Saturday, June 24, 2006


The St. Stephen's church picnic is one of those great traditions that makes us such a special place. The picnic begins right after the 10:30 service. The last time it rained was 5 years ago, the day of my first Sunday here, so we are eagerly anticipating the re-enactment of that day. Never mind we won't have the lawn, we are blessed with lots of space for games, inside eating, and spending time with one another. Join us Sunday, June 25! (Tomorrow) Rain or shine.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

General Convention: Some More

Hey Everybody,

I miss you all. What has begun to happen (and you can see this clearly in my last few posts) is that I have been here so long, I have forgotten what is important and what's just not that much. The truth is most of the legislation passed here won't effect our life in Pearl River much at all. And whether or not we rejoice in the "Windsor Process" or not won't matter at the horseshoe game at the picnic.

What's really important, after all, in our church life is a commitment to Jesus Christ and responsibilities to loving each other in his name. I think we do a really good job of that at St. Stephen's and I have to say, I think that national church does a good job, too. What you won't hear about in the news or the resolutions is how friendships were made between people who disagree with each other about "key" matters.

Whether in elevators, by the pool (yes, there was a rooftop pool), at restaurants, or walking to the convention center each day real dialogue, good stories and just good fun was had. This convention was a grace-filled and wonder-filled experience for me and even though I am happy to be coming home, I will miss the people I met here. Thanks to you all for your support and encouragement in being here.

I love and miss you all.

The Consensus

Yesterday was a fierce day here. With the question of whether or not to effect a moratorium on the election and consecration of openly gay and lebian bishops at stake -- the vote by orders lost. For the liberals, it was too great a cost for peace with the communion -- for conservatives, the language of aplogy in A161 to the gay and lesbian community was inappropraite and, to some, offensive. There was a motion to reconsider A161 that also was defeated. The House of Deputies was adjourned last night a little after 9 p.m.

We came back this morning and after worship had a Joint Session, that is a meeting that included all bishops and deputies (usually the Bishops meet in a separate area). The Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, told us that if we did not pass the substance of A161 (the motion that had been defeated twice the day before) the Communion would split. So the Bishops left and went back to their house and after about 90 minutes came and said that they had passed it. There was considerable debate about whether or not we could consider it, but ultimately it was the new Presiding Bishop who came and reassured us that it was her intention to fight for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the church, but that we must pass this. And so it came to be that the Episcopal Church has now agreed that they will not consent to the election of a bishop in the church "whose manner of life would prove problematic to the larger church."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


So far it is hard to tell what the church might do in relation to its relationship with the larger Anglican Communion after the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire three years ago. There are a series of resolutions coming before the House of Deputies now. In fact we are having an inscheduled night time meeting to address some responses. There was a two thirds vote in favor of expressing regret for the pain caused by the decision yesterday. Today we voted by two thirds to reject a moratorium on the ordination of gay and lesbian bishops and a ban on same-sex blessings. It seems to be anybody's guess as to what the final response will be. Keep praying, folks!


Monday, June 19, 2006

Columbus: Up Close

This morning I went to the workout room of my hotel and saw Ted Gulick, Bishop of Kentucky who was lifting some weights. He was in a great mood and telling everybody how proud he was of the church. I walked from the hotel with the bishop of Idaho and his wife and we chatted about people we knew in common. At worship, my table includes +Ted, aforementioned bishop, lay people from Chicago, North Dakota, and priests from Washington State, Virginia, and Atlanta. Than I bought a diet Pepsi from Rose who works here at the Convention Center. There is a spirit of friendship that has led me to believe that this is more like a giant family reunion than a convention, in any sense.

Thanks be to God!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jaw is Dropped

Well, the consensus of pre-Convention thinking (my own, too) was that what was needed for the new Presiding Bishop would be a nice, Southern male bishop to help soothe the nerves of the good people in the church upset by the last General Convention. That was the going wisdom at breakfast, at lunch, and at the Eucharist. When the announcement was made that the bishops had elected a woman there was an audible gasp, followed by uncontrollable cheering, several people weeping, and then a reminder by the Chairman of the House of Deputies, George Werner, that we don't do things like cheer, gasp, weep unless given permission by the chair.

++Katharine came to introduce herself with the presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, about 45 minutes later. Introducing her husband, daughter, and son-in-law, she thanked the bishops who ran with her and the Presiding Bishop, and mentioned how sad she will be to leave her diocese. She spoke in Spanish and English.

Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

General Convention Days 1

A quick post from the public computers at the Columbus, Ohio Convention Center. It feels like I just got here, even though it is day 6. Our days begin at 5:30 or 6 a.m. when we get up and dressed to walk the mile and a half to the convention center for early morning hearings. The New York deputation has all been assigned a committee to monitor. Mine is Social and Urban affairs. If there is no pressing issue, we can go to other committee hearings -- I have been to the "Special Committee" hearings, to Ministry, and to Canons. Every hearing is filled with members of the committee who hear questions and comments on legislation from Deputies, Alternates, and Visitors. Then we have worship at 9:30 and begin legislative sessions in the morning and afternoon. The evenings are filled with more hearings, presentations, special services, and deputation meetings.

Generally speaking you work until you drop. It is becoming common for people to oversleep, or need to go to their rooms at 6 p.m. just to re-group and catch up. This has happened to me more than I would like to admit. Some faces around convention -- John Fredenburgh is here as a volunteer, I saw Gwyn and Katherine who have been volunteering, too. (More on that later). Jeanette (from Grace) is here and down the hall from me in the hotel. Of course, Mark, Cathy, and Don our bishops, have been very present. More when I get a few minutes. Love and blessings to you all!