VOL@GC'06: Griswold Brokers last minute resolution. Gays furious, orthodox unhappy
By David W. Virtue
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It was over, or so everyone thought, but late Tuesday evening Frank Griswold, frantic that the House of Deputies had offered nothing to the House of Bishops to vote on regarding the Windsor Report, called both houses together in an emergency session for Wednesday morning, and said in blunt terms that something had to be done or The Episcopal Church would have to face the consequences.
It was not a pluriform moment. In a cry of desperation Griswold said this: "This is the final day of General Convention. What I believe we actually yearn for has not been adequately reflected through the workings of our legislative processes...We must now act with generosity and imagination so that our actions are a clearer reflection of the willingness of the majority of us to relinquish something in order to serve a larger purpose."
Translation: If we don't send the Archbishop of Canterbury and the orthodox Global South bishops a statement that they can live with we are done for.
It was an anguished moment for the outgoing Presiding Bishop. He did not want to see the whole church come unglued in his watch, at the same time he didn't want to offend his biggest backer, an Affirming Catholic like unto himself, and he had to offer a shank bone, even one with no meat to the Global South. He took the risk of LesBiGay wrath from the House of Deputies and made the following plea: "Unless there is a clear perception on the part of our Anglican brothers and sisters that they have been taken seriously in their concerns, it will be impossible to have any genuine conversation," he said to the two policymaking bodies.
He was hanging by his fingernails. "There needs to be a clear sense that we are not ignoring the sensibilities for those who are genuinely unable to understand what we have done," Griswold said. "Humility is not an easy virtue but it is very much required in this season."
Humility but not sound teaching is all he could offer. In short, bite the bullet, but I will wink and nod if things carry on as usual. And carry on they will.
A group of orthodox bishops weighed in on the resolution giving it a thumbs down expressing disgust, calling it "inadequate." We reaffirm our conviction that the Windsor Report provides the way forward for the entire Anglican Communion, the ecumenical relationships of the Communion, and the common life of a faithful Episcopal Church. We have agreed to submit ourselves to the Windsor Report's requirements, both in what it teaches and in the discipline it enjoins. We have not changed in our commitment."
But Dr. Louie Crew was the most outraged. He saw 30 years of pansexual push about to go down the drain (he is well into his 70's has diabetes and might not be around for the next General Convention). This is his swan song.
Cried Crew, the founder of the homosexual lobby group Integrity; "This would be like trying to cut the tone from out under the Holy Spirit."
But Griswold won the day with a little help from the new Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori who opined, "My sense is that the original resolution is the best we're going to do today."
And so it went. Here is what the resolution said:
"On the Election of Bishops"
"Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report's invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further Resolved, that this Convention call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
No repentance, not even regret, just a call to "exercise restraint" by not consecrating any more Gene Robinson's, though it should be added that Canon Barry L. Beisner the new Bishop of Northern California did sail through both houses of the 75th General Convention despite his two divorces and three marriages.
The Committee on the Consecration of Bishops recommended Beisner's consecration with five members of the 23-member committee dissenting in a minority report. The minority report cited Beisner's multiple divorces and marriages as "troubling impediments."
And so the 75th General Convention of the newly named The Episcopal Church (we shall write more about that later) came to an end, but not before Presiding Bishop-elect Katherine Jefferts Schori declared, while addressing a morning Eucharist at the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, "Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation. And you and I are His children." The future looks grim indeed.
Wrote VOL correspondent Hans Zeiger, "With Jefferts Schori as the leader-to-be of the Episcopal Chuch, it seems that the church will move beyond gender-inclusive language to transgender-inclusive language."
I have posted the final stories from this convention in today's digest, but I and Dr. Peter Toon and Mrs. Auburn Traycik will reflect on what happened more deeply in the days to come.
The one story that will be ferreted out is the name change for the church and the implications for a rival communion that might be in the works, should The Episcopal Church be forced to walk apart. There is more here than meets the eye.
For statistic lovers, VOL was getting as many as 30,000 unique visitors daily at the website, with tens of thousands of hits and, according to Google, some 130 bloggers lifted stories from VOL's News Service and posted them to their Blogs. We will never know how many readers worldwide read VOL's some 50 plus news stories from this convention.
I am personally grateful for a wonderful team of reporters and commentators who joined VOL for this significant occasion. I cannot praise them too highly. I stand in their shadow. I also want to thank my webmaster Mr. Robert Turner who worked obscene hours to keep the website up and running.
David W. Virtue DD
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