(WSJ) Jay Akasie on General Convention 2012—What Ails the Episcopalians

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the party may be over for the Episcopal Church, and so, probably, its experiment with democratic governance. Among the pieces of legislation that came before their convention was a resolution calling for a task force to study transforming the event into a unicameral—that is, a one-house—body. On Wednesday, a resolution to "re-imagine" the church's governing body passed unanimously.

Formally changing the structure of General Convention will most likely formalize the reality that many Episcopalians already know: a church in the grip of executive committees under the direct supervision of the church's secretive and authoritarian presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. They now set the agenda and decide well in advance what kind of legislation comes before the two houses.

Bishop [Jefferts] Schori is known for brazenly carrying a metropolitan cross during church processions. With its double horizontal bars, the metropolitan cross is a liturgical accouterment that's typically reserved for Old World bishops. And her reign as presiding bishop has been characterized by actions more akin to a potentate than a clergywoman watching over a flock.

Read it all.

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

13 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Bill Cavanaugh wrote:

Not that I often find myself defending Katharine Jefferts Schori, but she inherited the “Metropolitan Cross”—Frank Griswold carried the same one.  Certainly there are many examples of our current PB arrogating power to herself, but I don’t think this is one of them…

July 13, 10:26 am | [comment link]
2. Dan Crawford wrote:

“Her reign as presiding bishop has been characterized by actions more akin to a potentate than a clergywoman watching over a flock.”  Ya think?

July 13, 11:49 am | [comment link]
3. Ian+ wrote:

A unicameral convention might be much less unwieldy. In Canada the General Synod is unicameral. All debates, motions, etc. are brought before the single body, although bishops vote separately from the rest if called for. It’s a much better image, I think, of the whole Church wrestling over pressing issues together.

July 13, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

1.  Bill, don’t kid yourself.  KJS would gloat if she were officially recognized as a metropolitan by most of the Communion, and that won’t happen.  So, she carries on as if it doesn’t matter, even though deep down inside, it’s wht she really wants…....especially since she’s now on her way to creating an Episcopal Communion of her own with all of TEC’s overseas jurisdictions..

July 13, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
5. wmresearchtrianglenc wrote:

Unicameral, schmoonicameral…the result should make no difference to TEC in the long run. I believe the decades ahead of use will see a realignment of many non-RC and non-Eastern Orthodox bodies into one of two larger “umbrella” unions, one “liberal”, the other “conservative” (cf. Reform and Conservative Judaism)—perhaps not so structured a union but a very real and significant one (with historical separations revolving around differences over Arminianism, Calvinism and certainly matters of lesser weight, relegated to the library). Whether or not TEC were to become part of the “liberal” umbrella union (and that is the only union in which it would then fit), the very formidable obstacle TEC will face is that is will be seen as similar to a liturgically-flavored Unitarian-Universalism and because TEC will be widely understood as having departed from long years of past breadth, its potential for growth is likely to be very limited and thus it will be relegated to having to fight very hard to stay afloat in the position in which it finds itself.  A somewhat simple matter of cause and effect.

July 13, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
6. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I am a little hesitant to go to a Unicameral General Convention. They have a unicameral legislature in Nebraska, and it functions more like a parliament. I do not relish the idea of the Presiding Bishop becoming the de facto, in not de jure, prime minister. That’s a recipe for disaster.

July 13, 2:08 pm | [comment link]
7. Teatime2 wrote:

#4 and 5, Bingo! That’s what I was musing about on another post (the one from the Church Times) when I saw the picture of her and the gang sitting on a platform with all of the international flags behind them. That picture spoke a thousand or more words.

Consider, too, the seemingly innocuous measure about the presiding bishop retaining the diocesan bishopric, as well. That’s what Cantuar does (Canterbury diocesan, English primate, ABC). Schori will not fade away anytime soon. There will be a new PB at some time in the near future but I expect a new, international post will be created for Schori. Appointed, of course, and not democratically elected. She’s been weaning the church off any semblance of democracy in the past few years.

It will be interesting, though, when all of these minions realize how utterly they’ve been used. By the gay lobby, by Schori, by Integrity.

July 13, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
8. magnolia wrote:

great article and the comments were most interesting.

July 13, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
9. wvparson wrote:

PB’s have been using a primatial cross since +Jack Allin’s day when the role of PB was described as that of primate and chief shepherd. I think it true to say that TEC is the only Province in the Communion which doesn’t have a unicameral synod. The push against a take over by the executive is as much a “liberal” issue as a traditionalist one. Indeed most of the voices against a radical re-structuring comes from the left.

July 13, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
10. Mark Baddeley wrote:

That report has to hurt, and it doesn’t even touch on transgender or same-sex motions. WSJ must have known that *any* bad press would engender TEC’s well known machine to get in front of the story and control it (as they would have found with Mollie’s article on the legal cases a year or so ago) and so just decided to not pull any punches this time and tell it like it is. Classic example of things back-firing - if they didn’t try and control everything so much, WSJ mightn’t have just dumped all the criticisms out there like this.

July 13, 7:36 pm | [comment link]
11. MichaelA wrote:

“Not that I often find myself defending Katharine Jefferts Schori, but she inherited the “Metropolitan Cross”—Frank Griswold carried the same one.”

That’s appropriate, given that Frank Griswold was as incompetent as Katherine Schori.

July 14, 3:41 am | [comment link]
12. MichaelA wrote:

“In recent years she’s sued breakaway, traditionalist dioceses which find the mother church increasingly radical. Church legislators have asked publicly how much the legal crusades have cost, to no avail. In the week before this summer’s convention, Bishop Schori sent shock waves through the church by putting forth her own national budget without consulting the convention’s budget committee—consisting partly of laymen—which until now has traditionally drafted the document.”“

That’s the thing: it is liberals who are now asking the questions of Ms Schori: ‘What have we got to show for the millions spent on law suits, and why are you presenting budgets without consultation?’

July 14, 3:45 am | [comment link]
13. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Someone call SuperPerson, there’s a metropolis that needs cleaning up before it can become the City of God.

July 14, 10:23 am | [comment link]
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