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Closing Words from Kanuga

Bishop Dan Edwards:

The next Resolution called on the Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the President of the House of Deputies, to appoint a special commission to investigate and report on all aspects including canonical aspects of situations where church leaders are “impaired” (a term of art in the canons covering a variety of problems) with special attention to addiction and substance abuse. While there was no dispute whatsoever about the need to do this, there was a lot of feeling surrounding it, so we did a good deal of parliamentary wordsmithing. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to have an Indaba group about addiction in the church before taking official action. No legislative or formal action can be a sufficient container to hold all the feelings and concerns we have. So it would have been good to share those concerns in a less restrictive conversation. Still, we took the needed action. As an aside, this is something I wonder about restructuring the Church. I wonder if formal mechanisms are able to handle the feelings and relational dynamics at play.

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Bishop Daniel Martins:

I did raise a concern — a couple of times, in fact — about the House being asked to vote on things with very little or no notice. Again, it can be a way of sneaking substantive things by under the guise of something routine or innocuous. For instance, the report of the Ecclesiology Committee. To my suspicious eyes, this document had all the earmarks of an attempt to provide cover for TEC’s legal arguments in property disputes, with its (erroneous, IMO) assertions about the hierarchical polity of TEC from General Convention downward. So I was relieved when the resolution was merely that the House receive it, rather than commend it. But it did have language about disseminating it throughout the church for further study, which I found problematic, because, whatever the resolution actually says, it would have the appearance and the weight of an action of the House of Bishops when, in fact, only a minority of the bishops have even read it yet. So, after some parliamentary haggling, we appended the word “Draft” to the title, and removed any reference to dissemination. I felt good about this result, even though I would rather it have gone away completely. After the meeting, I had a good talk with the bishop who is the primary mover and shaker behind this, and I think we understand one another much better as a result. There may even be some cooperation in the offing.

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