Thursday, June 23, 2005

Day 1 of the REC General Council, tat, infamy, and Dr. Strangelove

posted a day later due to lack of time and free internet

Greetings from the Reformed Episcopal Church General Council. It’s not quite as exciting as the Anglican Consultative Council, but maybe I’ll liven up things by trying to take it over as an observer so we’ll be just like the ACC.

The opening service this morning at the Anglican Province of America’s St. Alban’s Cathedral (on St. Alban’s Day no less) was nice, quite an intercultural experience. How many services have both ex tempore prayers (from ++Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone and very evangelical) and sung prayers (from ++ Walter Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the very Anglo-Cath APA)? The APA knows how to dress up by the way. They have the REC beat when it comes to tat.

By the way, this is the first joint meeting of the REC and the APA. The APA is having a business meeting next door to ours. (We are in the process of merger.) Hence the joint service at ++Grundorf’s very nice church . . . with a wonderful organ!

It’s a small church, however. So us laity had to watch on a screen in their fellowship hall. I ran across the way, however to catch much of the organ postlude.

Speaking of intercultural, the REC has a long-standing large Afro-American Anglican contingent, many sitting in front of me. It was neat seeing some of the their ladies with headcoverings and hearing many of them quietly voicing approval of ++Greg Venables’ sermon.

And it merited their approval. ++Venables preached on “The Basics” using the beginning of Hebrews 2.

The most memorable statement was in his introductory remarks, however, when he said, “We look forward to the day when our institutional structures catch up with our fellowship” that we already have. Quite an encouraging comment from a Primate of the Anglican Communion.

Afterwards back at the hotel, ++Venables and I ended up in the same elevator. I let him know I am the WannabeAnglican. He immediately instructed my rector to discipline me. He was joking, of course . . . I hope. In any case, he is a affable man with a fun dry humor.

Bill Atwood was near by and his face lit up upon hearing my identity. I’m infamous, I mean, famous!

++Venables again displayed his humor later while talking on the state of the Anglican Communion to our business meeting. Referring to aftermath of the emergency Primates meeting in 2003, he said “a couple of us” asked ++Griswold how he could say he’s going ahead with the consecration of Gene Robinson when he had just signed the Primate’s statement asking ECUSA not to do so. His response was something along the lines of that he agreed that that was the Primates’ statement as a body.

Venables remarked to us that is “weird” like a hand acting independently apart from the body. And that if you have that, you best see a doctor. He motioned his hand around randomly as he said that, then asked us:

“Have you seen Dr. Strangelove?”

+Frank Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia is also here. My rector greatly enjoyed talking with him at the evening banquet. +Howe of Central Florida gave some very encouraging remarks there.

I could say more and surely will in the future. But it’s hard to escape that orthodox leaders in the Anglican Communion are very interested in us in the REC and APA.

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