Bishop John Howe—Cathedral Debriefing – The 76th General Convention

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As far as sexuality is concerned, it all came down to two major Resolutions, which are now being interpreted in a variety of ways, but which I believe signal a clear intention on the part of The Episcopal Church to move even more boldly than it has thus far in the areas of same-sex blessings and the ordination of non-celibate gay and lesbian persons....

Interestingly, the morning after the Bishops voted on D025 the headline on The Episcopal Life Daily was “Bishops approve opening ordination to gays.”

(The editor of the Daily was apparently called on the carpet for publishing that interpretation of D025, and that afternoon she appeared before the House of Bishops to offer her abject apology for doing so; and the headline the next day was a much-subdued “Convention passes Resolution D025.”)

“Integrity,” the gay and lesbian advocacy organization, released a statement at the end of Convention that said, “We came to this Convention committed to moving the Church beyond B033 [the 2006 Resolution] and forward on…the blessing of same-sex unions – and we…have realized both of these goals.”

I want to say to you that I am deeply saddened that these two Resolutions have been passed, though I am not at all surprised.

But, please hear me clearly: neither of them will have any direct effect on the Diocese of Central Florida.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

12 Comments
Posted July 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Carolina Anglican wrote:

I think this statement, “But, please hear me clearly: neither of them (resolutions) will have any direct effect on the Diocese of Central Florida,” ignores the reality that the Diocese is part of TEC which did pass these resolutions. It is unrealistic to think that the diocese can remain in a cocoon unaffected by the liberal and heretical tendencies of TEC. Members will become disheartened or leave to join Anglican or inter-denominational churches while others outside the diocese will avoid joining due to the national headlines.  It becomes too much of a burden for individual members and clergy to have to mentally or verbally explain away how they are members of TEC but at the same time not of TEC.  This type of schizophrenic thinking is neither honest nor helpful, especially when the Bishop knows it is not going to improve but worsen in TEC.

July 27, 6:04 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

The bishops of Central Florida, Western Kansas, SC,and a few others have made reassuring, and even bold responses to GC09. It is sobering to be reminded that even such orthodox dioceses are only one or two episcopal elections away from theological chaos.

July 27, 6:12 pm | [comment link]
3. Just_Me wrote:

As a member of the Diocese of CFL, I have to disagree with #1.  Diocesan canons have pretty insulated our Diocese from TEC shenanigans.  I have always been, and continue to be, very blessed to be a part of DioCFL.
Bless you, Bishope Howe, for your leadership and most importantly your calm, steadfast, resolve.

July 27, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
4. seitz wrote:

AMEN to 3.

July 27, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
5. Eugene wrote:

I think it this is like Bishop Iker saying to his diocese “it does not matter what goes on in Pittsburgh, we will never ordain women here in FW”  Probably true for a while.

July 27, 7:12 pm | [comment link]
6. Carolina Anglican wrote:

#3 Didn’t your diocese lose orthodox parishes due to the TEC situation?  How does that occur if you are insulated? Not only that but all members of the diocese continue to be under that authority of General Convention and the Presiding Bishop at least in some regards. Bishop Howe is a great bishop and leader but that does not remove the diocese from the authority or relationship to the national church that makes headlines that influence people who live in your communities.  Most people around your churches are not aware that when the Episcopal church votes for these things that you are different.

I’m in the same situation in a differest orthodox diocese.  I cannot pretend that these events don’t affect us.  The time and energy our leaders devote to combating asinine resolutions has a negative effect on mission in itself, so does constantly being maligned by “Christians” in your own denomination.  it is not without its toll. 

The fact that there are “orthodox” Anglican parishes within the area of your diocese is proof in itself that you are not exempt from the fallout.

July 27, 7:28 pm | [comment link]
7. Br. Michael wrote:

3, you are lucky.  Look what happened to the Diocese of Florida.  That bubble can pop pretty quickly.

