You won't find this headline at other websites that routinely attack the Episcopal Church for purportedly being apostate and/or heretical. But it really is worth noting and celebrating how all of this turned out. I've written previously of my concerns regarding a proposed resolution on this topic. So the turn of events at the 181st Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of MS meeting in Natchez this past weekend was, in my view, downright providential.
The Resolutions Committee recommended adoption of the proposed resolution. After initial statements by two of the sponsors, but before a debate could begin, a retired priest - the Rev. Craig Gates - offered this substitute resolution:
Whereas, the Diocese of Mississippi meeting together in the 181st Annual Council reaffirms the uniqueness and lordship of Jesus Christ by saying the ancient Creeds of the Christian Church both in their opening service and in the closing Eucharist, in the traditional Anglican way of uniting our voices in communal prayer; and we affirm this uniqueness and lordship of Jesus Christ each and every Sunday in our Church’s celebration of the Eucharist and daily in the Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer; we therefore Resolve to remind each Episcopalian to be mindful of the power of these corporate affirmations of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and commend each member of the Church to carry the Good News of Jesus Christ’s saving Grace to the world outside the door of our Churches.
This substitute resolution clearly affirms the uniqueness and lordship of Jesus Christ in language that does not entail the kinds of problems I've noted in my earlier posting. In addition, the substitute resolution affirms the sufficiency of the historic creeds and our worship using The Book of Common Prayer, thereby reaffirming a classical Anglican orthodoxy over and against the confessionalist overtones of the proposed resolution.
I'm pleased to say that Council almost unanimously voted in favor of the substitute resolution (I think I saw only two persons in the convention center holding up opposition cards). And the author of the proposed resolution spoke in its favor on the floor of Council. The orthodox faith of the Church as conveyed by the historic creeds and the Prayer Book was resoundingly reaffirmed by a Council comprised of clergy and laity that represent the fullness and diversity of the theological spectrum. That's a noteworthy and hopeful sign for the Church.