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Correspondence: The Morning Eucharist, +KJS’ sermon, and some bits of news

Thursday, September 20, 2007 • 9:23 am


The rumor regarding Bishop Jenkins has been confirmed by another, very reliable, source. The same source indicates that Bishop Jenkins’ compromise proposal will be offered as a resolution at some point during the meetings. Moreover, there are at least four resolutions (including Jenkins’) in the works at this point. Two of them are more conciliatory toward the Dar Es Salaam requests. The remaining two are fairly standard leftist ideological fair. I was reminded, and I want to pass this on clearly, that any bishop can write and offer a resolution to the House of Bishops. So to say that at least four resolutions are thus far being offered is not to make any estimation of their respective strength or support.

The main body of meetings are to be held, and are currently ongoing, on the third floor of this hotel. This was a smart move. The “ushers” are able to monitor everyone ascending the stairs or coming off of the elevator and pretty much close the place down when the bishops are in session. The Eucharist was also celebrated on the third floor. All the various and sundry were permitted to attend.

I was surprised, but pleasantly, to see the Archbishop of Canterbury standing by himself in the breezeway at the top of the grand staircase looking a bit confused (but then again who am I to speak. At least he managed to find the correct hotel). Apparently he arrived last night and was here this morning as a worshiper rather than preacher or celebrant. In any case, His “aloneness” did not last long as a small knot of people, probably bishops but wearing plainclothes, quickly gathered around him. During the service sat one row up and six chairs to my right. I also saw Canon Kearon in attendance, though he was not sitting with the Archbishop.

I worked my way past the various groupings of bishops into the rather large room set aside for worship. With the exception of the music which was largely traditional and well done (we sang Holy, Holy, Holy for the processional), the service was depressingly standard Episcopalian fare. The opening benediction eschewed the Trinitarian formula in favor of the following: “Presider: Blessed be the one, holy, and living God. People: Glory to God forever and ever.” The words “Almighty” and “Lord” were deleted from the entire service in favor of simply “God”. There was a confession and the prayer itself was the standard Rite II form but the invitation was: “Let us confess our sins to God” rather than the standard: “Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.” To say that we have sinned against God and our neighbors is, apparently, to sin against someone’s social conscious…a far worse sin in the Episcopal Church than to offend the original two parties.

There was one epistle reading; 1st Timothy 4:12-16,  one psalm; 111:7-10, and a gospel reading from the Gospel of Luke chapter 7 verses 36-50…dinner at Simon the Pharisee’s house and Jesus’ forgiveness, during the meal, of the woman who anointed his feet with oil and tears.

I am certain that Episcopal Life will post a transcript of her speech before too long, but I do not see it posted yet, so here are my notes. They were taken by hand rather than computer (I didn’t want to type during the service) so they are a bit more spotty than a live-blog:

“Let no one despise your youth.” We have had three new bishops consecrated in the last few weeks and several more are scheduled in the upcoming months. It has been some time since we have expected the young bishops to sit quietly in this house. We expect now that no one will, “neglect the Spirit that is within you.” And don’t think I am speaking just to bishops.

We have begun, recently, to pay attention to our behavioral norms in the House. We begin our meetings now by reviewing them, something we have not done so much in the past. These norms have to do with an expectation of attendance, mutual respect, collective and continuing wisdom. We expect that one meeting builds on earlier ones. We expect direct communication especially with those with whom we disagree. And we expect to be accountable both to one another and to God.

Timothy, says Paul, pay attention to your teaching because in doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers. Education is a vital part of our calling as bishops by it we save ourselves and those who hear us. Part of that education is seeing ourselves as forgiven and beloved.

We have lived for some time in our community, on all sides, with destructive attitudes toward those who oppose us. I am increasingly aware of the power of judgment to damage, to wound and to remove hope of reconciliation.

You may have heard me speak of Don Imus’ judgment earlier this year of the Rutgers Women’s Basket Ball team. He judged them harshly. But the players did not respond by judging but with an invitation to conversation. When we can meet the “other” with an invitation rather than a judgment remarkable things can happen.

When this happens conversion becomes possible. Simon had already judged Jesus because of his acceptance of the woman. Jesus subverted his judgment by proclaiming that she was forgiven and beloved.

