by President Susan Russell
The week before Holy Week is a busy one in Episcopal Church Land ... even when you DON'T have decisions on marriage equality in two states and a son home on leave from the Army. So I'm playing "catch up" this morning -- in part by highlighting this story from last week about the search for a new bishop in the Diocese of Western New York.
"Search committee told to honor Resolution B033" is the headline of the ENS piece, highlighting two important happenings in the search-for-a-new-bishop process in the Diocese of Western New York:
#1 -- The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York has told a newly formed bishop search committee that they are expected to "honor the mind of the Episcopal Church regarding acceptable candidates for the episcopate as expressed through the General Convention."
Yes, this would be code for "comply with B033: no LGBT candidates welcome." To his credit, the standing committee chair is quoted as saying "rather than have the issue of B033 lurk through the whole process and then come up later in a difficult way the standing committee decided to "put the issue on the table" explicitly."
But wait: there's more.
#2 -- The Western New York Standing Committee also said in its website statement that it "strongly recommends" that the diocese's deputation to the 76th General Convention "should work for or support efforts at the 2009 General Convention to rescind Resolution B033."
So what does it all mean?
Our friends on Titusonenine are on the story now ... interestingly enough posting Point #1 but failing to note Point #2. Here's my comment from "over there:"
The post neglects to note the part of the release where the Standing Committee: “strongly recommends” that the diocese’s deputation to the 76th General Convention “should work for or support efforts at the 2009 General Convention to rescind Resolution B033.”
As I noted in to the ENS reporter on the story last week, “The Standing Committee of Western New York stands out as the tip of the iceberg of mainstream Episcopalians.”
“They are asking our bishops and deputies to release this church from the straitjacket B033 has imposed on the vocational discernment process of a diocese seeking the best candidates for their bishop—to end the era of de facto apartheid that restricts a percentage of the baptized from full inclusion in all orders of ministry. We will keep the Diocese of Western New York in our prayers as they seek and call a new pastor for their people—as well as the deputies of Western New York as we work together to end this blatant discrimination against the LGBT baptized.”
So there we have it. A diocese giving us exactly the "case in point" we need to prove our point to our bishops and deputies -- that B033 continues to have a chilling effect on the work and witness of this church. AND a diocese asking for the church to move forward and give them the freedom to work with the Holy Spirit to call the best possible pastor for the people of their diocese.
So pray for the people of Western New York as they call a new bishop.
Pray for qualified candidates with an episcopal vocation excluded from consideration because of the ill-conceived and ultimately useless resolution passed in 2006 to keep at the table those who are determined to leave anyway.
And pray for Integrity's work -- along with our allies all over this great church of ours -- as we prepare to gather in July and move the Episcopal Church "Beyond B033" and forward into God's future.
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