I spent last week in New York attending the January board meeting of NNECA; (The National Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations). We met at 815 on Tuesday and Wednesday and at the Church Pension Group's office on Thursday.
The Presiding Bishop gave us a good deal of her time. I was impressed by her openness, her willingness to speak to us frankly and clearly and her sense of humor.
Our new Primate met in the NNECA board a cross-section of TEC as it is now, from “left” to “right”, from rural to urban, male and female, African American and white, Pittsburgh to El Camino Real. She fielded questions about the South Carolina election and her vision for the future. She heard us ask that she recognize and encourage the center, the moderate majority, ranging from those who are traditionalists but won’t leave the church to those who are liberal but don’t want to leave the Anglican Communion. We asked her to encourage the parish clergy who get on with being faithful parish priests and pastors in these difficult times and the women and men across TEC at home and abroad who struggle to pay the bills and worship week by week in their parish churches.
We also discussed –centering on a recent case – the problem of clergy “black-balling”; bishops and Deployment Officers contacting each other through what we used to term “the old boys’ network” and disqualifying clergy, and in particular interim clergy in a process in which such clergy have no right to defend themselves and who often remain unaware that they have been marked until the inevitable gossip catches up with them. As a result a letter is being sent to DOs and Bishops asking that this pernicious habit cease. We predict that if it does not, there will be law suits.
We also concluded plans for our 2007 conference which will meet in Williamsburg, Virginia on the days following the 400 Anniversary celebrations of the Jamestown landings in June. The speakers include the Presiding Bishop, Dr. Michael Battle, Loren Mead, and Tex Sample.
Read the whole thing.