Monday, July 31, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I saw Al Gore's movie a couple of weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it a lot.

Many Central Floridians, along with all South Floridians and untold numbers around the world, can say their prayers, then kiss their patooties goodbye, if Al Gore is right. And experts say he is.

Between rising sea levels because of polar ice melting and more Category 5 hurricanes, there won’t be much left of the Florida Peninsula.

The cause is global warming, and we have about 10 years to turn the tide. Maybe.

Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect — all the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning petroleum and coal products to run our power and manufacturing plants, vehicles and homes.

Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere. Heat generated from the sun’s rays warming the Earth’s water and land can’t escape back into space, because it’s trapped by this layer of gas.

With the world population growing exponentially, expected to increase 42 percent from 2003 to 2050 — from 6.4 billion to 9.1 billion — and with Third World countries becoming greater consumers of power, there’s no way power consumption will go down.

The temperature of Earth and its oceans spirals upward. Sea levels rise. The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro and the ice of the Himalayas melt. Lakes and glaciers disappear.

Chunks of ice floating down from the North Pole actually cool waters where the Gulf Stream meets the North Atlantic waters, disrupting the return flow of the Gulf Stream, with disastrous results. Subtropical waters grow warmer, fueling more and more powerful hurricanes: more Katrinas.

In May, National Geographic News took a look at the former vice president’s predictions, with a view to debunking errors, but didn’t find them. See the article online at

Instead, scientists confirmed hurricanes and typhoons have become more powerful over the past 30 years — since greenhouse emissions started spiking.

Heat waves will become more frequent, and more deadly. National Geographic reported, “2005 was the hottest year on Earth since the late 19th century, when scientists began collecting temperature data. The past decade featured five of the warmest years ever recorded, with the second hottest year being 1998.”

Deaths from global warming will double in 25 years, to 300,000 a year, extrapolating from the heat wave that racked Europe in 2003.

It’s one thing to make predictions about what could happen in the future; it’s another to endure the consequences, and the movie shows them. We’re living with the results of our actions.

Some areas flood because of melting mountain ice; others turn into dust bowls because of changed weather patterns and water flow. Category 5 hurricanes become routine.

The question is, can we overcome our dependence on big oil companies and others who profit from the current system and who put out disinformation about global warming?

Gore quoted Upton Sinclair, who said “It’s hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding.”

Maybe when most Americans wake up and realize the lives of their children depend on it, they’ll understand. They'll start demanding solar energy and other clean fuels we've had the technology for, but haven't done anything about. We've been passive and apathetic. We've let big oil interests and their cronies continue to rake in billions, while the Earth suffers.

We’d all better understand, and make noise, before it's too late.

Go see the movie.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pirates of the Anglican Communion:
Dead Man's Province, Part Deux

Sparrow and the band of hundreds of clerics and determined lay people amass on the journey to the border of Province X. Though it is only early afternoon, darkness and uneasiness descend swiftly upon them.

The band of the Three-Legged Stool traveled across featureless plains all day. Vehicles began to act erratically around noontime. Some trucks stalled, and refused to start again, and those vehicles were abandoned, of necessity.

Sparrow is at a loss to explain the deepening darkness. The sun should be bright in the sky, yet it looks like a winter's evening.

Sparrow, Schori and Father Jake agree to halt and make camp until MadPriest (Orlando Bloom) returns from a scouting expedition.

The aroma of coffee fills the air as the command team pores over maps, trying to determine exactly where they are in this featureless land, and where the border to Province X lies, for no one knows exactly where the tenth province begins. They speculate about the causes of the enveloping gloom.

Sparrow surreptitiously pulls a flask from his pocket and pours "a little" rum into his coffee. "Arrggghh. I remember a day like this only once before. It was 20 years ago, and we were chasing the ghost ship into deep waters of the Atlantic. There was monstrous evil things out there..." Sparrow stops to finish his cup.

The air is still and silent. There's no trace of life around them — neither the chirp of a single bird nor the yip of a lone coyote.

Suddenly, the air is filled with thundering hooves.It is MadPriest on horseback, and 50 more horses follow, tethered to a line trailing from his saddle.

What happened to MadPriest's Geo Tracker? Where did he find the horses?

Only readers of the next installment will know.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two bishops, two letters

Two different retired bishops, writing two very different letters about the Diocese of Central Florida and the request for alternative oversight.

