Thinking Anglicans

Windsor Report: the exact recommendations

Amended 17 January 2005
Addition of more WR text to item 6 – I apologise for this omission.

This article relates in part to the meetings of ECUSA and CofE bishops this week, and in part to the various subsequent meetings of February and beyond. See timetable here.
There has been some paraphrasing of the WR recommendations lately. I therefore repeat here the verbatim wording of WR’s specific recommendations in Section D as they relate to various particular groups and then add some comments on the practicalities of each recommendation. I am working on the assumption that acceptance of the WR’s recommendations broadly as they stand is the best way forward for the Anglican Communion.

1. To ECUSA as a corporate body:

…the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion.

This is expressly addressed to ECUSA as a corporate body. Therefore, constitutionally speaking, only General Convention is able to represent ECUSA in making (or not making) this response and although the House of Bishops meeting this week can give a lead, it cannot answer formally for ECUSA as a whole, just as the English HoB cannot speak for the General Synod of the Church of England.

2. To bishops who took part in Gene Robinson’s episcopal consecration:

…pending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

This clearly refers to functions representing the AC externally, i.e. to other bodies. It does not refer, for example, to ECUSA representatives on the Anglican Consultative Council (Bp Roskam appeared to misunderstand in this regard), nor to ECUSA’s own primate – or any other person from ECUSA – attending intra-Anglican meetings including the various Instruments of Unity.

The names to whom this applies are clear: here is a list. If a more accurate list exists, please let me know. Addition Here is another version of the list.

3. To ECUSA in general

…the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges…

This is carefully worded so that, as Tobias Haller has pointed out, it is possible for a mere majority of bishops with jurisdiction (i.e. active diocesans, not suffragans or retired, or other bishops) to “effect a moratorium” in practice by agreeing among themselves that they will not confirm any such election. Thus it can be initiated by bishops without requiring any agreement by diocesan standing committees, or General Convention. It is less clear that it could persist in the long term, as when “subscribing” diocesans retired, the majority would be depleted, unless replenished by new bishops.

4. To bishops who have authorized public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions

…we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

This clearly applies to New Westminster in Canada, and also to several dioceses and diocesans in ECUSA: this appears to be the latest list of ECUSA dioceses affected.

5. On care of dissenting groups

…we commend the proposals for delegated episcopal pastoral oversight set out by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) in 2004. We believe that these proposals are entirely reasonable, if they are approached and implemented reasonably by everyone concerned. We particularly commend the appeal structures set out in the House of Bishops policy statement, and consider that these provide a very significant degree of security. We see no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by retired bishops from within the province in question, and recommend that a province making provision in this manner should maintain a list of bishops who would be suitable and acceptable to undertake such a ministry. In principle, we see no difficulty in bishops from other provinces of the Communion becoming involved with the life of particular parishes under the terms of these arrangements in appropriate cases.

We are conscious that the Anglican Church of Canada is considering the adoption of a broadly similar scheme, and we ask that their proposals too should be marked by and received with a willingness to co-operate together in accordance with the principles we have outlined above…

…We further call upon those diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) who have refused to countenance the proposals set out by their House of Bishops to reconsider their own stance on this matter. If they refuse to do so, in our view, they will be making a profoundly dismissive statement about their adherence to the polity of their own church…

AS to the ECUSA bishops who have so far refused to conform to the DEPO proposals, this no doubt will be a topic of discussion at this week’s ECUSA HoB meeting, after which it may be appropriate to list who they then are.

The current status of the corresponding Canadian proposals is reported here.

6. To those bishops who have intervened in other provinces etc.

…We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:

  • to express regret for the consequences of their actions
  • to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
  • to effect a moratorium on any further interventions

We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care.

This clearly does not include bishops who enter other dioceses at the invitation of, or with the permission of, the local diocesan (Bp Wimberly appeared to misunderstand in this regard). I know of no list of bishops to whom this call already applies. Again I will gladly compile one if readers will supply details.


…We particularly request a contribution from the Episcopal Church (USA) which explains, from within the sources of authority that we as Anglicans have received in scripture, the apostolic tradition and reasoned reflection, how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ. As we see it, such a reasoned response, following up the work of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA), and taken with recent work undertaken by the Church of England and other provinces of the Communion, will have an important contribution to make to the ongoing discussion…

This contribution may need a little time to prepare and approve, but should not require more than a few months and could presumably be commissioned and approved by either the House of Bishops or the Executive Council.

