Monday, October 15, 2007

Thoughts on the HoB

I haven't posted directly to the blog before, but I feel obligated to offer some reflection on the recently concluded House of Bishops meeting. I believe the meeting was a watershed time especially for trans folk in the Episcopal Church. This assessment has nothing to do with what the bishops did, since the actually did nothing. My categorization has to do with the fact that the same time the bishops were meeting in New Orleans, the Consultation was meeting in Newark. This meeting of the Consultation was the first meeting in which there was an official trans representation. Cameron Partridge and I were both honored and pleased to serve as representatives to this meeting. A friend of mine, another transwoman, asked me what accomplishments I hoped would come out of the Newark meeting. I told her the very fact that our part of the Body was represented was accomplishment enough for me.
During our meeting we monitored the House of Bishops, eventually crafting a well worded reminder to them regarding their responsibilities to the rest of us. Cameron has posted that document. I have no idea what kind of response it received in the bishops meeting. We are now three weeks past what Susan Russell has called the "day after". I feel calm enough to offer some thoughts.
My partner has assured me that the bishops did the only thing they could. They agreed to that which had already been decided at the most recent General Convention. I have come to see the wisdom in that assessment. However wise the assessment may be, I am left wanting more from those to whom I look to for leadership. What more could they have done?
Well, the could have acted like leaders, now couldn't they? They could have stated categorically that, as the House of Bishops, they could neither accede to nor turn down the requests(demands)of the Primates. Our polity requires us to make decisions together, not unilaterally.
I believe the bishops wanted to pour oil on the troubled waters of the Anglican communion. They failed in this. Conservatives felt the Bishops response to be inadequate. Those of us in the GLBT community felt scapegoated yet again, if only by reliving the betrayal foisted upon us at the most recent General Convention.
So, the bottom line is everyone lost. Everyone but the Bishops that is. They apparently congratulated themselves heartily for their efforts in saving the Anglican Communion for at least another season. Bishop Robinson may get to attend Lambeth, where he should have been invited to begin with.
So, we spent a lot of money to get the purple shirts to New Orleans for the great meeting, which is certainly good for the economy of New Orleans, to arrive at the same place we were before the "great meeting". Somewhere I can almost hear a small voice saying, "pay no attention to the man behind the screen, the great and powerful OZ has spoken".

The Rev. Gari Green

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