What do you think?

Letter No. 1

Below is the text of a letter published in this week's issue of The Living Church.

P. 15
Actions Unnecessary

I have read the decision made by the bishop, members of the standing committee and exective board of the Diocese of Central Florida to request alternative primatial oversight. In doing this they have joined the five other dioceses that have made this request of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I don't know what procedures the other dioceses followed to reach their decisions. I do know that Central Florida's decision was not reached by any broader constituency than the entities mentioned above.

As this is the diocese I served as bishop for the 20 years from 1970 until my retirement in 1990, I wish to go on record as disapproving of the decision, not only of Central Florida, but any diocese that follows this procedure. I have written to the Bishop of Central Florida to register my disappointment, disapproval, and dissociation from the decision.

I believe these actions are unnecessary, premature and inappropriate. I cannot believe they will do anything to strengthen the mission and ministry of Jesus in our world. I believe we can rely on Jesus to keep his promise to send the Holy Spirit tolead us into all truth.

The Rt. Rev. William H. Folwell
Bishop of Central Florida, retired

Letter No. 2

This is an open letter from retired bishop Ben Benitez of Texas to retired bishop Walter Righter of Iowa, concerning Bishop Righter's public criticism of Central Florida's request for AlPO:

July 22, 2006


Walter, back off in your castigation of the Diocese of Central Florida.

In the first place, they have not said that they are leaving the Episcopal Church. They are merely seeking the ministry of an alternate Primate to that of one who at GC 2003 voted for the Consent to the Consecration of Gene Robinson, - to that of one who has authorized the Blessing of Same Sex Unions in her diocese, - and to one who prays at public services to "Jesus, our mother"!

Walter, you must know that ever since you and your cohort, Jack Spong, took to, knowingly, ordaining non celibate homosexual persons, that many people in this Church, like those who comprise the Diocese of Central Florida, and
many others of us, regard you and those who have done as you do as apostate, as having abandoned some of the fundamental faith and practice of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. You have departed from the teaching of
the Church that has been upheld for 2,000 years, and what is more, probably 95% of Christians in the world, including an overwhelming majority of the members of the Anglican Communion, also regard you as having done so.

Furthermore, this is not only a matter of sexual behavior, but an even more important matter is that so many priests and bishops, in your theological camp, no longer believe that Jesus is still the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. Many deny the heart of the evangelical faith, that salvation, and the hope of the world, and our hope for Eternal life, is found in the Cross, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Why you even voted at GC 2003, along with the rest of the liberal revisionist bishops, NOT to reaffirm your commitment to the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral, with its strong affirmationof the authority of Holy Scripture as the Word of God. In doing so, you voted against "the Faith once delivered to the Saints", and in fact you repudiated your own Ordination vows!

Walter, in your lecturing to the Diocese of Central Florida, you spoke of reconciliation. However, in GC 2003 when you and others in the leadership of TEC forged ahead with a vote for the Consecration of Gene Robinson, you
were utterly defying the rest of the Anglican Communion, who were pleading forTEC to hold off until there was at least a shred of consensus in the Communion for your action. Where then was your appeal for reconciliation? And yet you, Walter, speak about Central Florida engaging in "coercion"!

And after we of TEC have all but torn this Communion apart, and now in 2006, with the rest of the Communion having given us two years to respond to the Windsor Report, our response was all but a sham, with our squeaking and our quibbling not remotely in compliance with Windsor? What sort of act of reconciliation do you call that?

Walter, I fully respect your right, and that of the rest of the bishops and deputies to disagree on any matter with the rest of the Communion, but why not do so honorably, and without a pretense of compliance? Why not clearly declare that TEC is unwilling to pay the price set forth in the Windsor Report by the rest of the Communion, for us to remain in the Communion, and that therefore, we are choosing to walk our separate way, and that we wish the rest of the Communion well.

Finally, Walter, you allege that Central Florida has said to the rest of the Church, " It is my way or the highway!" And you are wrong, for the living truth is that it is TEC that has said just that, both in GC 6003 and GC 6006, and it is the rest of the Anglican Communion that has been told by us, "You accept our way, or you take the highway!"

+Ben Benitez

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Playing now in a diocese near you:

Pirates of the Anglican Communion:
Dead Man's Province

Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) finds himself drawn into a supernatural battle, when the Archbishop of Canterbury (Robbie Coltrane) charges him with bringing Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (Keira Knightley), safely to a meeting at Lambeth Palace.

