epiScope has it here: A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners
Update Episcopal News Service now has it also, at House of Bishops response ‘to questions and concerns raised by our Anglican Communion partners’.
House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 25, 2007
A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners
In accordance with Our Lord’s high priestly prayer that we be one, and in the spirit of Resolution A159 of the 75th General Convention, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the gift of the Anglican Communion as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of reconciliation throughout the world, we offer the following to the Episcopal Church, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the larger Communion, with the hope of “mending the tear in the fabric” of our common life in Christ.
“I do it all for the sake of the Gospel so that I might share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:23
The House of Bishops expresses sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates for accepting our invitation to join us in New Orleans. By their presence they have both honored us and assisted us in our discernment. Their presence was a living reminder of the unity that is Christ’s promised gift in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Much of our meeting time was spent in continuing discernment of our relationships within the Anglican Communion. We engaged in careful listening and straightforward dialogue with our guests. We expressed our passionate desire to remain in communion. It is our conviction that The Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion, and we heard from our guests that the Anglican Communion needs The Episcopal Church.
The House of Bishops offers the following responses to our Anglican Communion partners. We believe they provide clarity and point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue. Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God’s call is a lively partnership among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention.
Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention
The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution EC011 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” (1) The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.
Blessing of Same-Sex Unions
We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. In the near future we hope to be able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process. In the meantime, it is important to note that no rite of blessing for persons living in same-sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. In addition to not having authorized liturgies the majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions. We do note that in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty “to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations.” They further stated, “…[I]t is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.”
We affirm the Presiding Bishop’s plan to appoint episcopal visitors for dioceses that request alternative oversight. Such oversight would be provided by bishops who are a part of and subject to the communal life of this province. We believe this plan is consistent with and analogous to Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) as affirmed by the Windsor Report (paragraph 152). We thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry. We hope that dioceses will make use of this plan and that the Presiding Bishop will continue conversation with those dioceses that may feel the need for such ministries. We appreciate and need to hear all voices in The Episcopal Church.
Incursions by Uninvited Bishops
We call for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops in accordance with the Windsor Report and consistent with the statements of past Lambeth Conferences and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. Such incursions imperil common prayer and long-established ecclesial principles of our Communion. These principles include respect for local jurisdiction and recognition of the geographical boundaries of dioceses and provinces. As we continue to commit ourselves to honor both the spirit and the content of the Windsor Report, we call upon those provinces and bishops engaging in such incursions likewise to honor the Windsor Report by ending them. We offer assurance that delegated episcopal pastoral care is being provided for those who seek it.
In their communique of February 2007, the Primates proposed a “pastoral scheme.” At our meeting in March 2007, we expressed our deep concern that this scheme would compromise the authority of our own primate and place the autonomy of The Episcopal Church at risk. The Executive Council reiterate our concerns and declined to participate. Nevertheless we recognize a useful role for communion-wide consultation with respect to the pastoral needs of those seeking alternative oversight, as well as the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons in this and other provinces. We encourage our Presiding Bishop to continue to explore such consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
The Listening Process
The 1998 Lambeth Conference called all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to engage in a “listening process” designed to bring gay and lesbian Anglicans fully into the church’s conversation about sexuality. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and to participating with others in this crucial enterprise. We are aware that in some cultural contexts, conversation concerning homosexuality is difficult. We see an important role for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in this listening process, since it represents both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches and so is well placed to engage every part of the body in this conversation. We encourage the ACC to identify the variety of resources needed to accomplish these conversations.
The Lambeth Conference
Invitations to the Lambeth Conference are extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish these relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on such partnerships.
We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to the conference. We also note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a way for him to participate. We share the Archbishop’s desire and encourage our Presiding Bishop to offer our assistance as bishops in this endeavor. It is our fervent hope that a way can be found for his full participation.
Justice and Dignity for Gay and Lesbian Persons
It is of fundamental importance that, as we continue to seek consensus in matters of human sexuality, we also be clear and outspoken in our shared commitment to establish and protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons, and to name and oppose at every turn any action or policy that does violence to them, encourages violence towards them, or violates their dignity as children of God. We call all our partners in the Anglican Communion to recommit to this effort. As we stated at the conclusion of our meeting in March 2007: “We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecutive because of their differences, often in the name of God.”
(1) The Communion Sub-Group noted that “the resolution uses the language of ‘restraint’, and the group noted that there has been considerable discussion since General Convention about the exact force of that word. By requiring that the restraint must be expressed in a particular way—’by not consenting…’, however, the resolution is calling for a precise response, which complies with the force of the recommendation of the Windsor Report.” The group also noted “that while the Windsor Report restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by the Windsor Report, and commend it to the Communion.”39 Comments
Updated Tuesday evening
The Bishop of Lichfield has expressed an opinion. See Gay row could split church from the Wolverhampton Express & Star.
