Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Presiding Bishop Went up to Albany

Deep thanks to John White for giving us this first-person account of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's visit to the Diocese of Albany.

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: ā€œIā€™m sure some of you are thrilled that Bishop Katharine is here with us, and some of you are less than thrilled.ā€ 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.


Blogger +clumber said...

You know, I read the Albany account earlier, and I cringed reading the words of the ironically named +Love, just as I did when the Diocese of South Carolina "welcomed" the PB there. I kept thinking what a wonderful blessing KJS is to the church... it must provide great encouragement to the people who are struggling in the Albany diocese to bring the church there into the 21st Century. What a difficult task they must have to worship in a church that seems stuck, inflexible, and closed minded as Albany seems! We should include in our prayers the faithful people of the diocese who are trying to openly and honestly move their part of the church forward.

3/13/2011 12:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Amen to every word you wrote, +Clumber. How difficult it must be to be a true Episcopalian in that diocese. {sigh}

And thank you for dropping in, your Grace. I don't hear nearly enough from you these days!

By the way, last Saturday I was in Kansas City for the ordination of the new bishop of West Missouri. +KJS was the chief consecrator, and watching her preside was quite moving. I sensed a great serenity and depth in her words and actions. No wonder the term "non-anxious presence" has been attached to her role as PB.

3/13/2011 4:05 PM  
Blogger Episcopal Evangelism said...

As a member of the Diocese of Albany and the Integrity Coordinator for Albany, I along with many others were thrilled and overjoyed that the Presiding Bishop finally was able to come to Albany. I attended the Sunday Eucharist at our Cathedral this morning where she preached and was con-celebrant. It was a joy to see so many who love and appreciate the Episcopal Church from Albany in the congregation. There are many of us! As we continue to worship in this place we covet your prayers. Bishop Love was gracious, and I hope and pray that he may have been touched in soem way by the PB's words thsi weekend as she brought news and love from the wider Episcopal family.
Rich Angelo, St Andrews Church

3/13/2011 4:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Rich, I can only just begin to imagine the joy you must have experienced with the PB's visit to Albany. Whatever negative I might feel about the majority in your diocese, I give thanks that the leadership allowed PB Katharine to visit. And even to preach?!? I didn't know that!

I know that some of our opponents refer to her by all sorts of vile names (including "Dr. Squiddy"), but I have been impressed by her up-close, and I hope that her words and presence may have softened some hearts in Albany.

It is all too easy to rail against a disembodied figure, but I hope that encountering +KJS one-on-one may cool some of the more vitriolic dissidents in Albany.

I admire your courage and faithfulness, and I do keep the Episcopalians of Albany in my prayers.

3/13/2011 5:01 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

As I am wont to say, I don't know what is different in the waters on the west side of Lake Champlain (Albany) from what we get on the east side (Vermont).

3/15/2011 10:51 PM  

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