Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mixed Emotions

For the first time since I arrived in Anaheim I have some mixed reactions to what has happened. Most everything, by the way has been great – fantastic, even. Today things were a bit mixed. The House of Deputies passed a measure asking for Trans Civil Rights. The witness of a number of Deputies was very powerful. I wasn’t in the Deputies while this was happening, but Cameron described it to me and even captured the testimony and voting on his camera (so I did see it, but not live.) That measure passed in the House of Deputies easily. I am sure that Cameron can describe for you that in a much better fashion.

I was in the House of Bishops all day. They received a measure that had passed in Deputies asking to protect the rights of Transgender people in the process of Ordination. Access to the process is so important. It does not guarantee that one will be ordained, but that one has the opportunity. There were already several protected classes of individuals. That is the Canon protected people from discrimination because of race, color, ethnic origin, sex, etc. Gender Identity or expression was to be added to the classes. What the Bishops did was to substitute wording to the effect that all baptized Christians were eligible for the discernment process. I am paraphrasing so don’t think that the canon is worded exactly that way. What they did was to remove the list of protections.

In a much better world not being specific about who is protected might work. We live in a world that is far from perfect. I am skeptical that the wording will work. In any case, the measure now has to go back to the house of Deputies. We’ll see what they decide. I am a bit disappointed about this.

On the much better side, the House of Bishops considered a measure that would allow blessings of same sex unions in states where such unions are allowed. The measure is a broad and liberal measure allowing for much pastoral concern. It also allows for the study of appropriate rites for such unions. The measure was heavily debated over two days. A substitute measure was introduced after hard work last night by 26 Bishops. They resisted revising the substitute measure all afternoon and passed the measure by a very great margin. Since I come from Connecticut where same sex civil marriage is legal this is a very important measure. So many same sex couples who have civil marriages also want their church involved and now it is possible.

The convention is either winding down or reaching a feverish pitch, depending on your point of view. There is still much to do and little time left to do it. I have one more day and then I go home. I should have planned to stay through Friday, but my ticket is already purchased. Cameron will have to be the final witness and do the final report.

God’s Peace,

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