New Orleans Times-Picayune has Episcopal bishops walking a fine line.
National Public Radio has Gay Issue Looms over Episcopal Church.
Living Church Steve Waring In Closed Session, Bishops Perfecting Response to Primates
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the other members of the joint steering committee of primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) met late into the night Monday discussing language on the eight or so bullet points which might constitute an acceptable response from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the primates…
…Meanwhile Bishop Jefferts Schori has been meeting most of the day in private session with the bishops trying to obtain their consent on the wording developed during the joint steering committee meeting last night. Not all of the suggested changes have been received with universal enthusiasm from the bishops, and some have said they expect that at least some of the proposed changes may require an up-or-down vote. Among the issues said to be encountering the most resistance is the bullet-point item on same-sex blessings…
Agency France Presse US Episcopal bishops meet on gay priests amid schism threat17 Comments
Further developments yesterday:
Episcopal News Service House of Bishops talks make ‘enormous progress,’ go into overtime
…In response to a reporter’s queries about the future course of the church and possible breakaway dioceses reformulating under an overseas or other archbishop, Alvarez said: “We have been addressing precisely that issue as openly as possible, recognizing the divisiveness and controversy around it. We are very clear that we may have some people who are not in agreement with the majority positions taken by both houses of General Convention, but,” he added, “that doesn’t mean we can foresee a significant breakaway or division of the Episcopal Church…”
Living Church Steve Waring Bishops: New Document Will Preserve Status Quo
…The document released Monday morning is no longer a draft being revised. It has been replaced, Bishop Bruno said during the briefing. The new working draft was developed from this document and one submitted by Bishop Bruno and Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana. During the private session, the bishops discussed the two documents simultaneously for an extended period without coming to any consensus.
Finally Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori proposed an eight-paragraph summary which she had written. An overwhelming majority of bishops agreed her proposal captured many of the salient points in both of the draft documents under debate.
After receiving approval, Bishop Jefferts Schori briefed members of the joint steering committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council so that they could complete their report to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The members of the steering committee were under a deadline because many are scheduled to depart New Orleans Tuesday morning. The writing committee will present final draft language for approval by bishops in the morning…
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopalians Try to Prevent Split
Reuters Russell McCulley Episcopal bishops see “clear” statement on gays
Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Anglican Church could split by end of year
…Conservatives believe, however, that Dr Williams is now openly siding with the liberals and allowing the Communion to fall apart by default, leaving conservatives stranded.
Until now, only parishes have left the American Episcopal Church and affiliated with overseas provinces in Africa, often amid acrimonious and costly disputes over property.
But under the new plans, whole dioceses will for the first time transfer their allegiances, a significant escalation of the conflict which will be seen as highly provocative by American liberals…
The Living Church has several reports:
Stand Firm has published a draft document which is described as The 7 points of the Preliminary Draft Document: A Message from the House of Bishops (updated). And there is an even more obscure document titled Draft Copy of Notes from an informal meeting of 57 Bishops listing agreements and disagreements. Some explanation of all this can be found at Episcopal Café see Works in progress.
Episcopal News Service has House of Bishops begins to prepare Primates’ Communiqué response.1 Comment
Updated Tuesday morning
Chicago Tribune Anti-gay Anglican archbishop speaks in Wheaton
Chicago Sun-Times ‘God wants unity’ but doesn’t get it
Northwest Herald Critic of Episcopal support for gay clergy speaks in Wheaton
Associated Press Nigerian archbishop, foe of gay clergy, visits church gathering
The Chicago Tribune also has a video report linked from this page.
Episcopal News Service has David Skidmore Followers, protestors greet Akinola at Wheaton chapel.14 Comments
In the Guardian Stephen Bates writes US bishops try to find compromise on gay clergy.
…American conservative bishops complained that the archbishop refused to see them, or return their calls during his stay. A handful have now left the meeting and are planning to re-gather in Pittsburgh this week to discuss strategy, which is likely to include seeking oversight from an African province. Their leader, Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh, predicted that about five of the US church’s 112 dioceses would seek to affiliate outside the US…
For the Associated Press Rachel Zoll writes Analysis: Anglicans Already Breaking Up.
In the New Orleans Times-Picayune Kate Moran has Bishop emphasizes inclusiveness.
