Ups and Downs in the House of Bishops

So, we approach our last day at the House of Bishops’ meeting. It will undoubtedly be a difficult one in which, presumably, we will depose our brother John David Schofield for abandoning the communion of The Episcopal Church.
It’s been an up and down meeting. Wonderful worship with our “Bishops’ Choir” doing its usual splendid work (they are taping a CD for charity at this meeting). Good work on becoming “reconcilers” if not completely “reconciled.” We heard a report from Canon Philip Groves on the communion-wide “listening process” designed to hear stories of gay and lesbian Christians around the world. And we worked on “Millenium Development Goal 3” on Gender Equality and the protection of women and children.
The most painful session was learning that our brother Gene Robinson’s (and our) request for him to be included in the Lambeth Conference in some official way has been rejected by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Even his request simply to pray with his brother and sister bishops during the retreat and during Bible studies. Unbelievable! We will surely make a statement expressing our dismay and sadness at this decision. And we will find ways to stay connected with him during the Conference.  
Heard reports on theological education, a proposed new medical insurance program, reorganization at the Church Center, and work on the Title IV disciplinary canons for clergy.  Last night we spent some time discussing the new draft of a “Proposed Anglican Covenant.”
There are the usual concerns about the constitutional and legal implications of signing on to an international set of “canons” which might jeopardize our ability to say legitimately that we are “autonomous” (make our own laws/canons). And concerns about “power to the Primates” on doctrinal and other issues. Concerns about too much emphasis on “Church of England formularies” (i.e. 1662 Prayer Book, 39 Articles, their Ordinal) rather than referring more broadly to “Anglican formularies.”
Personally, I think we can deal with all those matters. Draft 2 is clearly moving in the right direction. We are to work with it more at Lambeth, the writing team will then prepare a 3rd Draft which will go to the Anglican Consultative Council. If they reject it, it will go back for more work. If they accept it, we will begin the process of having it voted on in the 38 Provinces.
I think there is time for us to improve the document still further. It is clear to me that some kind of Anglican Covenant will be put forth and ultimately signed. The only question is…will we be part of it?       

4 Responses to “Ups and Downs in the House of Bishops”

  1. David Crawford Says:

    I am amazed that the group of bishops meeting needed a seminar on reconciliation. They should be teaching the course. Perhaps they needed a seminar in Canon Law. This is not how things should be done in our church. It is obvious that power, property and greed is full speed ahead. How much money have we spent on fee’s to Mr. Beers ?We are showing the whole world how unchristian we are. Deposing two old men who have family health issues. Shame, Shame, Shame. This email is sent by a member of the Episcopal Church who is not leaving but is not blind either.

  2. ecubishop Says:

    Well, I guess bishops are still prepared to learn and grow. We are called to be “ministers of reconciliation” and know we still have a lot to learn.

    David Beers takes very little by way of compensation from this church. He works tirelessly for us because he loves the Lord and the church.

    No one took pleasure in deposing John-David or Bill. But surely no one can seriously believe any church in the Communion would fail to discipline a bishop who tried to lead his diocese out of the Province. There were many issues with Bill Cox (as is so often the case, some not possible to disclose).

  3. rwk Says:

    How can +Cox have been deposed if the three “senior bishops” did not unanimously consent?

  4. ecubishop Says:

    Three senior bishops only have to consent unanimously for the Presiding Bishop to inhibit a bishop before a court of review. Deposition is voted on by all bishops present and voting at a House of Bishops’ meeting.

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