This address by Robert W. Jenson was delivered at a conference in Baltimore which Fr William McKeachie and I organized. Old St Paul’s Church hosted the event. The year was 1992, but neither William nor I remember the month or season [edit: we are now thinking it was January or February]. The year before we and four other priests had promulgated a confession of faith, The Baltimore Declaration. The Declaration generated a fair bit of publicity around the country, and several thousand Episcopalians formally subscribed to it. We decided that we needed to follow-up with a theological conference, which we uncreatively titled “The Baltimore Convocation.” I was given the task of finding the speakers. I knew I had to have Jens as our principal speaker. Once he came on board, Stanley Hauerwas and Fr Augustine DiNoia (now Archbishop DiNoia) quickly followed suit. Fr David Collins, retired President of the Episcopal House of Deputies, was our keynote speaker. McKeachie also recalls me giving a talk, but I have no recollection of that whatsoever and deem it unlikely. I doubt I would have had the cojones to insinuate myself into the illustrious company of Jenson and Hauerwas. But somebody from the Baltimore Six must have spoken, the most likely candidates either being Fr Philip Roulette, the driving force behind the Declaration, or McKeachie, the rector of the host parish.
The conference was a great success. People from all over the country came. The lectures were substantive and challenging. I was warned ahead of time (by Jens, I think) that Hauerwas would most likely not address his assigned topic—and so it was. But his lecture was classic Hauerwas—provocative, incisive, entertaining, punctuated throughout by his favorite cusswords and references to Texas. DiNoia’s lecture provided a thoughtful perspective of the theological crisis from a Roman Catholic point of view. But for me personally, Jens’s lecture was the highlight of the Convocation, and I am happy to share it with you.
Like all such conferences … the Baltimore Convocation accomplished absolutely nothing. The Episcopal Church continued on its merry way into heresy. But I can say that a glad time was had by all.