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A series of essays in the Episcopal Church


General Convention Reaction

General Convention 2006:

 

Its Response to the

 

Requests of the Windsor Report,

 

and Subsequent Reaction

 

 

by

 

Charles Walthall

 

14 August 2006

(fd Jonathan Myrick Daniels)

 

for

 

CHHT 625:

The History and Theology

Of the Episcopal Church

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Donald S. Armentrout

The School of Theology

University of the South

Sewanee, Tennessee

Introduction

 

            In this paper I intend to address the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church[1] held in June 2006. I will focus on its response to the requests of the Windsor Report,[2] and the subsequent reaction in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion.

            The main body of the text is a chronology of significant actions and events leading up to, during and after General Convention. It is not a strict chronology; some things are grouped by topic for greater consistency.

For clarity and reference, I have set forth the specific requests of the Windsor Report in Appendix A. For comparison and assessment of compliance, I have given the resolutions proposed to General Convention in their original & final versions in Appendix B.

To aid in my discussion and to help in understanding the various groups involved, I have given information on some major recent and relevant conservative groups in Appendix C, and some major recent moderate and liberal groups in Appendix D.

            At the end, I will give my assessment and conclusions.

 

Pre-Convention Sentiment

 

Pre-Convention sentiment about the adequacy of ECUSA’s response to the Windsor Report ran the gamut of the spectrum of possibilities pro and con. As representative of these possibilities, I have chosen two divergent opinions expressed significantly by two members of the Lambeth Commission, which produced the Windsor Report: Archbishop Robin Eames, Primate of All Ireland, Chairman, and Bishop N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham. I have also included the opinion of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey.

 

Archbishop Robin Eames

 

The Most Rev. Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, [hence having a primacy of honor prior even to that of the Archbishop of Canterbury], was the chair of the Lambeth Commission that produced the Windsor Report. Archbishop Eames delivered a series of two lectures on the Anglican Communion at the Virginia Theological Seminary 4-5 October 2005.

In the course of the second lecture, on 5 October, [3] Bishop Eames expressed his opinion that “the North American Churches have taken the Windsor Report, and the subsequent Statement of the Primates at Dromantine, extremely seriously, and have complied, in so far as it lies within the power of bodies less than their national synod [General Convention], to meet the requests made of them.” He stated, “I believe that the request for regret in the terms of the Windsor Report has been met.” Regarding paragraph 134 of Windsor, that “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,” Bishop Eames states, “My reading of the Covenant of the Episcopal House of Bishops is that it exceeds what was requested of them by Windsor.” Regarding paragraph 144: “we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites [of Blessing for same(-)sex unions],” Bishop Eames stated, “Once again, both the bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada have in my opinion met the precise wording of Windsor.”

A week later, on 12 October, at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Archbishop Eames delivered the Pitt Lecture 2005: “Where now for World Anglicanism?“[4] In it, Bishop Eames addressed the issue of Nigeria, which he had not mentioned in the Virginia Seminary addresses, but which I brought up at the questions and answers session after his lectures. This concerned the Anglican Church of Nigeria’s change to its Constitution, which omitted all reference to the See of Canterbury and speaks of communion with “all Anglican Churches, dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the historic Faith, Sacraments and discipline of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,” and Nigeria’s intention to establish “Convocations and Chaplaincies” to care for “like-minded faithful” outside Nigeria.[5] I asked him if this did not violate the letter and spirit of the Windsor Report? He agreed that it did.

In the Pitt Lecture, Bishop Eames referred to Nigeria’s change to its Constitution, and asserted, “This wording not only removes what the Windsor Report described as ‘the pivotal’ role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as the instrument of unity but perhaps of greater significance challenges the concept of Communion as understood throughout Anglican history. Acceptance of an individual Province’s view of orthodoxy becomes the basis for relationship. Further the revision of its Constitution states that in all questions of interpretation of faith and doctrine the decision of the Church of Nigeria shall be final.”

Bishop Eames goes on to say, “As a Primate of the Anglican Communion, I find the implications of this revision most serious. Am I alone in interpreting such wording as the removal of established bonds of communion and their replacement by a Provincial-only wide authority, which will set its own criteria for whoever or whatever it considers worthy of a communion relationship? If this is so I find it is in direct conflict with much of the contents of the Windsor Report but more importantly in conflict with what I term ‘the Windsor spirit.’ Further I feel it is in direct contrast to the stand taken by the Primates of our Communion in their Dromantine communiqué.”

Finally, Bishop Eames says, “I have to add to these concerns the views of Windsor on the threat to communion of cross-provincial interventions, in cases where parishes are opposed to their diocesan bishop, without agreement and co-operation. This equal threat to ‘bonds of affection’ is illustrated by Nigeria’s intention to establish ‘Convocations and Chaplaincies’ outside Nigeria to cater for ‘like-minded faithful.’ Again this intention cuts across the agreed statement at Dromantine by the Primates which placed a moratorium on cross-provincial interventions.”

 

Lord George Carey

 

On 9 May 2006, Lord George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, gave his reflections on “A Communion in Crisis?” at the Virginia Theological Seminary. Bishop Carey spoke on the effects of the Consecration in the rest of the Communion, the theological issues at stake, and what other provinces hope for. Lord Carey’s hopes for General Convention were summed up as follows:

“I hope it will repent of [not just express regret for] decisions taken in 2003.

“I hope it will commit itself to a moratorium on the consecration of practicing homosexuals and lesbians to the episcopate, although I personally would extend this to all Orders of ministry.

“I hope it will refrain from same[-]sex blessing and liturgies.

“I hope it will commit itself to a Covenant along the lines of the Windsor Report.

“Finally, I hope that ECUSA will do all [in] its power to bring back into full communion all those bishops, clergy, and congregations who at present feel alienated from its life and in danger of separating from the Province.

“What do I most fear? That the General Convention will deal with the matter half-heartedly and will not see the seriousness of the hour, with the result that the issues are fudged and the response is so ambiguous that the situation is made far worse. Because, make no mistake about it, on that basis the communion will split and our mission, our integrity and our ministry to the poor of Africa will suffer.

