General Convention 2006

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, and I will praise you . . . Psalm 43:3-4

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church
met in Columbus, Ohio from June 11-21, 2006.
This blog offers a view of the convention and beyond from the perspective of Lydia Evans, a two-time lay deputy from the Diocese of South Carolina.
Visit the links found below for additional resources
as well as pre- and post-convention coverage.
Thank you for remembering the convention deputies and their families in your prayers. For further resources, visit my webpages.
For all posts from the month of June, click here.
For all posts from the month of July, click here.


Christopher Caldwell: A Church Whose Day is Done

"The Republican party at prayer" is the way Americans used to snicker at the Episcopal Church, the snobby, worldly US branch of the Anglican communion. Recently, though, the church has taken on a new identity in the eyes of the world: as the gay-rights movement at prayer.

Church leaders met in Columbus, Ohio, last week to vote on dozens of pressing internal matters. They elected the church's first-ever female presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, to lead it for the next nine years. But all of that won public notice only in relation to the leaders' deliberations over gay ordinations, gay bishops and gay marriages.

"Such questions disturb all churches nowadays but gay issues are a particularly big problem for Episcopalianism. One reason is that the church is dying.

"Through decades in which Americans have moved to more conservative denominations, Episcopalians swam with the social tide and against the religious one, trying to anticipate rather than adapt to new movements that speak in the name of liberation. This won the church political kudos particularly during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa but it never drew spiritually hungry people into the pews."

"With just over 2m worshippers, the Episcopal Church is smaller than in generations. Its influence comes from the inertia of the era when it was the church of the few, the rich and the well-born.

"The US church has another problem: it is at odds with the practices of the global Anglican communion, whose 75m members make up the world's third largest church body. Most of Anglicanism's 38 "provinces" do not ordain women, as the US church has done since 1976, and only three Canada and New Zealand are the others elect women bishops. But it was the elevation of an outspoken homosexual, Gene Robinson, to be the bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 that led the thriving African churches, along with several traditional dioceses in the US, to threaten to break communion with the Episcopal Church. Going into last week's conclave, a schism in Anglicanism looked possible. Now it looks probable."

Read the rest of this article in the Financial Times (subscription required)


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