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.

6.09.2006

In My Mailbox

I received the following letter from a member of a parish in the Diocese of South Carolina:

Dear Mrs. Evans:

This letter is written to urge you to exercise reason, balance, and moderation in your decisions made at the General Convention.

While not frequently heard in our Diocese, I firmly believe that there are many other voices like me who believe that what unites us is greater than any divisions we may have with the Episcopal Church of the United States or certain provinces of the Anglican Communion.

There is no separation so great that God cannot heal given time and the desire to heal. We need to focus on kairos not chronos in seeking solution to our division.

I ask for your forbearance. Please do not make decisions in haste that will make reconciliation more not less difficult.

You will be in my prayers.

Here is my response.

Thank you for your letter of June 6th regarding the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church. While I share your concern for the deep divisions within our Church and the Anglican Communion, please know that I have been considering this situation prayerfully for the past three years and that I will not act precipitously. That being said, you need to know that I will not elevate the Unity of the Church above the Truth of the Gospel.

Let me tell you why. This is the Good News – Christ, tempted in every way as we are, did not sin. But for our sins he was lifted high upon the cross, that he might draw the whole world to himself. After his glorious resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us, that we might finally be one, reigning with him in glory. This is true unity. God gave His only Son as the perfect sacrifice for my miserable sins, and His atoning work upon the Cross ensures that I am marked as His own forever. He is the Lord of my life. He is first.

While I would agree that we must acknowledge the timing of God in His perfect kairos, I also believe that He will equip me in the chronos -- in our time – to partipate in the councils of His Church. The Episcopal Church is but one small part of the Anglican Communion. I am reminded that the Episcopal Church is a man-made, self-governing structure – a denomination – and in our reliance on self, we’re tempted to elevate our man-made creation over our Creator. A prime example of this is the way in which ECUSA moved forward with same-sex blessings in 2003 while dismissing theologians and bishops in the Anglican Communion who entreated the Church not to take this step in haste. This was clearly not exercising reason or moderation.

As to how I plan to discern the will of God in speaking and voting at the General Convention, I will strive to “recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit when they are in accord with the Scriptures.” (An Outline of the Faith in the BCP, p. 853) As I serve in various capacities on the diocesan level, I seek to bear witness to Christ, sharing the Good News, and carrying on His work of reconciliation in the world.

General Convention is an area where the restoration and reconciliation of which we speak is often misunderstood as the settling of divisions through compromise and appeasement. In the Church, however, reconciliation begins when we understand that our sin separates us from Christ. It is this relationship which is in need of mending. As a sinner in need of His saving grace, I must turn from my former ways and seek healing and mercy in the arms of the Lord.

Likewise, the Episcopal Church, deeply divided, broken and separated from much of the global Communion, must first turn to the Lord and repent. We must repent of actions taken in spite of godly counsel. Only then may ECUSA be reconciled to its Anglican brothers and sisters worldwide. As deputies from the Diocese of South Carolina, we will invite God to restore His Church to its biblical foundation and purpose. It is our prayer that the Episcopal Church will be reconciled to “the One Who makes all things new.”

In Christ’s love,

Lydia Evans
Deputation Co-Chair
Diocese of South Carolina

6 Comments:

Blogger Shay + said...

Lydia,

Well-said. Well-done.

Thanks for representing us.

Shay +

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

God bless your Christ-like spirit, graciousness, fortitude, and eloquence. May your voice, which very nicely represents a vast host within ECUSA, be well heard next week in Columbus. You will be undergirded with loads of prayer.

Grace and peace in great abundance,
Mike

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Very well written, Lydia! If I were a deputy to the convention I don't think I could've responded any better. May God safeguard you as you travel and give you wisdom and courage in Columbus!

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Creighton said...

Way to go Lydia. Hope all is well in Charleston and St. Philips

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Marc Robertson said...

Dear Lydia:
Well spoken: articulate, biblically informed, and grounded upon deep conviction. Remember Peter Kreeft's words: "... it is more convenient and comfortable to have a foggy faith because in a fog you can never be sure you have lost your way." May General Convention make that necessary step away from a "foggy faith".

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Kathy S said...

Dear Lydia:
I am in awe of your gracious, yet firm response to the letter you received on June 6th 2006 just prior to your departure for GENCON 2006. Rest assured that there are prayer warriors online who are covering you as you represent the Gospel Truth at this important gathering. May the Light of Christ shine brightly there, exposing the darkness and bringing a true spirit of repentance upon ECUSA. Those of us who stand by and watch are trusting Jesus Christ's own promise that "(and)the gates of Hell will not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

In His precious love,
Kathy

5:35 PM  

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