GC2009: Lexington Bishop Stacy Sauls Says Episcopal Church Will Accept Consequences
By Michael Heidt
When asked if The Episcopal Church was prepared to accept the consequences of any actions, especially as it relates to same-sex rites, it might take at this year's General Convention, Bishop Stacy Sauls, of Lexington, Kentucky, was adamant. "I think the Episcopal Church is perfectly well prepared to accept the consequences of its actions."
What might these "actions" be? Affirming the Creeds, Councils and Scriptures of the Church as received from Christ Himself? Not likely; the nearest this Convention comes to that lies in its response to resolution D020, with its acceptance of the Anglican Covenant. The passage of that legislation seems uncertain at best, which leaves us with more popular measures, such as repealing B033 and ending the moratorium on pansexual ordinations, consecrations and marriage equivalents.
It's quite conceivable that all or part of the above agenda will be passed by this Convention. It is doubtless true that any action of that kind will have grave consequences, both for TEC and for the Communion as a whole.
Archbishop Williams more than hinted at this when he expressed anxiety during his homily at yesterday's Eucharist saying that should TEC act in such a way as to further "drive us apart". That's the "consequence" which Stacy Sauls and The Episcopal Church for which he speaks is apparently "perfectly well prepared to accept." To put it another way, TEC is more than ready to foster schism, and to tear the fabric of Anglicanism even further than it already has if that's the result of its legislative will. Those familiar with the trajectory of this North American brand of Anglicanism from the 1970s until now will see nothing new in this, but perhaps some will perceive something novel in its context.
There's no doubt about the theme of this Convention. It is all about togetherness, about Ubuntu, that "I am because we are." Time and again, Bishops and Deputies to the 76th General Convention have heard the importance of their essential unity in the Body of Christ. Surely, then, both Houses would grasp the dissonance of TEC's preparedness, as signified by multiple LGBT resolutions, and Stacey Sauls, to go against the mind of the Communion - regardless of relational cost. But no, as with the profiteers warned against by Archbishop Williams in the Global Economic Forum, TEC appears too willing to think only of itself, no matter what harm it might do to others.
Irony, of course, isn't in it. This very Convention so focused on unity seems most willing to act in such a way as to break it. It's not a subtle point, simply an issue of "cognitive fact", but this, as more than a few observers have remarked, is something few Convention goers seem willing to engage. Why the mental block? Maybe Gene Robinson, the homo-erotic Bishop of New Hampshire supplied the answer when he stated, "We are the church of the people of color, the church of women, the church of the mentally ill... a church of no outcasts." Well there you have it.
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