Sparrow arrives in the U.S. only to find the pirate Robert Duncan (Peter Lorre) and his cohorts have raided and looted six dioceses, and taken their people as slaves into a land they have stolen from others and renamed Province X. They declare themselves its rulers. Little do they know the true plans of Akinola of Africa (Darth Vader), with whom they have forged a compact.

Schori tells Sparrow he must rescue the stolen dioceses before she will acompany him to England. What is Sparrow to do?

He knows entering Province X may doom him to eternal Inquisition, endless fundamentalism and intolerable Calvinism. Yet, in order to break the compact, restore life to the Anglican Communion and save the exiles, he must go in.

Schori pledges to stand with Sparrow, as does Father Jake
(Johnny Depp. Or maybe it really is Father Jake.)

Together, they rally the forces of True Anglicanism, the Via Media and the Free Dioceses, under the banner of the Three-Legged Stool.

Sparrow remembers the vials of anti-viper venom and Holy Water the Archbishop gave him (as well as the cross his mother gave him, but which he usually keeps hidden), and holds them closely. Bishop Schori arms herself with the Sword of Truth and holds high the Bible. Father Jake arms himself with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace and the Shield of Salvation offered to all. They see others around them similarly armed.

What will be their fate? What adventures and misadventures lie before them?

[Ed. Note: these events are fictional, so far.]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

News from Central Florida, TEC and the Communion

Central Florida:

There's good news. Here in Central Florida, 32 clergy members signed a statement yesterday, rejecting schismatic actions in this diocese. More were expected to sign today, but I haven't seen a tally yet.

The first portion comes from purpose section of the Constitution of the Diocese of Central Florida, and the second portion rejects the recent actions:

"We, the Clergy of the Episcopal Church in Central Florida, acknowledge our allegiance due to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ and recognize the body known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America otherwise known as the Episcopal Church to be a true branch of said Church, having rightful jurisdiction in all its dioceses, and hereby declare our adhesion to the same and accede to its Constitution and Canons. We do not accede to any action or effort on the part of Central Florida's diocesan leadership or convention which seeks to disassociate us from the Episcopal Church, the actions and authority of General Convention, or the Anglican Communion."

[Ed. Note: bolding within the text of this document is mine.]


Pittsburgh, PA, 11 July 2006.

Nine urban, suburban and rural congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh today challenged the recent actions of the Right Reverend Robert William Duncan and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. On 28 June 2006, the Bishop and Standing Committee announced their intention to withdraw from the duly recognized, geographically-determined Province III of The Episcopal Church, envisioning the emergence of a theologically-determined "Province X." The parishes believe that these steps, if left unchallenged, could effectively remove the Diocese from The Episcopal Church. The congregations further believe that by requesting "alternative primatial oversight," the Bishop and Standing Committee seek to remove the Diocese from the oversight of the presiding bishop elect of The Episcopal Church, the Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori. The parishes also believe that all of these actions constitute an effort to retain use of property which is properly within the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church while withdrawing from The Episcopal Church.

History and Rationale

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is a founding member of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, and the Right Reverend Robert William Duncan, bishop of Pittsburgh, serves as its moderator. The Network was formed following the election of the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Subsequent to this development, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, at its conventions of 2003 and 2004, passed an amendment to the Constitution of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, declaring that the Diocese would not be bound by decisions of General Convention when such decisions ran counter to its own understanding of Faith and Order. In the Stipulation which ended the lawsuit filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas by Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, and St. Stephen's Church, Wilkinsburg against Bishop Duncan et al., all parties agreed that congregations in the Diocese desirous of disaffiliation from the Network could achieve that end by notifying the Bishop in writing. We believe that in their act of disaffiliation from the Network, those congregations expressed their loyalty to The Episcopal Church.

Representatives from eleven congregations that have opted out of the Network held a meeting on 29 June 2006. In subsequent meetings the following statement was drafted, and was subsequently accepted by representatives of the parishes indicated below. It is offered as a manifestation of our faithful understanding of Christ's love, and is predicated on a belief that the way to resolve differences is to seek reconciliation with those with whom we disagree, and not to withdraw from communion with them. It emerges, too, from our belief that The Episcopal Church is part of Christ's one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and is a church grounded in the Biblical principle of justice.

