General Gayety: The Episcopal Agenda

by Leslie Robinson

At the recent Episcopal General Convention, Episcopalians effectively lifted their temporary ban on gay bishops. They also chose to begin drafting an official prayer for same-sex unions.

In leading with its conscience like that, the Episcopal Church - the American wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion - has given Anglicans abroad (and some at home) another full-body rash.

It must've been a resoundingly difficult time for convention delegates, choosing between their beliefs and the prospect of a permanent Anglican split. I found myself imagining what those days at the gathering in Anaheim, Calif., were like. I suspect the average day's agenda looked a lot like this:

7-8 a.m. Prayers. Optional. Gene Autry room.

7:30-9 a.m. Breakfast.

9 a.m. All-Day Excursion to Disneyland. For spouses and those who can't face our reality.

9-10:15 a.m. Business Meeting. What to do when half your diocese wants to secede. Practical and legal direction.

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break.

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Seminars.

1. "Disagreeing in Christ: How to Keep the Dialogue Open and Civil." Donald Duck Room.

2. "Schism: A Form of Resurrection?" Snow White Room.

3. "Bishop Gene Robinson: A Symbol of Our Problems, Not the Cause." Fairy Godmother Room.

12-1 p.m. Lunch.

1-2:15 p.m. Business Meeting. Budget question: Will the overseas Anglicans who no longer want our financial assistance cancel out the financial losses we're incurring due to domestic churches fleeing the fold?

2:15-2:30 p.m. Break.

2:30-3 p.m. Prayer Service. Not optional. Let's remember why we're here.

3-4:30 p.m. Seminars.

1. "The Conservatives Speak: Some of Us Still Haven't Given Up." Scrooge McDuck Room.

2. "The Archbishop of Canterbury: Toughest Job in Christendom?" Goofy Room.

3. "Fleeing to Catholicism: Bad Idea." Dumbo Room.

4:30-5:30 p.m. Free Time.

5:30 p.m. Departure for those wishing to attend the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game. No matter what part of the country we come from, tonight we're on the side of the Angels.

5:30-6:30 p.m. Cocktails.

6:30-8 p.m. Dinner.

8-10 p.m. Informal job networking. Pinocchio Room.

8 p.m. Movie. "Oranges are Not the Only Fruit." Cinderella Room.

8-11 p.m. Socializing. All arguments attaining a certain decibel level must be taken elsewhere. Huey, Dewey, and Louie Rotunda.

Notes: The gym is open all day. A psychologist will be available from noon to midnight in the Peter Pan Room. A doctor is on hand all day in the Seven Dwarfs Room for anyone feeling faint or nauseous. If you wish to participate in tomorrow's excursion to Knott's Berry Farm, sign up by 1 p.m. If you wish to flee altogether, we understand. But even if we don't know where you're hiding, God does.

Leslie Robinson lives in Seattle. E-mail her at

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