A Report
from the Diocesan Deputation to General Convention

Minneapolis • Aug. 3, 2003


 

Bike racks at Minneapolis' Orchestra Hall

 

 

Greetings from Minneapolis

Sunday morning, the national UTO ingathering was taken during the Convention's service of Holy Eucharist. In the afternoon, the House of Deputies voted on the resolution to grant consent to the election of Gene Robinson and a resolution to accept the report of the A045 Task Force.

 

   

The UTO line
stretches down the hall

 

Thousands of Convention-goers gathered for the morning Eucharist.

 

Vested bishops begin to line up
for the procession.

 
 
A double procession of over 200 bishops and more than 100 United Thank Offering representatives entered the worship hall at 10 a.m. for a service that featured a massed choir, orchestra, and hand bells.
   
   

UTO representatives came from Alaska, Puerto Rico, and nearly every other diocese in the Episcopal Church to present their accumulated offerings as part of the women's Triennial. With Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold looking on, the women crossed the stage in front of the altar as the names of their home dioceses were called.

     
   

Jodie Doremus, UTO chairman for the Diocese of Fort Worth, is shown above. Additional images from the service are below.

 

     

 

Eucharistic ministers wait for the bread and wine,
which are consecrated at the main altar
and distributed at stations throughout the hall.

   

 
   

Business in the House of Deputies

Resolution on the election of Gene Robinson

The visitors' gallery and press box were full on Sunday afternoon for the much-anticipated debate and vote on resolution C045, concerning the election of Canon Gene Robinson to be the next bishop of New Hampshire. First, however, the deputation from the Diocese of Puerto Rico, which has just been admitted to full inclusion in the Episcopal Church, was introduced, to sustained applause.

At 3 p.m., in the middle of other business, deputies hoping to speak to the issue rushed to line up at microphones. By prior arrangement, the President of the House, George Werner, was required to suspend normal business and consider the resolution. Werner warned those in the gallery that "we have a way of doing business in this House," which, he said, was characterized by "decorum and courtesy." Before debate began, the chaplain was called forward to lead the deputies in prayer, and Werner read the famous passage on love from I Corinthinans 13. "We are a bunch of Nicene Christians wrestling to discern the will of God," he said.

A minority report submitted by three members of the Consecrations Committee was read into the record. (It appears below.) Time allowed for only about 15 to 20 speakers, and two motions to extend time were defeated. Lay Deputy Judy Mayo of the Diocese of Fort Worth was among those speaking against the resolution; her remarks are reprinted below.

Speakers on both sides addressed the issue of concerns clergy might have about trying to explain to the people in the pew why they voted to raise a divorced, non-celibate gay man to the episcopate. Speakers on the Pro side said 'Fear not'; those on the Con side echoed the sentiment of James Flowers of Western Louisiana, who asked in part, "How will I tell them that the Church they love is now an apostate church?"

"You don't carry water for anybody," the Rev. David Roseberry of Plano reminded his fellow deputies. "If you have a doubt, that means [vote] no."

A deputy who stood up to day that "Homosexuality is not a sin, but rather is a gift from God" and that consenting to the election would strengthen the Church's teaching was followed by a priest who admitted, "My children and my children's children don't go to church anymore. ... They are looking for timeless truth, and they have lost faith, not in God, but in an institution that doesn't know what it believes or why. [This election] will not make us more attractive [to the unchurched]."

A deputy from the Diocese of Central Florida noted that the Con line was producing "left-brained arguments" based on reason and historic teaching, while the Pro line "is right-brained," emphasizing Robinson's likeability.

At the conclusion of debate the deputies voted "by orders," a process that condenses each deptation's votes into one consensus vote from the clergy members and one from the lay members. (The lay and clergy deputations from Fort Worth both voted no, as did the deputations from the Dioceses of Dallas, Oklahoma, Quincy, Texas, West Texas, Rio Grande, and others.) At approximately 5:15, the results were announced, as follows:

Clergy deputations: 65 yes; 31 no; 12 divided (no consensus)

Lay deputations: 63 yes; 32 no; 13 divided.

The resolution passed the House of Deputies and will be considered by the House of Bishops on Monday afternoon.

Following the vote, the House was adjorned, and President Werner proceeded to another room to answer questions from the press. He began by saying how proud he was of the way the debate had been conducted. "What you saw today was the Church at is very best, exercising restraint and discipline." The final numbers surprized him, however. "What it said to me was that we were more in favor of this than I think I expected."

"What we are called to do [now]," Werner said, "is stay together." Likening the Church to a family, he said he hoped there would be no victory celebrations because "for some of us it is a time of despair."

When asked, Werner said that he had voted yes on the resolution and that he had made up his mind on the question only recently.


