The Episcopal Church begins its convention in Columbus, Ohio, today. I'm not sure if there is a church body in America that gets as much ink per member as the Episcopal Church. I'm not complaining about their coverage, I just wish that other church bodies of the same size could get half as much. The convention is going to deal with lots of gay issues so many Godbeat reporters are preparing coverage. It makes for a great local story because every region in the country is sending delegates to the convention.
Gary Stern, who is a wonderful religion reporter for Gannett News Service in New York, had an interesting write-up. Here's how it begins:
NEW YORK -- Bishop Mark Sisk, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, believes the debate about homosexuality that could ostracize Episcopalians from the Anglican world is a good thing.
Productive. Meaningful. Necessary.
He says the Episcopal Church will survive whatever happens at its General Convention, which opens Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, and closes June 21.
"People say there is going to be dissension at the convention, but that doesn't bother me a bit," Sisk says. "Easy agreement is sort of self-congratulatory. Debate helps you move ahead."
Stern does a great job of getting fresh quotes and new perspectives from people. This story isn't terribly deep and doesn't work very hard at getting other angles in there, but it strikes me as a fairly honest portrayal of how advocates of ordaining and marrying homosexuals are trying to accomplish their goals. He even mentions that the New York diocese has hired a high-powered public relations firm to help get more press coverage.
Chris Meehan, with the Kalamazoo Gazette, took the exact opposite approach with his story -- quoting Bishop Robert Gepert lamenting the fact that the homosexual debates are so well-publicized.
Denise Smith Amos, with the Cincinnati Enquirer took a look at the specific issues the convention will address:
Among the resolutions dealing with gay issues:
An expression of regret over the Episcopal bishops "breaching the bonds of affection" in the Anglican community.
A promise that church leaders will be "cautious" about nominating bishops "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church."
A vow to halt efforts to create rites of blessing for same-sex unions for now.
There also are measures that decry discrimination and confirm that gays are entitled to equal protection under society's laws.
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