Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pittsburgh (TEC) Convention: Day 2 (October 16)

Well there's one characteristic that TEC and ACNA conventions increasingly share - resolutions passed unanimously and with little discussion. No doubt when it comes to drafting a diocesan response to the Anglican Covenant - always assuming that it hasn't become a dead letter by then, there will be more difference of opinion, but for now the mind of both conventions seems - on paper, at least - to be uniform. I can imagine that there are many on both sides for whom this comes as a relief. An endless round of resolutions that pass by identical margins (albeit with clear minority opposition) does little to embody the common will of the Body of Christ, but its absence also leaves comparatively little to report.

Yesterday included an appeal from former Trinity Cathedral dean George Werner reflecting - in a point of personal privilege - on how John F. Kennedy's appeal to discern what one could for one's country had been diluted down by contemporary politicians to the simple "I approve this message." He urged the diocese to continue to grow as a community and assume positive intent as we conduct the bishop search for "if we disintegrate into small groups of like mind no system will save us." No problem with the message, but if the speaker was claiming that he was less of a politician in his day than was (and is) David Wilson, I will eat my hat.

The report of the chancellor - absent because his wife is in hospital with cancer - was delivered by Bishop Price. The hearing of the appeal on the 2005 Stipulation will be on November 9, but the court could take up to seven months to deliberate.

An effective presentation by Bill Green on the work of Calvary Camp which continues to thrive at a time when most dioceses are closing their camps. Certainly a ministry to celebrate.

A resolution passed encouraging parishes to resume giving to the national church. No mandatory language, but a reminder that having committed oneself to stay in TEC that there are responsibilities higher up the chain. Didn't seem that different to discussions about the voluntary tithe in ACNA - interesting at the pre-convention meeting I attended there now appears to be ambiguity about how to relate to a parish that doesn't pay a voluntary tithe (for whatever reason).

The call for an episcopal election process extending over eighteen months, with provision for selection by a nominating committee and by petition, but no candidates from the floor (the circumstances of ++Duncan's election have left certain people gun-shy). Unlike last time, however, the nominating committee will not exercise a veto over a petition candidates, nor - I believe - will their candidates be formally identified during the election process.

Various canonical and constitutional changes of minor importance, apart from Canon XIX revision, incorporating Title IV. Since defeat of the proposal would have brought Title IV into effect immediately, I contented myself with abstaining, merely pointing out to the lay delegates some of the flaws in the legislation that could well affect their clergy - they had better make sure the bishop they choose is going to administer it in a pastoral fashion. Of course, the accepted line is that it can't be defied at a diocesan level - which I don't believe - but only modified at General Convention, which some of our clergy plan to do. I did learn afterwards - which explains a lot - that some of the principle drafters have been coming at the revisions from the perspective of child sex abuse cases, and consequently are more concerned with the reputation of the Church than with clergy due process. The trouble is that the new canons aren't specific to that scenario - even if removal of due process in that one case is desirable - but apply to every issue under the sun. Much better to say that sex abuse cases must automatically be passed to the secular authorities and ecclesiastical judgments follow the resolution of such proceedings.

That's about it really. ACNA's report will follow in a couple of weeks.


The Rev Canon Dr David Wilson said...

Jeremy, I am flattered to be considered to be in the same class of politiciansas the master politician of TEC, George Werner.

BTW, who was elected as clergy rep to the Standing Cmte and how wide was the margin?

Jeremy Bonner said...

Dear David,

I think you and George were and are well-matched.

In answer to your question, Leslie Reimer over Jim Shoucair (for whom I voted). I believe the margin was something of the order of 53-47.