March 24, 2017

February 4, 2013

Quick Question: Why Didn’t +Gray Use a Resolution to Change Policy on Same-Sex Blessings?

My theory, but I think it’s sound:

Because doing so would have been a humiliating loss all around for him and the gay lobby.

The clergy order in Mississippi favors same-sex blessings by a margin of approximately 70-30.

The lay order in Mississippi opposes them by approximately 70-30. Maybe 60-40, but there a solid majority against.

So imagine: A resolution goes to the floor, and hilarity chaos ensues. It would have been, by far, the most rancorous and divisive debating ever done in the diocese’s 180-odd years of existence.

After hours of that, when it came time to vote, without a doubt someone would have called for a vote by orders.

Not only would the resolution have gone down in flames because it couldn’t get a majority from the lay order, but the 60% or 70% of the members of the lay order would have seen quite clearly not just the inversion of support in the clergy order, but they would have seen exactly the individuals in collars who were supporting it, and they would return to their parishes having experienced - and begun talking about - the alienation and deep divide between the clergy and lay orders in the diocese.

Perhaps that sort of talk will begin anyway, but as it is, it will only be ancillary conversation. Right now, the primary topic will be “How do we deal with the fallout of the bishop’s unilateral decision?”

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Advance him as a candidate for the TEc Reconciliation Team?  Assisting Bishop in the NEW diocese in SC to take the workload off the incumbent?  So many needs, so few KONCILIATORS.

[1] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 2-4-2013 at 12:01 PM · [top]

If the lay numbers that you state are accurate, then a hardball political approach would be to let the clergy know in no uncertain terms that they needed to change their view on the matter, or they will be looking for work-elsewhere.

However, most lay people are very hard to mobilize.  They dont want to cause a public stir in the church.  It would be embarrasing for everyone involved.  So, I don’t think a hardball approach would work.

I think letting the lay people know that “here are your 3 alternatives” and then letting them know that if they were orthodox in their views, they need to make sure that their parish publicly reflected that.  In other words, everyone just being transparent about all of this.  The Bishop has made it so that the orthodox have to publicly defend their position as to the union of same sex couples within the teaching of the church.  The revisionists don’t really have to do anything, so their position is much easier to hold.  The Bishop has boxed the orthodox in politically, which is always much harder to come out of with a winning hand.  It can be done, but it will take much more skill and effort than the revisionists will have to exhibit.  They don’t really have to do anything.

[2] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 2-4-2013 at 12:23 PM · [top]

Years ago but after the Robinson confirmation, my small parish was interviewing for a priest.  When the subject was broached with one of the candidates in a question format, the candidate stated that he refused to answer questions involving biogtry and hatred.  His little speech was designed to make us feel like small minded people rather than ones charged with finding a leader who would stand on scriptural authority.  Needless to say, he did not get the call.

The libs in every corner of our country have learned this tactic.  I am thinking it is placed in their pablum.  I imagine the liberal priests in Ms would immediately respond with something like - I will not be threatened by people seeking to sow bigotry and hatred.  My guess is the turn-coat bishop would back them.

Unless the orthodox are well indoctinated against such tactics and stand their ground, it would be a terrible mess. 

Greg’s earlier post on how the orthodox can go forward is well worth the read.  Maybe the leadership should do a reverse Delphi technique training.  LOL

[3] Posted by Jackie on 2-4-2013 at 01:03 PM · [top]

I wouldn’t be so sure that a Convention would have wound up in a stalemate. Time and time again we have seen crafty bishops and clergy put the fix in when they really, really, want things to go their way. I am reminded of Upper South Carolina’s 2009 profile which indicated that we lay folk would not possibly, ever, ever, elect a bishop who supported same sex blessings, gay marriage, gay clergy, or open communion. Heree is a few examples of our responses,

15. Our current Bishop and the diocese, in
convention, have affirmed that we are a
Windsor Diocese. In that light, I believe our
next bishop should be supportive of the
Windsor Report and the ongoing Windsor

48 % Strongly Agree
20 % Somewhat Agree
26 % No Opinion
4 % Somewhat Disagree
2 % Strongly Disagree

16. I support the blessing of civil unions (as
opposed to marriage) between gay and lesbian
persons in the Episcopal Church.

