Is there room for diversity in the Episcopal Church, cont.

Among the news tidbits from yesterday at General Convention was word that the deputation from the Diocese of South Carolina departed. Their official statement is here:

Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.

I won’t make comment on that action but I believe it does speak directly to the question I raised in a previous post. I don’t have an answer but I think it is crucial that we struggle with it on all levels of the church.

Two other pieces address the question in different ways. Rod Dreher quotes a commenter:

It’s more that the Episcopal Church looks to all three of those sources of authority, and is stuck in between them, and can’t decide which it trusts most. And, stuck in the middle, it flounders, without securely committing either to rely on tradition, on scripture, or on the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit. In too many churches, the faith isn’t presented in such a way that it provides a genuine challenge to the culture: not in terms of sexuality, not in terms of economics (which is much more important to me: capitalism seems like a much bigger violation of Christian ethics than homosexuality, contraception, premarital sex, etc.), and most of all, not in terms of the naturalistic, rationalistic ethic that too many people have nowadays. Too many Episcopal parishes no longer preach on the miracles of Jesus, on the spiritual realities underlying the material world, on the existence of the angelic and the diabolic, and most of all on the greatest miracle of all, the literal conquest of death.

And an open letter of apology from Katrina Hamilton to conservative Episcopalians:

I am honored by your presence. You are the faithful remnant. When others gave up, you stayed. I do not envy your position, and I can’t imagine what it’s like to walk into that room knowing you are the minority and will not win the vote. And now that we have passed this resolution, you have to go back to your diocese and explain why you couldn’t stop it. Explain that you did all you could. Explain the small victories you were able to accomplish. And I’m sorry.

2 thoughts on “Is there room for diversity in the Episcopal Church, cont.

  1. Jonathan, your comments on the SC Delegations walkout would be most welcome, since you are familiar with their situation. The “conservatives” are not in any way victims of oppression. No one is telling them that they cannot continue to hold their particular views of scripture, tradition or reason. Theirs is a minority position in TEC today (a rather small minority, it seems). But the Episcopal Church has never insisted on theological uniformity — we are not a confessional church. There is nothing to apologize for. Ms. Hamilton seems to overlook the other resolutions on topics like open communion and baptism as well as the discussion of structural change on which there was little dissent. The “conservative” deputies were part of the majority on a number of other resolutions apart from AO49.
    What is really disturbing about the conduct of the SC delegation is that it confirms the contemptuous behavior of their bishop and several of their prominent spokespeople toward the national church, which they refuse to support financially and whose leaders they have gone out of their way to insult and attack. Since the diocese wants to be just an observer at GC, let them have their seat but no voice or vote at the next convention.

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