Monday, 18 October 2004

More comments on Windsor

Comment from interested parties has begun to arrive. I will continuing adding the latest reports at the end of this article, rather than add new articles. Some news stories are also listed below in the article ‘At the hour’.

ACNS carries an exchange of letters between the report’s chairman, Archbishop Robin Eames, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Dr Williams writes:

You are not offering the Communion any easy solutions now … You have called us to behave in a maturely Christian way so as to become the Church God wants us to be … You have given all of us work to do and you do not suggest any short cuts … That you have been able to offer the communion a unanimous report gives me great encouragement that the process you have been through as a group may help set a pattern for the Communion itself in the demanding journey that lies ahead.

The Revd David Phillips of the Church Society is reported as commenting

I am pretty disappointed with this, I was expecting something much more definite and clear. My impression overall was that it was very ambiguous. It is toothless. It says what matters most of all it to stick together, we just need to stick together – unity is seen as more important than truth.

There is not yet any comment on the Church Society website.

The same report in The Scotsman quotes Martin Reynolds of the Lesbian Gay and Christian Movement:

The tenor of the document is itself conciliatory — this is a document we can work with, this is a Church we want to continue to be a part of.

Again, there is no comment yet on the LGCM website.

InclusiveChurch comments

We are pleased that the Commission has not recommended the suspension or expulsion of the Episcopal Church USA from the Anglican Communion, or called for Bishop Gene Robinson to resign. We note that the report does not ask for repentance from the Episcopal Church, and we welcome the desire for reconciliation contained within it. suggests that the report ‘has failed to appease either liberals or traditionalists’.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane, quoted in Johannesburg’s Mail and Guardian described the report as “a rich gift of a deep theological and spiritual reflection on the nature of the common life of God’s people” which offers “a ‘win-win’ opportunity” that must be “grasped with both hands.”

The BBC now has a further story: Anglicans buy time in same sex row which covers some of the reaction to the report publication.

More nuanced stories are now appearing, for example this AP story headlined Episcopal right disappointed by report which includes:

An Anglican panel studying the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church failed to give American conservatives what they sought Monday: punishment for church leaders and quick recognition for the network of dissenting congregations.


“We have strong concerns about the fact that they call only for the Episcopal Church USA to ‘express regret’ and fail to recommend direct discipline,” said the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Monday, 18 October 2004 at 3:03pm BST | TrackBack
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It seems to me that liberals have decided to be conciliatory at this stage; conservatives disappointed; and that both had probably decided to do so before this was published.

For it strikes me that this is a deeply flawed document. I am worried that it would hand some sort of formal canon law making power to a Lambeth Conference which is inherently anti-liberal, and to judge from 1998, rabidly homophobic. I also worry that it makes the Primates Meeting a pseudo-College of Cardinals (admittedly a trend that has been running for some time).

As for the covenant, at the end of the day, the hierarchy can sign up for whatever they want, but in a synodical church the initiative often rests with the laity, as the process towards same-sex blessings in New Westminster shows.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Monday, 18 October 2004 at 3:34pm BST

So what should gay Anglican priests who are in committed relationships do in the light of this? Resign? All stand up and be counted? Keep quiet and know that they will never get promoted? Hope the issue goes away (it won't)? There must be hundreds of (mostly) men and some women in this situation. Where do they go now and what should they do next?

Posted by: Tony on Monday, 18 October 2004 at 4:30pm BST

I think there were some very cler, and quite troubling, recommendations given;

More authority for the Archbishop of Canterbury (already being referred to as an Anglican pope).

The appointment of A Council of Advice (referred to elsewhere in the media as "The Star Chamber").

The Anglican Covenant, which one would assume everyone must sign, promising that we will stop misbehaving.

The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, officially becomes an untouchable.

The Episcopal Church apologizes for past naughtiness, promises not to do it again, and those bishops who have been naughty voluntarily remove themselves from the councils of the Church (or, as interpreted by some, resign from the episcopate).

Conservative bishops stop misbehaving; specifically respect diocesan boundaries.

In extreme situations, delegated pastoral oversight by a bishop other than the diocesan may be warranted, as long as the end result is to work towards reconciliation.

I can't see how ECUSA will ever be able to sign off on this. If Gene is uninvited to Lambeth, we all are; And calling for the resignation of all the diocesans who participated in the consecration? A bit over the top, I'd say.

Too bad we have to wait four years until the next Lambeth. I think ECUSA needs to say "no thanks" quickly, so we can get on with rebuilding the communion, and have a home ready for Rowan when Canterbury is carted off to Uganda.

Posted by: Jake on Monday, 18 October 2004 at 5:05pm BST

A senior professor of theology said to me recently that it would take the rest of this century at least to resolve questions concerning homosexuality in the Anglican church. I see nothing in the Windsor report or the response thus far to it to persuade me that he was wrong.

Posted by: Brian on Tuesday, 19 October 2004 at 4:00am BST