Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lambeth Snooze

Here in the no-news zone (all of Lambeth) faux news (in the generic, not the FOX network, sense) has come to fill the vacuum. On Wednesday, NY Suffragan Bishop, Cathy Roskam was tagged to present at the TEC bishops' post Indaba group press briefing. The theme of the day had been Abuse of Power and, consequently, violence against women. Roskam noted the prevalence of violence throughout the world and the statistical likelihood that, in a gathering of over a thousand bishops and spouses, some present are victims and perpetrators of violence. The headlines the next morning screamed: "US female bishop Catherine Roskam: male prelates 'beat up wives'

Not what she said, of course, and she is (justifiably) angry about the misrepresentation. But it did the trick. Attention was diverted from the real issue of violence (on which, one hopes, the whole Communion could agree). Yet again the Communion's problem was framed as: the US is awful, women are awful, liberals disdain everyone else. And, instead of dealing with real issues, conservative bishops, and their wives, could spend the day telling the press that there's no wife-beating in their homes. I actually heard a reporter ask the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, "does your husband beat you"?

And yesterday, at the regular faux press conference that +Keith Ackerman and puppeteers schedule and locate to conflict with the offiicial TEC briefing, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt complained that everywhere the bishops go they are forced to encounter gays and lesbians. Of course, all non-bishops are locked out of the plenary meetings, bible-studies, and Indaba groups, and various other bishops-only events. There's even a fence around the area where the bishops meet and security guards to keep the rest of us out. But, nonetheless, there we are -- in restaurants, on the pavements, breathing the air. A huge imposition for us to exist in his presence. But, to be fair, apparently we are doing more than just existing. He also reports that he and other bishops are being "chased" everywhere they go by "hundreds of gay and lesbian activists .... too many to count." For the record, we can count only about 25 -- and that's stretching it -- and none of us have the energy (or the desire) to chase Anis or his friends.

So -- time will tell what non-news springs forth today. Actually, no-news is what we're all hoping for. The several of us who have been doing this kind of work with/in the Church for decades have learned from long, sad experience to be extra wary at the end. Early assurances and the lack of any notable activity can lull us into complacency. Then, when we've stopped looking, packed up and gone home, they spring the Church's latest version of a Saturday night Massacre. We're keeping our fingers crossed that Lambeth stays true to the ABC's promises that this event is about conversation, not legislation. But we still worry about a last minute attempt to create a loyalty oath that requires throwing the lives, ministries, and persons of the gay and lesbian faithful under the bus.
posted by KHR+ | 6:38 AM | 0 comments


More Lambeth

Sitting in a press briefing where we're being told that the laity's voices. Lesbian and Gay voices, are included in the bishops' conversations because they "represent all the people." I'm guessing the gays and lesbians whose bishops have said they don't exist aren't feeling very "represented." Neither, for that matter, am I. Any more than I suspect a person of color would feel "represented" if an all white (or passing) group gathered to make decisions about their lives -- decisions whose impact, by the way, doesn't reach to the people making it but only to the people, very different from themselves, whom they claim to "represent."


posted by KHR+ | 9:08 AM | 0 comments
Lambeth -- Part IV
No chance to log on yesterday. A colleague got word that her mother had jut died so I spent the day and evening sitting with her. Awful as the circumstances were, it did provide an excuse to leave Canterbury and drive to Whitstable to put our feet in the water and try some of the oysters for which they are famous.

In the meantime, the wonderful folks who are working the conference for the progressives put out a great edition of The Lambeth Witness that dealt with preparation for today's planned focus on sexuality as well as with the reports of 100+ bishops who had walked out of the domestic violence study on Tuesday. Read more here:

So far nothing much has actually happened here -- which is, in fact, as it should be. Stay tuned.

posted by KHR+ | 7:25 AM | 0 comments

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2008

Lambeth -- Part III

July 29, The Feast of Mary and Martha, and the anniversary of the ordinations of the Philadelphia Eleven. Thanks be to God for those women ad the three daring bishops who ordained them, forcing the hand of the Episcopal Church, USA and changing the Church, all over the world, forever.

Here, the brouhahas of the day are:
* For the full Conference -- a proposal from the Windsor Continuation Group (which includes no representatives who approve of LGBT rights) that all Churches in the Communion (read -- the U.S. and Canada) put a moratorium on blessing gay marriages and electing gay bishops. In return, foreign bishops will no longer assist seceding parishes and dioceses and invade (their word) the dioceses of American bishops. There would, under these recommendations, be provisions made so that parishes and dioceses which have already disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church will be cared for by third parties rather than forced to work things out within their own jurisdictions. This is described as creating a "safe space" for them. No similar provisions for safety have been envisioned for cast out gays and lesbians and the parishes and dioceses that support us.

* In the Communication Centre of the inclusive church movements the discord of the day has to do with whether our friends should have been called, publicly, on the "Inclusive Service" they designed and hosted which offered not a minute of respite from exclusive language. The manifestation of male privilege and entitlement even in this crowd has been hard for the women to take. I was designated to write the article critiquing the service and the on-going pattern -- and thus have been the focus of much of the anger that attends questioned and wounded privilege. Such fun -- ugh.

More on all of this in the daily paper published by the inclusive coalition and found here:

and here:

Have fun

posted by KHR+ | 4:40 AM | 0 comments

MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008

Lambeth -- Part II

Jim Naughton notes, on www.Episcopal :

"(At this point it may be worth pointing out that the bishops do not have the authority to speak for the Church on this issue of gay ordination. That power belongs to our General Convention. However, because a majority of diocesan bishops must assent to the election of any bishop, the bishops can effectively bar gay candidates from the episcopacy.)"

He's absolutely right, of course. But let's also note that diocesan Standing Committees, a majority of which also must assent to the election of any bishop, can also effectively bar candidates from the episcopacy. I hereby propose -- should the bishops decide to refuse to consent to any elections of gay bishops the rest of the church should refuse to consent to the election of any male bishops.

Eradicating sexism in the House of Bishops (which a change in the gender balance should help accomplish) will go a long way to eradicating heterosexism, as well.

posted by KHR+ | 10:00 AM | 0 comments


Let's take a break from the posting of sermons (not that I've done that lately) to provide reflections and updates on the doings at the Anglican Church's Lambeth Conference.

We've been here, in what one veteran church journalist refers to as "a no-news zone" (said about the press briefing room!) for a week now. Actually, others have been here longer than that as bishops arrived for local visits and for a bishops' retreat earlier on and activists and journalists came early to observe and prepare. In that time little has happened. More about the few almost newsworthy things that have occurred later. For now -- links to various progressive or liberal sources of information and reflection:

More later


posted by KHR+ | 8:00 AM | 0 comments


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