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Justin Lewis-Anthony
19 years ago

Once again a clear and useful service from Simon (the truth may set us free, but we have to know what we are talking about first!). One quibble with your interpretation of Section 2. You say “This clearly refers to functions representing the AC externally, i.e. to other bodies.” I don’t think that’s right. If it actually meant that, wouldn’t the recommendation say “from representative functions *of* (or *for*) the Anglican Communion”. Saying “in” reads, to me, representing one part of the AC to another, and thus, although I hate to say it, I think Bishop Roskam’s interpretation is right.

Jim Naughton
19 years ago

Some of the bishops who were asked to express regret for authorizing a public rite to bless same sex unions have already done so. Here is a link to Bishop John Chane of Washington’s statement released on the same day as the Windsor Report.


I also wanted to mention that according to Bishop Mark Dyer of the Lambeth Commission, in his “widely distributed”: talk at the Virginia Theological Seminary, Simon’s interpretation of the “representation” issue is correct. It has nothing to do with Intra-Anglican affairs.

Andrew Goddard
Andrew Goddard
19 years ago

Simon, Many thanks for this helpful summary of what Windsor actually says and it is encouraging to see you supporting compliance with its appeals as what is needed. A couple of concerns about your presentation in response to paraphrases of the Report – First, the statement of regret. Windsor does not say which bodies should make this but clearly emphasises – as have a number of Commission members, including Archbishop Eames – the seriousness and urgency of the situation. Waiting another 18 months is really not a viable option with such a sick Communion. The Primates really need some evidence… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
19 years ago

Thanks for all the comments so far. I note that there divergent views expressed, even by WR authors, as to what is meant by “representative functions in the Anglican Communion”, although I do not interpret NTW’s “Fulcrum comments”: as being a direct commentary on the WR wording at this point. Of course, the Primates Meeting may choose to issue an interpretation of this which differs from mine, or indeed alter any of the recommendations as they see fit. But at present this wording is what we have. However, it is surely clear that these two calls for voluntary withdrawal are… Read more »

Mike Watson
Mike Watson
19 years ago

Although Dr. Goddard elected not to mention it, it may be noted that he has written a critique of Bishop Mark Dyer’s presentation referred to in the comment by Mr. Naughton immediately preceding his. See


Ian Montgomery
Ian Montgomery
19 years ago

In the interests of adding to the “TIME LIMITED” question I want to add the following. There is a “time limited” amount of patience in the pews. I can only speak out of our own congregation. Their patience is wearing very thin at this time. To be patient longer people want something like the following: – 1 Clear expression by the HOB of regret for the actions taken – not simply the effect. This goes beyond individual expressions of regret by offending bishops. 2 Clear commitment by the HOB to a moratorium on both same sex blessings and ordination of… Read more »

Rodney McInnes
Rodney McInnes
19 years ago

I’ve tried to resist joining in this discussion since I no longer regard myself as an Anglican (or a Christian) in any institutional sense. I am one who has voted with his feet at the opposite end of the spectrum from those for whom Ian Montgomery speaks. After the resolution of Lambeth 1998 which is so heavily relied on by the authors of the Windsor Report many gay people who had worked so hard to bring about the death of homophobia among Christians simply gave up. Some stayed on to fight the injustice and ignorance of that stand by the… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
19 years ago

Rodney, you may “no longer regard myself as an Anglican (or a Christian) in any institutional sense” . . . _but who wants to live in an institution, anyway?_ 😉 I just want you know I consider you a brother in Christ, the Lord of Love.

ECUSA (the democratic majority, in contrast to a loud minority of the likes of Ian Montgomery) *will persevere*—in Faith, Hope and Charity—to bind your wounds, and welcome you back to the Table of the Lord.

There’s a *Heavenly Banquet* awaiting LGBT (and affirming) Anglicans . . . and _the party starts *now*!_


Robert Leduc
Robert Leduc
19 years ago

The interpretation of the notion that those bishops participating in the consecration of Gene Robinson should not be present at intra-Anglican deliberations seems to be counter to the desire of the Windsor Report to both create a space for dialogue and the affirmation of the diocesan as the physical embodiment of the representation of the entire diocese. You can’t come to agreement with dioceses (not diocesans) who are not invited to the discussion. By definition, you cannot “walk together” if you do not invite _everyone_ to walk. Read as a whole, the Windsor Report does not appear to be intended… Read more »

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