This is part of a series of ongoing reports from The General Convention of the Episcopal Church which meets through tonight (Wednesday, June 21) in Columbus, Ohio:
I am wiped out after 12 hours of work on legislation today (Tuesday). We got a lot of good work done today. But the day was overshadowed by resolutions responding to problems in the Anglican Communion stemming from the consent to the ordination as bishop of a priest who is openly homosexual. While we did affirm our commitment to being an interdependent part of the Communion and supporting, following and reporting on a process toward an Anglican Covenant, a key resolution was defeated by those on both theological ends of the spectrum voting together.
The resolution would have halted ordination as bishop of those in same sex relationships as well as the creation and use of services of same sex blessings. But some who thought the resolution was too strong sided with those who felt the resolution too weak to defeat the measure using the Vote by Orders process. Vite by Orders can be called on by any three deputations on any votes. In a Vote by Orders, each diocese casts not 4 lay and 4 clerical votes, but a single vote from each order. First the vote is taken within the deputation, with each deputy voting openly in writing. Then any deputation where 3 or 4 vote "no" the vote goes in as "no." When the vote is 2 for and 2 against, the vote is reported as "divided" but then counted as a "no" vote. Only deputations with 3 or 4 deputies voting yes does the vote get counted as a "yes" vote. The benefit to this process as it makes the church more conservative as change comes more slowly. But in this case it makes us not slow to change, but slow to react to new issues arising from past decisions. While the vote would have passed through the usual process, it failed in a vote by orders thanks to the strange bedfellows at each end of the spectrum using the fact that not all deputations were in favor and many were divided.
For the record, the Diocese of Georgia laity and clergy deputations both voted in favor of the resolution. This will dissapoint many people within and without the diocese for very different reasons, people who I love and care about. But the votes we cast not only probably well reflects where we are as a diocese, they also were the result of prayer and struggling to discern what we felt God calling us to do. We were not voted to come here in order to keep every happy, but to make decisions we felt to be faithful even when unpopular.
Tomorrow, the Presiding Bishop has requested a joint session of both houses in order to speak to us about what he feels must happen for The Episcopal Church to respond more fully to the rest of the Communion. This may change the ultimate outcome of the votes.
We did do other work by the way in approving the budget as presented by the committee after considerable revision during the Convention. Among other business, we also made some important changes to the church rules (canons) to even up the processes for ordination to become a deacon and priest while keeping those processes distinct.
Continue to hold us in prayers as we reach the final day of the General Convention tomorrow.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church