“But let me add this post script. I have never made any secret throughout my time as Archbishop that ECUSA’s contribution to the Communion has been truly great. We need your strength, your wisdom, your talents and your resources. I believe you need us too.”[6]

Bishop N. T. Wright

 

            The Rt. Rev. N. Thomas (Tom) Wright, Bishop of Durham, Church of England, was also a member of the Lambeth Commission, which published The Windsor Report 2004. On 14 June 2006, Bishop Wright published “The Choice Before ECUSA,”[7] a response to the proposed resolutions dealing with the Windsor Report that would be considered by the General Convention 2006 of the Episcopal Church. Basically, Bishop Wright concludes that ECUSA’s response simply does not do what the Windsor Report has asked the Episcopal Church to do.

            Bishop Wright warns that our attention should not be detracted 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….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.”

 

General Convention 2006

 

Windsor Report Resolutions

(Please see Appendix B for Text of most of these Resolutions)

 

A159 Commitment to Interdependence in the Anglican Communion – Concurred

A160 Expression of Regret – Concurred

A161 Election of Bishops – Rejected

A162 Public Rites of Blessing for Same-Sex Unions – Discharged

A163 Pastoral Care and Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight – Concurred

A165 Commitment to Windsor and Listening Processes - Concurred

A167 Commitment to Development of an Anglican Covenant - Concurred

B033 On Election of Bishops – Concurred

 

Comment on Resolution B033

 

With the defeat of Resolution A161, the House of Bishops and House of Delegates on 21 June, the last day of convention, passed a last-minute compromise resolution designed to answer the Windsor Report and keep the Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion. Resolution B033 calls for restraint in consecrating bishops “whose manner of life present a challenge to the wider church.” The Presiding Bishop appealed to the “diverse center,” the majority of the Episcopal Church, who “must now act with generosity and imagination so that our actions are a clearer reflection of the willingness of the majority of us to relinquish something in order to serve a larger purpose [emphasis mine].”[8] The Living Church article claims that the Presiding Bishop “scored a legislative coup” for the Episcopal Church’s “diverse center.” The “victory, however, was short lived.” “Within hours of its passage key bishops on both the progressive and traditional wings of the church denounced the resolution, with liberals stating they were ready to defy its strictures and conservatives stating that it fell far short of the minimum requirements of the Windsor Report.”[9]

Presiding Bishop-elect Katherine Jefferts Schori made an impassioned plea for passage of B033, saying, she “lamented and grieved” the necessity for the resolution, but endorsed it only with the understanding that it was “not the final word on the place of gays and lesbians within the Episcopal Church. [emphasis mine]” Her urging seemed to turn the tide, and the resolution was, with many reservations, passed.

On 21 June, Bishop Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, and twenty-three other bishops (mostly but not all members of ACN), issued a statement declaring the resolution as “clearly and simply inadequate.” They also express their intention to “disassociate” themselves from those acts of this Convention that do not fully comply with the Windsor Report, and “repudiate” the actions that have breached the bonds of affection within the Communion. At the same time, these bishops “reaffirm our conviction that the Windsor Report provides the way forward for the entire Anglican Communion, the ecumenical relationships of the Communion, and the common life of a faithful Episcopal Church.” We “declare to our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Communion that we continue as The Episcopal Church in this country  who uphold and propagate the historic faith and order we have come to know through the Anglican heritage of apostolic teaching and biblical faith; who desire to be fully a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; and who are ready to embrace and live under the Windsor Report without equivocation [emphases mine].”[10]

At the Convention, Bishop Gene Robinson said, “I cannot promise to withhold consent from an entire category of people, sight unseen.”[11] He later issued a restrained but plaintive statement in which he urged calm and patience. But, he said, “We’ll be watching. Now that the Anglican Communion and the majority of Convention have gotten what they asked for, let’s see if anything changes….Will the Network dioceses and parishes give up their blatant drive to split the church apart and join us in our efforts to be reconciled, or will they only cry ‘not enough’ and demand more? We’ll be watching—and we’ll want the ‘middle’ to give us an accounting of what this Convention vote got them. And we’ll be asking, ‘Was it worth declaring us less than children of God, marked as Christ’s own forever? [emphasis mine]’”[12] Bishop Robinson spoke at St. Thomas Church, Washington, DC, on 15 July 2006. I asked him if, given the dissent of liberals and conservatives, Resolution B033 had any credibility at this point. He cautiously replied that the committee appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury would have to decide.

The Rt. Rev. John Chane, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, and nineteen other bishops signed a “Statement of Conscience,” in which they “prayerfully dissent” from the action of Resolution B033. Their reasons included: the integrity of the decision-making process as a Church, that the resolution was railroaded through at the last minute with little time for debate or discussion, that the resolution was discriminatory, and “our conversation has been framed in a flawed paradigm, forcing us to chose between two goods—the full inclusion in the life of the Church of our brother and sister Christians who happen to be gay or lesbian and our full inclusion in the life of our beloved Communion [Emphasis mine].”[13]

 

Election of Presiding Bishop:

The Episcopal Church’s Fathers Day Gift

to the Primates’ Boys Club: “It’s a Girl!”

 

            On 28 June 2006, the Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, on the fifth ballot cast by the House of Bishops.[14] This came thirty years after women were allowed to become priests in the Episcopal Church. The current Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, joyfully remarked, “The decision today is the fruit of the witness and ministry of women bishops, priests, and deacons in the life of our church.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury sent “greetings” but, with typical English reserve, refrained from congratulating the Presiding Bishop-elect “as she takes a deeply demanding position at a critical time.” He praised her for her commitment to mission and the Millennium Development Goals. “Her election will undoubtedly have an impact on the collegial life of the Anglican Primates, and it also brings into focus some continuing issues in several of our ecumenical dialogues.” He concluded by saying, “We are continuing to pray for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church as it confronts a series of exceptionally difficult choices.”[15]

In June 2005, the Anglican Consultative Council requested the ACC Standing Committee “to identify ways in which [the Millennium Development Goal for equal representation of women in decision making at all levels] may appropriately be adapted for incorporation into the structures of the Instruments of Unity, and other bodies to which the Anglican Consultative Council nominates or appoints.”[16] In July in York, England, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to proceed with steps to the ordaining of women to the episcopate. [See below]

            Reaction among moderates and liberals was ecstatic. According to ENS, the Rt.  Rev. Trevor Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana in Central Africa, said that God is a God of surprises. “This is a great year for women and we honor the role that women are playing in the world today.” The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, said that this is a wonderful day in the life of the Anglican Communion. “This will change the dynamics among the boys’ club of primates in the Anglican Communion significantly.” The Primate of Mexico, the Most Rev. Carlos Touche-Porter, said he is thrilled and eager to welcome her as a fellow primate in the Anglican Communion. “We need to go back to the Anglican spirit of respectful diversity as a source of enrichment and not division.”[17]

