Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have also decided to name a (Special) Legislative Committee on Marriage for this General Convention to ensure that the work of the Task Force on Marriage and resolutions related to the rapidly shifting contexts of civil marriage in the United States and in several other parts of the world can be given appropriate consideration. This will also make it possible for the Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music legislative committee to give full consideration to the other business that will come before it.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted July 10, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President

0 Comments
Posted June 14, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President

0 Comments
Posted February 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaUganda

0 Comments
Posted February 2, 2014 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Gay Jennings, who helped lead the charge for structural reform at the 77th General Convention and now serves as president of the House of Deputies, says this reform may lead to fewer church committees.

“This may be hard for some of us to accept, but I think that we are in the death throes of the current standing commission and committee structure,” Jennings told Executive Council June 7. “Both those who are on TREC [the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church] and those of us who aren’t need to begin imagining new ways of bringing together laypeople, clergy, and bishops to accomplish the work of General Convention.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

11 Comments
Posted July 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President

5 Comments
Posted June 8, 2013 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...then a true confusion results: since the remnant group sees themselves as "the Episcopal Church in South Carolina", and are indifferent to using the adjective "Protestant", they could not distinguish themselves from a group which called itself "the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, also known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina." The former group sees the word "Protestant" as outdated, and superfluous to their identity, while the latter group sees the word as referring to the tradition they still uphold, and hence as still descriptive of their identity. Neither group rejects the adjective as part of their heritage.

The confusion appears to be intended, and not accidental. The "omission" of the single word "Diocese" from their official title turns out to have been a sham. An examination of the remnant group's Website demonstrates that it has not really tried to comply with the TRO, even after the changes made to it on the surface. If one visits their website and chooses the browser option "View Page Source", the following lines of code are right at the very top

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

9 Comments
Posted January 29, 2013 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President

2 Comments
Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Her remarks in response follow: (ENS)
I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues in the House of Deputies as their next president, and I’m grateful to all of the people across the church—deputies, bishops, and many other leaders—who have expressed their confidence in me and shared their ideas. I’m especially grateful to Deputy Martha Alexander and Deputy Frank Logue for offering their gifts to the church, and I look forward to working with them during the next triennium.

I am a priest, ordained in 1979, born and raised and ordained in the Diocese of Central New York, and an eight-time deputy from the Diocese of Ohio. I stood for election as president of the House of Deputies because I believe that God is calling me to work with leaders across the church to change the way we do business in the next triennium. For the Episcopal Church to matter in the 21st century, we have to find ways to move forward together.

As president of the House of Deputies, I intend to foster the leadership of young people, people of color, and others who have not always been at the table. I have strong relationships with many bishops, and I look forward to working with the House of Bishops for wholeness, reconciliation and justice that will benefit the entire Episcopal Church.

The Church longs to be transfigured – changed into the likeness of Jesus – from glory to glory. That’s my vision for the Episcopal Church, and I look forward to working with the House of Deputies, the House of Bishops, and Episcopalians across the church to make it come true.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012House of Deputies President * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained

6 Comments
Posted July 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012House of Deputies President

4 Comments
Posted July 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Right at the outset, we are given two completely disparate views on what we are there for: first, to take advantage of a nearby baseball game (to which, like the prodigal son's banquet, we may always "arrive late"), and to undergo a "tune-up", to "synchronize our heartbeat with God's." One doesn't know whether one has wandered into a sports bar, or the doctor's office.

From there on, the two ships which are passing in the night continue their respective courses, each oblivious to, and unaware of, the other as something to be reckoned with.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

3 Comments
Posted July 5, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Independence from England meant a break with the authority of the Bishop of London. What’s more, many existing priests were loyal to England and new priests had to travel to England to be ordained. Ordained authority was hard to come by in the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the laity exercised significant leadership. Our first Presiding Bishop, William White, who like Thomas Jefferson was a student of John Locke, became a champion of shared governance by all orders — laypeople, clergy and bishops. His feast day happens to be July 17, after we’ve finished our business and gone home again, so be sure to remember him then.

So it seems auspicious to me that we are beginning this 77th General Convention — in which the structure of the Episcopal Church promises to be one of our principal concerns — that we are beginning on July 4. Just as we celebrate the distinctive democracy of the United States on Independence Day, we should celebrate the distinctive polity of the Episcopal Church that became part of our DNA because of the circumstances of the American Revolution in which our church was born.

But, as many of you may be thinking right now, celebrating July 4 isn’t that straightforward. You don’t have to scratch the surface of July 4 very hard to expose the horrors of colonialism that the United States inherited from Great Britain and continues to impose on so much of the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

3 Comments
Posted July 5, 2012 at 4:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I write to you for two reasons: to thank you for your support, friendship, prayers, challenges, brilliance and love that has inspired and humbled me during these 6 years and second, to let you know that I do not plan to stand for election as President of the House of Deputies for another term.

The reason I am not seeking re-election is a simple one: I want to spend more time with my family. My husband, Glen, is retired. I want to be with him more. Our amazing son, Justin, lives with us and reminds us every single day, by his very existence, that God is a generous miracle maker.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President

7 Comments
Posted May 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President

8 Comments
Posted April 20, 2012 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Deputies and First Alternates:

A confusing situation has arisen and I’d like to set the record straight:

On Thursday, the Presiding Bishop released a video directed to the House of Deputies expressing her opinion about legislative issues that will come before General Convention this summer. Yesterday, the Office of Communications sent an email to bishops that mischaracterized my response to the video’s release and asked the bishops to forward the video message to their diocese’s deputies.

On Thursday afternoon, I received word from the General Convention Office that the Presiding Bishop, via the Office of Communications, had directed that office to forward a video message from the Presiding Bishop to all deputies. I had neither seen the video nor been consulted about it and so I told the General Convention Office to hold it.

In my nearly 25 years as a deputy, I don’t ever recall the Presiding Bishop speaking directly to the House of Deputies outside of a joint session or without giving the House due notice, while at General Convention. I don’t ever recall a Presiding Bishop corresponding directly with deputies outside of the General Convention, without the knowledge of, or in collaboration with the President.

I was surprised because I thought that the Presiding Bishop, her staff, and I had worked through some important issues of internal communications last fall. I had talked with both Bishop Sauls and the Presiding Bishop and asked that we proceed in a more collegial and cooperative manner. I thought we had agreed to do so.

But while the General Convention Office was holding the video, it was released by the Office of Communications to the whole church just hours before the Presiding Bishop and I were scheduled to arrive in Baltimore where we could have resolved the situation in person.

