The takeaway—as magazine editors of a certain sort like to say—from today’s developments at our General Convention is that tomorrow is going to be exceedingly intense. The House of Deputies had supposedly blocked out more than two and a half hours, beginning at 3:45 to handle three controversial Windsor resolutions with the understanding that they’d stay in session late in order to pass the full package and present them to the House of Bishops tomorrow.
Instead, the House didn’t take up the first, and least controversial, of these resolutions until 5 p.m., passing it in an amended version (about which, more in a second) before suspending debate in the midst of the second and most controversial piece in the three-resolution package.
This means that tomorrow will being with the resumption of debate—and, no doubt, a flurry of amendments—on the lengthy resolution that includes this:
“we are obliged to urge nominating committees, election conventions, standing committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to refrain from the nomination, election, consent to and consecration of bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the winder church and will lead to further strains on the communion.”
“this General Convention not proceed to develop or authorize Rites for the blessing of same-sex unions..”
“this General Convention apologize to those gay and lesbian Episcopalians and their supporters hurt by these decisions.”
Meanwhile, the bishops, busy themselves with other less pressing matters. They might easily take what the Deputies send them tomorrow, and amend it, meaning that it would then have to return to the Deputies. All this, and the convention wraps up on Wednesday afternoon.
There was one modestly encouraging development for liberal tea leaf readers in this afternoon’s session. The Rev. Gay Jennings of the Diocese of Ohio proposed an amendment to what we’ve been referring to as the “regret” resolution.
It originally read: "Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of ‘the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ’ (The Windsor Report paragraph 134), express its regret for breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences that followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within the Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of communion one with another."
Jennings’ amendment, which replaced the words “breaching the proper constraints of” with “straining” passed with more than 60 percent of the vote. I like the amended version better than the original, but I don’t know that either was especially significant in and of itself. More significant, I think, is that an amendment proposed by one of the leading liberals in the House was passed despite the committee’s hope that the resolution would not be amended.
This may indicate that the quasi-moratorium on non-celibate gay bishops is in trouble.
People made some particularly eloquent remarks on both sides of the issues today, but, to tell you the truth, I don’t have the energy to transcribe them right now. Maybe after dinner and the deputation meeting.