lundi, juin 19, 2006

One small step for General Convention, one huge one for the Anglican Communion

I've been trying to sort out how I feel about the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as the new Presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church. On a purely canonical level, this is no big deal. After all, the Episcopal Church has been ordaining woman (regularly) as priests for 30 years. Jefferts Schori's rise in the ranks has been quick, but that doesn't mean she is a bad choice for Presiding Bishop. The other side of the coin is that her election, at this juncture, feels like a huge poke in the eye to the rest of the Anglican Communion. Jefferts Schori is not only a woman, but she is a liberal icon in a denomination which, at the moment, seems to have more liberal icons than it needs. There were more moderate male candidates: the fact that Jefferts Schori was elected says something very important about the theological, social and ecclesiastical predilections of the majority of the delegates (although the vote to elect was 95-93, a close vote). It appears unlikely that the Episcopal Church will adopt a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops, or express repentance for its action in approving Gene Robinson's consecration, or hold back from endorsing same-sex blessings. There is, in these contentious times, a real virtue in restraint, and it is one not practiced by those who see only the justice of their own cause. I am afraid, that , for moderates like me, the time is coming when I shall be forced to choose whether I am a member of the 77 million member Anglican Communion, or the 2.3 (and shrinking) million Episcopal Church. As an ordained woman, I dread having to make that choice. Dread it not only because of the mixed motives and self-righteousness of so many on the conservative side, but because right now I see only the rhetoric, and not the reality of reconciliation. We desperately need the canny wisdom of a Rowan Williams. Time will tell whether the bishop of Nevada is up to the job. It will also become clear, within a day or two, whether General Convention decides that the Episcopal Church is truly part of a family, or much happier on its own. After all, there is a certain clarity to separation. It may finally be that we have arrived at that point.

7 commentaires:

David Williamson a dit…

Hello! Great to discover your site!

Who are the Conservative icons in the American episcopalian church? Is there an equivalent of John Stott, or J Packer, or NT Wright?

Is there a charismatic subculture, or a Westminster Seminary-style Reformed grouping?

All denominations go through times of crisis and scandal and winter. But it is at such moments when a St Francis or a Luther emerges and renewal and revival can spring forth.

Offcenter a dit…

Hello\, David: Welcome! You are getting my opinion, for what it worth. We don't have many native icons. We tend to borrow yours (well, yours in the broad sense of UK icons). Instead we have plotting bishops with aspirations to wearing an Archbishop's hat. John Stott is a big influence over here, as is NT Wright. We do have a charismatic/evangelical subculture. I worked in a large evangelical parish that had a charismatic edge and a "countercultural" ethos.

I found your note about denominational crisis comforting. I'm just not sure that the American church has a strong enough identity to survive. The Anglican Communion however, will, and it is probably overdue for an indetity crises. What do you think?

Are you a newspaper reporter or do you work online? And who is Joanna Newsom? I'm looking for some new songwriters/singer.

Ben Myers a dit…

Hi Elizabeth. You posted a query about Rowan Williams on my blog, and I have posted your query here so that people can respond.

Offcenter a dit…

Check out Ben Myers link to his blog below. He's been kind enough to throw my question about our A of C, the kind, gentle and canny Rowan Williams, out there for his readers. He's got a great blog, and it's well worth one or more reads! What will Archbishop Rowan do now? And does it matter? Those are the questions of the hour!


Catherine + a dit…

There is no doubt in my mind that the Amercian Church aka ECUSA will remain viable for many, many years to come. Look what Jesus did for the the early Church [actually before it was anything but a group of people under a teacher]. It takes those who bring change to make something that was good, better.

As one of the other commenters said, every church or denomination has their crisis moments. ECUSA is no different. Yes we broke new and refreshing ground on Father's Day [and I thank God the Father for the gift of this new PB], and I do believe, given +Katharine's short but effective ministry in Oregon and Nevada, that she will be fair and balanced despite her leanings this way or that. She will find the middle way, as is our Church's custom to include ALL, not just some, but ALL of the baptized.


Offcenter a dit…

It's nice to see some activity on this rather sleepy blog (or perhaps one frequented by introverts). Yes, I agree, Catherine+, that TEC will remain viable...but I still think, no matter how charismatic PB-elect Bishop Jefferts Schori is, our American branch of the Anglican Communion may be a more homogenous denomination. Someone posting on Ben's blog raised an issue I actually find more interesting, long run: is this Episcopal contretemps a harbigner of the end of denominations? On the one hand, there's a certain comfort in thinking that we need not be bound by the errors and sins of our denominations. On the other, it bears out what the Roman Catholics, with a slight tilt of the nose, have been saying to us for centuries: Protestants are rebels, not the True Church.

Anyone see the possibility of reconciliation/reunion with Rome on the horizon?

Catherine + a dit…

As for this sleepy blog being found, I have you in my links on my blog, and the RevGalBlogPals frequent member blogs to see what's up. You might consider becoming "one of the gals" for more exposure, E+.

As for foreseeing reconcilation with Rome? Not without a holy war to see who gets to be ArchPope.