As you will recall, Albany is one of those dioceses that has distanced itself from the Episcopal Church, taking a conservative stance on the "issues of the day." The conservative majority in Albany endorsed the so-called Anglican Covenant even before the final draft of the document was presented, and long before TEC will act on it in 2012. The bishop and majority of Albany have expressed their support with those who have left the Episcopal Church, and they have taken every opportunity to damn our church.
And yet, Albany's Bishop Love let our Presiding Bishop make a visitation to his diocese. I choose to see that as a hopeful sign.
I don't know about you, but I was appalled by the way that Albany's Bishop Love introduced Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. He said: “I’m sure some of you are thrilled that Bishop Katharine is here with us, and some of you are less than thrilled.” While that may be true, it certainly is not charitable ... nor do I think it adheres to the way that the Gospel writers urged us to welcome our Christian brothers and sisters. It falls far short of a "holy kiss."
His ungracious welcome makes me wonder about his motivations. Did he hope to humiliate her on his home turf? I cannot know.
Ah well. That is Albany's Bishop Love.
It seems to me that the dominant powers in Albany -- like those who led the dissidents in places like Fort Worth and Pittsburgh, among others -- cling to a pre-modern, fundamentalist understanding of Scripture. It seems that our Presiding Bishop tried to move them into a deeper level of conversation, tried to open them to a deeper understanding of Scripture, tried to build bridges with those who have excoriated our church. I doubt she could accomplish all that in the mere 90 minutes that Bishop Love allowed her to meet with the Albany clergy. But I hope some minds and hearts may have been opened ... or at least softened.
Go here and read John White's fine account of the PB's visit with Albany's clergy and their spouses. I'm not even going to excerpt any of it here; you need to read his full account.