            Reaction among conservatives was predictable. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh assured Katharine Jefferts Schori of his prayers for her and her family as she “assumes the impossible task now assigned to her.” He immediately raised the concern for those dioceses, organizations (e.g., FiFNA), and persons, for whom this presents an untenable situation, and promised “to give ever more pastoral care and protection to those who have been shut out.” He asserts, “For the Anglican Communion worldwide, this election reveals the continuing insensitivity and disregard of the Episcopal Church for the present dynamics of our global fellowship. This election asserts once again that it is our autonomy and revolutionary character that is most dear to us.”[18]

            Conservatives in England were also quick to react. The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, who attended the General Convention as a guest, declared that worldwide Anglicanism has become “virtually two religions,” with the “irreconcilable” divisions between liberals and conservatives so profound that a schism is inevitable.[19] The Bishop of Rochester urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to “take firm action against the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church.”[20]

           

Reaction to General Convention:

 

The ABC’s Reply: “Challenge & Hope”

 

            On 27 June, in the wake of General Convention and immediate calls for alternative primatial oversight, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, outlined the theological framework in which the current crisis should be addressed: “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.”[21] True to the Archbishop’s usual form, the document is a masterpiece of erudition, penetrating insight and compassionate pastoral concern. It is also dense and defies facile comprehension and quick response, but rather encourages and demands continued thoughtful and prayerful rereading and reflection.[22]

            The Archbishop prefaces his remarks by saying, “These reflections are in no way intended to pre-empt the necessary process of careful assessment of the Episcopal Church’s responses to the Windsor Report. Rather they are intended to focus the question of what kind of Anglican Communion we wish to be and to explore how this vision might become more of a reality.”

            Accordingly, the Archbishop thinks it is now “urgent to work at what adequate structures for decision-making might look like.” Furthermore, “the tacit conventions between us need spelling out—not for the sake of some central mechanism of control but so that we have ways of being sure we’re still talking the same language, aware of belonging to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ,” and “we need ways of translating this underlying sacramental communion into a more effective institutional reality.”

            And, it seems to him, the best way forward is the idea of a “covenant” between local Churches. He feels that it is “necessarily an ‘opt-in’ matter. Those Churches that were prepared to take this on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness; and some might not be willing to do this. We could [he does not say we “will”] find ourselves where there were ‘constituent’ Churches in covenant in the Anglican Communion and other ‘churches in association’, which were still bound by historic and perhaps personal links.” “It could mean the need for local Churches to work at ordered and mutually respectful separation between ‘constituent’ and ‘associated’ elements; but it could also mean a positive challenge for Churches to work out what they believed to be involved in belonging in a global sacramental fellowship, a chance to rediscover a positive common obedience to the mystery of God’s gift that was not a matter of coercion from above but of that ‘waiting for each other’ that St. Paul commends to the Corinthians.”

The Archbishop insists the crucial concern is not so much the issue of sexuality but about “how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures.” He believes that the strength of historic Anglicanism has been in maintaining a balance—along the classical lines of scripture, tradition, and reason—between a reformed or Protestant concern for the absolute priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine, a catholic emphasis on the sacraments and tradition, and a liberal “habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly.”

The Archbishop concludes, “The only reason for being an Anglican is that this balance seems to you to be healthy for the Church Catholic overall, and that it helps people grow in discernment and holiness. Being an Anglican in the way I have sketched involves certain concessions and unclarities [sic] but provides at least for ways of sharing responsibility and making decisions that will hold and that will be mutually intelligible….The process currently going forward of assessing our situation in the wake of the General Convention is a shared one. But it is nonetheless possible for the Churches of the Communion to decide that this is indeed the identity, the living tradition—and by God’s grace, the gift—we want to share with the rest of the Christian world in the coming generation; more importantly still, that this is a valid and vital way of presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. My hope is that the period ahead—of detailed response to the work of General Convention, exploration of new structures, and further refinement of the covenant model—will renew our positive appreciation of the possibilities of our heritage so that we can pursue our mission with deeper confidence and harmony.”

The Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet early next year to consider the matter, and it will also be dealt with at the next Lambeth Conference in 2008. Meanwhile, a group appointed by the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates will be assisting the Archbishop in considering the response of General Convention 2006 to the requests of the Windsor Report.

Many would profit from heeding the Archbishop’s words. For he admits that while “the election of a practicing gay person as a bishop in the US in 2003 was the trigger for much of the present conflict,” and “the recent resolutions of the General Convention have not produced a complete response to the challenges of the Windsor Report,” nevertheless, “on this specific question there is at the very least an acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation in the extremely hard work that went into shaping the wording of the final formula.”

            Many ACN proponents, before and after the Convention, have been quick to conclude that the verdict is already in: General Convention has simply failed to respond to the specific requests of the Windsor Report. Moderates in Pittsburgh have rightly pointed out “statements made before the General Convention of The Episcopal Church by Network Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, and other traditionalists set such a rigid standard that they ensured that The Episcopal Church would fail to satisfy the traditionalists.”[23] They have also rightly noted that, in using the Archbishop’s remarks to support their actions (calling for alternative primatial oversight and separation from their province), the Bishop and Standing Committee “have interpreted the Archbishop’s document to suit their own views.”[24]

            Reaction to the Archbishop’s remarks from around the world was fairly predictable. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold, was “greatly encouraged” by the Archbishop’s “timely call to the provinces of the Anglican Communion to join together in exploring our Anglican identity.” He further stated, “The conclusion of this lengthy process is now unknown. Therefore [it is] misleading that some, in responding to the Archbishop’s lengthy theological reflection, have focused their attention on speculations about a yet-to-be determined outcome. And, as we enter into that process of discernment, we must never forget that God can always surprise us, and that the church is not our possession but is an instrument of God’s reconciling love in the world.”[25]

            The American Anglican Council interpreted the Archbishop’s remarks as being entirely in sympathy with their own views: “The revisionist trajectory of the Episcopal Church is clear and uncompromising…ECUSA has made its decision to walk apart from Anglican faith and order.” And they hastened to add, “While a covenant process will be years in the making, nevertheless, we in America have an urgent need for temporary emergency pastoral protection through cross-provincial oversight.”[26]

            Sydney’s Archbishop, Peter Jensen, said the Archbishop had provided “a great service” to the Anglican Communion by recognizing that “a separation within the Communion is inevitable,” and that “this is a Bible matter.” The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola said that Anglican churches should either be in or out of the family.” From my understanding of communion, it’s either we are together in communion fully or we’re not.”

