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GC79: Step 2: HOD passes B012 now sent to HOB

GC79: Step 2: HOD passes B012 now sent to HOB
The bishops can change it, pass it, or kill it

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
July 10, 2018

AUSTIN, TEXAS --- Monday (July 9) by a clerical vote of 96-10-4 and a lay vote of 97-8-5 Resolution B012 flew through the House of Deputies with a nearly a nine to one margin.

The version that the HOD passed is nothing like the original version proposed by Lawrence Provenzano (VIII Long Island); Dorsey McConnell (VIII TEC Pittsburgh) and Nicholas Knisely (VIII Rhode Island), even with a floor amendment by California Deputy, Christopher Hayes attached, which restores a version of DEPO without specifically calling it that.

Hayes' amendment was designed to "honor the theological diversity of this church on the issue of marriage while ensuring that liturgies for marriage of same-sex couples can be used a widely as possible."

Originally, Paragraph 6 of the Resolution stated: "Resolved, That where diocesan canons or bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority do not authorize the use of these liturgies for persons of the same-sex, congregations may request, and when requesting shall receive delegated episcopal pastoral oversight (DEPO) by a bishop of this Church who shall provide access to these liturgies, as permitted by civil law ..."

But once Committee 13 took a scalpel to B012, Paragraph 6 was deleted in its entirety.

"As on the prayer book resolution, debate was heard and minds were changed," said Sam Candler, the dean of St. Philip's Cathedral in Atlanta. "The committee considers revised B012 a compromise and hopes it can be a way forward.

"This compromise is not a compromise," Jose Rodriguez-Sanjuroof, Central Florida tweeted. "It is a missed opportunity for a solution. One party will feel left out. It won't keep diverse dioceses together."

Diocese of Dallas Deputy, Neal Michell, explained that the three bishops who submitted the original B012 thought they had already made a compromise. He fears the revamped version will drive traditionalists out of the church."

Fellow Dallas Deputy, William Murchison, felt that the General Convention was being asked to "throw out a historic Christian understanding and supplant it with a new one, untested, unproved, but now, all of the sudden, necessary to be believed and practiced."

"I really dislike using the word "traditionalist" to describe folks against SSM," Lizzie Anderson tweeted. "I love tradition. I also love SSM."

Murchison, a retired Dallas newspaper columnist, didn't mince his words: "all this cloudy talk of love," he said. "You don't achieve love with a hammer, you don't achieve love with a club. You achieve it with open arms and open heart and open minds. Assuming no one else is right and that it's 'my way or the highway' is 'not Christian, it's not even Episcopalian.'"

The traditionalists raised the issue of DEPO remaining in place to protect theologically conservative bishops, so Hayes' floor amendment was added to readdress that concern.

The original Paragraph 6 was rewritten and reappears as Paragraph 9 in the final version which was passed the HOD by a wide margin.

The rephrased Paragraph 9 reads: "Resolved, That in dioceses where the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or, where applicable, ecclesiastical supervision) holds a theological position that does not embrace marriage for same-sex couples, and there is a desire to use such rites by same-sex couples in a congregation or worshipping community, the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or ecclesiastical supervision) shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshipping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites ..."

The original Paragraph 9 read: "That the provision of Canon I.18.7 applies by extension to these liturgies, namely, 'It shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to solemnize or bless any marriage'" ... that paragraph, too, was cut by Committee 13 to eventually reappear as Paragraph 10 in the augmented version.

The revamped Resolution also called for the continued trial use of marriage rites until the completion of the next comprehensive revision of the Book of Common Prayer, an action that may be a dozen years in the making.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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