As those of you who regularly read this blog know, I have been highly suspect of the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to our General Convention. Maybe it's living in the schismatic South that makes me always look over my shoulder, but I just figured that the man wasn't coming here to simply observe our process and then party at Disneyland.
I have a hunch, I am right to be leery of ++Rowan.
As members of Integrity, and supporters who donned colorful T-shirts, came together for a eucharist with the ABC... ++Rowan dropped a few hints about what he would like to see (or rather, not see) come out of General Convention 2009. The Archbishop, who had met with eight LGBT delegates on Wednesday for a whopping half-hour, seem to acknowledge their pain...
"I do realize that this engagement has been and still is costly for different people in different ways: some feel impatient, some feel compromised, some feel harassed or undervalued, or that their good faith has been ungraciously received. I'm sorry; this has been hard and will not get much easier, I suspect," Williams told the assembly.
Ummmm... OK... that's NOT very encouraging to hear. And I'm going to give the ABC the benefit of the doubt that he is referring to the "Anaheim Eight" as they're being called as the ones who have felt harassed or undervalued... and not, say, Peter Akinola or Jack Iker.
The ABC also said he hoped the GC attendees wouldn't do anything that might cause further strain in the Anglican Communion. Ummm...OK... so I guess I can rest assured, then, that he probably has been having tea with a few of our more conservative bishops and giving them a "Hold that line!" pep talk. Uh-huh.
We'll see what comes of all this, but my sense is that the line is going to move... whether ++Rowan wants it to or not. When God is involved, things get messy and complicated. But, ultimately, they do work out. Try as he might, the ABC will have to concede that not even he can keep God locked in a box. And if the Episcopal Church is going to be a people of God... then we will be bound to follow wherever the Spirit moves us.
Meanwhile, INTEGRITV... the YouTube Channel for Integrity... had a nice interview with Katie Sherrod, who is a delegate at the General Convention from the resurrected Diocese of Fort Worth. Being one who is attending a church that had been rocked by homophobia and schism, I recognized the pain she spoke of with regard to people feeling exiled from their church, and the battle scars of schism. We should all pray for those Dioceses that have been in Hell. The folks who remained faithful and stayed with the Episcopal Church have suffered personal loss and pain. But they have survived Good Friday and are coming into their Easter moment. Please take pause to remember them in your prayers. With God's help, they will occupy a chamber in this new heart of the Episcopal Church.