The General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States begins on Thursday morning — their equivalent of the General Synod that I was at a couple of weeks ago and that I’ve spent much of the couple of weeks since mulling over.
In the liturgy that I’ve witnessed, in the music that I’ve heard, in a trip to Edinburgh Pride this past weekend with fellow Episcopalians. A spark of optimism is there that burns brighter than it did before. It says that we can do this, and that we can do it while still all doing that most simple and complex thing of loving each other.
As part of their business over the next nine days the Episcopal Church of the United States will be considering an amendment to Canon I.18, which is their marriage Canon. The proposed changes are mainly based in the removal of doctrinal statements, and in that sense are similar to those which the Scottish Episcopal Church has just agreed to consider.
In my mulling over of the business that was done here in Scotland, I am still struck by the atmosphere of constructivity and generosity that I experienced in those three days in Edinburgh. At the time, I was struck by how hard people were willing to work to ensure that a satisfactory process was embarked upon. I was struck by the determination of people on all sides of the conversation to look for a compromise and an answer that we could all live with. I was moved then and am still by the willingness of people to be vulnerable, to talk about their lack of certainty, to lay their lives and their journeys bare, to show us all the deepest corners of their faith.
We in the Scottish Episcopal Church credit ourselves with having birthed the Episcopal Church of the USA when we consecrated Samuel Seabury in 1784 against the wishes of the Church of England.
It is my prayer for our sisters and brothers in the United States that they encounter as much love in their General Convention as we did in Edinburgh, and that Scotland will once again have lit for them a beacon of hope.