I am glad to tell you that, while we have been in Baltimore, Bishop Katharine and I have shared a meal and talked in person. I told her that I’m disappointed about what’s happened in the last few days and asked that we proceed toward General Convention with collegiality and a cooperative spirit even—especially—when we disagree. I also told her that I am concerned about the use of churchwide resources to lobby General Convention on only one side of a legislative issue.

Despite this productive conversation, upon direction from the Presiding Bishop, the Office of Communications sent the second email, this time to bishops, that mischaracterized my request that the video be held, thus putting me in a difficult position and making it necessary to spell all of this out.

I am confident that we can get back on track and work productively and faithfully to prepare for General Convention. I will continue to urge that those of us who lead the church talk directly with one another to resolve differences. I will also continue to ask that the resources of the Church Center be deployed in ways that present the full range of opinions on legislation that will determine how the church meets the challenges before us.

Thank you for your commitment to our work. I am looking forward to being with all of you in Indianapolis and to the work that we will accomplish together.

Peace,

[Ms.] Bonnie Anderson, President, The House of Deputies



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

3 Comments
Posted February 1, 2012 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s not surprising that it’s hard for us to adapt our decision-making processes to create the change we need and to respond to change in the world around us. This is halting and imperfect work. The inertia that keeps us stuck in the old model—in the ethic of survival that Stringfellow cautions us against—is powerful. I feel its pull, and I imagine you do too.

But I think that when we talk about a “transitional” budget we’re dressing up that ethic of survival instead of mustering the courage we need to free ourselves of it. During the remainder of the budget process, I hope and pray that we can resist the inertia that will lull us into complacency, confront change bravely, and come up with a budget that we can consider at General Convention faithfully and in good conscience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President

18 Comments
Posted January 30, 2012 at 7:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The budget, which will not be final until General Convention acts in July, proposes to set aside money for a “churchwide consultation” on the Episcopal Church’s future shape and work. It also includes money for pilot projects that Chief Operating Officer Stacy Sauls said could show how the church’s purchasing and organizational power could help congregations and dioceses free up more of their resources for mission work.

Sauls characterized such a cooperative arrangement as one way to bring about “long-term significant change” in how the churchwide staff relates to the rest of the church. Council accepted his proposal and his suggestion that the 2013-2015 budget “should open the door to doing long-term reform of how we do business as a church.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

2 Comments
Posted January 30, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three Episcopal Church leaders challenged members of the church’s Executive Council Jan. 27 to engage in “adaptive change” in response to what they said are changing church and societal environments.

That challenge began immediately as the members received two different budget scenarios developed by council’s Executive Committee upon which to begin formulating a draft 2013-2015 budget. One scenario calls for asking dioceses to contribute 19 percent of their income and the other calls for dioceses contributing 15 percent. The larger income would be $103.6 million and the 15 percent-asking budget would be reduced by approximately $13.5 million, according to Treasurer Kurt Barnes.

In an emailed memo to Episcopal Church Center staff after the scenarios were presented to council, Chief Operating Officer Stacy Sauls noted that the 19-percent version plans on a $5.9 million decrease in income from the current triennium. The 15-percent version’s reduced revenue amounts to $19.3 million less than the current triennium.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

5 Comments
Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilGeneral Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

13 Comments
Posted October 25, 2011 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first morning of Council brought three distinctive yet interwoven narratives from the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies and the Chief Operating Officer. Each made important statements about how the work of Executive Council relates to the larger narratives of the life of the Church. There were moments of conflict as values held passionately by the three speakers were openly expressed. There were admonitions to find Jesus among the poor, to honor the hard work and witness of the whole people of the Church in all orders, to express how we carry out God's mission in the shaping of a budget.

The experience of conflict in church meetings where budgetary discussions and vision are mixed together often make us wary of even trying to connect the dots, of weaving a whole story from the threads. Rich insights by committed leadership, accompanied by a common commitment to hear one another out, resulted in the beginnings of new stronger cloth.

In 2009, General Convention closed with a strong emphasis on mission, mission, mission. . . . God is calling the church to meet Jesus in the marginalized – the poor, the lonely, the suffering, the lost. Weave, weave, weave . . . Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her opening remarks challenged Council to regard budgets as moral documents. The 76th General Convention's adoption of the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion as mission priorities are the threads that are woven through all the parts of The Episcopal Church's budget.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

9 Comments
Posted October 25, 2011 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Also in his remarks, [Bishop Stacy] Sauls spoke about how in September when he came to work at the Episcopal Church Center in New York he found a "demoralized staff" that was fearful, overly regulated, distrustful and that felt their creativity was stifled. He said he has begun to refer to the staff as "missionaries" in keeping with the church's corporate identity as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society "because it suggests something about the reason for our being."

"I want them grounded, not in a place, but in an endeavor and that endeavor is to participate in the mission of God and to lead others to participate in the mission of God," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

3 Comments
Posted October 22, 2011 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and there is much more there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

9 Comments
Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The discussions about change during this meeting have their roots in the council's decision in October 2009 to reorganize and expand the number of its standing committees. The theme of structural change came to the fore again during the last two council meetings, beginning with remarks made by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the October 2010 meeting as well as those by House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson in February.

"We continue to work toward adaptive change rather than technical change," Jefferts Schori told the council in her closing remarks June 17. Calling it a "significant shift" in the council's attitude, she said "we have, to some degree, left the culture of fear and entered into a culture of the future."

[Bonnie] Anderson said that "ever since we arrived [at the conference center], our energy and creative tension have been signaling to me that we're on the cusp of breaking through to authentic, creative change."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

14 Comments
Posted June 18, 2011 at 9:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(ENS) During their opening remarks, both Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson spoke about the calls for changes in the structure and governance of the church.

Jefferts Schori said she encounters many people who are "eager or at least willing to entertain those conversations."

She said she sees "a really significant rise in readiness for mission and connections to the need and concerns of people beyond our immediate congregations," adding that she sees that readiness "as a sign of enormous health … [and] renewed investment in the core work of the church."

"People are not focused inward by large; they are focused outward which is where the church is supposed to be," she said.

