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GC2012: Indianapolis Statement read in HOD

GC2012: Indianapolis Statement read in HOD
Silently preaching the Gospel

By Mary Ann Mueller
Special Correspondent
July 12, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - Asking for four minutes of Personal Privilege in Thursday's final session of the House of Deputies, Dallas' Canon to the Ordinary, Neal Michell, read the entire Indianapolis Statement before the House of Deputies. It was first read in its entirety on the floor of the House of Bishops.

Common Cause bishops penned the Indianapolis Statement on Wednesday following Tuesday afternoon's disastrous passage of A049 authorizing the provisional use of liturgical rites for the celebration of the blessing of same-gender unions, which is not seen by the General Convention as a marriage rite. The secular media does not see that nuance and is reporting that The Episcopal Church has sanctioned "gay marriage." The Indianapolis Statement was designed to voice the eleven conservative bishops' unified dissent from General Convention's heterodox action.

The seven points of the Statement emphasized that, as Episcopal bishops, they were committed to fulfill their solemn oath, which is to believe in the entirety of the Scriptures, and to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church. They also affirm that the Book of Common Prayer offers clear teaching on the Holy Estate of Matrimony.

"The liturgy entitled 'The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant' is for all practical purposes same-sex marriage. It includes all of the essential elements found in a marriage rite: vows, an exchange of rings, a pronouncement, and a blessing," Canon Michell read. "We believe that the rite subverts the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer, places The Episcopal Church outside the mainstream of Christian faith and practice, and creates further distance between this Church and the Anglican Communion along with other Christian churches."

During Canon Michell's reading, the tweets flowed.

"After great lunch, we're back. Point of personal privilege from Dallas, opposing Same sex blessing & refusing to adopt covenant." ...

"Deputy Michell reads statement of dissent in HoD (with PHoD's permission). Concerned about SSB and Covenant." ...

"Hearing the Indianapolis Statement in HoD" ...

"Neal Michel now reading statement from those opposed to same sex blessings and to the decision to take no position on Covenant." ...

"This is painful to listen to, not just bc I disagree, but bc it points to a division that won't die. like watching parents fight." ...

"You should have issued a Lambeth Statement."

"TROLL - someone whose opinion differs from yours."

The bishops continued to speak to the House of Deputies through their Statement. "Our dissent from this action of the 77th General Convention is thus rooted in the teachings of our own Church; in the historic biblical and theological witness upon which those teachings rest; and in the wider context of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and our conviction that no part of the Church is free on its own to alter basic Christian teaching."

The bishops also expressed gratefulness that a conscience clause was included to protect the consciences of those clergy who cannot, for their souls' sake, officiate at the newly authorized liturgy or allow them to be celebrated in their jurisdiction.

The Indianapolis Statement bishops were careful to affirm their respect for the dignity of the gay and lesbians persons in their respective dioceses as the personal living out of their own Baptismal Covenant while they journey together to follow Jesus. Finally, they reaffirmed their commitment to the wider Anglican Communion in keeping with the Instruments of Communion while maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Following the reading of the Indianapolis Statement, Canon Michell asked for those deputies who agreed with it to silently stand. The camera was focused on Bonnie Anderson who did not stand in solidarity with the bishops.

Again Twitter hummed in the stillness.

"seems like all those who stood in the house to show solidarity w/ s carolina were mostly white males of a certain age - Just saying." ...

"I feel for the communion partners, but they consistently mis-speak both bible and history as they assert they represent the truth." ...

"Of course, we know all white males of a certain age are bigots" ...

"Saddened by the division displayed this afternoon in the HoD. Praying for our brothers and sisters in the minority."

Following a few moments of silence, HOD President Anderson quietly said, " Thank you for your witness."

Of the 843 deputies on the floor at the time only about 50 stood - silently witnessing to the Gospel and as one tweet confirmed: "More are standing w/you in pews."

As St. Francis once said, "Preach the Gospel; if necessary, use words."

The Gospel was silently preached in the House of Deputies.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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