Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


What we yearn for

This is the final report from The General Convention of The Episcopal Church which met in Columbus, Ohio from June 13-21, 2006:

On the final day, I had to leave after the morning worship service of Holy Communion and the Rev. William Willoughby III took my place as deputy. This fits with a longstanding tradition within the Diocese of Georgia to ensure that the first alternate spends some time seated as a deputy. The legislative day began with a most unsual Joint Session of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies in which Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said in part,
This is the final day of General Convention. What I believe we actually yearn for has not been adequately reflected through the workings of our legislative processes.
In a very honest statement on the political dynamics in play at the convention, Griswold backed up what I mentioned in my previous post saying,
Let me say here: we need to be mindful of the dynamics that have brought us to where we are. Some among us feel that expressions of restraint with regard to the office of bishop demean the dignity of those among us who are gay and lesbian. Others among us may be opposed to expressions of restraint, which would make it more difficult for them to justify their apparent need to establish a separate ecclesial body. Nothing would better serve such purposes than to be able to say that we, because of our action or inaction, have chosen to walk apart from the rest of the Communion. In a strange way, those with very different views are able to vote on the same side of the question.
The (brief) full text of his remarks is found here: Joint Session remarks.

A summary of the many resolutions adopted on the final day is found here: Deputies finish work with rapid agenda.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Anglican Communion even if that role is that of figurehead combined with being a convener of meetings among the provinces of the communion. His initial statement on the General Convention is found here: Statement at the conclusion of deliberations.

Henry and Jan Louttit at an Italian restaurant one evening earlier in the conventionBishop Griswold said in his comments to the joint session that what we yearn for has not been adequately reflected in the legislative process. What we yearn for is God's will for God's church and I remain convinced that God's will will work itself out either through our legislative processes or in spight of them.

It was on the one hand a tough experience to see up close how some of my brothers and sisters in Christ were working the political angles for a desired outcome even if that had them sometimes voting counter to their own views. But I know they did it feeling like they were working toward God's will and so had no problem seeing the ends as justifying the means. I also saw up close hundreds of deputies, and thousands of people worshipping together and then praying faithfully about how God was leading them to act. I heard debate that was sometimes pointless but occasionally quite thought provoking and usually heartfelt (if nothing else).

I also saw my brothers and sisters in Christ trying to struggle with the question of "For what does God yearn in this situation?" I don't think we got to that place even in the end result. Yet despite the exhaustion and frustration, I am thankful that I could take that journey.

What we yearn for is probably not possible this side of heaven. But one thing I did learn in the past 10 days that matters to me, even if the lesson won't transfer to you, has to do with God's will. While praying for God's will in the Convention I realized that God's will wasn't my responsibility. What I was called to do was not accomplish God's will (as if I could), but to act in such a way that my actions would give glory to God. That alone would be enough. I was not to worry about others actions, or God's will, but just to give glory to God in all.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

group photo before a joint session on the budget
Bishop Henry Louttit and the Revs. William Willoughby III, Neal Phelps and Frank Logue on the convention floor before the presentation of the budget earlier in the convention.


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