I. We believe that the action by the Right Reverend Robert William Duncan, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the Standing Committee of the Diocese, announcing their decision to withdraw from Province III is tantamount to leaving The Episcopal Church. According to the Canons of The Episcopal Church, each diocese belongs to one of the nine recognized geographically constituted provinces. While there is a provision for leaving one (geographical) province and joining another, there is no provision for constituting a province based on ideological or theological grounds. We believe that the proposed formation of a Province X, therefore, is canonically and constitutionally irregular, and it is highly unlikely that the General Convention will approve such a province, either in advance of its purported formation, or ex post facto. We believe that since Province X does not exist and is unlikely to exist, leaving Province III constitutes leaving the organized structure of The Episcopal Church.

II. The creation of Province X, in our view, is a mechanism to isolate dioceses, parishes, and perhaps individuals from The Episcopal Church. The formation of the Province is seen by us as the most recent step in an attempt to create a church separate from The Episcopal Church. Since the Diocese is part of The Episcopal Church, and cannot exist apart from The Episcopal Church, we believe that the Bishop and Standing Committee cannot legally remove the Diocese from The Episcopal Church for the purpose of planting it in some other province, or for any other purpose.

III. We believe the request made by the Bishop and Standing Committee for "alternative primatial oversight" is further indication of an intention to depart from The Episcopal Church. Although the Archbishop of Canterbury (at the request of the Primates) did set up a Panel of Reference which could hear appeals from dioceses in dispute with their own national church authorities and "to assist in the resolution of these difficulties" [Panel of Reference Mandate, 6 May 2005] the specific remedy requested is unprecedented and contrary to the basic understanding of the Anglican Communion as a fellowship of autonomous provinces. We believe the request for alternative primatial oversight constitutes a rejection of the duly elected leadership and governing structures of The Episcopal Church.

IV. The Bishop and Standing Committee have cited, in justification for their actions, comments made by the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in his "Reflections" promulgated in the week following the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. But it must be pointed out that as the Archbishop himself has stated, the Archbishop's statement is not definitive, and nothing in that document is binding. Any final disposition on any restructuring of the Anglican Communion, after consultation with the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council and other bodies, will, according to the Archbishop, be a lengthy process, a process that will begin in earnest at the Lambeth Conference of 2008. Moreover, even if the Anglican Communion is restructured, that action, in and of itself, would have no effect on the structure of The Episcopal Church, or on the relations between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. We believe the actions of the Bishop and Standing Committee have interpreted the Archbishop's document to suit their own views. As Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has said in response to the Archbishop's statement, "It is misleading that some, in responding to the Archbishop's lengthy theological reflection, have focused their attention on speculations about a yet-to-be determined outcome."

V. We oppose any efforts on the part of the Bishop and Standing Committee to take the Diocese outside of the recognized structure of The Episcopal Church. The Bishop and Standing Committee have stated that they believe it necessary for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to "dissociate itself from the actions of General Convention." Since the General Convention is the supreme governing authority of The Episcopal Church, and all dioceses are bound by its actions, such dissociation as described by the Bishop and Standing Committee constitutes, in our opinion, withdrawal from The Episcopal Church. We believe that any resolutions or constitutional amendments passed at conventions of the Diocese of Pittsburgh which would purport to release the Diocese from compliance with decisions of the General Convention are canonically improper and invalid.

VI. According to canon law, property owned by a diocese is held in trust for The Episcopal Church. We believe that the repeated claims of the Bishop and Standing Committee to be the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, while at the same time acting to separate the Diocese from the decisions of The Episcopal Church, therefore, constitute an attempt to retain legal possession of property held in trust for The Episcopal Church, while at the same time taking steps to remove the Diocese from The Episcopal Church. In light of these actions, we believe that the Bishop and Standing Committee do not represent the interests of the duly recognized Diocese of Pittsburgh.

VII. The authority in The Episcopal Church of any bishop and standing committee of a diocese derives from the authority of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, which are set by the General Convention. We believe, therefore, that any claim of the Bishop and Standing Committee that their authority derives from being "in full and unimpaired communion with the See of Canterbury and those churches, dioceses and provinces that uphold and propagate the historic Anglican Faith and Order" is based on specious reasoning.