Anderson suggested that the church will not "find our way forward by debating questions whose answers are important primarily to people who live and breathe church governance -- as lovely as we all are!" Instead, she said, "we need to devote our energy to enabling the church to realize the possibility of real change -- courageous, life-giving and life-altering change -- for Episcopalians, for seekers, and for the lost and hurting and hungry in our midst."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

20 Comments
Posted June 16, 2011 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus disarms and makes a spectacle of the power of money in the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-15). A steward accused of embezzlement is told to settle the accounts one last time. He uses the opportunity to “forgive” his master’s debtors and ingratiate himself with them, so he can seek help after his threatened dismissal. The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, ridiculed Jesus. He replied that what people prize can be an abomination in the sight of God.

Let the litigious bureaucracy have the money it wants. We keep the Gospel and proclaim it, in season and out of season. The money the Episcopal Church raises from coerced offerings, from Pyrrhic legal victories or from those who believe its new gospel will do no more to save it on its appointed day of judgment than the wealth of Herod’s temple protected it from Roman soldiers in A.D. 70. In the end, money is of no account, mere dust on the scales.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilGeneral Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEschatology

2 Comments
Posted May 27, 2011 at 11:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and please follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC Data

7 Comments
Posted May 23, 2011 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is the Episcopal Church any longer capable of significant change for the sake of reclaiming an authentic life as a church of Jesus Christ, as a church having “a name of being alive? To be a church alive, not an institution or organization primarily concerned about preserving itself, the notion of an empowered laity.....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President

6 Comments
Posted May 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church is changing.
• 87% of TEC is “non-hispanic white”
• 61% of those who attend church are women
• 33% of Episcopalians have college degrees,
32% have graduate degrees
• 30% earn $100,000 per year or more
Contrary to what many people believe, everyone in our church is not old. The fact is:

• 60% of Episcopalians are 49 or younger. Only 13% are 65+.
Kirk Hadaway, research specialist for the Episcopal Church tells
me that just 10 years ago the Episcopal Church had 2.3 million
members. In 2009 it was 2.0 million.
• Since 1999 our membership has declined by 300,000.

Although the number of ordained Episcopal clergy has increased during the past decade, the number serving congregations dropped by 800, from 6,062 to 5,262.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President * TheologySeminary / Theological Education

21 Comments
Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council has authorized its finance office to seek a $60 million line of credit to support the church’s operations. The loan will be secured by a mortgage on the church’s headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York, and by offering as collateral its unrestricted endowment funds.

The Oct 23-25 meeting in Salt Lake City of the church’s governing council between meetings of its General Convention also voted to cut its budget by 5 per cent next year in response to a $2.1 million shortfall in income.

A memorandum from the church’s Finance Office to the 38 council members stated that diocesan contributions to the national church were expected to be $700,000 below budget, while cuts in spending at the national church offices were expected to depress income also.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC Data* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

12 Comments
Posted November 7, 2010 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How do you come up with an extra $10 million in a budget which you are already slashing by $2.1 million? "Voodoo economics" is a term which Episcopalians may have to revive to apply to the solution for the hurting Diocese of Haiti which the Executive Council finds in this particular situation. Once again, I am somehow certain that whatever that solution turns out to be, it will not involve the settling of any pending lawsuits . . .

And then today, we have ENS's next item about the Executive Council Meeting, which reports -- among other things -- the opening address to it given by the Presiding Bishop. I hesitate to criticize the ENS reporter, who is an experienced professional, and has always has done her job superlatively. Therefore, in copying that reporter's exact words in what follows, I leave it to the reader to determine whether what is reported is, shall we say, more or less coherent:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged the Episcopal Church's Executive Council Oct. 24 to avoid "committing suicide by governance."

Jefferts Schori said that the council and the church face a "life-or-death decision," describing life as "a renewed and continually renewing focus on mission" and death as "an appeal to old ways and to internal focus" which devotes ever-greater resources to the institution and its internal conflicts.

Does anyone else besides this Curmudgeon perceive in these words a certain parallel -- not exact, I grant you, but close enough to be exceedingly troubling -- with a certain situation involving a sinking ocean liner, whose Captain is urging everyone, while facing a "life-or-death decision," not to spend too much more time rearranging the deck chairs, and instead to scramble for the lifeboats?

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilGeneral Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC Polity & Canons

8 Comments
Posted October 27, 2010 at 7:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...[Council member Katie Sherrod] said that her "deeper concern" is a "growing sense" that "some bishops are dangerously close to saying to the clergy and deputies, 'We have no need of you.'"

Jefferts Schori said that she was not aware of bishops who want to do away with the House of Deputies, adding that she was "sorry to hear that."

She said she was trying to point to the tension between bishops "who ideally in vocation are called to care for the whole and deputies who are elected by individual dioceses who represent the interests of those dioceses." When a murmuring of "no" arose, the presiding bishop said "just a minute, let me finish," explaining that she meant that dioceses elect deputies from out of the context of the diocese's stance on the issues facing the church.

"I'm not impugning the understanding of individual deputies that they are called to serve the whole church," she said. "What I am simply saying is that deputies in their election are called by particular dioceses. That's not a perfect distinction, but generally it's a tension and I hope I was careful to say that I don't think we should resolve that tension.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

46 Comments
Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A member of Council stated her desire to seek clarity from the Presiding Bishop about her remarks on Sunday on church governance. She noted that the Presiding Bishop's remarks were taken by some to diminish the role of deputies in the widest governance of the church. The Presiding Bishop explained that she was not questioning the need for the House of Deputies nor diminishing their governance role, and that she views the natural tension between the two houses as healthy and necessary. She said that her larger concern was that leaders in the church – bishops, clergy and laity – not be afraid of exploring ways to respond to changing circumstances in a nimble way, that we "choose life" and find ways to insure that our governance enables that, and does not get in the way of it.

Out of that conversation came a renewed commitment to talk openly with one another, to challenge one another, and to trust that we all – whatever our roles -- are acting out of good motives.

We then heard a report from the Joint Standing Committee for Finances for Mission (FFM) about issues related to the budget. Committee Chair Del Glover explained that FFM's work is to make sure we have the resources to do mission, and that the more clarity we have on mission, the better decisions we can make. Council adopted the budget.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

11 Comments
Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council began its three-day fall meeting here Oct. 23 with an agenda that includes consideration of a Church Center 2011 budget that is five percent lower than the version adopted by General Convention in 2009.

Revenue in the proposed reduced budget is $2.1 million less than originally projected, with income from dioceses projected at $682,946 less than expected. The revenue reductions come "as a result of an unpredictable delayed payment by one diocese," as well as major cuts in Church Center spending that also will result in less revenue, according to a memo to council members from the church's Finance Office. The specific diocese has not yet been disclosed.