26 % Strongly Agree
19 % Somewhat Agree
8 % No Opinion
10 % Somewhat Disagree
37 % Strongly Disagree

17. I support the ordination of partnered gay
and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.

21 % Strongly Agree
12 % Somewhat Agree
7 % No Opinion
12 % Somewhat Disagree
48 % Strongly Disagree

21. I support the marriage of gay and lesbian
persons in the Episcopal Church.

17 % Strongly Agree
11 % Somewhat Agree
7 % No Opinion
12 % Somewhat Disagree
53 % Strongly Disagree

In spite of this, we elected Bishop Waldo.

Now, I know that there are a number of reasons for convention disasters, and perhaps Sarah can give a comprehensive list, but one reason is that liberal clergy tend to find a way to get “their” delegates to go these conventions.

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-4-2013 at 01:15 PM · [top]

“Heree is”?? Yikes, you can tell where I come from…

[5] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-4-2013 at 01:16 PM · [top]

My husband and I have listened to these votes by orders (for those who don’t know, it is essentially a roll call vote) at our own diocesan conventions (Diocese of SC). As such it is quite clear to anyone who can hear the names of the delegates as they are called upon to vote who voted for or against the resolution.  I agree,  it can be incredibly enlightening to hear who votes for/against. We were amazed to hear some clergy voting against a resolution (where the clear majority in lay and clergy orders were for the resolution) that I thought at the time were solidly orthodox clergy. NOW, I can think back to those votes by orders and remember who voted against the resolution. Those clergy who voted against the resolution are now part of TEC-SC/TEc remnant here. Some of those names and votes were quite surprising to us at the time but the clear votes of those clergy were predicting who was loyal to TEC and who was not. So, a roll call vote would/could have been a huge wake up call to some laity in the diocese.

This way, Gray+ avoids confrontation and it is decision of one for the many. Gees, did not the PB just chide someone for being a petty tyrant because of the actions of the convention?  Must be OK if the bishop agrees with the PB but if not he is suspect to Title IV charges for not be in control of the diocesan convention and making sure that the resolution was killed. Perhaps that was part of Gray’s+ reasoning? He did not want to be brought up on Title IV charges if the vote had gone the way you predicted.

[6] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-4-2013 at 01:25 PM · [top]

Jackie:  Interesting.  What I would expect in the Diocese of Mississippi is this:  The bishop has created a system encouraging conservative parishes and their priests to pass resolutions indicating their opposition to SSBs.  These then serve as convenient indicators to the bishop and diocesan liberals as to which priests will be placed of the grey- or black-lists; and which congregations are in need to stealth liberal clergy.

Clergy on the black-list will be ostracized and not get another position in the diocese.  Clergy on the grey-list will not get placed into any Important Congregation and will only be placed into distressed parishes or where there is no other option for the diocese.

Congregations marked for Reeducation will face extraordinary yet subtle pressure from the diocese during their next clergy search to select as their next rector someone presented as a “moderate conservative”, who will tell the congregation that he would never do SSBs, but that he thinks it is time to re-unite the parish’s liberal and conservative people, and de-emphasize the conflict.  And the diocese will target wavering leaders in these parishes and seek to gin and puff them up with fancy little honorary titles at diocesan events, retreats, etc., and tell them that wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along.

And when these stealth liberals get in, they will wait a year or two, and then have a “conversion” where they announce that they have come to realize that SSBs are hunky-dory.  And very possibly, there will be a hiving off of a conservative group, sometimes to start a new Anglican parish, and sometimes to scatter.  This, in turn, will often render the parish unable to support a full-time clergy, which then brings the parish ever more under the diocese’s control.

This sort of plan will probably take care of a half to two-thirds of the current conservative parishes in the diocese.  The solidly conservative parishes (i.e. those in which the parishioners are ready and prepared to fight) will either decide to leave and join an Anglican group, or will stay on, but be largely independent of the diocese.

[7] Posted by jamesw on 2-4-2013 at 01:30 PM · [top]

Some liberal diocese have put the matter up for a vote and in some cases, it has passed, both orders.  And then that gets used to make sure in the next bishop search that all the candidates are pro-gay because that is what the diocese wants.  I"m not disagreeing but just saying it can cut both ways.  And when liberal bishops have done this they sometimes get accused of not exercising leadership on the issue.

[8] Posted by Matthew on 2-4-2013 at 01:38 PM · [top]

First off. The last sentence should read ... if the vote had gone the way Greg predicted.

You are right, Pewster. It is very important who gets elected to those important delegate positions. If those delegates don’t reflect the theology of the parishes, then you wind up with liberal delegates representing what are ostensibly more conservative parishes. You can end up with a situation like you have experienced in Diocese of Upper SC and the convention passes a resolution or elects a bishop which leaves many wondering how did this happen? Then liberals get to crow about how it was a vote of the convention.

