Resolution C029 on Communion for the Unbaptized Passes House of Deputies on a vote by orders

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(It is very important that you read the previous thread on this as well as the comments there first). Here again is the full text--
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention direct the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies to appoint a special commission charged with conducting a study of the theology underlying access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion in this Church and to recommend for consideration by the 78th General Convention any amendment to Title I, Canon 17, Section 7, of the Canons of General Convention that it deems appropriate; and be it further Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $30,000 for the implementation of this Resolution.
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.
You can find a copy of it here. Please note that in the House of Deputies debate today there was an attempt at an amendment that failed. The vote totals as announced were--Lay Order 85 yes, No 16, divided 9; Clergy 70 Yes, No 24, Divided 16.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Polity & Canons* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral TheologySacramental TheologyBaptismEucharist

21 Comments
Posted July 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Karen B. wrote:

You’ve got to read the article in the Diocese of Virginia’s Center Aisle about this resolution:

http://centeraisle.net/2012/07/11/deputies-walk-fine-line-on-open-communion/

I must say I was terribly disappointed to read what Deputy Neal Michell of Dallas is reported to have said / proposed re: striking the “pastoral sensitivity” language. 

The Rev. Canon Neal Michel, Dallas, asked that the resolution drop the reference to the “exercise of pastoral sensitivity,” saying that “at a time when the whole issue of authority is before us … it is not helpful to send a message that” the Church tacitly supports a change in the doctrine of the Church.

I hope he said much more than this opposing the practice of CWOB. 

There is nothing “tacit” about TEC’s changing the doctrine of the church, and having removed the pastoral sensitivity language would have just covered up the reality of the situation.  What has passed is another very glaring instance of CLARITY as to where TEC is headed.  It’s theology on CWOB, as well as SSBs is now very officially “whatever feels right, do it, God will bless it.”

I don’t hold out any hope that the Bishops will defeat this resolution.

July 11, 8:06 pm | [comment link]
2. Karen B. wrote:

Loved this blog post from a deputy from Ohio on the topic of “inhospitality” - which basically says CWOB won’t make people feel welcome.  What needs to happen is that PARISHONERS make new people feel welcome.  Yup.

http://ohiodeputies.blogspot.com/2012/07/radical-in-hospitality-begins-far-away.html

July 11, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
3. Sherri2 wrote:

Resolution: We say this, but we don’t really mean it. Our prayer book is full of words. No need to take any of them too seriously. We don’t.

If you want to know why people aren’t coming to church, I think it’s because more and more are aware that it doesn’t mean anything to many of the people who are conducting services and holding church offices. If you walk in the door and find the inside just like what’s outside, what need have you to be there? And it’s sad to note that after years and years of laughing up their sleeves at Baptists, TEC is giving itself a very Baptist structure - there is nothing much left that’s “common.” Nothing we can point to and say the Church believes… it’s only what the local pastoral sensitivity is.

July 11, 8:30 pm | [comment link]
4. Karen B. wrote:

Just reviewing the Twitter feed on this resolution…

https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/#gc77 c029

Makes me wonder.  Do deputies even READ the resolutions they’re voting on.  This is what one deputy tweeted about C029:

“C029 deals with access to baptism and holy communion. Reaffirms that baptism should be received before access to HC.

Excuse me.  It does NOT “reaffirm Baptism SHOULD be received.”  It admits that Baptism is the ancient and normative “entry point” to the Eucharist but acknowledges that in “various local contexts” one is able to be pastorally sensitive about this matter. 

There is already a canon that says Baptism SHOULD happen before Communion.  The resolution tells clergy that when they want to be sensitive they can disregard that canon with impunity.  THAT is what this is all about.

AAARRGGHH. 

And then there is the deputy who tweeted:
“Res C029—Study of Open Table passes HOD.”

NO. NO. NO.  This is not a call for STUDY.  This is allowing for “facts on the ground,” “local context,” “make up your own theology” of baptism and communion in the name of pastoral sensitivity.

So tragic.  So many of the deputies are just blind to how they are destroying the church and abandoning Scripture & Tradition (to say nothing of reason…)

I need sleep.  Time for me to call it a night.  But this is an issue I’m passionate about, even more so than SSB liturgies, so it’s kept me online for the past few hours when I should have long ago been off the computer.

July 11, 8:51 pm | [comment link]
5. Karen B. wrote:

An Alaskan deputy’s comments in a blog entry tonight:
http://alaskanepiscopalian.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/open-communion-pastoral-sensitivity-acknowledged-in-local-contexts/
(emphasis is added)

6:30 pm, Indianapolis, July 11, 2012

In what is being widely seen as a move toward formal recognition of the practice of “open communion,” the House of Deputies has approved resolution C029, stating in part, “baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion, and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into thevworld and baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.”

Discussion and debate included note of the understanding that, “normative” is “that which has been usual”.

YES.  THIS DEPUTY GETS IT.  Just as all the talk about “generous pastoral response” was a prelude to SSBs being authorized… 

How does that little ditty go?  “Second verse, same as the first…”
That is what’s happening here.

July 11, 9:12 pm | [comment link]
6. Kendall Harmon wrote:

Karen you are quite right to see it as important and indeed more important over all than the liturgies.  The transgender resolution/canon change is also very important.

July 11, 9:23 pm | [comment link]
7. Michael S. Mills wrote:

What was the amendment that failed to pass?

July 11, 9:39 pm | [comment link]
8. Sherri2 wrote:

“C029 deals with access to baptism and holy communion. Reaffirms that baptism should be received before access to HC.”