Total revenue is projected to be $37,147,458, while total expenses are budgeted at $36,966,829.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilHouse of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

10 Comments
Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the first dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the Very Rev. Hudson Stuck, was well versed in the precedents of church history. “For consider that every organized diocese is essentially an independent, autonomous portion of the church, having all that is necessary for a church,” he wrote in 1895. Statements like this were not made to defeat a “national church,” as none existed then on the terms we now see being proposed. They were made out of enthusiasm for spreading the gospel, because Dallas was complete as a diocese and so suited for the challenge. To quote the Rt. Rev. James Stanton, sixth Bishop of Dallas, sovereignty in the context that Stuck and Garrett used it did not mean going it alone. Garrett made this clear when he said that the “fullness of the apostolic power, to which I have referred again and again as the great deposit of authority, resides not in each individual bishop, but in the complete apostolic college. It resides in the whole body of bishops.”

The revisions to Title IV enacted by General Convention at Anaheim in 2009 turn the principles of the founders of the Diocese of Dallas and those of the entire Episcopal Church on their head. As neatly summarized in the excellent article on this subject written by Alan Runyan and Mark McCall, these amendments inflict a broad range of damage that should be of grave concern to Episcopalians across the entire political spectrum. They enable a bishop (and the presiding bishop) not only to serve as policeman writing the citation, but also to sit as a member of the three-person board (or grand jury) that will be appointed to replace a duly elected standing committee.

Any resemblance to due process as we understand it in this country has been eliminated from Title IV, including protection of ordained clergy against self-incrimination. Clergy must now “testify and cooperate”; they must “self-report” an offense; and they will no longer hear Miranda warnings. As rewritten, Title IV works to the advantage of those who currently hold authority within TEC. With a change in regime, however, it could easily become an instrument of control by those they oppose. Good law should serve all parties, not simply whichever group may be in power.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

6 Comments
Posted October 23, 2010 at 9:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of South Carolina synod has revised its bylaws in a bid to protect itself from legal predations from the national Episcopal Church. Meeting on Oct 15, at St Paul’s Church in Summerville, South Carolina adopted six resolutions that ended the diocese’s automatic accession to the national church’s canons.

At the close of its March meeting, Bishop Mark Lawrence postponed the 219th annual meeting of the diocesan convention, after US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori engaged an attorney to represent the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The diocese requested an explanation for what it saw as an unlawful usurpation of authority by the presiding bishop, and postponed the adjournment of its synod pending a response.

The presiding bishop declined to respond, but as it waited the diocesan leadership began a review of the national church canons enacted at the 2009 General Convention covering clergy discipline.

“What we found was shocking,” Canon Kendall Harmon told Anglican TV, as it “violates due process” and natural justice.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* South Carolina

3 Comments
Posted October 22, 2010 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Whether a target’s on my back or not on my back is not my chief concern,” [Bishop Mark Lawrence] said. “I believe we should get on with the mission to which God has called us in the Anglican Communion.”

The bishop said that energy for mission is moving away from institutions, whether the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Unity, and toward more direct relationships, such as the diocese’s new arrangement to welcome the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the retired Bishop of Rochester, England, as “visiting bishop in South Carolina for Anglican Communion Development.”

“Out of these relationships, I believe, the solutions will emerge,” Bishop Lawrence said. “We’re living in a world in which inhibitions and depositions can intrude into a vision.”

Lawrence added that he does not see himself as violating his ordination vows to conform to the doctrine and discipline of the church. Instead, he said, bishops who approve unconstitutional canons or who revise church teaching on sexual morality have violated their vows.

“We’re increasingly in a world in which people expect a bishop to swear fealty to every resolution of General Convention, regardless of its theological foundations,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC Polity & Canons* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted October 20, 2010 at 7:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With three suits pending in two Texas counties, members of the minority that chose to stay in The Episcopal Church (TEC) two years ago have launched another assault on much the same grounds as the first three. Today All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Crestline Road in Fort Worth has sued Bishop Jack Iker personally, in federal court.

There can no longer be any doubt that this litigation is intended to harrass, intimidate, bankrupt, and divert the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, its Corporation, and its leadership – particularly Bishop Iker – from carrying out the mission of the Church.

Ironically, only this weekend Bishop Iker made several comments in jest to a gathering of clergy and laity of the Church of England in London, saying that he had “not checked the Internet today” to see whether he had been sued again.

In dispute now is the right of the Bishop to recognize a parish in the Diocese as All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

20 Comments
Posted October 19, 2010 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The diocese is reeling with emotions and Bishop Bennison’s refusal to confront the truth of what has been determined concerning the findings of his Presentment continues to confuse and confound us. His most recent public communication, his response to your letter of September 1 to the witnesses in his Presentment, continues this pattern of disassociation with what has been determined. He states that “there is nothing in my forty-two-year ordained ministry to indicate that I have ever covered up or looked the other way when I have learned of sexual abuse” flies in the face of the fact that two courts have concluded that he was guilty of “conduct unbecoming a clergy person” in the case brought to light by the Presentment. This, added to his oft quoted remarks that he “has been vindicated,” along with his insistence that his actions at the time were “just about right,” concerns us greatly. He seems not to be able to grasp the reality that while his guilt is “unpunishable” two courts still concluded and stated that he was guilty.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison has told House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson that a recent letter she wrote about his re-instatement has made his ministry in the diocese "more difficult."

In a letter dated Sept. 10, Bennison also characterized Anderson's letter as "so misleading as to raise the question whether you actually read all of the trial evidence on which your statements are based."

Read it all and follow the link to the text of the actual letter as well.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

7 Comments
Posted September 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson and Executive Council member Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine have issued a letter to the church calling for study on the Anglican Covenant.

“We strongly urge every congregation in this Church to engage in discussion of the proposed Covenant at some time in the coming two years,” the letter states.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education

8 Comments
Posted September 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(This is an open letter, dated September 1, written in response to the August 20th open letter from witnesses at the trial of Bishop Charles Bennison; I tried to find a copy to link to on Ms. Anderson's own website and failed--KSH).

September 1, 2010

To Bennison Trial Witnesses:
Julia Alexis, Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real
Martha Alexis, Western Diocese, Anglican Church in North America
Andy Alexis, Catholic Diocese of Sacramento
Maggie Thompson, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
Rev. Margo Maris, pastor, advocate and editor, Episcopal Diocese of Oregon

I was moved by your letter expressing your pain and frustration over the recent ruling by the Episcopal Church’s Court of Review which has made it possible for the Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison to resume the position of Bishop of Pennsylvania. Good people can disagree about how the court interpreted our canons. I believe that most Episcopalians who have followed this case agree that Bishop Bennison’s choice to resume his episcopacy presents significant problems for the Diocese of Pennsylvania and for the wider Church.

