Tuesday, July 04, 2006

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.

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