[9] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-4-2013 at 01:39 PM · [top]

I think the main reason Bishop Gray acted unilaterally to implement the blessing of same sex unions is because the General Convention resolution (A049) set it up so it would happen that way.  To quote the three pertinent paragraphs:

Resolved, That the 77th General Convention authorize for provisional use “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” from “Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing” beginning the First Sunday of Advent 2012, under the direction and subject to the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority; and be it further

Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

Resolved, That </b>bishops</b> may authorize adaptation of these materials to meet the needs of members of this Church: and be it further ... [bold type added]

The authors of this resolution to the General Convention did not want diocesan conventions to have to approve this thing on a diocese by diocese basis before it could be implemented.  Coming out of General Convention, bishops were empowered to act unilaterally to implement SSB’s, and they have done so. 

One thing conservatives in each diocese might have done was to introduce a resolution preventing the implementation of SSB’s in the diocese.  If conservatives did this, liberals would then argue that the General Convention resolution giving authority to the bishop trumps the diocesan resolution, and they would probably be right. 

The only way to insure implementation on a diocese by diocese basis would have been to amend the original resolution at General Convention to make the resolution permissive rather than prescriptive:  that is to say, “dioceses <b>may</a> authorize for provisional use ‘The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant…’”  But, of course, with the liberals having a majority at General Convention to pass anything they wanted, that wasn’t going to happen.

So I am afraid conservatives have already been outmaneuvered.

[10] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 2-4-2013 at 02:11 PM · [top]

OK, I understand what Dr. Munday is saying in #10. The wording was chosen carefully so that bishops and not diocesan conventions would/could implement the changes. Perhaps they were thinking of dioceses like MS where the bishop would but the convention would not. Clever.

However, it must be pointed out that where a diocesan bishop did not consent to this new “liturgy” and neither did the convention, the refusal to do so has now been used as part of Title IV charges against the bishop. Nice. Liberals get their “liturgy” and conservatives get Title IV charges thrown at them simply for saying no. This is why liberals can not be trusted. Any General Convention resolution which seems to simply allow something for some dioceses but other dioceses do not have to agree can now be seen for the ruse it really is. I hope the Church of England does not fall victim to this ruse.

[11] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-4-2013 at 03:17 PM · [top]

With all respect to Dr. Munday (#10), what difference does anything the GC do or say with regards to same-sex anything make?  “Prophetic witness” in the liberal direction trumps pretty much anything.  What would the diocese of Mississippi do even if things were worded as you would like?  Gray probably would have done the same thing.  Would they appeal to 815 to file a charge against Gray?  How far would that go?

TEo is pretty much lawless when it comes to GLBTQXYZ stuff and those who favor their agenda.

“The law is for suckers” should be the TEo motto.

[12] Posted by Bill2 on 2-4-2013 at 06:21 PM · [top]

“Why Didn’t +Gray Use a Resolution to Change Policy on Same-Sex Blessings?”

I imagine he didn’t want to split the 30 pieces of silver with all the liberal clergy and Integrity.  Although, if the price for betrayal is adjusted for inflation, you would have thought there would be plenty to go around.

[13] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-4-2013 at 06:31 PM · [top]

#12. I understand what you are saying. TEC is indeed lawless when it comes to the revisionist agenda. However some of these GC resolutions are written to give some the appearance of a choice for conservatives. Hopefully to fool some conservatives into thinking they are still safe. That is exactly why no one should fall for this ruse. You can’t deny that the way it was written was intentional to allow some bishops to permit SSBs and we have seen how if a bishop does not consent, then Title IV charges are brought despite the wording.

I agree with Greg. IF there had been a resolution at their convention, it would have revealed the deep divide within the diocese.  Instead by promising conservatives no I won’t, no I won’t, +Gray keeps conservatives in the diocese.  At GC this summer, GC gave the green light to go ahead on approve SSB’s to any bishop who desired it for a diocese. +Gray has made the decision. I totally understand the feelings of betrayal. As Greg points out the conversation is now different- How do we deal with the fallout of the bishop’s unilateral decision? Difficult indeed.

[14] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-4-2013 at 07:29 PM · [top]

Liberals always play the strategic political game far better than conservatives.  Doesn’t matter if it’s secular or church politics.

[15] Posted by Nikolaus on 2-4-2013 at 09:16 PM · [top]

Soooooo, you are really wondering why a liberal didn’t follow the rules (Canons)?  Seriously?