We must begin by recognizing ourselves as forgiven and beloved and offer that forgiveness and belovedness to others. Simon misses that. He misses the significance of the woman’s tears and renders judgment.

There are some in our midst who feel unwelcome. Who do not know what it is to be beloved. Water, oil—where else do we see these symbols? We see them in baptism when Jesus calls us his beloved. We must do to others, for the unwelcome, what Jesus has done for us.

May we all pay attention and bite our tongues and suspend our judgments. Might we not begin our conversation by recognizing the belovedness and blessedness in others and offer them peace.

May we be peace for all who gather here.

Amen

And that was that.

The Eucharist was form B. I did not partake in case you are wondering and I did not feel particularly comfortable staying for that part of the service so I didn’t. 

More later…stay tuned.


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Comments:

Matt+, your description of the benediction, the politically correct redaction of the Biblical terms “Lord” and “Almighty” and the confession go far to explain my journey out of Episcopalianism.  This garbage is as ubiquitous and life-killing as a noxious weed, and communicates far more than a “gotcha” sermon the contempt ECUSA has for the revelation of God in Christ.

[1] Posted by Phil on 09-20-2007 at 11:11 AM • top

I look at the last sentence and see

“recognizing the belovedness and blessedness in others”

and read that as “Namaste” .

[2] Posted by Stefano on 09-20-2007 at 11:11 AM • top

Matt,
What do you make of the inclusion of +Stanton in the PB’s list of “episcopal visitors” for DEPO?

[3] Posted by John316 on 09-20-2007 at 11:17 AM • top

I think it is doomed to fail. It falls far short of Dar and it is under the direction of +KJS. The remaining APO dioceses will not buy it. Nor, I think, will the GS primates.

[4] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-20-2007 at 11:24 AM • top

Cherie Wetzel of Anglicans United is also in New Orleans and sending out e-mail updates.  Her comments on the sermon are very similar to Matt’s.  Here’s her e-mail in full.  Since Cherie offered to send these to anyone and everyone, I trust she doesn’t mind my posting her update here.  [And I trust Stand Firm won’t mind!  Please let me know if I’m wrong wink ]

Report #2 Thursday morning, September 20, 2007
Cherie Wetzel, Editor, THE ANGLICAN VOICE, reporting from New Orleans

Good Morning!  It has begun.

I am asking you first of all to pray:  pray every
hour, without ceasing.  These are dark hours for
The Episcopal Church and THE LIGHT OF CHRIST must
penetrate the darkness or there is abundant
suffering and distress to come.  For every one,
regardless of their political or theological position.  Please pray.

The House of Bishops’ meeting opened this morning
at 8:30 am with Eucharist and there wasn’t an
empty seat in the room.  I headed for the back
row, Gospel side and found myself staring at the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who was alone in the
row.  After a moment of panic, I proceeded and
was seated next to His Grace. As the singing
started, I found myself weeping for the loss of
something precious and dear:  The Episcopal
Church.  The Church that I joined newly married,
in 1968.  My home and haven from the assaults of
human life.  Now it is my battlefield.  I wept freely.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
presided and preached.  Her persona as a
professor equips her well for this
ministry.  When she takes the podium, it is with
authority – more so today than I have witnessed
in the past.  Her homily was of a different
character than previous comments at the Executive
Council, weaving her comments in with the
Scriptural text.  She addressed the bishops
saying, “…We labor intensely to monitor our
behavior in these meetings….  We review the
behavioral norms at the beginning of every
meeting….  The expectation is that all will
attend and there will be full participation….  We
honor direct communication, particularly when we
are unsure of what the other is saying…  In the
Anglican Communion we have acted with disdain
against those we disagree with, and used violent
language towards them…. None of us is free of
blame in this game.  We sought to judge those who
opposed us…. I am acutely aware of the power of
language to wound and marginalize; judgmental
language…. Judgment wounds and impedes healing…

After citing the incident with Don Imus and the
Rutgers Women’s basketball team, she continued, “
We are to recognize ourselves as beloved and
forgiven and extend that knowledge to those
around us.  But instead, we have made some in our
midst quite unwelcome.  They have not known here
(in these meetings) what it is to be
beloved.  They have not known the cool waters for
bathing feet and the kiss of peace that today’s
Gospel (Luke 7:36-50) speaks of….  So maybe it is
the youngest among us, who have no history of
rancor, that will lead the way for this House” (6
newly consecrated bishops are in attendance, with
two who were elected but not yet
consecrated.  The new Bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem, PA is in his 30’s.)

