Monday, November 17, 2008


November 17, 2008

The Annual council of the Diocese of Atlanta took place last Friday and Saturday with All Saints represented by the clergy, Tom Cox, Bruce Garner, Richard Hall, Florence Holmes and Robert Wadell with Mimi Spang present as an alternate. There were wonderful presentations on Millennium Development Goals including a video presentation prepared by our own Amanda Meng. A number of resolutions were passed including one that asks us to begin every meeting, Bible study, class or other gathering in the life of our parishes for one year beginning with the First Sunday of Advent with a question. That question is along the lines of ‘what difference does what we are doing here make to the poor?’ I hope it will be a useful spiritual exercise for us. It is not the kind of resolution that I expect to be honored in very many places and would have preferred to see it tabled, a motion that was made and which failed.

More memorable were two resolutions, one of which asks General Convention to prepare liturgies for same gender unions and another which asks General Convention to repeal a resolution which among other things urged ‘restraint’ in the election of a gay or lesbian person to the episcopate. While these generated discussion in committee they both passed with neither amendment nor debate on the floor of Council. This suggests to me both a kind of acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships as within the bounds of our common life among the leadership of our diocese. It might also mean that the voices of opposition have left the Episcopal Church. While I welcome the lack of heat that these resolutions generated, I hope that my suspicion that conservative voices have gone elsewhere is wrong. It is a loss that I would mourn. On the other had perhaps these votes represent spiritual growth. That we could celebrate.

The Bishop of Rio de Janeiro was with us for Council and attended All Saints’ for worship yesterday. He clearly welcomes our relationship with his Cathedral and has a vision for the growth of the diocese among not only the poor, but also the educated middle classes of Brazil who sometimes find themselves disenfranchised by the church of their birth for a variety of reasons. This attention to a sustainable and sustaining infrastructure for the mission of the church is good news and a hopeful sign to me.

No comments: