Thursday, August 27, 2009

Equal Time: A South Dakota Deputy's positive take on General Convention

Jean Lacher is also chair of SD's Standing Committee. She's been making a sincere and much appreciated effort to be in contact with me, and I asked her if she might share her point of view, given my negative review of the Convention.

I am going to borrow a page from Kendall Harmon's playbook: I will take comments by email only (address on the blog masthead) and post at my own discretion. Jean is not a blogger and isn't signed on for snarking.

That doesn't mean I won't post comments that disagree with her - but in choosing your words please think of yourself sitting across from somebody's grandmother (Jean and her husband are out of state celebrating the birth of a new grandson).

Perspectives on General Convention 2009

“Center Aisle is an opinion journal offered by the Diocese of Virginia as a gift to General Convention. We offer analysis and opinions from a variety of sources that reflect the transformational center of our Church.”

“The middle is not the midpoint on a line between two extremes, in the life of faith, the great bulk of people are at the center, and that center is faith in the Risen Christ.” The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia.

These next two items were taken from the July 17, 2009, Issue 9 of Center Aisle. Two paragraphs from the Perspective written by the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia:

The most lasting impact of the 76th General Convention is likely to be an increase of initiative and energy in local congregations and dioceses. The emphasis on local ministry is a proper expression of the principle of subsidiarity, whereby mission should occur at the level closest to the people who are called to engage in that mission.

Local mission is also enhanced by resolutions which the secular press has incorrectly interpreted as necessarily damaging our world wide relationship and as following the agenda of a gay and lesbian lobby. Instead, what the convention did is to reaffirm that the ordination process is under the control of local bishops and dioceses, while stressing that access to that process is open to all baptized persons.

Editorial – Glorious Messiness

Tidiness is overrated. We head home a messy Church. Thanks be to God.
We are, by our own proclamation, “not of one mind” on matters that have caused division in the Communion.

We are in search of a communications strategy appropriate for the changing media landscape.

We are developing resources for same-sex blessings, without committing ourselves to “action.”

We will soon debate an Anglican covenant that could help clarify the bonds of Communion.

We are searching for creative ways to do great things with reduced resources, while living up to our mission responsibilities.

Put it all together and you have a Church that doesn’t have all the answers – and never will. It is a Church on a spiritual journey that never ends.

But be prepared: There are neat-freaks who don’t appreciate messiness. There will be cries of Armageddon in the wake of Convention’s vote for an ordination process open to all.

These doomsday predictions have been heard before. And it’s true that the passage of Resolution D025, whose nuances have been lost in much of the media coverage, could create problems in the Communion.

But this is no time to despair. The bonds between our Church and Canterbury are still strong. It’s hard to imagine a Communion that doesn’t include the National Cathedral in Washington, the mission initiatives on Native American reservations of the Dakotas, and the rustic parishes of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Discussion will continue. Compromises will be struck. Bonds of affection will be strengthened. The focus on the foundational beliefs that unite us will return.

The Church, in all its glorious messiness, will move forward.

I read this last issue of Center Aisle after I returned home from General Convention and both Bishop Lee’s words and the Editorial struck me as a good summary of the actions taken at General Convention 2009.

Jean Lacher,
Lay Deputy 1 from South Dakota


TLF+ said...

Received by email:

"We offer analysis and opinions from a variety of sources that reflect the transformational center of our Church."

What is a transformational center? If Christ is the center, what are we transforming?

TLF+ said...

Received by email:

Is it General Convention's position that people who disagree with it do so only out of emotional instability?

"There are neat-freaks who don’t appreciate messiness."

What does this have to do with a Christian discussion of our church's teachings?