Thinking Anglicans

Two English views of the ECUSA resolutions

Bishop Tom Wright has published a major article analysing the proposed Windsor Report related resolutions, which the ECUSA General Convention is currently considering in committee hearings, The Choice Before ECUSA. He argues that the resolutions fail to comply with the Windsor Report:

…The benchmark against which the key resolutions must be measured is of course Windsor 134 (for Resolutions A160 and A161) and Windsor 144 (for A162). The report quotes the preamble to Windsor 134 (see (5) above), but never quotes the recommendations themselves. The reason for this, sadly, becomes all too clear: the Commission clearly had the Windsor Report before it throughout, and decided to decline Windsor’s request and to do something else instead, using some words and phrases which echo those of Windsor while not affirming the substance that was asked for. This, with real sadness, is my basic conclusion: that unless the relevant Resolutions are amended so that they clearly state what Windsor clearly requested, the rest of the Communion is bound to conclude that ECUSA has specifically chosen not to comply with Windsor…

and he concludes:

…It is very important not to let the plethora of material, in the official document and in all the various commentaries on it, detract attention from the central and quite simple question: Will ECUSA comply with the specific and detailed recommendations of Windsor, or will it not? As the Resolutions stand, only one answer is possible: if these are passed without amendment, ECUSA will have specifically, deliberately and knowingly decided not to comply with Windsor. Only if the crucial Resolutions, especially A160 and A161, are amended in line with Windsor paragraph 134, can there be any claim of compliance. Of course, even then, there are questions already raised about whether a decision of General Convention would be able to bind those parts of ECUSA that have already stated their determination to press ahead in the direction already taken. But the Anglican principle of taking people to be in reality what they profess to be, until there is clear evidence to the contrary, must be observed. If these resolutions are amended in line with Windsor, and passed, then the rest of the Communion will be in a position to express its gratitude and relief that ECUSA has complied with what was asked of it. Should that happen, I will be the first to stand up and cheer at such a result, and to speak out against those who are hoping fervently for ECUSA to resist Windsor so that they can justify their anti-ECUSA stance. But if the resolutions are not amended, then, with great sadness and with complete uncertainty about what way ahead might then be found, the rest of the Communion will have to conclude that, despite every opportunity, ECUSA has declined to comply with Windsor; has decided, in other words, to ‘walk apart’ (Windsor 157). My hope and earnest prayer over the coming week will continue to be that that conclusion may be avoided. May God bless the Bishops and Delegates of ECUSA in their praying, thinking and deciding.

See the full document for his detailed analysis of each resolution.

This has provoked some strong criticism already, see:
Jim Naughton N. T. Wright: Le Communion c’est moi.

Graham Kings discusses the same topic in the Fulcrum newsletter for June, Shechem, Corinth and Columbus: ECUSA’s Choices. He includes the following analysis, following the ideas previously put forward by Andrew Goddard:

1. ‘Federal Conservatives’, in the bottom right, consists of those who are conservative on sexual ethics but who do not consider highly the ecclesiology of the Windsor Report and especially its warnings against transprovincial interventions. They would not be unhappy with the demotion of the Anglican Communion to a Federation of Anglican Churches. Examples of this group may be the Anglican Mission in America, which began with transprovincial consecrations, parts of the American Anglican Council and the Archbishops of Nigeria and of Sydney.

2. ‘Communion Conservatives’, in the top right, consists of those who are conservative on sexual ethics but have a high regard for the ecclesiology and the recommendations of the Windsor Report. They are keen to hold to the concept of Communion. Examples of this group may be Fulcrum and the Anglican Communion Institute and the Bishop of Pittsburgh.

3. ‘Communion Liberals’, in the top left, consists of those who are liberal on sexual ethics but have a high regard for the ecclesiology set out in the Windsor Report, if not all its recommendations. Examples of this group may be the Bishop of Virginia and the centre of the Special Commission of ECUSA.

4. ‘Federal Liberals’, in the bottom left, consists of those who are liberal on sexual ethics and have a low regard for the ecclesiology set out in the Windsor Report and many of its recommendations. Examples of this group may be Integrity USA and the Bishop of Washington.

Concerning the Anglican Covenant proposed by the Windsor Report, which recently has had some preliminary shape given to it, groups 1 and 4 are likely to be against it and groups 2 and 3 for it.

It seems to me that the Global South Anglican movement and Anglican Communion Network movement, and the Anglican Mainstream movement (and all three are movements, rather than just groups), include some in groups 1 and 2, though more, perhaps, in group 1. They straddle the two and responses to the outcome of the General Convention will depend a lot on the resolution of this tension.