On the contrary, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town said, “The constant talk of schism from various quarters does not address the heart of the matter which is living with difference and otherness.” Archbishop David Moxon, one of the co-presiding bishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, welcomed the prospect of developing an Anglican covenant, saying that describing it as an “ultimatum” to the liberal wing of the church is a misrepresentation of the Archbishop’s reflections. “Anglicanism has only ever survived because of the genius of the wording we’ve been able to gather around, with integrity and hospitality, because the classic Anglican texts, including liturgical texts, are ‘roomy.’ We can say them, we can pray them, we can believe them—but there is also room for reasonable variety of Christian points of view.”[27]

 

Requests for Immediate Alternative Primatial Oversight

and for a Separate, Windsor-Compliant Province

 

            Surprise, surprise, there was an almost immediate rush of requests for alternative primatial oversight (APO). Equally no surprise, it came from members of the Anglican Communion Network, who have been scheming and planning for just this eventuality. Here are the dioceses that have, to date, requested APO. None of these requests is the legislative action of a diocesan convention, and in each diocese there are congregations and individuals who affirm their continuing participation in the Episcopal Church.

Fort Worth:

On 19 June, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth announced that on 18 June it adopted a resolution appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury for immediate alternative primatial oversight and Pastoral Care “following the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.” [Fort Worth, with Quincy and San Joaquin, is one of three dioceses, which do not ordain women.]

On 24 July, the Standing Committee passed a resolution withdrawing its consent “to be included in the Seventh Province of the Episcopal Church,” subject to ratification by the diocesan convention on 18 November 2006. They cited as their reason: the actions of General Convention, which “constitute a decision of the Episcopal Church to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.”[28]

Pittsburgh:

The Bishop and Standing Committee met 18 June, and announced 19 June that the Diocese of Pittsburgh “disassociates” itself from those actions of the General convention which constitute a decision of the Episcopal Church to walk apart from the Anglican Communion (“by its failure to accept unreservedly the Windsor Report”), requests “immediate alternative Primatial oversight and pastoral care” and, pending final ratification by its 141st Annual Convention, withdraws its consent “to be included in the Third Province of the Episcopal Church,” “envisioning the drawing together of a new Windsor-compliant Tenth Province in the Episcopal Church.” As justification for their actions, the Standing Committee cited the statement made by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

To the Pittsburgh announcement, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said in a 28 June statement: “I find the action by the Standing Committee and Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh unsurprising and altogether consistent with their implicit intention of walking apart from the Episcopal Church [emphasis mine].”[29]

San Joaquin:

The Bishop and Standing Committee met 24 June, and announced 28 June, that they “ask that oversight and pastoral care be provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

South Carolina:

On 28 June, the Standing Committee announced their request to the Archbishop and Primates of the Anglican Communion, for alternative primatial oversight. Their reasons were: “on the basis of Holy Scripture, the Church cannot bless same[-]sex unions, nor can we ordain those engaged in homosexual practice,” “the election of a new Presiding Bishop who supported his consecration, and who has advocated and permitted same-sex blessings in her diocese,” and the fact that General Convention has “not produced a complete response to the challenges of the Windsor Report.”

Central Florida:

On June 29, The Bishop, Standing Committee, and Diocesan Board met and drew up a letter requesting immediate primatial oversight. Their reasons were: the unwillingness of General Convention “fully to embrace the requests” of the Windsor Report, ”most notably its failure to agree to a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions,” the election of a presiding bishop “who consented to the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003, who supported the blessing of same[-]sex unions in the Diocese of Nevada, and who, in her first sermon following the election, spoke of ‘Jesus, our mother’ [emphasis mine].”[30] On 17 July, the Bishop and the Standing Committee sent a formal letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury requesting “alternative primatial oversight.”[31]

Springfield:

In a resolution approved 26 June, and announced 30 June, the Standing Committee requested the Bishop to “intentionally and deliberately explore avenues for alternative primatial oversight.” Reasons given were: General Convention’s failure to “meaningfully or adequately [address] the clear expectations set forth in the Windsor Report,” its refusal “to repent or disavow the actions of the 74th General Convention,” its election of a presiding bishop “who not only supports the actions of the 74th General Convention,” but “has acted to approve the blessing of sexual relationships outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony,” a person who “by clear statements” has “shown herself to be outside the bounds of Christian orthodoxy and the clear parameters of the Christian Faith, as understood from an Anglican perspective.” [In a subsequent interview, Bishop Beckwith elaborated that Bishop Jefferts Schori used the phrase “mother Jesus” [emphasis mine] in a sermon, which infuriated “orthodox” Episcopalians such as himself.][32]

 

Dioceses Watching and Waiting:

(in the order in which they acted)

Quincy:

The Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Quincy announced, while noting “with sorrow,” the actions of General Convention, which have “failed to respond to the various Windsor Resolutions as requested by the Primates,” and “elected a Presiding Bishop who is on record as not supporting the spirit and the words of those Resolutions,” but mindful that “unilateral actions taken by dioceses and Provinces are inappropriate in the eyes of the Primates of the Anglican Communion when not done in concert,” “we are taking the following actions:” “continue to communicate with other member of the American Province who share our concerns,” “to work together through the Anglican Communion Network to address the serious divisions which have been further aggravated by this General Convention,” and, “in anticipation of the responses of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network, and others, the Standing Committee is reserving Saturday, September 16th as a date to convene a special diocesan synod.”

