The Chicago Consultation

Chicago Consultation The challenge

At its General Convention in 2006, the Episcopal Church, under pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury, adopted a resolution that effectively made it impossible for a gay man or a lesbian to become a bishop. The Chicago Consultation was formed to help put the church back on the course it has chosen in 2003, when it consecrated the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire.

The response

Canticle partners Rebecca Wilson and Jim Naughton (then a member of the Chicago Consultation Steering Committee) provided the Consultation with a complete array of strategic communications services.

Naughton collaborated on the grants that allowed the Consultation to employ a part-time coordinator, sponsor three conferences, send two bloggers to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in Canterbury, England in 2008, and bring two staff members and several influential international guests to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2009.

Naughton and Wilson developed the organization’s media strategy and its grassroots educational capacity. This included creating the organization’s Web site, cultivating connections with religious and mainstream media figures in the United States and England, and writing and placing news releases and op-ed articles. They provided media training and booked interviews for the Consultation’s spokeswoman and key allies. Additionally Wilson prepared legislators and grassroots advocates to speak in hearings and legislative sessions at the Church’s 2009 General Convention. She was also part of the editing and distribution team of two important theological resources concerning same-sex relationships: a booklet of essays by Anglican theologians and a study guide for parish use.

In 2009, the General Convention lifted the de facto moratorium on gay and lesbian bishops, and made it possible for more dioceses to bless same-sex relationships. Five months after the convention, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a suffragan bishop.

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