Resolved: Not Resolved

The bar debate last night was about the following resolution: “Resolved: The Anglican Communion is too progressive.” I’ll have more to say about this discussion another time. I’d like to make a rather different comment now.

The liberal-conservative, progressive-traditional split in the Episcopal Church which was the subject of the debate tends not to be present in most parishes, especially in Manhattan. Here, the individual churches tend to one side or the other, and the rectors follow that pattern. So do the assistants appointed by the rectors.

Here at Incarnation, we have almost always had rectors on the conservative side politically and assistants on the liberal side. I’ve been asked more than once why I don’t appoint a fellow conservative as a colleague. This is, I believe, the universal practice in the other Manhattan parishes.

My answer is that I want laypeople of all political persuasions to feel comfortable at Incarnation. One way to insure that comfort is to provide and breadth and inclusiveness to the clergy. I think that’s the best way to go, even if some questions remain unresolved. —J. Douglas Ousley

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2 Responses to “Resolved: Not Resolved”

  1. Christopher Stromee says:

    It is just well that neither rector nor assistant are vocal about their particular political positions. The absence of comment on political issues,of course, may suggest a position!

  2. John says:

    Today the very definition of what is a liberal or a conservative is changing as well. It’s certainly not nearly the same when I went to college in the 80s. I think common sense dictates that the solutions to our problems lie somewhere in the middle. As we become more integrated with the world community through global politics, military and economic cooperation, it is only natural that internal dissent may rise for fear of losing a national identity. This in turn puts clergy in a difficult position trying not to alienate any side. However, I must say that at Incarnation I feel very much at ease, and everyone respects other’s opinions. I can’t speak for other parishes, but in ours this harmony can only be achieved through the fairness and brilliance of our Rector’s leadership as well as his ability to make everyone feel at home.

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