There is movement from 2006

General Convention
There’s one major change I noticed in the open committee discussion of B033 that happened yesterday on the floor of the House of Deputies. Only one of the 30 or so people who spoke even came close to arguing that same-sex relationships were fundamentaly wrong and even that person insisted on saying the behavior didn’t trump his love for his lesbian daughter.

That’s different from the way the conversations were happening in 1997,2003 and 2006 (the other General Conventions that I’ve attended). In those, there were always more than a few strong voices who would loudly proclaim the either orientation (or just behavior) were fundamentally wrong. This year the one third or so of the voices who were arguing for B033 almost all implied that it would be going away.

Now granted, the way that the voices were chosen to speak yesterday meant that they were a great deal more random than they have been before and they may not represent a totally accurate representation of where we are as a body, I was struck by this observation.

We’re no longer arguing “if”, we’re discussing “when”. We are now working on tactics not strategy.

That’s different.

Most of that can attributed to a number of folks either leaving the Episcopal Church, or deciding to stay away from Convention this year, but still…

Convention seems to me to be the best way we have of gauging the broad opinion spectrum in the Episcopal Church. So it’s worth thinking through what this shift implies.

Now, the other interesting thing is that the two-thirds or so of those who spoke for changing the official stance of the Episcopal Church seemed to be implying different actions as their suggested course.

Maybe half called for the outright repeal of B033. The others called to move “beyond” it. It’s the “move beyond” details that seems to be the question in the House of Deputies at General Convention right now.

Still no sense of where the House of Bishops is standing in all this.

The first sort of bellwether vote is coming for them on language that would guide the language and support for trans-gendered people in the ordination process. The committee that voted it to move forward to the legislative houses was deeply divided. The bishops were apparently unanimous in opposition. I think it comes for a vote in their House sometime today or tomorrow…

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Carol Horton says

    Thank you for your thoughtful and considered words. well done! I am listening and watching from NJ, and glad for the ability to share what’s happening as it happens. Love the Hub!
    Prayers ascend…

  2. I was struck by this same observation when I was at the Province IV Synod. Even when speaking with more conservative friends, I most often heard something along the lines of: ‘I’m ok with full inclusion, but what will it do to the communion? And what about people in the pews who still have objections?’ That seems to be a huge shift since 2003. As you said, it means that we’re asking a different question. If we come closer to being of one mind on the ‘issue,’ then we have a stronger imperative to ensure full inclusion of LGBT persons, even in the face of painful consequences. If we believe ‘full inclusion’ to be theologically correct, and just, then how long do we ask GLBT Episcopalians to wait?
    (HT to MLK, of course.)
    In my mind, the reality of this shift makes D025 an even stronger statement on our commitment to the Anglican Communion. We really are willing to not fully take the steps that would be possible in our own church. We could have moved much further beyond previous statements if we were only concerned with our own part of the Body. Our restraint really does seem rooted in our concern for our Anglican relationships and in the idea that ‘only the whole church knows the whole truth.’ I believe that is called forbearance.

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