Fast forward to Sunday lunchtime. I’d been invited (for some reason unknown to me) to a lovely lunch sponsored by the Chicago Consultation. The Consultation is a group of people in the Episcopal Church who are striving to find a both/and solution to the question of Inclusion in the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church’s membership in the wider Communion. I was seated at a table with a theologian, another priest, two lay women, one of the Communion’s primates and an Episcopal bishop. We had lunch, listened to speakers, and then we talked.
It was in the talking that the emotions stirred up in Jenny Te Paa’s speech finally overwhelmed me. I was recounting to people around the table how deeply touched I had been by her words, my voice cracked and I started to cry. Frankly I was stunned. I don’t actually cry that often. And hardly ever in public. That I was doing so here, in this luncheon told me how very profoundly I have buried the hurt that the words by others have caused. Some of the others from around the Communion at the table joined me in my tears. And the weight on my heart began to lift and by the end of the day on Sunday was gone.
Sometimes tears are cleansing. Perhaps this is one of those. So many tears have been shed by so many people in Anglican Church over the past decade. Most of those have been tears of hurt shed by LGBT members of the Communion. My tears on Sunday were to me a symbol of reconciliation that the Episcopal Church is faithfully attempting with them and with the larger Communion. Reconciliation begins, can only begin, with telling the full truth of who we are. I believe that the actions that have just been passed by the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops are truthful. They are come with tears of relief on the part of many and tears of regret by a few.