This afternoon, the House of Deputies considered resolution A056: Authorize New Liturgical Resources: A Great Cloud of Witnesses; Weekday Eucharistic Propers. The resolution was amended by RI clerical deputy, The Rev’d Melody Shobe, to clarify the purpose of Great Cloud of Witnesses (formerly known as Holy Women, Holy Men). You can see the original resolution here, and the amended resolution here. The resolution, as a result of being amended, now goes back to the House of Bishops for consideration. Below is my testimony in favor of the amended resolution:
Madame President – I rise in support of this amendment
Just under two months ago I finished my first year of Seminary at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. If I learned one thing this past year it is that as Anglicans we are not an either or people, we are a both/and people. This resolution is maintaining our stance and appreciation of the both/and.
For the last two triennia, there has been considerable confusion about our theology of Saints and our Sanctoral Calendar. Through the process of creating Holy Women, Holy Men; now known as The Great Cloud of Witnesses, there has been uncertainty around if this project is just another resource, a sanctoral calendar, or something else all together. This substitute resolution seeks to clarify this confusion using language that SCLM members have used themselves. The work we are considering is a family story – a family history.
I want to second the comments of my fellow deputy who enumerated the ways in which this work does not conform to the guidelines set forth by previous General Conventions, including the 77th General Convention, as to the standards for adding a commemoration to the calendar.
I both commend the work of the SCLM for compiling this family story, this resource for devotion, catechetical instruction, and liturgical use under the appropriate rubric of the Book of Common Prayer. And I commend this substitute resolution as a means of clarifying our sanctoral calendar and our family history.