Texas:

The Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, on 28 June, issued a letter in response to General Convention. In it, he affirmed his intention to remain in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and he believes “there is a path forward.” However, perhaps heedful of the Archbishop’s statement, he thinks, “actions trying to foretell what the Archbishop and Communion will do seem premature.”[33]

Dallas:

On 3 July, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Dallas called upon the Bishop: to “disassociate the work of this diocese from [the] action and leadership [of General Convention 06],” “to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a direct primatial relationship with him,” and to pursue “an appropriate realignment or, if it becomes necessary, an ‘ordered and mutually respectful separation.’”[34] Two days later, the Bishop of Dallas replied: “I will discuss a direct relationship with the Archbishop.” Regarding realignment, he noted, “any discussion with respect to this matter must be made by the Diocesan Convention [20-21 October].” “What I propose to do, as a matter of first importance, is to meet with the clergy and leadership of every one of our congregations…to hear from them their concerns and desires. I will appoint a small panel…to assist me in hearing and understanding their concerns, and issue a report on this understanding.” [Would that that were being done in all the ACN dioceses.]  Above all, “no decision is being made now. [his emphasis] I hope all of us will hold together and engage one another between now and the Diocesan Convention….We must be [prayerfully] open to the future God has in store for us, and work together by faith.”[35]

Tennessee:

The Bishop of Tennessee and the Standing Committee considered suggestions that the diocese seek alternative primatial oversight, but decided that such a move would not be prudent, in light of its failed attempt to elect the Bishop’s successor. The Bishop has disassociated himself from the actions of General Convention in response to the Windsor Report. He also has gone on record as objecting to the Presiding Bishop-elect’s consent to the election of Gene Robinson and to allow same-sex blessings in the Diocese of Nevada.[36]

Albany:

The Standing Committee issued a statement that time is needed to reflect on all that happened at General Convention. They did, however, conclude that General Convention “has willfully failed to meet both the spirit and letter of the Windsor Report” and to show proper regard for “the bonds of affection” within the Anglican Communion. The committee affirmed that it stands “in solidarity and deepest sympathy with our sister Dioceses” who have requested alternative primatial oversight.[37]

 

Negative Reactions From Within the Dioceses

Requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight

and Withdrawal from ECUSA Provinces

 

            There was immediate protest to these resolutions from within the dioceses requesting alternative primatial oversight. In most cases, the local Via Media groups spearheaded these.

            In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, on 2 July, the Via Media group, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP), protested the actions of the Standing Committee as “divisive, yet without substance.” The request for alternative primatial oversight “represents a premature judgment of our Presiding Bishop-elect.” It has brought “distress” to those committed to the Episcopal Church, and “division and anxiety” to the many parishes that are divided over the issue. “The alleged withdrawal of the diocese from Province III is even more disingenuous.” PEP asserts, “The creation of provinces and the assignment of dioceses to provinces can only be done by canon of the General Convention.” The President of PEP claims “at least thirteen parishes in this diocese have declined to be part of the Network and declared a commitment to The Episcopal Church.”[38]

            On 11 July, a press conference was held at Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh. Nine parishes challenged and opposed the recent actions of the Bishop and Standing Committee and declared their loyalty to the Episcopal Church. “The parishes believe that these steps, if left unchallenged could effectively remove the Diocese from The Episcopal Church.” The parishes also believe that all of these actions constitute an effort to retain use of property, which is properly within the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church, while withdrawing from it. They invited others who wish to remain loyal to the Episcopal Church to take a stand with them.[39] On the same day, the Bishop of Pittsburgh denied the allegations and pledged his commitment to continue working “with the minority here in every way we can.”[40]

            On 11 July, PEP posted two detailed documents, presumably to inform their own and other dioceses what’s going on and how legally to oppose it: “An appraisal of the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s ‘Withdrawal’ of Consent to Inclusion in Province III,” by Lionel E. Deimel; and “Setting the Record Straight,” to counter misinformation circulating.[41]

            In the Diocese of Central Florida, Episcopal Voices, a Via Media group, announced a meeting on 29 July “to discuss the standing committee’s action and to plan a course for the future.” Although they are of “differing opinions about sexuality issues,” the group is ”dedicated to remaining in full support and union with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.” The group’s moderator said, “We are extremely unhappy about the diocese’s hasty decision which indicates an impending break with the Episcopal Church. A handful of people and the bishop have made a knee-jerk decision without thoughtfully consulting the membership of this diocese and seeking a wide consensus. Many people oppose breaking with the Episcopal Church, but our voices have not been considered in this action. Further, this action preempts the hope for reconciliation and healing as expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent statement as well as the Windsor Report.”[42]

            The Springfield Via Media, though still listed on the Via Media USA website, seems effectively to have been shut down. But the voices of those who oppose the Bishop’s actions and opinion that The Episcopal Church is in “meltdown” have not been entirely silenced. Rectors of two premier parishes in the diocese recently spoke out. The Rev. Christopher Coats, Rector of St. George’s Bellville, said that while he didn’t agree with Bishop Beckwith, “as long as he remains in the Episcopal Church, he’s my bishop and I have to abide by his decisions.” The Rev. Dr. Virginia Bennett, Rector of St. Andrew’s Edwardsville, said that if the diocese eventually left the American church in favor of more conservative Anglican leadership, “we would say that we are part of the Episcopal Church and our diocese left us, and we would hope we could go knocking on the door—for instance of the [nearby] Missouri diocese—and ask them to take us in.”[43]

 

Akinola Appoints CANA Missionary Bishop

 

            On 28 June, the Anglican Church of Nigeria announced that its Episcopal Synod had elected four priests as bishops, including the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns of Truro Church, Fairfax, VA. Minns was elected to serve the church’s Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA).[44]

            The Bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, wrote to his diocese that this is “an affront to the traditional, orthodox understanding of Anglican Provincial Autonomy.”[45] It is, furthermore, blatant disregard for the requests of the Windsor Report, which the ACN are so want to uphold.

 

Newark Announces Openly-Gay Candidate for Bishop

 

            On 28 June, the Episcopal Diocese of Newark announced that it had nominated the Very Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, as one of the candidates for bishop of the diocese. Canon Barlowe indicates in his personal profile that, “Paul Burrows has been my partner for 24 years.”

            The American Anglican Council was quick to condemn Canon Barlowe’s manner of life as “contradictory to Scripture and the mind of the Anglican Communion (Lambeth [98] 1.10) and illustrates a theology outside the confines of classic Anglicanism.”[46] It is also contrary to Resolution B033 just passed at General Convention, and was surely designed to defy the resolution.

 

Women Bishops Approved in Principle

At Church of England’s Synod

 

            On 8 July, women bishops were approved in principle at the Church of England’s Synod, meeting at York University, England 7-11 July 2006. The motion reads: “That this Synod welcome and affirm the view of the majority of the House of Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England is consonant with the faith of the Church as the Church of England has received it and would be a proper development in proclaiming afresh in this generation the grace and truth of Christ.”[47] The Archbishop of Canterbury emphasized, “the theological discussion is not over. This vote moves us further towards the question of how and when this should be recognized.”[48]

            While this action may not have been influenced by General Convention’s recent election of a woman Presiding Bishop, it certainly was not hurt by it. It will present one more sticking point for those provinces and dioceses in the Anglican Communion who are not in favor of the ordination of women.

