This resolution passed at the convention of the Diocese of Connecticut:
Resolution #10: year-long Dialogue on Communion of the Unbaptized PASSED AS AMENDED
This resolution was much debated as well. It started with an amendment to change “open communion” to “communion of the unbaptized” for clarification. which passed.
Final language: RESOLVED: That the 227th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut declares a year for theological and catechetical reflection, dialogue, discussion, conversation and listening among parishes of this diocese on “Communion of the Unbaptized” [welcoming all, baptized or not, to Holy Communion]; and be it further,
RESOLVED: That the laity make their voices heard to the bishop and clergy as they explore this sacrament.
Couple of things here…
First, I’m wary of the words “dialogue” and “conversation” in the Episcopal Church. This generally seems to be shorthand for: “We know better than you on this topic and we’re going to have a ‘dialogue’ until you see the error of your ways and agree with me at which point our dialogue will be done.” I will be very interested to see what form this “dialogue” takes. What sort of theological and catechetical material will be used to guide the reflection?
Who really will get to have a voice at the table?
…And that brings me to my second thing…
What the heck does that last line mean? Let’s take another look at it: “That the laity make their voices heard to the bishop and clergy as they explore this sacrament.” What is the rhetorical purpose and the political valence of this sentence?
Two options immediately present themselves.
The first is a simple and straight-forward wish that all orders of ministry will have an opportunity to have a say in the matter. Well, yeah—isn’t this kind of the point of our whole process? Isn’t this how our polity is different from the COE and other Anglican churches? Perhaps I’ve been in church circles too long but this seems a little too much like wide-eyed naivete; I’m feeling something a little disingenuous here…
The second is a sneaking suspicion that the appeal to “the laity” is an attempt to stack the deck. I truly believe that the current argument around CWOB is neither a theological nor a sacramental argument. Instead, it’s an issue of identity that rests primarily upon an emotional appeal. That is, I think it’s less about theology and a lot more about how we perceive ourselves and shape the face we offer to the world; CWOB advocates intend it as a message that we are open, inclusive, and welcoming. I have no problem with framing ourselves this way–but CWOB is not the way to do it!!
Are the folks behind this line thinking that the laity will be swayed more by this sort of an emotional appeal than a theological one?
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see more resolutions like this popping up a conventions going forward . This will be a very important resolution and “dialogue” to follow over the coming year.