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A series of essays in the Episcopal Church


Response of the Diocese of Newark to the Windsor Report

Response of the Diocese of Newark to the Windsor Report

Resolution 2005-6 (Adopted by the Diocese of Newark, 1/29/05)

RESOLVED, That this 131st Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, meeting in the 221st year of the The Episcopal Church and the 139th year of the Anglican Communion, expresses gratitude for the efforts of the Lambeth Commission in preparing the Windsor Report; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Diocese of Newark expresses its concern that actions taken by it or by the Episcopal Church in which it has concurred have strained the bonds of affection that bind us to our sister and brother Anglicans. It has been and remains the position of the Diocese of Newark that autonomy within the Anglican Communion requires that no member church impose its will on any other member church; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Diocese of Newark views with concern the "possible draft" of an "Anglican Covenant," contained in Appendix 2 of the Windsor Report, and calls for careful study of the concepts contained therein and extensive revision of the language employed; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That, while open to further discussion and discernment, the Diocese of Newark expresses its current belief that fuller communion among the member churches of the Anglican Communion can better be achieved through means such as improved two-way communications, more intense companion diocese relationships, and educational sharing opportunities, rather than by the initiation of either an Anglican Communion canonical structure or "communion law" within the member churches; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Diocese of Newark notes with concern that the Windsor Report expresses concern for the "hurt and alienation felt by individual Anglicans, parishes and dioceses as a result of decisions made by autonomous provinces within which there is profound disagreement," while ignoring the hurt and alienation felt by gay and lesbian Anglicans and their supporters within those very parishes and dioceses and in other parts of the world; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Diocese of Newark acknowledges that there is general agreement throughout the Anglican Communion that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council are "Instruments of Unity." However, the Primates' Meeting, initiated by the 1978 Lambeth Conference, does not necessarily constitute an Instrument of Unity but is, as the Windsor Report alternately suggests, more appropriately considered a standing committee of the Lambeth Conference; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That in response to the pastoral needs of Episcopalians in this Diocese, we support the decision of the Bishop of the Diocese of Newark to bless same-sex relationships.

Written by E. Kim Byham. Submitted by Dr. Louie Crew, Grace Church, Newark

SUPPORTING INFORMATION

The Windsor Report was issued on October 18, and has been the subject of much discussion since. The Presiding Bishop and others have asked all Episcopalians to study this report and to let final pronouncements on it await a thorough discussion of the issues. These resolutions do not reflect a definitive position on the Windsor Report in its entirety, but rather represent a preliminary analysis of certain portions thereof and a statement of concern about certain sections as we currently understand them.

Although not reflected in the resolutions, we are concerned that the Lambeth Commission contained no openly lesbian or gay persons, nor did the Commission invite any such persons to speak with it, including the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson who is frequently talked about in the report.

The first General Convention was held in 1785 and is generally agreed to mark the founding date of the Episcopal Church. The first Lambeth Conference was held in 1867 and is generally agreed to mark the founding of the Anglican Communion.

Many American Episcopalians see a desire to impose one particular Biblical interpretation as the only accurate one as contrary to American and Anglican beliefs. In certain other parts of the world, there is a broad reaction to actions by The Episcopal Church that is affected, in part, by reactions to actions by the American government. While many in the Episcopal Church see a linkage between Biblical certainty and what is sometimes perceived as American imperialism, some of our fellow Anglicans abroad perceive our church's actions as based on alternative Biblical certainty that we are trying to impose on them. This is not what many if any Episcopalians intended, but it is nevertheless the perception.

The Primates' Meetings have not been given official recognition by the Episcopal Church meeting in General Convention. This is in contrast to the Anglican Consultative Council, initiated ten years before the Primates' Meetings, which has been the subject of implementing resolutions by General Convention. The Windsor Report (para 106) suggests the title "Primates Conference - the Standing Lambeth Committee."

We are thankful for the Anglican Communion and for those within it who disagree with us on various interpretations of the faith. Similarly, we give thanks for Episcopal Church and those within who disagree with us. Finally, we give thanks for those within our own diocese who remain in fellowship with us despite their disagreement with the majority on matters of interpretation of the faith.

The Windsor Report can be downloaded from the following web address and are available in English, Spanish and French: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/windsor2004/index.cfm


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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