There are several items of note coming from Austin this afternoon.
The Westboro Baptist Church will be protesting at several parish churches in Austin this weekend. Local media reports that the WBC is targeting two parishes and the convention center itself on both Saturday and Sunday:
“Austin police told [Father Mike] Adams [of All Saints’ Episcopal Church] they would have officers there and while people have offered to create a “human wall” to block the protesters, he told them it wouldn’t be necessary. Still, a counter-protest is possible.
“Adams said the church will respect the Westboro Baptist Church’s First Amendment rights, and will likely offer them coffee, water or donuts. He doesn’t expect them to accept.
“…Adams said they will pray for the protesters during the service that God will “soften hardened hearts.”
Proposals to revise the Prayer Book are the source of much heated debate. Resolution A068 will be coming to the House of Deputies’ floor for debate this afternoon. As amended, the resolution will direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to undertake the first stages of the revision. The full text of the resolution itself is fairly lengthy, though as it was reported out of committee, the second Resolved makes clear that the process intends to,
“…continue in faithful adherence to the historic rites of the Church Universal as they have been received and interpreted within the Anglican tradition of Common Prayer while also providing space for, encouraging the submission of, and facilitating the perfection of rites that will arise from the continual movement of the Holy Spirit among us and growing insights of our Church.”
Conversation around this resolution on social media has, as one might expect, been quite lively since the committee hearings took place. The arguments in favor of a comprehensive revision this editor has seen include the need to include marriage rites which include any couple regardless of sexual orientation, and a deep desire for language which is much more expansive in its descriptions of God than has been traditional. Arguments against revision at this time include a deep need for continued education and formation around the current BCP; not wanting to make such a large change in the face of the anxiety currently permeating both the Church and the world in general; and the budget request for nearly $2 million to support it.
Update on A068, Friday night: Debate has been extended another 30 minutes, and will take place Saturday morning, beginning at 11:30am Eastern/10:30 am Central.
Finally, one non-General Convention related item: Lambeth Palace is getting a new library, which will be the first new building on the grounds in over 100 years:
“The library tower, due to open in two years, is the first edifice in 100 years to be built on the grounds of Lambeth Palace, home of the archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England and the global Anglican Communion. It will house major collections connected to the history of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, the archives of the archbishops of Canterbury, records of Anglican clergy, genealogical sources, documents about the coronations of English monarchs and considerable numbers of manuscripts relating to Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor and Mary Queen of Scots. The new building will also house the archives of the Church of England, known as the National Church Archives.
“The nine-story structure, expected to cost 23 million pounds ($30 million), will also accommodate 120,000 books and 40,000 pamphlets that make up the existing Lambeth Palace Library collection, currently scattered across the palace. As some of the collection has started to deteriorate, the new building will be advanced in archiving and climate control and will be environmentally sustainable. Architects Wright & Wright have created an airtight, temperature-controlled “box within a box” to keep artifacts in the correct temperature and humidity conditions.”
We will be posting updates on the progress of the BCP floor debate later this evening. Stay tuned!