OUR GENERAL CONVENTION 2000 COVERAGE includes this report from Anglicans Online correspondent Pepper Marts. Other reports are listed here. You may contact the writer at pmarts@efortress.com.

10 July 2000

"Do you know what a compromise is?" Atticus asked.
"Bending the law?"
"No, an agreement reached by mutual concessions."
                 -- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


In a few hours the House of Deputies is scheduled to begin debate on the substitute resolution on human relationships prepared by Special Committee 25. [D039s] The committee had been charged with receiving all resolutions coming before Convention that concerned matters of human sexuality.

After numerous *in camera* meetings and extensive open hearings the members of Committee 25 crafted a compromise resolution stipulating that marriage and life-long committed relationships "will be characterized by fidelity; monogamy; mutual affection and respect; careful, honest communication; and holy love," and that all church members will be held accountable to these values. The resolution then directs the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to draft rites expressing support for such "lifelong committed relationships" for consideration by the next General Convention. The rites are to be prepared for inclusion in the Book of Occasional Services rather than The Book of Common Prayer.

In its meeting yesterday morning (10 July) the committee indicated that except for substitute resolutions still in process it would discharge all other resolutions it has received, including the SCLM's resolution (A065) which has won little support either in committee or in the hearings.

Both supporters and opponents of same-sex unions criticize A065 for espousing local option. Detractors on both sides say that giving dioceses and bishops responsibility for deciding whether to approve blessings of same-sex relationships and ordination of homosexual persons, resolution A065 threatens to bring other areas of church life, such as the ordination of women, into the arena of local decision.

Recent Conventions have seen most statements on questions of human sexuality come from folk easily identified as strongly for or against a particular resolution or clause, and whose arguments were drawn primarily from scripture. This year, after listening to more than five hours of open hearings, it seems to me that most statements have been grounded in human experience and that we have heard from people who spoke from a wide variety of locations in the discussion space.

Pepper, grateful for information provided by David Skidmore

Resolution D039s

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the members of the 73rd General Convention intend for this Church to provide a safe and just structure in which all can utilize their gifts and creative energies for mission; and be it further

Resolved, we acknowledge that while the issues of human sexuality are not yet resolved, there are currently couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in marriage and couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in other life-long committed relationships; and be it further

Resolved, we expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God; and be it further

Resolved, we denounce promiscuity, exploitation and abusiveness in the relationships of any of our members; and be it further

Resolved, this Church intends to hold all its members accountable to these values, and will provide for them the prayerful support, encouragement and pastoral care necessary to live faithfully by them; and be it further

Resolved, we acknowledge that some, acting in good conscience, who disagree with the traditional teaching of the Church on human sexuality, will act in contradiction to that position; and be it further

Resolved, that in continuity with previous actions of the General Convention of this Church, and in response to the call for dialogue by the Lambeth Conference, we affirm that those on various sides of controversial issues have a place in the Church, and we reaffirm the imperative to promote conversation between persons of differing experiences and perspectives, while acknowledging the Church's teaching on the sanctity of marriage; and be it further

Resolved, that desiring to support relationships of mutuality and fidelity other than marriage which mediate the grace of God, the 73rd General Convention directs the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to prepare for consideration by the 74th General Convention rites for inclusion in the Book of Occasional Services by means of which the Church may express that support.

Pepper Marts, 2911 Maximillian Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104-1817
(505) 843-9625
In the Diocese of the Rio Grande
What does God require of you but to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)