See the full article for the footnotes giving sources etc.

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Gerry Lynch
15 years ago

This part of the the Diocese of Washington “Le Communion c’est moi” post deserves particular reading: “Here we have a closely-argued 4,400+ word analysis of preliminary resolutions that were published more than two months ago that arrives at our convention just hours before the final public hearing of the legislative committee that will craft the resolutions that will eventually be sent to the floor. It is either wildly egotistical or exceedingly calculating to intervene in another Church’s life in this fashion. Either one supposes that the Convention can drop whatever else it is doing, make a close reading of arguments… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
15 years ago

Its quite clear that much of the so-called Global South are also not interested in Windsor either.I actually wonder if Tom Wright’s own spin, given his well-publicised anti-gay position, is hardly without prejudice either?

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
15 years ago

Tom Wright seems to think that what will suit England , will not , or must suit America, YET, he signed the Bishops Pastoral Letter, last year, which authorised clergy to enter into civil partnerships. They alll signed up to as a House. They consented to the emmendation of Church Law in line with this, their decision and Letter. Church Law has been changed so that civil partners of clergy are to be treated as spouses, and in the case of a clergy death, like widows / widowers. Also, he remains a bishop in the same C of E which… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
15 years ago

” … comply with the Windsor Report.” One complies – or not – with rulings or legislation produced by a body with jurisdiction. Thus, I comply with the speed limit or risk a ticket. The Windsor Report is a report – not legislation – by a select committee that was convened to respond to the actions of TEC and the church in Canada and the diocesan boundary violations of some bishops. It is properly responded to to, not complied with, and it may be that the response is, no thank you. The boundary jumping bishops seem not to see it… Read more »

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

I can hear the post-GC discussions already: – Did ECUSA do enough to fulfill the Windsor Report’s recommendations ? Conservatives; No, obviously falls well short of what was requested. Liberals: Yes, in fact we think they were too generous. – ECUSA will clearly state that they want to be part of the AC; this will be spun as a “start of a dialogue”.. (effectively an alternative response to agreeing to Windsor) – ECUSA will show (apparent) willingness to find a common mind by offer to start towards an Anglican convenant (again a substitute for agreeing to Windsor). But based on… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
15 years ago

TEC: “We’re not walking apart.” +Wright: “TEC states that they’re walking apart.” TEC: “No, we say we’re NOT walking apart.” +Wright: “And again, TEC officially declares they ARE emphatically walking apart.” TEC: “Tom why aren’t you, y’know, ***LISTENING*** to us? We say we’re NOT WALKING APART.” +Wright: “It’s a pity that TEC can’t even be bothered to talk to us, in their rush to walk apart.” {sigh} This is why this “Windsor Process” is getting us nowhere. Listen, +Tom, if you have an “Anglican” gathering? We (in TEC) are *showing up*. We’re *goin’ in*. We’re *joining you*. Or, in other… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
15 years ago

Far more important than the issue of whether ECUSA complies with the Windsor Report or any other Report is the question of whether they are resorting to ambiguity and deliberate unclarity. If the latter, that would mean dishonesty, & that they are no lovers of truth. This is the nub of it: there must be some *root reason* why they are not calling a spade a spade and saying it as it is.

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

Dear JCF, “Walking apart” isn’t what you say – it’s what you do !

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
15 years ago

Other members of the Lambeth Commission will now be forced to intervene. This is an ill judged move.

Tim
Tim
15 years ago

Gerry Lynch writes: “Tom Wright can say that he warned them (albeit at about two minuted to midnight) before ECUSA is expelled from the Anglican Communion.”

Hardly be a nice thing to happen, would it?

Given that I think unity does not require uniformity of belief but rather polite tolerance (and even occasional enjoyment) of differences, and that any `expulsion’ would simply serve to shift the balance of the remaining “communion” (a misnomer) to the right, what quadrant does *that* put me in?

Merseymike
Merseymike
15 years ago

But did you expect any more from Wright? This is his style all over.

Personally, I think the best response to Windsor is to file it unde B for Bin. Its a worthless document justifying the unjustifiable ie the Anglican Communion, which is well past its sell-by and should split into its logical components.

Gerry Lynch
15 years ago

Martin,

Unless, of course, it’s a carefully calculated move.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
15 years ago

To expand my previous point: It would have been the simplest thing in the world to make two distinct statements: (1) This is what we think about the effect that our actions had on the rest of our denomination; (2) This is what we will do in the future. Isn’t it inaccurate & dishonest to cloud and confuse the two when everyone knows they are two distinct matters?

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