Saturday, June 17, 2006

Reflections on GC Day 3 #1

Things are beginning to pick up steam. The deadline for new legislation has passed, the committees are hard at work. The word I hear is that Special Committee #26, the one handling the Windsor Report resolutions will finish their work sometime tommorrow (Saturday) and begin to move their work through the House of Bishops. People I have talked to who went to the Special Committee meeting tonight and in the House of Bishops tell me that they are doing good work and that we may have before us something that will really move us forward. We'll see.

Today we concured with the House of Bishops in approving the Revised Common Lectionary as the Lectionary of the Episcopal Church. It has been in trial (or experimential) use status for a long time and this has created some hardships. First of all, we could not adequately test the texts because the major Episcopal publishing houses refused to invest in putting out books, music, settings, and so on because they did not want to spend money on something that might go away. Second of all, by keeping the Prayer Book lectionary, we were finding ourselves increasingly out of step with not only our ecumenical partners but the rest of the Angican Communion.

As resistence was voiced to make the RCL~E the official lectionary, with proposals made to make it one of two official lectionaries or to keep the RCL at the trial use level or simply to eliminate it except as a bishop may give permission for it's use, I found irony in the situation:
at a Convention where we are singularly concerned about our connection with the Anglican Communion, there were people--presumably people who want us to remain within it--who wanted to delay, make optional or kill the use of the lectionary common to much of Anglicanism.

Why? The most common reason was cost: small/medium/large parishes could not afford, we were told the shift from one lectionary to the other; it would cost too much to update Prayer Books, and so on.

Eventually, we voted. We had to vote by orders. This created an interesting problem. If the resolution failed--and voting by orders is designed to magnify "no" votes by taking "split" deputations (2 clergy vote yes & 2 vote no) as one "no" instead of "two yesses" and two "noes"--then there would be no RCL! Fortunetly, it passed in both orders and will be in 2007 the official lectionary, with a transition time for congregations to phase out the current lectionary for the RCL.

I am glad we passed it. We use the RCL to good effect and warm acceptance at Trinity, Easton. Readers who need it buy their copy through the Church store.

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