VIII. In light of the foregoing statements, we further believe that we represent those in this Diocese who are loyal to The Episcopal Church. Accordingly, we extend an invitation to others who wish to remain in The Episcopal Church to join us in our efforts. We remain committed to the building up of the Body of Christ in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

All Souls Church, North Versailles
Calvary Church, Shadyside
Church of the Holy Cross, Homewood
Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill
St. Brendan's Church, Franklin Park
St. Matthew's Church, Homestead
St. Stephen's Church, Wilkinsburg
St. Thomas, Church, Canonsburg
St. Thomas & St. Luke's Church, Patton

Maybe the term "interesting" fits the latest news from Canterbury:

Stephen Bates at UK's The Guardian wrote the oddest story about the Archbishop of Canterbury in the most recent of his pieces about the Anglican Communion. It won't let me post a link to the article -- to see the full text, paste in, or google "Stephen Bates" + Going Around in Circles.

The last two paragraphs read:

When I saw the Archbishop of Canterbury on Sunday, he asked me how I thought Saturday's debate had gone. He nodded in agreement when I said that it seemed all the arguments had been made before. I wish he would take a leaf out of the Archbishop of York's book and tell what he described as his "currently confused and struggling church" a little more bluntly how he feels.

I asked him how he felt and he replied sadly: "You don't want to know." Actually, I did. But deep gloom seems to be surrounding the senior staff that the covenant plan to save the Anglican communion is falling apart even before anyone's started discussing what might be in it. One senior figure admitted he did not think the communion could survive until the next scheduled meeting of all the world's Anglican bishops in 2008. Katharine Jefferts Schori has been invited for an early meeting at Lambeth Palace within the next few weeks. They hope to integrate her more closely into the network of Anglican church leaders but this seems a vain prospect given that so many parts of the church's world still don't accept the idea of women in leadership, any more than gays.

Mention the name of Nigeria's conservative (and outspoken) Archbishop Peter Akinola and a strange convulsive, wringing, motion comes over Rowan Williams's hands. If only he would...if only he dared.

If only he would actually take a stand...

A hat tip to the Episcopal Voices moderator for all three of these items of timely interest.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

He just doesn't seem to get it

From President George Bush's press conference during a visit to Chicago July 7, from the L.A. Times:

Answering a question about his authority to try detainees before military tribunals, Bush reiterated his belief that the Geneva Convention does not apply to detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The Geneva Conventions were set up to deal with armies of nation-states," he said. "You've got standard rules of war. So, this is new ground. This is different than any president has been through before, in terms of how to deal with these kind of people that you're picking up off a battlefield and trying to protect the American people from."

Is the president as obtuse as he appears to be? I saw this exchange on the televised press conference yesterday, and couldn't believe that no one challenged it. So, I will.

Mr. President, the Geneva Convention has nothing to do with the character or intent of the prisoner. Absolutely nothing.

Rather, the Geneva Convention lays out how we, as civilized people will treat people who are at our mercy. It's about standards of conduct we set for ourselves, as honorable people. It's about us.

I realize concepts such as "honor" and "mercy" have declined in popularity in recent years. But it not ok to detain people illegally, without representation, then put them in front of military tribunals (who are controlled by you, when it comes down to it). It's not ok to torture, degrade, humiliate or otherwise mistreat prisoners. We are not that sort of people.

At least, we used not to be.

We gained goodwill from former combatants after World War II because we treated prisoners humanely. What will be the legacy of our actions under this administration?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Yearning and learning to love and be loved

The endless debate in the church over sexuality is wearing me out. I'm tired of it.

Leave the analysis to the sciences. It's not necessary to our faith to have a perfect understanding of why people are straight, gay, bi or whatever. It's enough to know that each of us is created uniquely, handcrafted by God.

Like any handcrafted items, no two of us are exactly alike. That's enough to know. God doesn't mean us all to be exactly alike, otherwise, He/She wouldn't have created so much diversity of life on this planet, never mind what else is out there.

That doesn't mean that some of us are more equal than others in God's eye. Unfortunately, we human beings are pretty quick to sort out who's more different than the rest of the (ruling) lot, and treat them as factory rejects.

While there's been a boatload of talk about sexuality, I haven't been hearing much about morality.

Let's spend more time considering how we treat each other, for that defines our morality.

People who go through relationships like potato chips are immoral. They're using and hurting other people, treating them as disposable objects, denying them the reflected light of God we are supposed to be to each other. Bi, straight, gay, whatever, it doesn't matter.

