For the past two weeks, I have been gathering my own impressions about what will occur at this year's General Convention:
1. The secular media will not be as interested, on site, as they have been in the last six years. Issues of sexuality and division, always favorites of the media (and ourselves), are still present; but they have lost much of their immediacy and novelty. The Episcopal Church and homosexuality might very well seem like "old news" to the rest of the world.
2. The House of Deputies seems ready to pass some sort of legislation going forward with asking for authorization of rites for same-sex blessings. I am not so sure about the House of Bishops. I am glad to have so many friends who are bishops, and they report a variety of hopes and cares.
3. Regarding resolutions which seek to re-interpret, or repent of, or re-visit, resolutions of past conventions, let me say that I do not like speaking in code about things like "B033." The world does not care about our references. I believe Convention will pass resolutions that seek to honor all of God's creation, including gays and lesbians, resolutions that declare no hindrance to access to ordination, and also resolutions that confirm our commitment to the highest possible degree of communion with other churches in the Anglican tradition.
4.The real issue of General Convention 2009 will be money and budget. Our church is not immune to the financial situation of the rest of the world. We will have to acknowledge ways that our church can do more with less money, just like so many of our individual parishioners and parishes.
5. I regret that many of my more conservative colleagues and voices of authentic and classic evangelicalism are missing from convention. For sure, some of the more traditionalist organized interest groups that were so prevalent for the last twenty years are not here. I miss them. Our Episcopal Church will be weaker in their silence.
6. Given the fewer number of more traditionalist organizations here, I wonder if new "fault" lines will appear in our politics and in our legislation. In any organization, there are conservatives and progressives. If the "old" conservatives disappear, who will the "new" conservatives be? I forecast that the "new" conservatives will come from groups who were once known as "progressives."
More later. May God guide the Episcopal Church into all grace,