I want you to know that I share your hope that the Episcopal Church can be, “a guiding beacon to all people everywhere who are affected in some way by clergy sexual abuse.” I also share your frustration that in your case, and in others, our churches were not “safe sanctuaries” for vulnerable people. And I share your outrage that individuals in positions of authority have been complicit in maintaining a climate of silence and denial that has inhibited our efforts to end sexual abuse within our church.

Like the Diocese of Pennsylvania’s Standing Committee, and many diocesan clergy and laity, I wish that Bishop Bennison had the wisdom and generosity of spirit to resign. As bishop he is more likely to deepen divisions and discredit the church than he is to bring healing or advance our common mission. I join the Court of Review in its assessment that Charles Bennison’s handling of the sexual abuse charges against his brother John was “totally wrong.” Bishop Bennison’s lack of remorse about his handling of this situation, and his solipsistic view of what is at stake, concern me deeply.

I have spoken recently with Bishop Bennison, whom I have known for many years. I have also spoken with members of the Standing Committee. I wish I could say that I can imagine a just and speedy resolution to this situation, or for that matter, a satisfying outcome following a protracted campaign, but I do not. It is my prayer that the Bishops of The Episcopal Church, when they are together this month in Arizona, will prayerfully consider this matter and either prevail upon Bishop Bennison to resign, or undertake other measures that lead to Bishop Bennison’s removal from office.

As a result of your letter and those of numerous others, I have turned my attention to considering the steps that our Church might take to prevent this kind of injustice from happening again. In the wake of this decision, it seems essential to address a deficiency in the structures of our Church, namely that there is no means of dissolving the relationship between a bishop and a diocese that find themselves in untenable circumstances. I am also considering the calls coming from many Episcopalians to amend our canons to include clergy and laity on the Court of Review.

In preparation for General Convention, a review of the canons relevant to these concerns is in order. I am presently in consultation with members of my council of advice, deputies and others with particular interest and knowledge in these matters to determine the most expedient and efficient way to proceed in this review.

I wish there were more that I could offer you in gratitude for your bravery in the face of all that you have endured at the hands of our Church. It grieves me to be another person telling you that my hands are tied, and I know the potential remedies that I am proposing may serve the church in the long-term but do nothing to right the wrongs inflicted upon you.

But within our polity, this is what is within my power to do. Please know that I will pursue these issues seriously and actively, and with the support and counsel of others in the church who also find this situation unacceptable.

All of you, and all the people of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, remain in my prayers.

Peace,

Bonnie Anderson, D.D.
President, The House of Deputies

cc: The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Deputies and First Alternates
The Standing Committee, Diocese of Pennsylvania
The Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison

Update: An ENS story about this appears there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PennsylvaniaTEC Polity & Canons

13 Comments
Posted September 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Jim Simons of Pennsylvania asked whether provinces “engag[ing] in … jurisdictional incursions” will face any discipline. He said the Southern Cone and the Province of Rwanda are “functioning in [the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] without licenses and laying claim to some of our parishes … in clear violation of the canons.”

Canon Kearon responded that the Province of the Southern Cone has received a letter relating to these matters and “there is a deadline to this response.” He added that questions related to breaches of the third moratorium of the Windsor Report, which calls for an end to interventions in other provinces, “[have not] been answered by any [instruments] of the Anglican Communion” and he “would like to see it on the agenda of the Anglican Communion.”

Later, the secretary general said he believed “the Southern Cone has breached [the third moratorium]” but refrained from making a similar statement about Rwanda. “What would it mean to be out of fellowship with Rwanda?” he asked.

“I don’t think [Canon Kearon’s] responses clarified matters,” the Rev. Canon Mark Harris told The Living Church.

Sarah Dylan Breuer of Massachusetts said she felt disappointed, particularly over “remov[ing] people from [ecumenical] conversation,” but added: “We have opportunities to get creative.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President

12 Comments
Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

10 Comments
Posted June 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies and council vice president, yielded the majority of her time for opening remarks to Diocese of San Joaquin Provisional Bishop Jerry Lamb who updated the council on the work to rebuild the central California diocese since the group met there in January 2009.

"I want to tell you clearly and loudly that the clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin are committed to the Episcopal Church and to the Episcopal sense of what it is to be God's people," he said.

He said that the Episcopalians who remained after the former leadership and a majority of its members joined in December 2007 the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone have tried to reconcile, revive, renew and rebuild. Lamb said that efforts to reconcile with those who left "bore very, very little fruit" but that 21 worshipping communities have reformed and 18 of them have shown "significant but slow growth."

"They are becoming much, much stronger," Lamb said.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

6 Comments
Posted June 17, 2010 at 8:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and see what you make of the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

3 Comments
Posted April 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This new program of legal mayhem began with the filing of this suit against the parish of St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock. St. Francis is a duly constituted member of the only true Diocese of San Joaquin, and wants nothing to do with the non-Diocese. But the non-Diocese wants to claim its property and assets -- its bank accounts, its prayer books and altar furnishings, and the building which it owns, and in which it worships.

How can this be? Well might you ask. For in the make-believe world of Bishop Lamb, the Presiding Bishop and President Anderson, St. Francis still "belongs" in some fashion to ECUSA -- in their eyes, it never left. And so they want to "embrace" it in their loving grasp, and to take all of its property and assets. Never mind that although there are some Episcopalian parishioners in Turlock, who are worshipping for the time being in other premises, they by themselves would not be enough to maintain and insure the property, and pay for a full-time rector. If the Anglican parishioners choose not to return to the fold and support their church, well, the Episcopal remnant will just run through the parish bank accounts until the property can be sold to someone else (but certainly not to the Anglicans, because they are in "competition", and the Presiding Bishop is dead-set against helping "competitors"), and then that money can be used to prop up the non-Diocese. What a wonderful and Christian-like plan!