 

   


Resolution concerning women's ordination

While votes on Resolution C045 were being talllied, the House of Deputies continued with other business, including consideration of Resolution A017, which emerged from its committee so much amended that it was no longer a resolution to accept the report of the Task Force appointed by the 2000 General Convention to bring three dioceses, including Fort Worth, into compliance on the ordination of women in the priesthood. Instead, the resolution simply to "celebrate the ministr of ordained women." (This would include deacons, priests, and bishops.)

After a few minutes of debate, the reolution passed, with 86 percent of the house voting Yes. One of the speakers was Fort Worth clerical deputy Thomas Hightower. His remarks are also below.


 

   

Text of the Minority Report on Resolution C045
from the Consecrations Committee

Believing that the work of Legislative Committee 07: Consecration of Bishops, is, according to Title III, Canon 22, more than merely a verification of correct procedure, but is equally concerned with the appropriateness of the candidate's wholesomeness of life (and consequently includes sexual behavior);

And that this wholesomeness is not merely a model for an individual diocese, but also for the entire One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to which he would be ordained and consecrated;

And whereas the approval of a bishop elect who is in a same-sex relationship, even if monogamous and loving, is in opposition to the clear teaching of Holy Scripture, the historic teaching of the church, and the promulgated teaching of this Body of Christ known as the Episcopal Church by previous General Conventions;

And whereas the approval of a bishop in said lifestyle would become a pretext upon which the church would de facto resolve the question of appropriateness of homosexual behavior without due reordering of the church's teaching;

And whereas the approval of this consecration will bring profound consternation to many of our sisters and brothers at home and abroad, straining relationships within the Anglican Communion, and adversely affecting the mission and ministry of the church at home and abroad, the undersigned file this minority report and recommend rejection of C045.

Respectfully submitted,

The Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence
Anthony J. Clark (Diocese of Fort Worth)
John E. Masters


 

   

The text of Deputy Mayo's
presentation to the House of Deputies
concerning the election of Gene Robinson

I am a lifelong Episcopalian. I love this Church. But my Church is drifting away, and I am afraid that I am going to lose it forever.

I came to the Episcopal Church as a little girl. I walked down to our little neighborhood church and entered an amazing place of beauty and reverence. You could say that I have had the Episcopal Church in my blood since I can remember.

As an adult, I have served the Church in many ways.I have been a member of ECW, Vestry, the Executive Council of my diocese, and many other committees, and am here at my sixth General Convention.

Most of all, I have been a teacher. As a Sunday School teacher, I have taught our children, As a director of Christian Education for 22 years, I have taught our teachers and families. Through it all, I have tried to give our children an anchor to keep them in the safe harbor of God's will and God's word. I have tried to give our children a light on the horizon, to guide them as they journey through life. I have tried to root them in the Bible and the faith that I grew up with, the beautiful heritage of the Episcopal Church.

But now, it's our Church that is drifting away. If you vote to confirm Gene Robinson, I cannot go with you.


 

 
   

The statement by the American Anglican Council on the vote to give consent to the election of Gene Robinson

The American Anglican Council (AAC) is deeply grieved by the decision today of the House of Deputies to give consent to the election by New Hampshire of Canon Gene Robinson as bishop coadjutor. It is a tragic decision that leads the Episcopal Church to the brink of shattering the Anglican family. The Episcopal Church now has one foot outside the door.

But it is still not too late to turn back from schism. We call upon the bishops of the Episcopal Church to fulfill their apostolic obligation tomorrow and uphold the historic Christian faith by voting against the giving of ocnsent to the election of Canon Gene Robinson.

We urge the bishops of the Episcopal Church to spend the night in individual and corporate prayer and fasting. They face an historic decision, and the future unity of the Anglican Communion hangs in the balance. It is our hope and prayer that they will choose the Godly path – the path that leads to repentance, transformation, and unity.


 
 
   

The text of Fr. Hightower's
presentation to the House of Deputies
during debate on the resolution affirming the ordained ministry of women

A point of personal privilege. This very morning in the Diocese of Fort Worth a woman stood at the altar in my parish in front of 300 prayerful souls, just as she has almost every Sunday for eight years. She preached a moving and powerful sermon last Sunday. The Rev. Lana Farley is a valuable, respected, and honored member of my staff. She has my utmost respect. About once every six weeks she is not present with us on Sunday. She stands at the altar with Bishop Iker on those days [as he makes a visitation to another congregation].

She is not the only one. My parish is shepherding another woman through the ordination process at this time. I expect her ordination in 16 to 18 months. She, too, will take her palce along with a number of other women at the altars of the Diocese of Fort Worth.

 
           

Click on a link to see other daily reports

Report for Wednesday, July 30

Report for Thursday, July 31

Report for Friday, Aug. 1

Report for Saturday, Aug. 2

Report for Monday, Aug. 4

Report for Tuesday, Aug. 5

Report for Wednesday, Aug. 6

Report for Thursday & Friday, Aug. 7 & 8