Friday, June 26, 2009

P.B.’s Canon: Church Faces ‘Vague Anxiety’ in Advance of Convention


From The Living Church-

Unlike the previous General Convention, next month’s gathering faces a “vague anxiety level” over multiple issues as opposed to just one, said the Rev. Canon Charles K. Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop. He made the remarks during a June 24 lecture at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS).

The comment came in response to a question as to whether a final decision on issues such as same-sex blessings would come out of the General Convention. Canon Robertson said that Resolution B033 from the 75th General Convention, consent to the election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of the Northern Michigan, and the budget are all flash points causing anxiety for different Episcopalians.

“What’s fascinating about this General Convention . . . [is] that there’s not really a very specific target for our anxiety,” he said. “We’re not seeing the same thing we saw in 2006.”

Canon Robertson’s lecture, titled “Facing into the Wind: Lessons on Leadership from Conflict in The Episcopal Church,” was the first in the seminary’s summer leadership series. In it, he presented a model of how conflict develops and escalates. He looked back at prior Anglican controversies, particularly the ordination of women, to contend that the current tensions within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are neither new nor unexpected.

Canon Robertson cited sources as diverse as the apostle Paul, Richard Hooker, and various Lambeth Conferences to argue that resolutions should come through an Anglican comprehensiveness where “bonds of affection” conquer tensions arising from differences.

“The real challenge in all of this is to decide whether [issues such as human sexuality and hermeneutics] need to be the real litmus test,” he said. “Something has been lost if we believe that communion equals agreement.”

In response to a question of what is at the root of opposition to same-sex blessings and related issues, Canon Robertson said, “It often comes down to fear of change, but even that’s too easy. It often comes down to fear of the other.” He advocated building relationships with “the other” using agreed-upon rules of interaction.

http://www.livingchurch.org/news/news-updates/2009/6/25/pbs-canon-church-faces-vague-anxiety-in-advance-of-convention

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