpoints to draft legislation to respond to the turmoil created in the Anglican Communion by the 2003 General Convention, which consented to the ordination of an openly homosexual priest as a Bishop for the Diocese of New Hampshire.
Prior to the debate, the Rev. Frank Wade spoke for the committee to tell the deputies,
We are like small dogs in tall grass and we have to jump up to see where we really are.Wade let us know that where we are is in the midst of a process working toward the highest level of communion possible within the diffences which exist within the church. Wade said that we are on a pilgrimage toward healing and the resolutions his committee (working at the convention on the work of a special commission) will offer do not speak for any one group within the denomination, but rather they attempt to speak for the many. Wade spoke of the resolutions honed by committee saying,
The words before you are imperfect.He went on to say that he hoped our perfect Lord would perfect the words through the imperfect body of the Houses of Deputies and Bishops.
The people around you are imperfect.
We are all imperfect.
The House of Deputies then debated at length and passed a slightly ammended version of a resolution expressing regret saying,
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of “the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ” (Windsor Report, paragraph 134), express its regret for straining the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences which followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within our Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of communion one with another.When then took up and debated a resolution which would call a halt to ordaining a homosexual as a bishop or creating or using a Blessing of Same Sex Union service. In an unexpected (by me) move, several persons who identified themsleves as homosexual spoke in favor of the resolution, while a few persons who identify as conservative spoke against it. While certainly this did not characterize the whole debate which was a variety of people sharing their own standpoints, it is worth noting that some homosexual persons were in favor of self-sacrifice for the good of the church and the most outspoken conservative (the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon) spoke against the resolution which one would think he should favor.
A move was also made to vote on it by orders, a process not worth going into here that creates a higher threshold needed for the vote to pass. We worked until 7:20 p.m. and then the President of the House shut down discussion until tomorrow after a vote showed slightly more than half the deputies wished to suspend debate until tomorrow. I tried a point of order that pointed out a reason why a 2/3s vote was needed in that case. The President overruled and we stood adjourned.
News here on the Internet and TV suggests that the rest of the country and world is wondering aloud about the new female Presiding Bishop. While here in Columbus we have moved on to the very full legislative schedule at hand.
Know that the House of Deputies is taking the matter seriously. I have every reason to believe that while some are playing politics and trying to work the angles for a desired outcome, the vast majority of Deputies are prayerfully trying to discern God's will as we work through a democratic process. We really are trying not to just listen to one another, but to also listen for The Holy Spirit. This democratic debate is a wearying process, but I know God is in it as we seek to find God's perfect will working through our imperfect selves and our imperfect words we are truly like that small dog who can't see the lawn for the tall grass all around.
Please hold us in your prayers.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church