samedi, juin 03, 2006

Praying for the Mind of Christ

We're having an Octave of Prayer for the Episcopal Church. Y'all come, please!

I've included a note on the upcoming eight days of Prayer. It is scheduled to end just before we start our General Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

"The eight days of prayer open on Pentecost Sunday, June 4, and conclude Trinity Sunday, June 11.
Suggested scripture readings, prayers and meditations can be found at
All Episcopalians are invited to participate in the prayers and reflections. Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and House of Deputies President George L. W. Werner will launch the observance during June 4 parish services. That Sunday, Griswold will preach at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York City, while Werner will preach at St. James' Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
"Supported by the prayer of the whole church, it is my hope that Deputies and Bishops gathered together in Columbus will make decisions that reflect the mind and heart of Christ who through the cross has drawn all to himself in the fullness of his reconciling love," Griswold observes in a letter accompanying the resources." Episcopal News Service

In less than two weeks, the Episcopal Church will gather in Columbus, Ohio, for its General Convention. The legislative body for this small Protestant denomination to which I belong meets every three years. I don't think it's just me that feels like it was just yesterday that the bishops, clergy and lay deputies met (or just me that wishes they would only meet once every ten years).

Three years ago the General Convention gave its consent to the consecration of the Rev. (now Rt. Rev.) Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly gay bishop. We'd already been teetering on the edge of rebellion from conservative clergy and laypeople, and it wasn't long before we started to tumble. Prelates from other nations became even bolder about crossing national and diocesan boundaries to encourage and advise conservative parishes, oftentimes flouting the will of the diocesan bishop. Congregations have left the denomination, as have thousands of individual members.

Back at the ranch, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the irenic and canny Rowan Williams, has skillfully negotiated with a cast of players who sometimes seem to care less about the good of the Body than about scoring points off their opponents. They include angry African prelates (as if they didn't have enough major social problems on their hands), defiant liberal American clergy and bishops, bothered and bewildered moderates, and various outside interest groups who see the possibility of profiting from the division now afflicting the Episcopal Church.

At this Convention our elected representatives may decide to move forward and open the door wider to non-celibate bishops. Or they may step back from the precipice and either defer a decision (we're good at that) OR decide not to ordain any more non-celibate bishops of any sexual preference.

I have a definite preference in this regard. I can go into details about that in a later post. But for now, it seems to me that we need prayer so that this Convention is known for more than another tedious and divisive debate about sexuality.

Racial reconciliation, anyone? That one might be easier to achieve than denominational reconciliation.

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