And now, as I have reported, the non-Diocese has embarked on a program to sue all of the individually incorporated parishes in the Anglican Diocese, using the St. Francis complaint as a template. A second such lawsuit has now been filed against St. Michael's in Ridgecrest, and still others are in the works. Each of the lawsuits seeks a "declaration" from the court where it has been filed that the parish corporation's assets are held in trust for ECUSA and Bishop Lamb's group, and so cannot be controlled or used by the people who are the current vestry members and clergy. (The latter have been "deposed", don't you remember? So they cannot function in an Episcopal church, and must be made to hand their churches over to those who will "loyally guard and preserve the Parish Premises and Parish Assets for the mission of the Church, . . . adhere to the Church and Diocesan Canons and . . . protect and serve loyal Episcopalians in the Parish", to quote from paragraph 80 of the complaint.)

Other lawsuits against the remaining incorporated parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin are surely coming....

Read it carefully and follow all the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

2 Comments
Posted March 8, 2010 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(The above is my title, you can see his by going to the link below--KSH)

The Christian churches in the United States are in trouble for all the usual reasons — human sinfulness and selfishness, the temptations of life in an affluent society, doctrinal and moral controversies and uncertainties and on and on and on — but also and to a surprisingly large degree they are in trouble because they are trying to address the problems of the twenty first century with a business model and a set of tools that date from the middle of the twentieth. The mainline churches in particular are organized like General Motors was organized in the 1950s: they have cost structures and operating procedures that simply don’t work today. They are organized around what I’ve been calling the blue social model, built by rules that don’t work anymore, and oriented to a set of ideas that are well past their sell-by date.

Without even questioning it, most churchgoers assume that a successful church has its own building and a full-time staff including one or more professionally trained leaders (ordained or not depending on the denomination). Perhaps no more than half of all congregations across the country can afford this at all; most manage only by neglecting maintenance on their buildings or otherwise by cutting corners. And even when they manage to make the payroll and keep the roof in repair, congregations spend most of their energy just keeping the show going from year to year. The life of the community centers around the attempt to maintain a model of congregational life that doesn’t work, can’t work, won’t work no matter how hard they try. People who don’t like futile tasks have a tendency to wander off and do other things and little by little the life and vitality (and the rising generations) drift away.

At the next level up, there is another level of ecclesiastical bureaucrats and officials staffing regional offices. When my dad was a young priest in the Episcopal diocese of North Carolina back in the late 1950s the bishop had a secretary and that was pretty much it for diocesan staff. These days the Episcopal church is in decline, with perhaps a third to a half or more of its parishes unable to meet their basic expenses and with members dying off or drifting away much faster than new people come through the door — but no respectable bishop would be caught dead with the pathetic staff with which Bishop Baker ran a healthy and growing diocese in North Carolina back in the 1950s. (Bishop Baker was impressive in another way; he could tie his handkerchief into the shape of a bunny rabbit, put it flat on the palm of his hand, and have it hop off. I was only six when he showed me this trick, but it was clear to me that this man had something special to offer. Since that time I’ve traveled all over the world and met bishops, archbishops, cardinals and even a pope — but none of them made quite the impression on me that Bishop Baker and his jumping handkerchief did.)

Bishops today in their sinking, decaying dioceses surround themselves with large staffs who hold frequent meetings and no doubt accomplish many wonderful things, although nobody outside the office ever quite knows what these are. And it isn’t just Anglicans. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, UCC, the whole crowd has pretty much the same story to tell. Staffs grow; procedures flourish and become ever more complex; more and more years of school are required from an increasingly ‘professional’ church staff: everything gets better and better every year — except somehow the churches keep shrinking. Inside, the professionals are pretty busy jumping through hoops and writing memos to each other and grand sweeping statements of support for raising the minimum wage and other noble causes — but outside the regional headquarters and away from the hum of the computers and printers, local congregations lose members, watch their buildings fall year by year into greater disrepair, and in the end they close their doors.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC House of DeputiesTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted March 8, 2010 at 5:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...true encouragement comes from honesty before God and self and the strength of purpose to serve in the face of disappointment or uncertainty. Or so it should. I know a young person who sneered at the faith of an Episcopalian – a more conservative person – who chose to leave TEC for another set of ecclesial structures. “You would do such a thing”, this young person said to him: “yours is the generation, after all, who invented no-fault divorce”. In fact, in this case, the complaint was less directed at a purported hypocrite, than at what he perceived to be the witness of an impotent God, unable to garner the sacrificial steadiness of His adherents. But either way, faith is scandalized by those who do not have the strength, nor certainly seek the strength, to stand in the face of upheaval.

I will come back to this at the close of my remarks: honesty need be neither angry, miserable, nor defeatist. It should be the seed for hope, because it is the first and necessary turn to God who alone saves.

What is the difficult thing to speak, honestly? It is this: the Episcopal Church, as it has been known through the past two centuries, is no more, in any substantive sense. TEC is simply no longer the church filled with even the strength of purpose we saw only 10 years ago – yes, even then, a church with a good deal of vital diversity and disagreement; but a seeming sense of restraint over pressing these in ways that overwhelmed witness and mission. And as a result, even then, it was church that was growing in outreach and faith. That church, shimmering still with some of the vibrancy of love spent for the Gospel seen140 years before, even 90 years before, is now gone. And TEC will not survive in any real continuity with this past and its gifts.

This is something we must face. To be sure, I am not speaking here of this or that diocese or bishop or congregation or clergy person within TEC: there are many through whose service the Gospel shines bright and the witness of the Kingdom flourishes. I am speaking of an institution as a whole – not even in terms of its legal corporation, but in terms of its character and Christian substance given flesh in the Spirit’s mission.

Read it all carefully.

I want to stress, please, that people in the comments interact with what Ephraim is arguing for and actually saying. Comments not doing so will be dispacted into the ether. Many thanks--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC DataTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

27 Comments
Posted December 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pending Ugandan legislation that would imprison for life or execute people who violate that country's anti-homosexuality laws would be a "terrible violation of the human rights of an already persecuted minority," Episcopal Church House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson has said.

Anderson was responding to a Nov. 16 request that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop Henri Orombi of Uganda and she speak out against the legislation. Anderson is the first to issue a statement.

Homosexuality in Uganda currently carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. If passed, the bill would extend prison sentences for homosexuals up to and including life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of UgandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaUganda

10 Comments
Posted December 1, 2009 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What [Bonnie] Anderson has achieved in this formal letter to South Carolina is a demonstration of what happens when General Convention undertakes to permit actions without bothering formally to amend the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. A similar demonstration is being made in the Presiding Bishop’s recourse to a Canon involving renunciation of orders so as to deal with a problem it was never designed to address. The consequence of such action is the creation of a view of Holy Orders and a ‘denominational regularization’ of them without any counterpart elsewhere in the Anglican Communion. The point is this. To use ‘abandonment of communion of this church’ to refer univocally to TEC makes TEC into its own, private communion. If this be the case, TEC is defining itself and its orders in a way different from that of the Anglican Communion as a whole. For Anglicans, communion is not defined within the circumference of a single province and orders are not conferred within a single province alone.

