Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 11--Hot, and bothered!

A sweltering gym was the venue for his afternoon's third hearing on the Windsor Continuation Report. The attached video was taken just before we got started. The room was packed, and Laura and I were setting next to the exit, trying to get some cool air. Note Rowan Williams sitting on the floor right in front of Laura.

If you are wondering where this group came from and what its purpose is, you are not alone. It was created by the Archbishop to advise him about the Windsor report, but it has taken on a life and authority of its own. There is only one American Bishop on the Committee, and no one in the group is supportive of Gene Robinson's position--hardly representative. Yet it seems now that this group has assumed the task of plotting the future of the Communion. You can read the whole text of their report on Episcopal Cafe or the Episcopal News Service websites, but its recommendations are briefly these, none of which I feel is helpful: 1. Enforce the moratoria against blessings of same-sex unions, partnered gay bishops, and cross border incursions. 2. Create a "Forum" which would investigate violations and recommend actions, including possible discipline. 3. Halt legal actions, placing those groups who had left their provinces "in trust" until they could be reunited with their rightful bishops.

Again, if you wonder what this all means, so do most of us. The document raises as many questions as it answers. Its pretty clear thought that its purpose is to punish the American (and Canadian) Church. What was even more disappointing than the document was the attitude of some of those at the hearing. The American Church was viewed as the cause of all the problems of the communion, and is even referred to in the document as a "dysfunctional family." I felt this afternoon that TEC had been back into a corner, which is exactly where some would like to see us.

However, the good news is that 1)These are only recommendations, the Conference is not voting or approving anything. That will come later when the Anglican Consultative Council meets in the Spring. 2) We still have a week to make our case to our colleagues, and 3)Many of them are already supportive of American position.

The question now is, can the good will that has been generated over the last week get us through the difficult discussions of the coming week? So there is hope even at the end of this rather depressing day.

We redeemed the evening by having dinner off campus with Chuck Robertson, known to many of you. He is enjoying his role as behind the scenes shuttle diplomat.


Pat in Phoenix said...

Dear +Kirk and Laura,
I'm following your blog daily and I really appreciate your concise summaries offered with your feelings--sometimes happy, sometimes not-so-happy--about each element of Lambeth 2008. I was very thankful that you attended the Changing Attitudes/Integrity Holy Eucharist last Sunday to be there for your colleage,+Gene, and for others.
Let's stay hopeful through the process and keep praying for the Holy Spirit to educate hearts and souls while we try to educate minds.
Hope for your sakes there's a break in the heat soon. Not much AC in UK, is there?
God's peace be with you,
Pat Klemme

Jonathan said...

This doesn't read to me to be about punishing anyone.

TEC has in good faith gone beyond previous commonly accepted boundaries and has taken controversial actions (!). This is causing huge problems both within TEC and elsewhere in the Communion.

Other Provinces have taken controversial actions (!) to help work around the problems, but by so doing caused more problems.

Both these sets of "controversial actions" need resolving in their own right, but the underlying changed and changing milieu of a highly networked, globalized twenty first century means that the whole Communion needs to adapt.

Whilst painful for American Anglicans, this isn't only about a particular flash point. The current issue happens to be the first - but that doesn't mean TEC is being picked on (though it obviously feels like that).

For the good of the whole Communion, the call is for all to halt all controversial actions whilst a last ditch attempt is made to find a workable catholicity. What both sides of the current issue are doing is hurting everyone and will only lead to more pain and more widespread pain.

Who is being penalized here? Both parties taking controversial actions are asked to halt what they're doing and participate with the Communion in developing a mediation process. AFAICS no-one is being penalized. All are being asked to stop digging the hole any deeper and find a better solution.

If either side doesn't work things through in good faith, then we will all suffer the consequences of both sides' well-intentioned but damaging choices.

Yes the process needs working out, and no doubt will have problems.

I'm sure ++Cantuar would love to hear any better, more workable suggestions, but in lieu of that happening over the past several years, isn't this a least bad option?

eric said...

Nice video. I'm amusing myself by envisioning the Pope sitting cross-legged on the floor...