One of the pictures today is of my wife Marti and I, at Indianapolis Day, weaaring our T-shirts for St. Andrew’s House, and Camp Huston. We were proud to wear the hometown colors!
Yesterday was a full, interesting, and fulfilling day. It was a diverse one too when considering legislation. They are still not taking up an offering at our community Eucharists and won’t “because it is not in the customary!” It is such small things as this that make me wonder if we truly have the adaptive qualities necessary to move this church.
Another such moment was when we debated the resolution BO13 to amend Title 1, Canon 2, Section 3 (a) and (b) that would have removed the requirement that the bishop elected the presiding bishop resign from their current see and devote all their time and energy to the Presiding Bishop’s office. In other words, no possibility of staying as a diocesan bishop and serving as Presiding Bishop which was as it was before 1947. In fact, earlier than that, the Sr. Bishop in the House was automatically the Presiding Bishop. I would be the first to say that this office has been expanded to a point, and has expectations put on it, that were it to stay just as that this probably would not work, but here was my problem with the 30 plus minutes of debate on this only to table it until a later time. Why not open doors??? This is a permissive change, not a restrictive one, it opens doors, and makes something new possible without requiring it. Yet, it became, in debate, a referendum on what our current excellent Presiding Bishop does, and we were even rebuked by one bishop who told us were the current PB not a woman we would not be having this arguement for which I strongly disagreed. For me, if we want the PB position to be as it is now, no one could do it better than Katherine Jefforts Schori, but that is not what this is about.
Then we moved on to the AO49, Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships. It was a very moving moment on the floor of the House of Bishops. I always feel so blessed to serve with colleagues diverse in theology, geography, and ecclesiology, who take great care to hold a truly civil, honest, and clear conversation. This was clearly lived out yesterday. I was honored to be present for this vote and to cast mine, a yes. It had to be a most gratifying day for gay and lesbian people, especially those who share a deep and abiding love, in fidelity, for one another, and would like their community, this church, to recognize them. Their journey has been long and many of them may not feel this is all they would like to see, but most present here are surely gratified this day.
I am Chairing the Stewardship and Development Legislative Committee, and perhaps our most controversial or at least resolution with most interest was BO13, which amended, calls for diocesan apportionments to decrease to 15% by 2018, and calls on those dioceses not currently meeting the asking to prepare a plan and submit it to the Stewardship and Development Standing Commission, a body I also serve on in the triennium. This is a long denied conversation. As I blogged before GC started, there are over 40% of the dioceses, for all sorts and variaties of reasons, not giving the full asking.
With both BO13 and AO49 a roll call vote was called. This is often done when someone either wants the bishop to feel compelled to say, singly, where they stand, or to perhaps pressure a bit a clear and thought out decision, or both. Both of these resolutions recieved overwhelming support and I voted in the affirmative on both.
At the same time, what I also found new and important in all of this is the lack of gloating, or “over celebration” about this, which tends to make this solely about victory and does not make primary the great importance of our shared community, when we are able to acknowledge not all celebrate this action. There is a pastoral concern here for all who do not find this celebratory. While I am quite pleased we made this move forward, I pray for those who are not so pleased, and for us all, to never forget that our hope as Christians, when we make such decisions, is to bring all along with us, even if they disagree with this particular decision, that we keep our eyes on Jesus, who loves us, and leads us all who walks with us even as we carry our faults along the path.
My day ended with a great Eucharistic Celebration with Integrity. One picture just below. For this day to be the day this Eucharist was celebrated had an amazing synchronicity to it. It was beautiful worship, the music was beatiful and varied, and perhaps the greatest worship moment I have experienced here so far. And guess what, they took up an offering, and the baskets were overflowing! Perhaps the convention worship team could ask to borrow those!