The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, reflects on the decisions of the 79th General Convention:
On a positive note, an amended version of A068 was passed, thus preserving the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for at least the near term. There had been an attempt to change the 1979 BCP at this convention in ways that would have been unacceptable to those who maintain a traditional understanding of marriage. Resolution A068 not only preserved the 1979 BCP marriage rite and preamble, but also preserved the current psalter and liturgies; the Trinitarian formularies; the Lambeth Quadrilateral; and the Historic Documents. The resolution does allow for Dioceses under the direction and approval of their Bishop, to develop new rites and new language for trial use.
There had been an attempt at the 79th General Convention to radically change the bishop election process for each diocese by including the involvement of surrounding dioceses and the Presiding Bishop’s Office in unprecedented ways. While presented in a positive light, the potential for abuse led to the overwhelming defeat of the resolution.
One other potentially positive development coming out of the 79th General Convention was the passage of A227 which calls for the commission of a Task Force on “Communion Across Differences.” The Task Force (equally manned by traditionalists and progressives), is asked to find ways that both traditionalists and progressives can work together, to the extent possible, with a sense of integrity in The Episcopal Church. Time will tell how effective this will be.
Unfortunately with the passage of B012, authorizing same-sex marriages in parishes (regardless of the Bishop’s views and diocesan policies), the Task Force’s work has become much more difficult if not impossible. Of all the actions taken at the 79th General Convention, the passage of B012, is from my perspective as Bishop, the most problematic and potentially damaging within the Diocese of Albany as well as the wider Anglican Communion.
While I know there are some in the Diocese of Albany who applaud the passage of B012, the vast majority of the clergy and people of the Diocese, to include myself, are greatly troubled by it. There is much I need to say about B012 and how it will be handled in the Diocese of Albany, but before doing so, I need more time to think and pray, as well as consult with the Standing Committee and other trusted advisors.
What is being called for in B012 not only goes against the Marriage Canons of the Diocese of Albany, but also attempts to severely limit the bishop’s role and ministry as chief pastor, priest and teacher of all the people and parishes entrusted to his or her care regarding the sacrament of marriage. More importantly, it goes against my understanding of what God has revealed through Holy Scripture and over 2000 years of Church teaching about marriage.