If we sit drawn up in our own meanness and tell others they can't have love because of who they are, we're immoral. We're denying God's children the light of God's love.

Our work as Christians is to shine God's love on each other, and on those who haven't yet come to see that love, so they might see. We can't live without love. The less of it we're exposed to, the less value we see in ourselves and each other.

God's love heals us and brings us to wholeness. It's offered to us directly from God and through each other.

If I see a straight or same-sex couple in a loving, faithful, nurturing relationship, then I must accept this comes from God.

If I see a straight or same-sex couple in an abusive relationship, or where one or both partners are indulging in outside sexual relationships, then something is wrong. Healing is needed, and perhaps the partner who is being exploited and misused may have to leave that relationship to get into the light of God.

To go through a string of such relationships is immoral. It's turning away from the love God wants us to accept.

This is why telling someone he or she is unloveable is such a sin. Heard often enough, the lie is believed, and its impossible to have a healthy relationship when we believe neither God nor anyone else could really love us. That's a tragedy. How awful to tell people they can't have relationships, then accuse them because they don't have it.

Unless we've been unbearably broken somewhere along the line, we all want to be in a loving relationship with another person. It's something I most earnestly desire for myself, and I know it will be a gift from God.

Who am I to deny it to someone else?

It is a sin the church's time and energy have been diverted from doing God's work to the topic of sexuality. I want to hear less about sexuality and more about God.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A cause for good cheer

If your spirits need a lift during this time of contention, accusation and separation, watch this.

If we were Roman Catholic, I'd be talking about canonizing Desmond Tutu.

Watch the tape. You'll see Christ shining out of his eyes, and through his being.

Happy Independence Day to everyone, everywhere. Remember we were created as children of God, with the right to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Want to see a real firecracker? I got to see the Space Shuttle Discovery streak across the Central Florida skies this afternoon.

Cheers! And God, please give them a safe mission.

Just a suggestion ...

The Episcopal Voices of Central Florida, of which I'm a member, is drafting a response to Bishop Howe's request for AlPO. We will dissociate ourselves from this action, as we should.

The (ultra-conservative, fundamentalist) leadership of this diocese has insulated itself from the people in the pews. There was no attempt to get a consensus from members of the diocese before hooking us up to the Network a couple of years ago. No one even knew the boards were meeting unitl after they came out with the June 29 statement dissociating this diocese from the actions of GC, refusing the leadership of the duly and lawfully elected new presiding bishop, and demanding alternative oversight.

My friend Charlotte made this suggestion:

The decision to seek A(l)PO for Central Florida was taken by a very small group of very conservative committee members. There is no representation on these committees for the moderate or liberal Episcopalians in the diocese. We didn't even know the names of these committee members until yesterday; they aren't posted on the diocesan website. Yet they have put all of us in the diocese at risk.

What I'd like to see is representation for moderates and liberals at all levels of the diocesan leadership, and I'd like to see it effected as soon as possible, perhaps through a mass resignation of all current Standing Committee members, followed by a special election.

In other words, a kind of Glorious Revolution in the diocese, making it possible to introduce some checks and balances into the decision-making process.

They are needed! After reading the Guardian article, "Divine Divisions," I'm quite convinced that the decision to seek A(l)PO will prove to be disastrous for the persons who took it. If they climb down from their present position, it will be humiliating; if they do not, they will split the whole Communion, including the Church of England -- and I would not want that to be my legacy to the Church I love! If they had been able to hear the voices of dissenters, they might not have succumbed to groupthink and the excitement of the moment.

I, too, would like to see a mass resignation and special election. The British Prime Minister can call for a special election if he or she feels out of step with the will of the people. Let's take a leaf from that Anglican book.

The request for AlPO could be put up for a vote -- do we, a clear majority in the diocese, really want this?

Unfortunately, I don't see this happening. The people in power aren't going to give an inch, though I think we should hammer away at it. Vive la revolution!

So, I have a suggestion for the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, I suspect, is always delighted to receive my suggestions: Sit on this request like you sit on everything else. In 20 years, when all the signers have died or retired, your successor can ask her aide, "Oh, BTW, whatever is happening with those schismatic yanks in Central Florida and Pittsburgh and whatnot?"

Maybe it could be put on the table at Lambeth 2028.