"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Bishop of Chicago Speaks

As many readers will know, I spent seven years living in Chicago before returning home to Texas in 2004. During that time, I got to know the Rt. Rev. William Persell, bishop of Chicago, rather well (as it fell my lot to host him at the U of C Episcopal campus ministry three years in a row). As a result, I am not the least surprised by his response to the Communique. In short, he insists that nothing meaningful can be done by TEC until GenCon09 (though he does refer to a possible Special Convention), and he say "straight up" (my words, not his!) that he will not stop SSB's or the receiving of non-celibate gays and lesbians into the ordained ministry in his diocese. Read it all here.

Folks who live in dioceses like Fort Worth have no idea how prevalent non-celibate gay clergy are in other parts of the Episcopal church. Heterosexual males made up the minority of the legion of Episcopal priests I came to know during my many years at the campus ministry at U of C. In a diocese with a presbyterate of that composition, the Primates' Communique was dead in the water the moment it was promulgated.*

Not surprisingly, Bonnie Anderson of the House of Deputies is demanding a say in the decision making process. The line of the Episcopal Left is becoming clear--continue to stall on the grounds that bishops alone cannot do anything to modify our polity. They will demand that a full church convention take up the Primates' request, meaning potentially a delay of several years. Additionally, or in the alternative, have the House of Bishops pass something that tangentially addresses the Primates' requests but leaves lots of "wiggle room" in practice. As this response would be open to multiple interpretations, this would put off a final decision on TEC's future again as the Primates must meet again to decide whether TEC's response is "clear and unequivocal." Delay, stall, equivocate ... and win in the long run. It has worked for the Episcopal Left before, but I think the rest of the world may finally have had enough.

Let us pray that all will act with integrity in the upcoming months and face the issues squarely and honestly. Surely we have all had enough of word games. We need to settle this matter one way or another and move on.

*On the composition of the presbytery in Chicago, it is said that Louie Crew once joked, "How many straight Chicago Episcopal priests does it take to change a light bulb?" Answer: "Both of them." I don't know if Mr. Crew actually said this, but it is clever.


Blogger The Archer of the Forest said...

You are pretty much right on about the Diocese of Chicago. I go to Seabury in Evanston, and it is truly amazing the amount of nutters in the ordination process from this Diocese.

I guess you can tell a tree by its fruit...so to speak.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Timotheos Prologizes said...

The idea put forward by some, that the House of Bishops cannot take care of these moratoriums on their own and that a special General Convention is needed, is utterly ridiculous.

We know it is possible because it has already happened. Remember the moratorium on the consecration of all new bishops which followed Dromatine and lasted until GenCon 75? That was not a General Convention action; it was a House of Bishops action.

Bishops are the key. Without the bishops, consents are not given. Without the bishops, rights are not authorized. Without the bishops, discipline does not exist.

12:42 AM  

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