Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Report on the Second Tuesday Afternoon Press Conference

The second Tuesday press conference contained the most illuminating conversations of the entire week. Many statements revealed just how far the Episcopal Church has departed from the Anglican Communion. In order in which the topics and comments occurred:

*When questioned about how the wording of the final mind of the house statement is not likely to satisfy other primates of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Thomas Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts said that to take that angle would be to miss the spirit of the document. He said that the two purposes of the statement were 1) "to respect the integrity of the Episcopal Church," and 2) "to embrace the Anglican Communion."

*Shaw further noted, "I personally ... am disappointed ... that the gay and lesbian gifts for ministry are not going to be recognized in the near future in the Episcopal Church."

*Bishop Nathan Baxter of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, when asked why there was nothing in the statement about the covenant, said "That's still in process ... we're not a creedal church ... [we have] less of a rationally-defined life" than other Christian denominations with more defined creeds. "We are watching to make sure a covenant helps us to be in conversation with our Anglican partners rather than to define what that conversation should be like."

*I asked Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori why the mind of the house statement said:

"We ... pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of same-sex blessings until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action" (emphasis my own).

instead of:

"unless a broader consensus ... unless General Convention ..."

as the primates' communique said.

The presiding bishop responded that "until" was Windsor language. I concurred and asked if any bishop objected to the use of "until" as opposed to "unless," and she replied, "no." She could not recall any opposition to this major shift in wording.

*When asked whether she saw any hope for gays and lesbians relating to the repeal of resolution B033, Bishop Jefferts Schori responded that the Episcopal Church's General Convention would have to act to change the resolution and, hence, the status quo. She said that she had no doubt the 2009 General Convention would work to address this issue.

*When questioned about whether the House had ignored the requests of the primates for moratoria on consents to the consecrations of bishops living in a same-sex relationship and same-sex blessings, the bishops assembled were quick to correct what they said was a misunderstanding. For more information, see my previous post.

No comments: