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A Message From Bishop Love Concerning the 79th General Convention

A Message From Bishop Love Concerning the 79th General Convention

By Bishop William H. Love
https://www.facebook.com/albanydiocese/posts/2573392009352903
July 18, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As most of you are well aware, the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church ended this past Friday afternoon, July 13th in Austin, Texas. While it officially began on July 5th, in actuality, it started on July 3rd with registration and the first of multiple Committee Hearings.

All together over 400 resolutions were presented during the 10 days of General Convention, most of which will have little to no impact on the Diocese of Albany or the world around us. With that said, there were a few resolutions of great significance that will greatly impact the Diocese of Albany and the wider Episcopal Church. Some of which were positive and others I see as greatly problematic.

On a positive note, an amended version of A068 was passed, thus preserving the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for at least the near term. There had been an attempt to change the 1979 BCP at this convention in ways that would have been unacceptable to those who maintain a traditional understanding of marriage. Resolution A068 not only preserved the 1979 BCP marriage rite and preamble, but also preserved the current psalter and liturgies; the Trinitarian formularies; the Lambeth Quadrilateral; and the Historic Documents. The resolution does allow for Dioceses under the direction and approval of their Bishop, to develop new rites and new language for trial use.

There had been an attempt at the 79th General Convention to radically change the bishop election process for each diocese by including the involvement of surrounding dioceses and the Presiding Bishop's Office in unprecedented ways. While presented in a positive light, the potential for abuse led to the overwhelming defeat of the resolution.

One other potentially positive development coming out of the 79th General Convention was the passage of A227 which calls for the commission of a Task Force on "Communion Across Differences." The Task Force (equally manned by traditionalists and progressives), is asked to find ways that both traditionalists and progressives can work together, to the extent possible, with a sense of integrity in The Episcopal Church. Time will tell how effective this will be.

Unfortunately with the passage of B012, authorizing same-sex marriages in parishes (regardless of the Bishop's views and diocesan policies), the Task Force's work has become much more difficult if not impossible. Of all the actions taken at the 79th General Convention, the passage of B012, is from my perspective as Bishop, the most problematic and potentially damaging within the Diocese of Albany as well as the wider Anglican Communion.

While I know there are some in the Diocese of Albany who applaud the passage of B012, the vast majority of the clergy and people of the Diocese, to include myself, are greatly troubled by it. There is much I need to say about B012 and how it will be handled in the Diocese of Albany, but before doing so, I need more time to think and pray, as well as consult with the Standing Committee and other trusted advisors.

What is being called for in B012, not only goes against the Marriage Canons of the Diocese of Albany, but also attempts to severely limit the bishop's role and ministry as chief pastor, priest and teacher of all the people and parishes entrusted to his or her care regarding the sacrament of marriage. More importantly, it goes against my understanding of what God has revealed through Holy Scripture and over 2000 years of Church teaching about marriage.

I hope to meet with all the clergy of the Diocese to discuss their concerns and the potential impact of B012 on the clergy and parishes of the Diocese. In an effort to accommodate for that discussion, a special Clergy Day is scheduled for Thursday September 6th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Christ the King Center. Lunch will be provided. I am asking all the clergy (priests and deacons) to RSVP by Sunday, August 26th by emailing Lay Canon Jerry Carroll at diocese@albanydiocese.org or calling him at 518-692-3350, x501.

Please note that none of the actions of the 79th General Convention (to include B012), go into effect until the First Sunday of Advent 2018. With that said, I am taking a few days to rest, pray and think. I am currently in Colorado visiting family and will be back in Albany on this Friday, July 20th. I pray each of you have an opportunity to rest and relax, enjoying the remainder of the summer before the business of the fall starts up.

In closing, I want to commend our Diocesan Deputation. They worked incredibly hard, putting in very long hours faithfully representing the Diocese of Albany and serving our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church, often in a very difficult, trying and less than favorable environment. Despite the many challenges and frustrations, the Albany Deputation remained positive, as they testified at various Committee Hearings and spoke on the floor of the House of Deputies. Several bishops commented to me on how professional, well prepared and well-spoken Albany's Deputies were. They upheld and faithfully proclaimed the Gospel, speaking God's truth in love.

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,
+Bill
Episcopal Diocese of Albany

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