July 27, 7:55 pm | [comment link]
8. Ken Peck wrote:

Bishops retire and die. It will be increasingly difficult for isolated dioceses to elect orthodox Christian bishops. Canons at the national level conflict with diocesan canons, and where they don’t the national canons can be changed in a single General Convention—and it’s the national canons which will prevail, not the diocesan canons that contradict them.


Consider the matter of the ordination of women. It was instituted with the promise that those who did not accept the novelty would not be compelled. When Fort Worth and Quincy elected young bishops who opposed such ordinations, the Executive Council instituted an Inquisition.

Remember Neuhaus’ Law: Where orthodoxy is optional, it will be proscribed.

Remember Gresham’s Law: Bad money drives out good.

July 27, 8:28 pm | [comment link]
9. w.w. wrote:

#1 is absolutely correct. If the soon-to-retire bishop doesn’t already know, he soon will: TEC’s recent actions are a major impediment to evangelism and parish growth in the diocese. It likewise will be so in all biblically orthodox TEC dioceses and parishes where outreach is a priority.

I have interviewed many evangelistic-minded pastors in liberal-controlled mainline denominations as part of my work. They tell virtually the same story. Where the radical pro-gay agenda of the denomination becomes known in the community, doors that once were open to contacts and visits no longer are. Newcomers with children tell pastors they like the church and its programs, but they don’t want to be associated with a denomination that doesn’t take the Bible seriously. They say they are concerned about the future for their children.

I have written about some of these disheartened and frustrated pastors and regional leaders in years past. Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, United Church of Christ pastors—the story was the same: denominational actions and emphases had poisoned outreach efforts.

I don’t know what the long-term solution is for those reasserters who are stranded in TEC, committed as Sarah Hey, for one, to an “inside strategy.” I do know that their hard work in evangelism and church growth will now be harder. And that’s a matter for prayer.

w.w.

July 27, 10:39 pm | [comment link]
10. Eric Swensson wrote:

“But, please hear me clearly: neither of them will have any direct effect on the Diocese of Central Florida.”
Yes, well, the word “direct” here is the problem. Outside church walls the word has a rather clear meaning, but when a church official speaks it means something else.

Hey, the sky really is falling, OK? If a church official wants to believe the unchurched do not have a certain picture of TEC after being the media’s poster child of a gay activist’s denomination for six years, well, I guess that too is their perogative.
The ELCA? Ditto. Without the steriods, of course.

July 28, 12:41 am | [comment link]
11. Just_Me wrote:

My husband and I watched a movie recently on The Discovery Channel called “Deadliest Sea”.  The saddest part of the movie was the end when one of the survivors was told that the fishing vessel had been found and it was still afloat.  The survivor replied “So if we had stayed on the boat; we all would have survived?”

Bishop Howe is very much aware of the concerns raised here; as the Bishop of this Diocese, he is making every decision based on the maximum number of survivors.

ACNA is not yet recognized as a member of the Anglican Communion and the resolutions passed at GC09 has not yet translated to mandatory violation to God’s law.

Is the boat taking on water?  Of course; and the captain knows it.  Does he tell his crew to jump or does he wait for the Coast Guard to arrive?  Tough decision; fortunately for those of us on the boat, the captain knows he is only an assistant captain.  Only the Lord knows the answer and there is no doubt in my mind that Bishop Howe makes decisions based on the Lord’s will and leading rather than his own.

I suppose it really comes down to whether I believe and trust in the Lord or if I put my faith in church politics.  If I sensed that Bishop Howe made decisions based on his own personal emotions and wisdom, I wouldn’t have the confidence that I have.

If the Lord has called us to be a part of Gideon’s army; we’re armed and ready.  If the Lord has called us to set up our tents in the midst of captors; we’ll learn to be patient.  It’s really just that simple.

I don’t pretend to know what the Lord has called others to do; it’s not important for me to understand.  I just have to believe that the Lord is a whole lot smarter than I am and that everything is going according to His plan.

July 28, 6:53 am | [comment link]
12. Daniel wrote:

After GC 2009 I think a more appropriate rendering would be “Cathedral Debriding.”

July 28, 11:17 am | [comment link]
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