Karen I saw this text before I found info on what was happening in the resolution and took hope from it. That didn’t last long. But I wondered if this tweeter thought he voted for a resolution that said that or if the coin had been flipped to that degree.

July 11, 9:47 pm | [comment link]
9. Karen B. wrote:

I think the amendment was to strike the final sentence:
We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.

Which would have turned the resolution merely into a descriptive statement that identified baptism as the “ancient and normative entry point” for receiving Communion.

If I am correct, the amendment was proposed by Neal Michel of Dallas.

July 11, 9:52 pm | [comment link]
10. Cranmerian wrote:

How is this topic not getting the attention it deserves?  I see the vote by orders listed above.  Has this resolution already been through the HoB?  What was the vote there, or was it a voice vote?  If this simply sailed through, then Cn. Harmon, you are correct about the seriousness of this action.  Communion without/regardless of baptism, basically relegates TEC to a non-sacramental sect.  Many would argue that it already is one!  As we’ve seen in the past a tacit acknowledgement of this activity while using terms like “pastoral sensitivity” and “local contexts” does absolutely nothing in grounding people in the historic faith and giving them the tools to understand and appreciate the beauty and richness of the sacramental life as a path toward holiness that leads to deeper communion and fellowship with God. 

If this resolution has already passed both houses, and is now a part of official Church teaching, then this Church is doing a great deal of pearl casting in the pig pens.

It goes to the House of Bishops today is my understanding—KSH

July 11, 11:23 pm | [comment link]
11. Ad Orientem wrote:

I think this needs to be said plainly. The Episcopal Church has just given approval for CWOB. You can add all the qualifiers you want, but they just said it’s OK. That is the bottom line.

July 11, 11:40 pm | [comment link]
12. billqs wrote:

I agree with Karen that Communion of the Unbaptized is of more concern to me than the SSB’s or trans-clergy. 

The church doesn’t withhold communion to the unbaptized in order to be “unwelcoming”, but instead out of an abundance of care for the unbaptized person’s soul.  As Paul clearly states “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself (1Cor 11,27-29)”. 

Of course, when you don’t take Paul literally, or sometimes even figuratively then it’s easy to ignore clear admonitions.  After all, sending an unbaptized person’s soul to a hell you don’t believe in, is nothing as long as they feel “welcomed”.

July 11, 11:44 pm | [comment link]
13. billqs wrote:

Sorry, for the trailing sentence at the end of #12.  I thought I had erased it.

July 11, 11:46 pm | [comment link]
14. tjmcmahon wrote:

You can bet that CWOB was already the standard in all the dioceses that voted in favor.  For all intents and purposes, any diocese that implements this has left the holy, catholic and apostolic church.  Any bishop who votes in favor has, literally, abandoned the Communion of the Church.  And for anyone who holds the “High Church” view of Holy Communion, this is utterly unacceptable.  I don’t want to launch into a stayer/leaver argument, but it becomes impossible to see how any person with a Catholic understanding of the Sacraments can remain in any diocese that voted in favor, or in any diocese that has a bishop who allows it.

July 11, 11:50 pm | [comment link]
15. Ad Orientem wrote:

I concur with those who see this as the mos serious act undertaken so far. In particular I concur with tjmcmahon’s #14. Many of the things done by TEO since the 1970’s would certainly be seen by the High Church Anglo-Catholics as heresy. But from a catholic perspective I think this would come awfully close to a formal act of apostasy.

July 12, 12:06 am | [comment link]
16. bob+ wrote:

My Wife and I were just talking this and she commented that my mother has to be rolling over in her grave.  My thinking is there are earthquakes going on in every episcopal church cemetery and a lot of rumbling in other places of eternal rest.

Many of us have left the episcopal church for many different reasons but the liberals in the episcopal church have left the faith.

July 12, 12:48 am | [comment link]
17. art wrote:

What we have here is the secular sociological definition of any ‘religious body’ at work: TEC is now a voluntary association in its world-view, ethos and practice, well able to write its own rules and constitution by fiat - regarding anything it so chooses.  Of course, that this is diametrically opposed to the one holy catholic apostolic Church and its Faith goes without saying.

Some years ago Martin Buber coined the phrase “The eclipse of God”.  In such a world, there is simply no reference and/or accountability to anything/AnyOne transcendent, like a Creator for goodness sakes! Any religious and/or theological talk is mere human expression, governed in the end by those who wield the power.  Feuerbach/Nietzsche et al say it well ...  The Church however is born from the eternal love of the Father in the Beloved and sealed with the Holy Spirit: so e.g. the Letter to the Ephesians.

Kyrie eleison ...

July 12, 1:46 am | [comment link]
18. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Since this resolution was passed, any word on the resolution that was scheduled to come up that removes the requirement of being confirmed to hold any office at a parish or diocesan level?  These two resolutions taken together will throw open the doors of TEC to any non Christian who would like to worship in that building and really set the course for TEC to join the ranks of non-Christian sects.

July 12, 9:35 am | [comment link]
19. Sherri2 wrote:

Could this thread be bumped up? There doesn’t seem to be a general awareness of how serious this is. To me, this severs the line entirely - the point after which you can’t say that TEC is Anglican or part of the church catholic.

July 12, 9:39 am | [comment link]
20. Sherri2 wrote:

The Diocese of Georgia deputation’s report on this is here:
http://gc2012.georgiaepiscopal.org/
Also a letter from one priest to his parish about the same sex blessings.

July 12, 10:28 am | [comment link]
21. Kendall Harmon wrote:

The Bishops amended this resolution.  New amended version now posted.

July 12, 1:32 pm | [comment link]
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