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A series of essays in the Episcopal Church


Comments on "The Windsor Report"

By House of Bishops, Nippon Sei Ko Kai, February, 2005.

Translated by Dr. Cyril Powles, former Anglican Church of Canada missionary to Japan

  1. As a result of the confusion in the Anglican Communion caused by the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) with a series of resolutions and actions around the subject of homosexuals persons, a committee to advise the Archbishop of Canterbury on the nature and unity of the Anglican Communion was set up. The report of this committee, "The Windsor Report 2004", was made public in October 2004. The House of Bishops of the Nippon Seikokai (NSKK), as a member of the Communion, has paid serious attention to this report.
  2. This committee carried out a basic examination of the essential nature of the Anglican Communion and the direction the churches connected with it should take. It further advised the parties (churches) concerned in the series of actions on the steps they should take. The process leading to these conclusions cannot have been an easy one. We are deeply grateful for their efforts.
  3. The NSKK, at the Primates' meeting of 2003, has already expressed its regret that ECUSA and ACC. (Diocese of New Westminster) proceeded to that series of resolutions and actions in spite of the concern expressed (Resolutions 1: 10-4) by the [1998] Lambeth Conference and the Primates' meeting. In that light we understand the basic viewpoint expressed in the Windsor Report.
  4. However, it should be enough for the Anglican Communion as a whole, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, to urge the churches (dioceses) concerned with those kinds of resolutions and actions to reconsider their stand. There is no need to enumerate (Section D) the kind of 'advisories' (practical directions) that have no precedent in the history of the Communion. Similarly, it should also be sufficient just to urge reconsideration of their actions on the part of those bishops who have intervened in the legitimate resolutions and actions of autonomous provinces. (The above relates to Mandate 2 [page 8 of the Report] assigned to the committee.)
  5. At the same Lambeth Conference that passed the resolution to refrain from the ordination of homosexual persons, the bishops of the Communion urged us to commit ourselves to listen to the voices of homosexual people. The NSKK sincerely hopes that every province and diocese of the Communion will understand the importance of this resolution and act upon it.
  6. At this time the NSKK wishes particularly to emphasize that element of the Anglican tradition which seeks all possible means to recognize the diversity which emerges in the process of the indigenisation (inculturation) of the Gospel.
  7. Moreover, while the NSKK believes in the authority of the Scriptures, we understand that the text of Scripture was formed within a particular historical and faith context. Accordingly, we believe that, in a context which differs both in history and in the expression of faith, we are actually permitted a variety of ways of interpreting Scripture.
  8. Based on the above assumptions (6 and 7), we cannot think that the Church can have only one, absolute view of human sexuality. While recognising the authority of the Bible, there is every possibility that in the process of working out its message, differences of time and culture may be reflected in the understanding of human sexuality. We would like to think of the series of decisions and actions of ECUSA and ACC in this light.
  9. This [Windsor] report makes a number of proposals concerning the way the unity of the Anglican Communion should be. However, the NSKK does not think that unity can be manifested only if we take the same interpretation of Scripture and the same theological standpoint concerning our basic understanding of human sexuality.
  10. Concerning the proposed Covenant for the Anglican Communion, the NSKK believes that the best traditions and legacies of the Anglican Communion make this kind of codified covenant something that is unnecessary for either side in the argument. In particular, the statements in Part III, Article 10 of the Proposal, concerning "moral values," and the "vision of humanity" appear to imply a variety whose considerable latitude ought not to be limited by such a covenant. Even if it is agreed that this kind of basic mutual agreement needs to be codified within the Anglican Communion, it should happen only after a number of years of examination and then only as a minimum basic agreement.

You are welcome to submit your essays for consideration for this series. Send them to lcrew@newark.rutgers.edu Identify yourself by name, snail address, parish, and other connections to the Episcopal Church. Please encourage others to do the same.

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