Liberal = “means justify the ends”

[16] Posted by B. Hunter on 2-4-2013 at 10:27 PM · [top]

#14. It is very true when you say that, “some of these GC resolutions are written to give some the appearance of a choice for conservatives. Hopefully to fool some conservatives into thinking they are still safe.”  Sections of Resolution A049 that I did not quote in my previous comment include these words:

Resolved, that the provision of Canon I.18.4 applies by extension to “Theological Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships,” namely, “It shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to” preside at any rite of blessing defined herein; and be it further

Resolved, That this convention honor the theological diversity of this church in regard to matters of human sexuality, and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support for the 77th General Convention’s action with regard to the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships...

The wording I have put in bold type in that second paragraph is almost enough to make me laugh: “nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection….”  Yeah, right.  I remember all too well some previous “conscience clauses” and how long those promises lasted.

[17] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 2-4-2013 at 10:32 PM · [top]

Concur with the comments about delegates.  It is often implied that TEC is a representative organization and that its decisions reflect the will of the people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Term limits are needed and the word needs to get out that you are probably not represented at the present time.

[18] Posted by Pb on 2-5-2013 at 09:04 AM · [top]

Quite true#17. Why do conservatives continue to fall for these resolutions are worded that it seems there is a choice for conservatives when in reality there is no choice?? Why? Why?How many bishops and priests need to deposed to see the writing on the wall? Some conservatives need to wake up and smell the stench!

Pb, I would not say that there is anything wrong with the idea of having delegates from parishes as representatives. I would say that has worked well here in the Diocese of SC. The problems comes, as Pewster pointed out, in that sometimes delegates elected are not truly representative of the parish. The word does need to get out and better candidates need to be nominated. If the people who really represent the parish are not elected, then others will be elected and you can bet that they will be liberals and most likely handpicked by the rectors.  Some one will be elected to those positions. If conservatives do nothing, then liberals will be elected by default. If there are conservative people nominated, then there is a chance they will be elected. If nothing is done, nothing will change.

[19] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-5-2013 at 10:04 AM · [top]

SC blu cat lady   I have been a deputy to GC three times. I have no problem with the structure but only with how some end up as a delegate. In my former diocese, the clergy had too much influence. I commute to your diocese which does not seem to have the problem.

[20] Posted by Pb on 2-5-2013 at 10:53 AM · [top]

Thanks for the info, Pb. I did get the sense that in some places, clergy do have a rather large influence. I doubt that was the way it was originally intended to work. Best to say- so far so good here in the Diocese of SC. It could change here too if people don’t want to be delegates.

[21] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-6-2013 at 08:08 AM · [top]

“Jackie:  Interesting.  What I would expect in the Diocese of Mississippi is this:  The bishop has created a system encouraging conservative parishes and their priests to pass resolutions indicating their opposition to SSBs.  These then serve as convenient indicators to the bishop and diocesan liberals as to which priests will be placed of the grey- or black-lists; and which congregations are in need to stealth liberal clergy.”

Or, as another past master at political manipulation put it, “Let one hundred flowers bloom”!

[22] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2013 at 11:43 PM · [top]

Too many orthodox laity and clergy are not willing to get their hands dirty with activism.  It seems too ‘gross’ or ‘worldly’ to be involved in that sort of thing.  Yet this is a major reason why the liberals have been so successful (in my country as well as yours).

SC blu cat lady’s posts well illustrate why her Diocese of SC is still alive and fighting.  As Christians we have to accept that we are required to take an active role in the governance of our church.  That includes sometimes getting together with other like-minded orthodox Christians to plan our responses, and our voting.

Diocese of Sydney was the subject of a major assault by liberals from the 1970s through to the 1990s.  The liberals tried all the tactics that have been used in TEC (a number of which are mentioned in posts above) and they were very well organised.  The main earthly reason they didn’t succeed was because of political organisation within the diocese.  This occurred at many levels - the Anglican Church League is a pressure group of laity and clergy which works hard at vetting candidates for various positions, disseminating information about them, and organising responses.  But there are other groups as well, and many people within the diocese have a strong activist outlook, even if they are not part of ACL or any formal group. 

If you want to recover TEC, then you need to organise and fight like the liberals do.  This can be done without succumbing to their values.  Don’t tell them anything you don’t need to, nod and smile when they speak, and be ruthless when you get the opportunity.

[23] Posted by MichaelA on 2-11-2013 at 12:00 AM · [top]

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