Well, I forgot how steamy Texas can be during the summer. I lived in Houston from 1986-1990 but since have lived in cooler climes (although Washington DC in the summer is not exactly “cool”).
Anyway, 800-plus Anglicans are here, many of them from northern Virginia, one of the critical masses of conservative Episcopalians who bolted the denomination 3 years ago, as well as Pittsburgh and central California. About 100,000 people are part of the new 39th province of the worldwide Anglican Communion which numbers about 77 million people. Just an hour ago, the Anglican Church of North America approved its new constitution.
Throughout the gatherings today, some leaders have wonderingly noted how few debates and arguments are happening with this gathering. One point of conflict - the ordination of women - has been sidestepped for now by giving each diocese decision-making power on whether or not to allow female priests. Female bishops will not be allowed. They call this system “honoring two integrities.”
One interesting tidbit of info offered is that one-quarter of the voting delegates are 25 or younger.
There are lots of purple shirts (bishops), all of whom have been booted out by the Episcopal Church - or they have volunteered to leave - due to the massive theological differences between the two camps. Some of us are looking around to see if Peter Beckwith, bishop of Springfield, Ill., and an Episcopal bishop in good standing, is there. I asked Bishop Beckwith last week if he was going to come after a spokeswoman for the denomination criticized him for being a liaison to the ACNA.
“If I came,” he said, “it’d be as an observer. I will not become a member of the ACNA. The only reason I’d be there is to support and encourage people.”
He added, “Apparently there are folks calling for my head. There is an effort to purse the Episcopal Church of orthodox people.”
- Julia Duin