 

Archbishop Carey Cancels Plans for Conference

 

            On 15 July, a conference on “The Future of the Anglican Communion following the 75th General Convention” was scheduled at All Saints’ Church, Chevy Chase, MD. More that 300 people had registered to come. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, curate at the parish, was to have been the keynote speaker, along with the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan. Those plans fell apart when Archbishop Carey withdrew his plans to attend, saying, “I understand from Lambeth Palace that talks between the Archbishop of Canterbury and [Episcopal Church] leaders are ongoing and delicate. It is for these reasons, and in order to support the office and ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury, that I have made my decision.”[49]

 

Bishop of Arkansas Allows Same-Sex Blessings

 

            On 19 July, the Bishop of Arkansas, Larry Maze, gave his diocesan clergy permission to honor the request of same-sex couples to have their relationships blessed, saying, “It is my belief that seeking ways of recognizing and blessing faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships falls within the parameters of providing pastoral concern and care for our gay and lesbian members.” The recently concluded General Convention, surprisingly, took no action on same-sex relationships.[50]

 

Four California Bishops Bring Charges

Against the Bishop of San Joaquin

 

            On 26 July, four California Bishops, concerned that the Bishop of San Joaquin intends to “abandon the communion of this Church,” asked a disciplinary panel to approve an expedited deposition of Bishop John-David Schofield. These charges might lead to a presentment—an ecclesiastical trial. Reason: At its annual meeting last October, delegates to San Joaquin’s convention approved the second reading of a change to its constitution to state that it “accedes to” the Canons and Constitution of the General Convention “to the extent that such terms and provisions” are “not inconsistent with the terms and provisions of the constitution and Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin.”[51]

 

Bishop of Texas Calls a Meeting of all Windsor-Affirming Bishops

 

            In a 28 July letter, the Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly invited all members of the House of Bishops “who are willing to stand firmly with the recommendations of the Windsor Report” to a “consultation” (not a “conference”) to be held 19-22 September at Camp Allen, Texas. Two bishops from the Church of England will be present: the bishops of Durham and Winchester.

As a starting point for the discussion, these bishops must accept: Lambeth 98 Resolution 1.10 as the teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexuality, the Windsor Report “as marking the way ahead for the Communion,” the Dromantine Communiqué, and “agreement that the response of ECUSA’s General Convention to the Windsor Report does not go far enough, and the intent to find a way to be related to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Communion in a way that is not impaired.”

The letter lists these five points for discussion: “Solidifying Communion links to Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates, Development of a leadership council for links with Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates, Commitment to common action, Thresholds for an Anglican Covenant, [and] Care of clergy and parishes not represented by ‘Windsor Bishops.’”[52]

 

Third Anglican Communion Network Council

 

            From 31 July to 2 August, the Anglican Communion Network held a Council in Pittsburgh. In his opening remarks, the ACN moderator, Bishop Duncan, declared, “The verdict from virtually every quarter, from global Christian observers to the secular press, [is] that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has ‘walked apart,’” “innovating ECUSA has failed miserably.” He proclaimed the ACN as “enduring ECUSA,” the “biblical, missionary, and united Anglicanism in North America.” Bishop Duncan says that we have begun to see “what appears to be the unraveling of The Episcopal Church, with dioceses asking the Archbishop of Canterbury for oversight, and the Archbishop himself presenting a possible plan for realignment.” After the Bishops and Standing Committees lodged their requests for alternative primatial oversight, the bishops of the seven dioceses submitted together an appeal to Lambeth Palace, which unified and developed the original requests.

            Bishop Duncan goes on to add, “Needless to say, we are hopeful about the Appeal, if not necessarily optimistic….If Canterbury can find a way to recognize the spiritual legitimacy of the claim of the Network Dioceses…to be that part of ECUSA that has ‘not walked apart’ from the Communion…then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be ‘gatherer’ and ‘moral voice’ of the Communion….If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have know them.”[53]

 

Dean Jeffrey John Entered Into Civil Partnership

 

            On 2 August, the Very Rev. Jeffrey John, Dean of St. Albans, England, entered into a civil partnership with the Rev. Grant Holmes, his partner of several decades. This does not relate directly to General Convention 2006, but demonstrates that the United States is not the only country that disregards the sentiment of the worldwide Anglican Communion.[54] The Archbishop of Canterbury had earlier permitted clergy in the Church of England to enter civil partnerships, provided they remain celibate. The Archbishop of Nigeria claimed that this is hypocrisy and unacceptable.

 

Conclusion

 

            If by “complying with the requests of the Windsor Report,” we mean literally, point-by-point, then, it must be conceded that General Convention 2006 did not fully comply with the Windsor Report. Comparing the requests with the final resolutions passed reveal this. There were bold attempts to word the resolutions exactly as specified by the Windsor Report, but they did not succeed. That would have been the simplest and most unequivocal way to handle the requests.

            On the other hand, clearly General Convention took the Windsor Report requests seriously and attempted to address them. Resolution A159 reaffirmed the commitment of The Episcopal Church “to remain in the Communion.” Resolution A160 expressed its “regret for straining the bonds of affection” and offered “its sincerest apology.” That was not sufficient to satisfy those conservatives who demanded “repentance,” a demand they knew the Episcopal Church was not willing to meet. But the Windsor Report itself did not request that.

Resolution A161 failed, but was replaced by Resolution B033. The Windsor Report requested “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.” Resolution B033 merely called upon standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction “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.” Clearly, calling for “restraint” falls far short of “a moratorium,” and in fact does not prohibit any such action. Furthermore, there is no compliance with the specification “until some new consensus emerges.” Obviously, General Convention failed to adequately address this request. But, as the Archbishop of Canterbury concedes, the Episcopal Church grappled seriously with this request, and that must be factored into any fair and reasonable assessment.

Resolution A162 failed, and therefore there was no resolution passed at General Convention on the blessing of same-sex unions. In fairness to conservatives, General Convention not only did not address the Windsor Report’s request that bishops who authorized such rites “withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion,” it elected as Presiding Bishop one who had authorized such rites and who would now serve as our highest representative—Primate—in the Anglican Communion. That is a breach of the Windsor Report requests that has offended many conservatives at home and abroad.