From Episcopal News Service there are several more reports:
Shawls will enfold bishops in Episcopal Church’s prayers
Bishops asked to join ‘We the People’ leadership
Episcopal Communicators help rebuild lives in Gulf Coast recovery efforts
Rio Grande bishop announces intention to resign
Updated Sunday evening
The Sunday Telegraph has extensive reporting by Jonathan Wynne-Jones:
Archbishop prays for miracle in gay rights row
Homosexuality not a ‘disease’, says Archbishop
Church leaders on the brink of schism
Episcopal News Service ‘Day of Service’ puts bishops to work in Mississippi, New Orleans
The interview broadened into attendance at Lambeth Conference. In Bates’ telling the majority of Nigerian bishops want to go to Lambeth — contrary to the position of their primate, Peter Akinola.
Sunday evening updates
There are further proposals from bishops as to what to do, including this: A Proposal to the House of Bishops from Bishop John Howe.33 Comments
The BBC radio programme Sunday carried an interview with Eeva John:
Wycliffe Hall staffing dispute
Elaine Storkey has left Oxford’s Wycliffe Hall theological college. Storkey, sometime presenter of Thought For The Day on Radio 4’s Today programme, is the latest in a long line of academic staff who have gone since the appointment of Richard Turnbull as principal two years ago.
Turnbull was brought in to improve management at the college. He has earned many critics and some have expressed fears that he is moving the college in a more theologically conservative direction.
Eeva John, Wycliffe’s former director of the diploma for Biblical and theological studies, resigned in August. She explained why she decided to go.
Listen (6m 18s)
Earlier report on this is here.
Further comment, by Eeva John herself, appears below among the comments.38 Comments
Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that The Divine Compassion has steel as well as serenity.
David Boulton writes about National Quaker Week in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.
Christopher Howse writes about The bells that make Cockneys in the Daily Telegraph.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about These new bishops are only virtual — not real.1 Comment
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, in addition to its main story, U.S. Episcopal Bishops Meeting in New Orleans has four interviews:
Bishop Charles Jenkins
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Bishop John Chane
Bishop John Guernsey
The speech of Bishop Mouneer Anis Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, has been published, and can be read in full here.
The statement of Bishop Marc Andrus of California has also been published here.
Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona wrote an email about his reactions to the first day.
Andrew Goddard wrote a letter on 16 September which only got published yesterday, in which he writes about New Orleans and the Anglican Communion.
Friday’s press conference can be viewed in full by going to Episcopal News Service here.
Andrew Carey wrote in the Church of England Newspaper Schism is not the Answer.
Kendall Harmon wrote on titusonenine What Would a Radical Solution Look Like?
The sermon preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury is here: Sermon Preached at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center New Orleans.10 Comments
Guardian Stephen Bates Williams escapes bishops’ poison to see church at work in New Orleans
New York Times Neela Banerjee Episcopal Church Remains Divided on Gay Issues
Washington Post Michelle Boorstein Anglican Leader Plays Down Schism
Boston Globe Michael Paulson Archbishop holds out hope for compromise
Chicago Tribune Russell Working For Episcopal bishops, stress running high
USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman Archbishop addresses religious fissure
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Anglican Head Downplays Split Over Gays
Agence France Presse Anglican leaders hope to avoid schism over gay clergy
Episcopal News Service Archbishop of Canterbury ‘encouraged’ by bishops’ meetings
Anglican Journal No ultimatum in request for September response, says Williams4 Comments
Ah! New Orleans – the Big Easy, birthplace of the Blues and Louis Armstrong, city of Mardi Gras and Voodoo, the least Protestant town in the US: what better place to witness the latest stage in the break-up of the worldwide Anglican Communion? No prizes to be awarded – can you hear me, Bishop of Carlisle? – for the first one to pronounce God’s judgement if a hurricane hovers into view.
This week’s meeting between Rowan Williams and the American bishops will be my swan-song as a religious affairs correspondent, after eight years covering the subject for The Guardian. I’d have been less keen to attend had the venue been Detroit, but where better to end it? It is time to move on for me professionally, and probably for Anglicans too and this marks a suitable place to stop. There is also no doubting, personally, that writing this story has been too corrosive of what faith I had left: indeed watching the way the gay row has played out in the Anglican Communion has cost me my belief in the essential benignity of too many Christians.For the good of my soul, I need to do something else…
The Daily Telegraph has Archbishop accused of ‘dehumanising gays’ by Jonathan Petre
Ruth Gledhill has more about what Archbishop Akinola said to her yesterday, on her blog, at Peter Akinola ‘blows the fourth trumpet’.
The Living Church has Concluding His Visit, Archbishop Seeks to Lower Expectations by Steve Waring. And also Details Sketchy on Episcopal Visitor Proposal by George Conger and Steve Waring.
