The Ultimate Word

"The ultimate Word is not a paragraph but a person. If Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, then the heart of proclamation is personal and relational, not propositional."

Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki * God, Christ, Church, page 135

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A little not-so-breaking news

Released at last night's press briefing: the third in a set of three installments from the "Windsor Continuation Group". It's something of "old news" now, because I couldn't blog it in the moment. It was more pressing for me to support our allies here in Canterbury in releasing an official response.

Those official responses can be found in a couple of places:
  • The Lambeth Witness, our daily newsletter, produced a special insert covering the breaking news. It is a bold statement signed-on by all of our allies here in the Inclusive Church Network, working together in Canterbury. You can find it online HERE
  • The official press release from Integrity can be found online HERE
All three releases from the Windsor Continuation Group are available as a single document HERE, but the biggest news (and that which was new last night) comes toward the end of the document. It's titled, "How do we get from here to there?"

In some senses, this report is nothing new. What newness there is, is in two parts.

The first bit of newness is in that it is a restatement of previous policies from the Windsor Report that were bad to begin with. They are punitive and coercive against LGBT people around the Communion and against The Episcopal Church (US) in particular.

The other bit of newness - subtle though it may be - is in the use of the word "moratoria". In fairness, in the hallways of The Episcopal Church it has always been understood that the Windsor Report was calling for "moratoria" on future consecrations of partnered gay and lesbian people as bishops of the church and blessings of same-sex relationships. But the word was never before uttered in this context except as a word to be avoided.

I distinctly remember the conversations that happened at our last General Convention - both in the back rooms and on the floor of the House of Deputies. "Moratoria" was a deal breaker - no response to the Windsor Report could be accepted by both Houses concurring if it included explicit "moratoria".

So this presents an interesting dynamic as we look beyond Lambeth. What happens here is perhaps most significant in that it has the power to shape General Convention 2009. Will The Episcopal Church recoil in fear at offending other part of the Communion as is our occasional pattern? Will this continue to be the deal breaker? Is explicit "moratoria" the dying blow to our patience for the "Windsor Process"? Will the exclusion of +Gene Robinson, a duly elected and ordained member of our House of Bishops, anger the American church to the degree that we finally stand up to the Communion hierarchy in a prophetic way?

There is a lot happening. And a lot LEFT to happen. We only really begin to explore the contentious issues in an official capacity at the end of this week.

Continue to pray for the church. There is big work to be done before we leave the Conference at the end of the week.

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