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Monday, September 26, 2011

Yikes! HOD vs HOB - Trouble in TEC?: Bishop Sauls' Reform Proposal, the political context

We've got trouble right here in River City - with a capital "T" and it rhymes with "C" and it stands for TEC.
From the liberal blog: "The Lead" at Episcopal Cafe posted online September 26, 2011

Bishop Stacy Sauls’ presentation to the House of Bishops last week in Quito, Ecuador has stirred significant comment, not to mention anxiety, in the church. We hope to devote significant time and space to discussing his proposals in the days ahead, and would like to begin by describing the context in which it has landed.

Tensions between the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies are high, as are relationships between the Executive Council and the staff at 815. Some bishops have even discussed encouraging a candidate to run against Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies. Bishop Sauls seems, on one level to be sensitive to this. His power point presentation includes the following:

Read it all


  1. +KJS is untouchable due to the internal politics of the HOB. That doesn't mean that even the most progressive bishops are not concerned, if not about the direction of TEC, the way it is getting there.

  2. The question of how best to organize larger ecclesial structures for mission is or should be on the front burner for all of us. Certainly we see in the reactivity in some quarters following the recent HoB meeting a reflection of the simple reality that major changes, however necessary, will be costly for many folks. Some will lose the jobs that have shaped careers of meaningful ministry over years and decades, with collateral damage to family needs. Mortgages and how to help the kids through college. Others will feel that long and faithful service is being undervalued. Others will worry that hard-won positions of influence will be diminished. None of this means that we don't move forward, but we need to do so with a sense of tenderness toward friends and colleagues who will suffer losses along the way, and we need to do what we can to mitigate those losses.

    Those of us in the Episcopal Church are I suppose both blessed and cursed by legacies of resources and structures. The demands of stewardship are thus especially acute, and the difficulty of change is of a high order. We on our side of the aisle in the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese are trying to wrestle with some of this, as best we can, as we sketch out our frame of reference in the election of a new bishop.

    It may be that our friends on the Anglican side of the aisle, have a somewhat clearer path. More blank pages. Fewer long-lasting structures needing to dislodge. Something of a culture of innovation. It will be interesting to see if an effective missionary church will take shape--and of course that would always be my and our prayer. The temptation will be to build in familiar patterns.

    And it is obviously the case that lots of babies get washed out when there is an over-enthusiasm about clearing the bathwater. Thoroughgoing reforms can distort as easily as mindless reaction. It takes discernment and a light touch, wisdom and grace, not just in an individual or two but as a character of the community. Usually it ends up three steps forward, two back. With an occasional interlude of two steps forward, three back.

    Bruce Robison