Friday, September 28, 2007

Bishop Wolf

Dear Friends,

By now you may have read the various web-site and media reports regarding the House of Bishops' meeting in New Orleans. When read as a whole they portray a rich glimpse of our deliberations.

The highlights of the meeting, for me, were the reflections of Archbishop Rowan, the addresses from the four members of the Joint Standing Committee, the presentation by Bishop Jeffrey Steenson on his renunciation of orders, and our work day in the city.

The addresses from our Anglican partners were at times painful to hear. As they shared the spiritual and political shape of their dioceses, a sobering spirit descended upon the room. Each in turn, expressed sincere gratitude for the gifts that we have shared in Communion, and the continuing generosity of our Province. On several occasions we were reminded, "Your country and your Church have so much, and to those to whom much has been given, much is expected."

On more than one occasion we were reminded of our political power in the world arena, and how we wield it with little concern for others. One person reminded us that we infiltrate long-standing cultural norms through television, movies, internet, fast food restaurants, cigarettes; securing profits while compromising the fabric of other societies. Many contend that The Episcopal Church is doing the same.

Most of us were humbled by the comments, others thought they were too accusatory.

The process for addressing the issues before us: consent to non-celibate gays and lesbians to the episcopate, and the blessing of same-sex unions, was challenging in its own right. We tried to by-pass legislative action on resolutions, saving a vote for the final message from the House. It's a good idea in theory, but was quite cumbersome in practice.

The democratic process in which majorities make the ultimate decisions, was called into question when dealing with theology and global relationships. The call to honor dissident voices was strong, as I suspect that at times each one thought that their position was in the minority.

Most would agree that the final result was the best that we could do as a group.

Please come and share your thoughts, concerns, questions, Saturday morning, 9-11AM at the Cathedral. Your friends and parishioners are invited, as well. This will help me in hearing the mood of the diocese, and clarifying concerns you may have, to the best of my ability. Doors open at 8:30, with light breakfast offerings.

Thank you for all your prayers, and for the very civilized manner in which we have been able to discuss these concerns over the years. By the grace of God there is respect and kindness, sadness mixed with joy, and a secure, safe place to engage with each other. It only happens because all of you make it so. I am very grateful.


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