Café recommendations for the year 2009

What stories from 2009 concerning The Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion should readers look back on? We asked each of the newshounds at The Lead:

Torey Lightcap, the primary poster on Sundays, chose “sharp and potentially invidious

distinctions being drawn between Lambeth and The Episcopal Church — in particular, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s admonitions concerning General Convention and bishop-elect Glasspool.”

Nicholas Knisely, Monday, picked the decision by the House of Bishops and then the Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church to not consent to the election of Kevin Thew Forrester as the next bishop of Northern Michigan.

Ann Fontaine, who is at the helm on Tuesdays, chose “the resurrections of the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese San Joaquin — and the first women ordained in each. the strength revealed in Pittsburgh and Quincy — and, also, new woman bishops elected after a drought of several years.”

For John Chilton, the primary poster on Wednesdays, the story was race. Why did so few dioceses fulfill the resolve of A123 (GC2006) to report on their role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And why was there so little deliberation allowed over the triennium budget, particularly the defunding of the office of racial justice?

Peter Carey, Thursday, agrees with his newsteam colleagues about their stories, and thinks that the major story (behind the stories?) of 2009 is the use of Web 2.0 in all sorts of Episcopal Church business, news, collaboration, organizing and even decision-making. Some examples were: the online scrutiny given to then-Bishop-Elect Forrester, live-Tweeting General Convention, Facebook group calling for the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak out on Uganda’s despicable anti-gay legislation, bishop search committees posting YouTube videos of the candidates in many dioceses, the Virtual Abbey (was Urban Abbey) which Tweets the Daily Offices, and countless dioceses, churches, and organizations which now utilize Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In some ways, this is not even a story, because Web 2.0 has become so omnipresent that we don’t even realize the change. What’s next? General Convention over Skype?

Andrew Gerns, the Friday newshound, says the seemingly endless Anglican Covenant process was the story that kept on giving despite widespread skepticism as to its utility. After the disciplinary section was sent back for re-working, and then released in time for Christmas, there appears to be widespread disillusionment for the approach by a wide variety of Anglicans representing all sides of the theological spectrum. Many churches find the concept of a “covenant” incompatible with the essential comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Others find the document insufficiently structured and toothless. And those who hoped to set up either a substitute or parallel Anglican province in North America are not invited. So while the Covenant creaks forward on its own bureaucratic momentum, and Rowan Williams still talks it up, no one has any love nor enthusiasm for it.

Jim Naughton, Editor of the Episcopal Café, who blogs on Saturdays, chose the passage of Resolutions D025 and C053 at General Convention. The former acknowledged that God calls gay and lesbian clergy members to the episcopacy, and the latter opened a path toward marriage equality. Together, they demonstrated that the Church had reclaimed its identity.

Helen Mosher, Church 2.0 specialist for The Lead, notes that our Facebook group just reached the 2,000 member mark. Here’s Helen’s explanation of the ways you can network with and about the Episcopal Café.

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