Pierre Whalon | What did and didn’t happen at General Convention 2009

General Convention

Helpful article by Bishop Whalon over at Anglicans Online, of which the following is only a small excerpt:

“Every three years, for at least thirty years, the media have descended upon the General Convention, fishing for tidbits that make for great headlines: ‘Episcopal Church Votes to [fill in the blank]!’ They often get it completely wrong, either because of ignorance (qualified religion journalists being even scarcer than qualified curling reporters) or malice (Episcopalians are fun to ridicule because we are so open, and we present a much safer target than say, radical Muslims). Other commentators, usually more thoughtful, joined the chorus of inaccurate reporting this time. Philip Jenkins asserted in the Wall Street Journal that this Convention ‘ended the ban on gay clergy.’[1] Bishop Tom Wright of Durham, England, a noted New Testament scholar, went further. Writing in the Church Times, he opined that ‘The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.’[2]

Both are wrong. We did not pass any such resolutions. What did happen was that, after a protracted struggle in the House of Deputies over the moratorium on ordination of partnered gay bishops, a compromise resolution, numbered D025 and entitled ‘Commitment and Witness to the Anglican Communion,’ passed both Houses. It described the situation in The Episcopal Church, namely, that the prevailing sentiment these days is that gay people can be ordained to all three orders, though disagreement certainly continues within the church as well as within the rest of the Communion. There was also a lot of language about listening to the rest of the Anglican Communion, about our constituent membership and desire to remain a part of it, in this resolution and others.”

Read the full article here.

As Bishop Whalon points out, there are other headlines that might have been written, such as Convention affirms that “Jesus is Lord”. But that’s hardly newsworthy – at least to people within the Episcopal Church. But listening to our critics, you might think that they’d find the clear statement on the fundamentals of the faith that was passed to occasion at least a nod.

The Author

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