Episcopal Conclusions At Miami Beach

In a lush tropical setting which Cranmer and Ridley would have associated with privateers and Spanish gold, the 59th triennial General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, meeting October 5–17, concluded an eventful second week which saw debate upon upon many a lively issue.

In Miami Beach’s opulent, new Deauville Hotel, which would surely have raised the eyebrows of St. Francis, the sight of Episcopal monks and nuns, vowed to poverty, had to seem incongruous. But lifting eyes beyond the million-dollar strand, the House of Deputies, composed of clerical and lay delegates, and the House of Bishops moved to dig ecumenical gold in India.

The issue was whether to follow the lead of five other churches of the Anglican Communion in allowing limited intercommunion with the Church of South India (formed in 1947 through merger of Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational groups), as recommended by the Convention’s ecumenical commission. This involved recognition of the bishops, presbyters, and deacons consecrated or ordained in the CSI (this is done episcopally) “at or after the inauguration of that Church as true bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of God.” Included were conditions under which these officers may officiate in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The resolutions passed the House of Bishops with only mild debate, but certain of the deputies, mostly of Anglo-Catholic persuasion, gave them a rough ride for more than three hours. The CSI had been referred to in some quarters as a heretical sect, and a waiting period of some 20 years for observation was urged. Debaters argued the withholding of Episcopal gifts of “holy orders” and the “ancient Catholic faith” on ...

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