The Boston Globe has Episcopal leader pushes for a compromise on gay rights by Michael Paulson
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Anglican Head Downplays Split Over Gays
Reuters Bruce Nichols and Ed Stoddard U.S. Episcopals to respond on gay issue next week4 Comments
Episcopal News Service has published the Archbishop of Canterbury’s opening remarks at today’s news conference:
…It has been a valuable opportunity to listen carefully to the thinking of the bishops here on the problems that face the Communion; and also for us to share with the House some perspectives from elsewhere in the Communion. I think that in the light of the conversations we have come to a better understanding of the House in response to the questions and proposals of the Dar es Salaam Primates’ Meeting. I hope that the House, equally, has understood more fully what those questions and proposals were meant to achieve. The House will continue to reflect on them over the weekend.
Despite what has been claimed, there is no “ultimatum” involved. The Primates asked for a response by September 30 simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the House likely to be formulating such a response. The ACC and Primates Joint Standing Committee will be reading and digesting what the bishops have to say, and will let me know their thoughts on it early next week. After this I shall be sharing what they say, along with my own assessments, with the Primates and others, inviting their advice in the next couple of weeks. I hope these days will result in a constructive and fresh way forward for all of us.
Stand Firm has published another proposal, this one by four bishops, which also appears to be consistent with the Dar es Salaam communique.15 Comments
Stand Firm has published a draft resolution which is described by SF thus:
This is a statement crafted during the last meeting of “Windsor Bishops,” and we’re told forms the basis of the resolution Bishop Jenkins is going to propose. However, we’ve also been told that he’s been “consulting” with bishops Bruno and Chane to make it more palatable to them. The document has been circulating among the bishops at the meeting here in New Orleans.
The draft is here.13 Comments
The Church Times published an article written by me in last week’s issue in which I made an attempt at counting the number of parishes breaking away from the Episcopal Church in the US.
This is now available on the web at Global South reaches into the United States.
This article was written and printed before the announcement made last week by CANA concerning additional bishops and additional congregations.28 Comments
The Washington Post has Anglican Leader Urges Church To Find Accord Amid Turmoil by Michelle Boorstein and Jacqueline Salmon.
The Boston Globe has Episcopal bishops, archbishop seek a middle ground by Michael Paulson.
Associated Press has Meeting Held on Anglican-Episcopal Split by Rachel Zoll.
Reuters has Episcopals reveal little of gay rift talks by Bruce Nichols.
Episcopal News Service has two reports:
House of Bishops sessions reflect ‘passionate commitment’ to Anglican Communion
Archbishop of Canterbury gets a taste of New Orleans
The problem for Anglicanism is that it has never been clear whose discernment counts. This is an inevitable dilemma for a Church that attempts to be true to both its Catholic roots and Protestant experience. Anglicans value and defend individual conscience, but also maintain Catholic order (as they understand it). With this in mind, Dr Williams has a limited armory. It includes the ability to win people over by argument and personal influence. He is adept at the first and possesses the necessary charisma for the second. He should use them to convince the diverging sections of the Communion that a sincere difference of opinion exists, and that, since the time taken so far to resolve the issues has clearly not been enough, more time is needed.
If, after the US House of Bishops meeting, the conservative and liberal tendencies declare that they are seeking greater division, this will solve little. Since schism removes the challenge of working closely with critics, it invariably confirms prejudice. Dr Williams will work to keep Anglicanism together not because everyone agrees with each other, but because they don’t. Most of all, we hope he will keep his head and refuse to be manipulated into one camp or another. Giving visible support to all sides equally is a good example to set.
From Australia, the ABC radio programme The Religion Report interviewed Philip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane, before he departed for New Orleans. Go here, and scroll down more than halfway,to read the full transcript of this.4 Comments
Religious Intelligence has this: More staff leave under-fire Anglican college:
THREE senior members of academic staff are leaving an under-fire Oxford theological College, it has been revealed today.
In the latest blow to Wycliffe College, which has come under mounting criticism in recent months for adopting a more conservative evangelical stance, its Principal the Rev Dr Richard Turnbull confirmed that three staff members are to leave, following another five academics have already left the institution in recent months.
The doctrinal change has coincided with the appointment of the new Principal, whose management style also been criticised.
In May one anonymous staff member claimed the college had become ‘openly homophobic’ and ‘hostile to women priests’ since his appointment.
The three staff members are Dr Elaine Storkey, formerly senior research fellow in social philosophy, the Rev Dr Andrew Goddard, tutor in Christian Ethics, and his wife, the Rev Lis Goddard, who was tutor in Ministerial Formation…
A feature film about this saga has been made, see this review of it here.23 Comments