Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Monday, June 07, 2010

And on the third day...

Today was a mixed day – Synod business in the morning, the 300th Anniversary Service of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in the afternoon, and then dinner with the bishop and spouses this evening. Indifferent, bad, good, in that order.

This morning was a presentation introducing the debate about human sexuality. It included the methodology and differing points of view from the Primate’s theological commission, a reiteration of the House of Bishops’ statement from 2007* (where the part about Baptism was curiously omitted), and an update on where many of the Canadian Dioceses are at this point. One of the speakers reporting on diocesan dialogues with African dioceses was supposed to be Michael Ingham, bishop of New Westminster, whose diocese was the first in Canada to permit the blessing of same sex unions, but he was unfortunately not present. I am still not satisfied that there is any acknowledgment that the continuing “gracious restraint” and “ongoing dialogue” is at the expense of a constituency of the church who are already making enormous spiritual sacrifices just to affiliate with the Anglican Church.

The second part of the morning was the first information session, called a “Port of Call” continuing the Nautical theme of the Synod. These are opportunities to explore in depth the work and reporting of national church committees and structures.

The afternoon was the 300th Anniversary Service of Celebration for the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island at a local arena. Clearly a great deal of planning had gone into the service, but there were some critical gaps in thinking. A series of acted out vignettes about episodes of diocesan history were by times lacking in sensitivity, although quite well presented. The musicians (a keyboard, brass band and mass choir) were just barely strong enough to lead the several thousand people in the arena and might better have been a praise band, who would have had enough amperage to be heard. Maybe even getting a decent electronic organ for the day with suitable amplification would have been better. The language in the hymns was atrocious – triumphalistic, gender dominated masculine texts, and nothing from any canon of youthful music – and was where I checked out spiritually. There were some beautiful moments: the liturgical dance that served as a reflection on the texts, the danced procession of the Gospel, and the good will of the gathered diocese were quite lovely, but in comparison of the opening liturgy on Thursday night, paled considerably.

Our bishop hosted the synod delegation at local restaurant. It was the best part of the day. Several spouses were present, and helped keep the conversation from lingering on churchy matters.

Still, I’m glad I’m here. I don’t think we’ve gotten to any of the really contentious stuff, but from what other synod veterans have said, this is an excellent gathering in comparison of many in the past.


Today's weigh-in: ? Supper was fabulous.


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