Finally, Resolution A163 dealt with effective and appropriate pastoral care for all members of this church. It sanctioned Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) (as recommended by the Windsor Report) and urged continued maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries. Resolution A165 committed the church to the ongoing Windsor and Listening Process. Resolution A166 supported the development of an Anglican Covenant. Curiously, there was no resolution that addressed intervention by bishops in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own, as called for by the Windsor Report. That was, to me, a major shortcoming.

Overall, with respect to the response of General Convention to the Windsor Report requests, we must admit there were some serious failures and, some things were what the former Archbishop of Canterbury (in his address at Virginia Seminary discussed at the beginning of this paper) called “fudged.”

Nevertheless, Presiding Bishop Griswold’s assessment is worth keeping in mind: “General convention’s response to the Windsor Report and the Windsor process was costly and generous. It was an unequivocal declaration of our desire and willingness to be faithful partners with other provinces in the lengthy process of developing a covenant articulating our mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Anglican Communion.

“For some we went too far and for others not far enough. For a strong majority of what I call the ‘diverse center’ our response expressed a strong desire to engage the work of reconciliation as part of a global communion in which strongly held opinions on variations in human sexuality have threatened to displace the creeds and the sacraments in articulating the faith we share. I believe our responses have been made in the spirit of the Windsor Report, which is an invitation to enter a process of healing relationships leading to a renewed sense of common commitment in service to Christ’s mission to our broken and divided world.”

Ultimately, the committee appointed by the Presiding Bishop will judge the adequacy of General Convention’s response. But that has not stopped conservatives from pronouncing the “meltdown”[55] of the Episcopal Church, and beginning a rush for alternative primatial oversight and the formation of a separate, “orthodox” province, which sounds very much like “parallel jurisdiction” (opposed by the Windsor Report ¶ 154) and the separatist and purist heresy of Donatism dealt with long ago.

Personally, I think that if the Episcopal Church is expelled from the Anglican Communion for failure to comply with the Windsor Report, then those provinces that have intervened and continued to intervene in the United States (which also violates the requests of the Windsor Report) should likewise be expelled from the Communion. And with them, I think the Anglican Communion Network and its affiliates, which have worked so hard not to foster reconciliation and unity in the church but to bring about dissent and separation.

Finally, we hear a lot these days about demands for adequate pastoral oversight for the conservative congregations in liberal dioceses. I would like to be assured that adequate pastoral oversight will be given moderate and liberal congregations in conservative dioceses. If there is going to be a split, I think it should be a fair and equitable division.

 

Appendix A

 

Requests of the Windsor Report

 

To help determine if ECUSA has complied with the Windsor Report requests, here is the exact wording of the requests:[56]

 

“On elections to the episcopate” (page 51ff)

 

¶ 134. “Mindful of the hurt and offence that have resulted from recent events,[57] and yet also of the imperatives of communion—the repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ—we have debated long and hard how all sides may be brought together. We recommend that:

 

The Episcopal Church addressed these requests in “A Covenant Statement” adopted nearly unanimously at a meeting of the House of Bishops at Camp Allen, Texas, 15 March 2005:[58]

“2. We express our own deep regret for the pain that others have experienced with respect to our actions at the General convention of 2003, and we offer our sincerest apology and repentance for having breached our bonds of affection by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking those actions.

“3. The Windsor Report has invited the Episcopal Church ‘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’ (Windsor Report, para. 134)….Those of us having jurisdiction pledge to withhold consent to the consecration of any person elected to the episcopate after the date hereof until the General Convention of 2006, and we encourage the dioceses of our church to delay Episcopal elections accordingly….”

 

¶ 135. “Finally,…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….”

 

Accordingly, To Set Our Hope on Christ: A Response to the Invitation of Windsor Report ¶ 135 (The Office of Communication, the Episcopal Church Center, New York, 2005) was submitted 21 June 2005. Of course, fundamentalists do not accept this as an adequate response.

 

On public Rites of Blessing of same[-]sex unions” (page 54ff)

 

“¶ 144. Because of the serious repercussions in the Communion, we call for a moratorium on all [Rites of Blessing of same-sex unions], and recommend that bishops who have authorized 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 authorization. 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.”

 

“The March 2005 Covenant Statement from the House of Bishops states:

“4. In response to the invitation in the Windsor Report that we effect a moratorium on public rites of blessing for same[-]sex unions, it is important that we clarify that the Episcopal Church has not authorized any such liturgies, nor has General Convention requested the development of such rites. The Primates, in their communiqué ‘assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship’ (Primates’ Communiqué, para. 6). Some in our church hold such ‘pastoral care’ to include the blessing of same[-]sex relationships. Others hold that it does not. Nevertheless, we pledge not to authorize any public rites for the blessing of same[-]sex unions, and we will not bless any such unions, at least until the General Convention of 2006.”[59]

 

On care of dissenting groups” (page 58ff)

 

“¶ 154. …We do not therefore favour the establishment of parallel jurisdictions.

Ҧ 155. We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, diocese and parishes other than their own:

 

In the March 2005 Covenant Statement from the House of Bishops, the bishops voted:

“5. We pledge ourselves not to cross diocesan boundaries to provide Episcopal ministry in violation of our own canons and we will hold ourselves accordingly accountable. We will also hold bishops and clergy canonically resident in other provinces likewise accountable. We request that our Anglican partners “effect a moratorium on any further interventions” (Windsor Report, para. 155; see also 1988 Lambeth conference Resolution 72 and 1998 Lambeth conference Resolution III.2) and work with us to find more creative solutions, such as the initiation of companion diocese relationships, to help us meet the legitimate needs of our own people and still maintain our integrity.”[60]

 

Appendix B

 

The Resolutions Proposed to General Convention 2006

(original & final versions)[61]

 


Resolution A159 Original Version

Title: Commitment to Interdependence in the Anglican Communion

 

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirm the abiding commitment of the Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion, and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the descriptive Preamble of our church’s Constitution that states that the Episcopal Church is in “communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer;” and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention join with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates, and the Anglican Consultative Council in making a commitment to the vision of interdependent life in Christ, and commends Sections A and B of the Windsor Report as a means of deepening our understanding of that commitment; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons, as an expression of this interdependence, make provision for persons from other Provinces of the Anglican Communion to serve with voice but not vote on each of the Standing Commissions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.