“…Set our egos aside and recognize this fount of
blessedness.  May we be peace if we are to save ourselves and our hearers.“

There was no AMEN.  She stood at the podium and
looked firmly around the room, meeting eyes.  She
stood for almost a minute, just as a mother does
when addressing her children, or a teacher addressing the class.

The skeptics among us would say this is a play
for the Archbishop and cannot be a real change in
heart and attitude.  I myself have doubts that
any one can rescue this imminent crash from the
edge of the cliff.  And that’s why I need a
Savior, and you do too.  Jesus can do anything!  Please pray.

Press is excluded from the meetings with the
Archbishop.  We will have a briefing at 4:00 and
at 6:30 tonight is the Diocese of Louisiana
Ecumenical Worship Service at the Convention
Center.  The Archbishop of Canterbury will speak
and a jazz quartet and Gospel Choir will
sing.  More later from New Orleans.  Cherie Wetzel

Elf’s note:  I don’t think the bishop in his 30’s is for Bethlehem. +Paul Marshall is still the diocesan in Bethlehem.  She means NW PA, I think?  I can check in a little while.

[5] Posted by The_Elves on 09-20-2007 at 11:25 AM • top

Matt, I’m in agreement with you. Unless there is full repentance from KJS and a complete turnaround in TEC, then no Biblical diocese can remain under (even remotely) under the oversight of KJS. You can’t compromise with Christ, bottom line!!!

[6] Posted by mugsie on 09-20-2007 at 11:39 AM • top

Elves:
Sean Rowe, age 32,  was consecrated Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania on September 8 in Erie.  BTW, his immediate predecessor Robert Rowley is one of the eight attorneys in the House of Bishops.

[7] Posted by Piedmont on 09-20-2007 at 11:53 AM • top

at 6:30 tonight is the Diocese of Louisiana
Ecumenical Worship Service at the Convention
Center.  The Archbishop of Canterbury will speak
and a jazz quartet and Gospel Choir will
sing.

Jazz quartet?  Gospel Choir??  Sounds a bit Baptist to me. Are we sure Matt’s at the right convention? (wink)

[8] Posted by larswife on 09-20-2007 at 12:09 PM • top

The first time the PB showed her willingness to buck the far left was when she stood up for a revisit of the decision not to respond to Canterbury at GC. She came to the last HofB meeting with proposals for an episcopal vicar and was ignored. Now she stands before the bishops and chides them for their behavior. We may not walk with her theology or policy (law suits) but i think we have to acknowledge that she is her own person and is capable of independent judgement. I am not a bit shocked by her reported words to the bishops today.  Good for her.

[9] Posted by wvparson on 09-20-2007 at 12:21 PM • top

  We have had three new bishops consecrated in the last few weeks and several more are scheduled in the upcoming months. 

So, KJS is recognizing new Bishops Atwood, Murdoch and Guernsey!  How good of her to show such a major sign of the spirit of reconciliation. 

Hmmmmmmm, or maybe she was talking about some other folks .  .  .

[10] Posted by hanks on 09-20-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

WVparson,  Yes she is as you say “her own person”, sorry I can’t say “good for her” because I would rather follow a leader who was committed to “Jesus Christ” rather than their “own” goals.

[11] Posted by Betty See on 09-20-2007 at 12:55 PM • top

Interesting her reference to Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s b-ball team. “The rest of the story” is that several of them are now suing Imus. No wonder the PB can relate to that. The “scourched earth” tactics she’s condoned will be the biggest impediment to any real success for this meeting and it’s gone so far, there is no turning back . He council of advice has created a briar patch that they will not be able to extricate themselves from.

[12] Posted by Doubting Thomas on 09-20-2007 at 01:30 PM • top

If it’s like other Gospel choirs I’ve heard, let’s hope they do some preaching!

