General Convention 2009

The Episcopal Church’s
76th General Convention, held in
July in Anaheim, California, has
come and gone. Many of its results are of
little relevance here in Copake Falls, but a
few are worth brief mention.

Two resolutions, D025 and C056,
restate the Church’s year 2000 declaration
that its orders and sacraments, ordination and
marriage included, shall be accessible to all
baptized members. These resolutions passed
in both the House of Bishops and the House
of Deputies by margins of more than two to
one. After six years of dodging foreign and
domestic opposition over sexuality, the
Episcopal Church has made its position very
clear, while reiterating its respect for those
with different views and its commitment to
the Anglican Communion.

The Church has also made it clear
that its last words on homosexual ordination
and same sex marriage are yet to be spoken.
Its resolutions concerning inclusiveness
contain “opt out clauses” for dioceses and
bishops that oppose full access for LGBT’s.
No doubt Albany, whose delegation opposed
both resolutions, will make use of those
clauses.

Fr. Mark Diebel’s resolution to open
birth records to adoptees, adopted by
Albany’s Convention in June, was also
approved by GC 2009, as were resolutions to
initiate or expand our Church’s communion
with Presbyterians, Methodists, AME’s, and
Moravians.

Not all of the news from Anaheim
was good. A three-year budget requires
bone-deep cuts in programs and some
aspects of mission. Thirty priests and lay
workers at Church Headquarters have been
laid off already, with more belt-tightening to
come. This situation makes it imperative that
parishes and dioceses strive to support the
national Church as best they can.

By all reports, the Anaheim
convention was far more collegial than the
explosive GC 2003 and the fractious GC
2006, though many of the same issues were
in play. We have good reason to be proud of
our Episcopal Church and the delegates who
worked long and hard in our behalf during
GC 2009. They deserve our thanks.

Robert T. Dodd