By arrogating to herself the role of commentary, evaluation, and exhortation, the President of the House of Deputies adopts an authority vis-à-vis the Diocese of SC nowhere granted to her by the Constitution and Canons she claims to be defending. Was the President of the House of Deputies elected with a clear remit to function in this way vis-à-vis the Dioceses of The Episcopal Church? Naturally, the President of the House of Deputies might wish to write a letter to the Diocese of South Carolina and encourage attendance at General Convention. But here the intention is to speak on behalf of the Constitution and Canons as well as on matters of doctrine, church history and theology. Where do the Constitution and Canons grant her authority to address the Dioceses in this way, and is election to this presidential office intended to grant her authority as here presumed?

The questions are serious ones because it appears that the elected leadership of The Episcopal Church is now seeking a clear authority and hierarchy above the Bishops of the Church and also above the Constitution and Canons, without at the same time following the legal procedures necessary for adopting and exercising such hierarchy, constitutionally. If there are those within TEC who desire constitutional reform of TEC polity along the lines of a corporate model or the hierarchical structures of churches such as the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Churches, there are constitutional procedures to follow.

So to receive a notice from an elected official which purports to interpret doctrine, discipline and worship in this church, and to defend the Constitution and Canons, without an obvious warrant for doing so from the same Constitution risks exposing the very problem South Carolina and other dioceses have identified as needing address.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* South Carolina

27 Comments
Posted October 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She said her intention in writing to the deputies from South Carolina was to preserve their presence in the House of Deputies.

“I could see them throughout the whole convention,” she said of South Carolina’s deputation to this summer’s General Convention. “I appreciated the depth of their involvement.”

The Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian to the Diocese of South Carolina and a four-time deputy to General Convention, objects to the letter as an intrusion in the deliberations of the special convention.

“I am interested in the issue of precedent,” said Canon Harmon, who published the letter on his weblog, TitusOneNine. “I can’t name a time when a House of Deputies president intervened in a diocese before a convention like this.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC ConflictsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted October 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Ackerman said he has heard from the Diocese of Bolivia regarding the Presiding Bishop’s actions. “Having heard from the Diocese of Bolivia, I understand that I’m a priest in good standing in that diocese,” he said.

Bishop Ackerman said he is troubled by the Episcopal Church’s apparent inability to transfer bishops peaceably to other provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“It must see itself as highly independent,” he said. “If orders are not universal in the Anglican Communion, they cease to be catholic in the full sense of the word. … The Episcopal Church does not own the ministry of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

Neva Rae Fox, the Episcopal Church’s program officer for public affairs, said the Presiding Bishop was unlikely to respond to Bishop Ackerman’s remarks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican IdentityEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* TheologyEcclesiology

9 Comments
Posted October 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, plans to appoint a committee on church governance and polity "to examine and explain the history, theology, political structure and practical realities of the ways in which we believe God calls us to govern the [Episcopal] Church."

In a September 14 letter to General Convention deputies and first alternative deputies, Anderson said that after the July 8-17 General Convention meeting "it makes little sense to speak of governance and mission as two different things."

"Our church is able to enlist the energy and talent of every member in building God's kingdom precisely because we make room for the Spirit-seeking wisdom of all orders of ministry in the governance of our church," she said.

Read it all and follow the link to her full letter also.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President

4 Comments
Posted September 16, 2009 at 6:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President

1 Comments
Posted August 12, 2009 at 8:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Back on July 16th the Presiding Bishop and Bonnie Anderson wrote Archbishop Rowan Williams about the General Convention. (An ENS article on this is here). This, however, in a flurry of confusion inside the Episcopal Church's leadership as to exactly what had occurred, even though such confusion was not shared by the majority of the mainstream media and the Episcopal Church activists for the new theology of human sexuality, was not enough.

So on July 17th the Presiding Bishop and Bonnie Anderson wrote Archbishop Rowan Williams again about the General Convention. (An ENS article on that is there).

Can anyone name a time previously in Episcopal Church history when this has occurred? It not only looks desperate but it speaks poorly to the level of clarity in what is being done. If you need to explain your explanations, if you need to use words and then more words to explain your words, the issue of what you are actually doing and why comes even more strongly to the fore. Let your yes be yes and your no be no as a standard is being missed, and for a Christian community that is a very sad thing indeed--KSH.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Episcopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* By Kendall

7 Comments
Posted July 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Repercussions from the Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention in Anaheim, California continue to reverberate around the USA and the world. Any analysis of TEC’s actions requires a "new think" dictionary so that one can understand what they say versus what they mean. When they say "generous pastoral care" or "generous pastoral response" for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean generosity which is extended to everyone (unless we include "generous legal persecution" as an element of said generosity).

When reading material from the dominant revisionist side of TEC, constantly ask yourself what they mean by these new words and word structures that they are coining-they are almost never what the plain English meaning would suggest. Regarding the passage of D025 which affirmed the church’s intent to permit gay bishops, the TEC official news organ reported the next morning that the previous moratorium represented by B033 from 2006 was overturned. This accidental revelation of the truth by their own media was viewed with alarm by the political spinmeisters working with President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson and Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, and the article was quickly followed the next day by assurances that although the words in D025 said that all orders of ministry would be open to all people inclusive of gay, lesbian, etc., it didn’t overturn B033 which said that the church wouldn’t ordain such to the episcopate. On which day was TEC telling the truth? Then the legislation was passed which authorized marriage/same-sex union rites to be done on a local diocesan level as part of a "generous pastoral response." All of this happens while the top leadership marginalizes the few orthodox bishops, clergy and laity left in TEC and stresses that TEC wants to be a part of the global Anglican Communion, but on their own terms.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMedia

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2009 at 9:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The house will begin debate of Resolution D025 on Sunday afternoon. The resolution by the Committee on World Mission is a compilation of more than a dozen resolutions seeking to overturn, amend or repeal Resolution B033, the controversial resolution approved three years ago which calls on “standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on the communion.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

1 Comments
Posted July 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

0 Comments
Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But what does it mean to argue that the polity of TEC is unique? If the emphasis is on significant discontinuity with the character of that polity otherwise seen to be representative of Anglicanism, is the danger not in cutting TEC off from the Communion at large? Surely the continuity of the Anglican Communion—whatever the special features of this or that polity—is to be grasped in the Episcopal Office. No specialness can alter that feature without at the same time creating a truly national denomination. If this is what the President of the House of Deputies is calling for, let her indicate that she realizes that and wishes it to be so and means to make it so.