[13] Posted by Johng on 09-20-2007 at 02:13 PM • top

And we’re all surprised, right?, that KJS never pointed out that the sinful woman was repentant.  It wouldn’t be my guess that she cries because she is oppressed, but because she is not worthy.  Isn’t that the point of the parable, that the forgiven one owed much?

[14] Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss on 09-20-2007 at 02:42 PM • top

We have lived for some time in our community, on all sides, with destructive attitudes toward those who oppose us.

... and we have fired any staff in the Diocese of Nevada who even seemed to disagree with us. 

I’m sorry, but I can’t help finding Mrs. Schori’s sermons blackly humorous.

[15] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-20-2007 at 02:47 PM • top

Craig - Are there any churches you would recommend in the Carson City area?  I have a relative (former TEC) who lives in the area who’s looking for a good church, but for the life of us, based on what you’ve and others have shared about DioNV, we can’t recommend “Episcopal” there.  Thanks.

[16] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 09-20-2007 at 02:55 PM • top

Craig:  I too have heard of KJS’s reign of terror in Nevada from someone who got out of their as quickly as possible after KJS decided to sit on a grant for church planting instead of giving it to a “very viable but likely to be orthodox” plant.  Being “open to the other” seems to really means “you others be open to my people.”

[17] Posted by jamesw on 09-20-2007 at 02:57 PM • top

L2—I’m in Fabulous Vegas myself, so I don’t know much personally about Carson City but I recall someone keeping a “live” US map showing “safe” Anglican/Continuum churches (I can’t find the link now; anybody got it?).  I recall there was at least one in Reno, which is about half an hour from Carson City.  (Vegas is 400 miles.)

... Here we are!  The map is at http://www.greaterdanburyanglicans.org/AMiAChurches/AMiAChurches.html
—in spite of the name, it’s not just AMiA.  Unfortunately I don’t see anything in Carson City, but St. George’s Anglican Mission (APA) is in Sparks (just north of Reno).

Another site—http://www.angelfire.com/sc3/kaysplace/s_nevada.html—lists ELM Community Church in Reno as a Network parish.

Best of luck to your relative.  (Anybody know of any other “faithful Anglican” listing sites?  Greg, it’d be handy to link both of these sites in some sort of “resources” page; it took me a while to find them.)

[18] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-20-2007 at 04:15 PM • top

Craig - Thanks!

[19] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 09-20-2007 at 04:26 PM • top

I am sorry, but I do not completely understand Cherie Wetzel’s POV.  This ridiculous homily from the Presiding Oceanographer just sounds like the same silly New Age junk she always says, with little sprinklings of revised Scripture thrown in. 
The description of KJS at the end looking like “a mother talking to her children or a teacher to her students” huh?
No thanks.

[20] Posted by HeartAfire on 09-21-2007 at 04:52 AM • top

And the “Imus & Rutgers” part?
Makes me cringe for her. 
Does she cull all of her references from Yahoo!News?

[21] Posted by HeartAfire on 09-21-2007 at 04:54 AM • top

You may have heard me speak of Don Imus’ judgment earlier this year of the Rutgers Women’s Basket Ball team. He judged them harshly. But the players did not respond by judging but with an invitation to conversation.

Please note two new examples of TEC-speak:
A) Since the prayers indicate a discomfort with admitting we are sinners and God Almighty is the One who judges us, we will now reserve the term “judgement” where anyone else would use “being an idiot.”  So, to an Episcopal bishop, Don Imus was “judging” the team.  To anyone else, he was being an idiot.

B) The new replacement phrase for “suing their pants off” is “invitation to conversation.” Thus, the Rutgers players (at least one of whom is suing him) are merely extending an “invitation to conversation. ” Using this new phrase, my diocese is actively “extending an invitation” to the four churches that have left TEC for Uganda.

[22] Posted by tragic christian on 09-22-2007 at 04:18 PM • top

May we be peace for all who gather here.

I wonder what her definition of “peace” really is? Because I haven’t heard nor seen any from her and her camp since she took office.

[23] Posted by TLDillon on 09-23-2007 at 06:42 PM • top

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