Philadelphia: Saturday, 26 July 1997I must drop my fan, dear readers, and tell you that not everything
was sweetness and light at General Convention 1997 here in Philadelphia.
You might have guessed this all by yourself... So--What about
the bad stuff at GC 1997?
We Anglicans, particularly Episcopalians of the USA, are a passionate
bunch. We have our hot button issues, matters of vehement difference
and disagreement are known. Should you have forgotten them, these
hot button issues seem to concern:
- Sexuality: codes of behavior, standards for Christian
marriage or commitment, the nature of homosexuality, the blessing
of same-sex unions and/or the proposed development of rites of
blessing for them; standards of sexual behavior for Bishops, priests,
and laity; methods of preserving grace and honor in our most personal
- Women in the Church: ordination of women
to the priesthood; open access to the processes leading to the
ordination of women in our dioceses, the role of women in the
Church in general; the ontological nature of gender difference.
- The Nature of Authority: of Scripture, of polity, the
bishopric, of the ordained ministry, the role and voice of the
laity, of the role of General Convention in our governance, and
our relationship to the other members of Christ's Church in the
World--the Body of Christ, alive.
- Money: how we get it,
whether we give it or not, and how we use it for the benefit of
the whole Body fairly and wisely; where and how shall the money
- Balancing the Demands of Tradition and Change: how is
consensus reached between the precious "wine and bread"
of our tradition and history, and how do we discern the urgings
of the Holy Spirit in our particular time and multi-cultures?
What shall define us as this communion of the apostolic and catholic
Church? What of the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition,
The ongoing conversation of the Church (using the word "conversation"
here in its philosophical sense) speaks through our worship, but
also through our chosen programmatic efforts. We all strive to
bring the Gospel forth into the world, but there are many ways
to do this. Passion runs high within our affiliations made by
interest and preference. Wars begin, battles are fought, feelings
wounded, friendships torn apart. And yet, we are of God. And surely
God mourns for us all.
In the remainder of this series of articles I shall attempt to describe the
means by which the General Convention addressed the various topics I have noted
above. Again, for factual details, let me refer you to http://ecusa.anglican.org/gc97/
(the official church coverage) or to http://anglican.org/online/,
a directory of all coverage.
[Editor's note: dfms.org is an in-crowd nickname for ecusa.anglican.org;
it stands for Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, which is
part of the legal name of ECUSA]
Copyright © 1997 Deborah Griffin Bly.
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