At the founding of the Episcopal Church in this country efforts were made to create a polity that constrained the office of Bishop, and held it accountable to a second House. Does the President of the House of Deputies mean that uniqueness lies in this sort of understanding? If so, it bears recalling that at precisely this point the new church had to defer to the spirit of recommendations of the Church of England, and the pleadings of Seabury, if she was to remain a branch of the catholic expression of Anglicanism. So the General Convention that then emerged did not in the least preempt or constrain the special responsibility of Bishops, and it is exactly that reality that serves to give proportion to any idea of special features.

It is important as well to keep comments like this in perspective given other recent trends. In the legal submissions made by the national church, we have seen a different argument for the ‘special polity’ of this church. The fact that there are similarities but also differences suggests that these arguments serve the purpose chiefly of aiding in a cause, and less in the accuracy of their historical claims, or the consistency of their logic and presentation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President TEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

1 Comments
Posted July 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Episcopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

7 Comments
Posted July 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I especially like the picture of Bonnie Anderson.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

5 Comments
Posted July 9, 2009 at 7:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bonnie] Anderson said that the group told the archbishop that, while most of the requests from the wider Anglican Communion for the Episcopal Church to do certain things to resolve the current tensions in the worldwide body have been addressed only to the church's bishops, "we are a church of more than one order of voices."

"Our great, deep hope is that we would be included in [future] quests, communications and directions" from Anglican Communion leaders, she said.

Williams expressed "frustration" with the Episcopal Church's three-year legislative cycle, the Rev. James Simons (Pittsburgh) said. "It's difficult in some cases for decisions to be held for three years for the General Convention to meet, so we discussed some possible scenarios that would allow for a more timely response, at least in the interim, until a permanent response could be made."

"There was a lot of give and take in terms of trying to think through how we could work more collaboratively in a way that honors each other's polity," he added.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Episcopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

5 Comments
Posted July 9, 2009 at 7:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lay People at the General Con­vention of the Episcopal Church in the United States will have some hard questions for the Archbishop of Canterbury when he visits, says the president of the House of Depu­ties, Bonnie Anderson.

The triennial convention meets next week in Anaheim, California. Eyes from all around the Anglican Communion will be on its business, notably whether it will vote to re­peal Resolution BO33, which in 2006 urged a halt to ordaining any more gay bishops for the time being.

To repeal it would require the consent of both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. Bishops have no collective authority to exercise power in the Church, where laity and clergy have an equal voice, and the former have historically exercised strong influ­ence. They elect bishops in a demo­cratic operation — something that is out of the experience of many pro­v-inces in the Anglican Communion, Mrs Anderson says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President

11 Comments
Posted July 3, 2009 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several questioners asked about possible repeal or other action on Resolution B033, the controversial measure passed on the last day of the 2006 General Convention that called for restraint on the part of the church in electing or consenting to the election as bishops of persons whose manner of life may present a challenge to the wider Church—a measure widely seen to apply only to gay or lesbian candidates.

"I've been very clear in my public communications for the last few months that my hope is that we not attempt to repeal past legislation at General Convention—it's a bad legislative practice," said Jefferts Schori. "I would far more prefer us to say where we are today, in 2009, to make a positive statement about our desire to include all people fully in this church and that we be clear about who we are as the Episcopal Church.

Twelve resolutions concerning B033 have been submitted, said Anderson, and all have been assigned to legislative committees, as is the practice for all resolutions. "We can't really predict what will happen in regards to B033, which is the beauty of General Convention," she said. "It is up to the participants at General Convention to take those resolutions under consideration, to hold open hearings with regards to the resolutions, gather the voices of everyone present that wishes to speak … and we also pray for the intervention of the Holy Spirit as we debate in the House of Deputies."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

22 Comments
Posted May 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A number of viewers wanted to know how results from the recently concluded meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council might affect convention. Bishop Jefferts Schori said the need to debate the proposed Anglican Covenant obviously was a moot point since it failed to pass during the ACC meeting in Jamaica last week.

In response to a question regarding the repeal of B033, the resolution approved at General Convention in 2006 that recommends caution in consecrating bishops whose manner of life might cause distress to other members of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Jefferts Schori said B033 would be debated, but that she opposes its repeal.

“I would far more prefer that we say here is where we are today,” she said, adding that it was a more positive way to express the mind of the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Consultative CouncilEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

18 Comments
Posted May 14, 2009 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I really do not know anymore what is coming next. How things are done and not done are as haphazard as people's ideas; or so it seems.

Now I read that the "New" Diocese of Fort Worth passed a $632,466 dollar budget for a part-time bishop, a little over 19 priests and 62 delegates who represent way less than a thousand people, and $200,000 is from the General Convention budget!

First, I did not see that in the GC budget that was passed in 2006. Where did it come from?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

15 Comments
Posted March 5, 2009 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In stark contrast to the increasingly relational tone reflected in the Primates Communiqué, the Windsor Continuation Group has taken a step backward, issuing a report that yearns for greater ecclesial centralization achieved by concentrating power in the hands of bishops and archbishops, further marginalizing the laity and diminishing the influence of member churches in the common life of our Communion. The authors of the report—two retired primates, a primate, two bishops and a retired Cathedral dean—believe an “ecclesial deficit” exists within Anglicanism and propose to remedy it by strengthening three of the four “Instruments of Communion”, namely the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting. The instrument they have overlooked is the Anglican Consultative Council; the only instrument that includes lay people, priests and deacons and that has a constitution that codifies its membership, procedures and authority. The ACC’s meetings have proven much less susceptible to outside manipulation than those of the Primates Meetings, as the machinations at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam made painfully clear.

Yet the Windsor Continuation Group argues that the Communion must receive statements from the Primates: “with a readiness to undertake reflection and accommodation,” while questioning whether the Anglican Consultative Council can “adequately” exercise the purely consultative function it currently serves. This illustrates a triumph of ecclesial ideology over common sense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican PrimatesPrimates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009Episcopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Windsor Report / Process

14 Comments
Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)