Resolution A159 Final Version - Concurred

 

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church reaffirm the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm that The Episcopal Church is in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention join with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates, and the Anglican Consultative Council in making a commitment to the vision of interdependent life in Christ, characterized by forbearance, trust, and respect, and commend the Windsor Report and process as a means of deepening our understanding of that commitment; and be it further
Resolved, That as an expression of interdependence, the Presiding offices of both Houses work in partnership with the churches of the Anglican Communion to explore ways by which there might be inter-Anglican consultation and participation on Standing Commissions of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

 

Resolution A160 Original

Title:  Expression of Regret

 

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church join the House of Bishops’ March 2005 “Covenant Statement” in expressing “our own deep regret for the pain that others have experienced with respect to our actions at the General Convention of 2003 and we offer our sincerest apology and repentance for having breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking these actions.”

 
Resolution A160 Final Version - Concurred

 
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of “the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ” (Windsor Report, paragraph 134), express its regret for straining the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences which followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within our Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of  communion one with another.


Resolution A161 Original Version

Title:   Election of Bishops

 

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, that the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church regrets the extent to which we have, by action and inaction, contributed to strains on communion and caused deep offense to many faithful Anglican Christians as we consented to the consecration of a bishop living openly in a same-gender union. Accordingly, we urge nominating committees, electing conventions, Standing Committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise very considerable caution in the nomination, election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.


Resolution A161 Final Version – Rejected – Revived as B033

 

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church regrets the extent to which we have, by action and inaction, contributed to strains on communion and caused deep offense to many faithful Anglican Christians as we consented to the consecration of a bishop living openly in a same-gender union. Accordingly, we are obliged to urge nominating committees, electing conventions, Standing Committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to refrain from the nomination, election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion; and be it further 
Resolved that this General Convention not proceed to develop or authorize Rites for the Blessing of same-sex unions at this time, thereby concurring with the Windsor Report in its exhortation to bishops of the Anglican Communion to honor the Primates’ Pastoral Letter of May 2003; and be it further  
Resolved that this General Convention affirm the need to maintain a breadth of responses to situations of pastoral care for gay and lesbian Christians in this Church.
 Resolved that this General Convention apologize to those gay and lesbian Episcopalians and their supporters hurt by these decisions.


Resolution A162  Final Version- No Action

Title:   Public Rites of Blessing for Same-Sex Unions

 

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirm the need to maintain a breadth of private responses to situations of individual pastoral care for gay and lesbian Christians in this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention concur with the Windsor Report in its exhortation to bishops of the Anglican Communion to honor the Primates’ Pastoral Letter of May 2003, by not proceeding to authorize public Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, until some broader consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention advise those bishops who have authorized public diocesan rites that, “because of the serious repercussions in the Communion,” they heed the invitation “to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorization” (Windsor Report 144).


Resolution A163 Original Version

Title:   Pastoral Care and Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight

Resolved, that the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirm the centrality of effective and appropriate pastoral care for all members of this church and all who come seeking the aid of this church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commit the Episcopal Church to the ongoing engagement of and sensitive response to the request and need of all the people of God – in particular, but not exclusively, those who agree and those who disagree with the actions of this body, those who feel isolated thereby, and gay and lesbian persons within and without this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention recognize the agonizing position of those who do not feel able to receive appropriate pastoral care from their own bishops, and urges the members of the House of Bishops to seek the highest degree of communion and reconciliation within their own dioceses, using when necessary the Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) process detailed in the March 2004 statement of the House of Bishops, “Caring for All the Churches;” and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention urge continued attention to the proper maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries and the authority of the diocesan bishop.

Resolution A 163 Final Version - Concurred

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirm the centrality of effective and appropriate pastoral care for all members of this church and all who come seeking the aid of this church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commit the Episcopal Church to the ongoing engagement of and sensitive response to the request and need of all the people of God – in particular, but not exclusively, those who agree and those who disagree with the actions of this body, those who feel isolated thereby, and gay and lesbian persons within and without this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention recognize the agonizing position of those who do not feel able to receive appropriate pastoral care from their own bishops, and urges the members of the House of Bishops to seek the highest degree of communion and reconciliation within their own dioceses, using when  requested in good faith the Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) process detailed in the March 2004 statement of the House of Bishops, “Caring for All the Churches”; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention urge continued  maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries,   the authority of the diocesan bishop, and respect for the historical relationships of the separate and autonomous Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Resolution B033 - Concurred

Title: On Election of Bishops

 

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further
Resolved, That this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction 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.


 
Appendix C

Some Major Recent Conservative Groups

(called “orthodox/traditionalist” by themselves)

 

The consecration in 2003 of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay person, as the Bishop of New Hampshire has been the “last straw” which has galvanized conservative Episcopalian splinter groups—old and new—to unify in a common conservative cause. They have also found large numbers of kindred spirits in the Global South or Two-Thirds World. And they have become increasing networked and unified in their efforts to combat liberal tendencies in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. These groups have rallied behind the Bible, the 1662 Prayer Book, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Thirty-nine Articles as expressing the essence of Anglican faith.

Even the Church of England seldom uses the 1662 Prayer Book and no longer requires subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles by ordinands to the priesthood. In addition to upholding the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the dominical sacraments of baptism and holy Eucharist, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral upholds: “The Holy Scriptures…as ‘containing all things necessary to salvation,’” and “The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.” The actions of ECUSA could comply with both of these, if “containing all things necessary to salvation” is read to mean that not all things in Scripture are necessary to salvation, and if the Bishop of New Hampshire is seen to represent the historic episcopate adapted to the varying needs of the nations and peoples of the Church.

Isn’t it astounding what conservative evangelicals, anglo-Catholics and charismatics, those accepting and opposing the ordination of women, those who emphasize the importance of the historic episcopate and those who do not, can come together and agree upon?! Will they wake up one day and realize that they, not homosexuals, are very “strange bedfellows” indeed?

 

American Anglican Council (AAC) www.americananglican.org

 

The American Anglican Council is “a network of individuals, parishes and specialized ministries who affirm Biblical authority and Christian orthodoxy within the Anglican Communion….We are uniting in order to fulfill our apostolic mission and ministry, working to build a faithful Anglican witness in America.”

History:

Supported by the EURRR, the AAC grew out of two meetings (known as the Briarwood Consultations) convened to discuss concerns that “the Church’s elected leadership continued to move further and further away from the historic biblical Christian faith, as if locked in a downward spiraling dance of death with the postmodern Western culture.”  Briarwood I met Dec 1995 at the Briarwood Conference Center north of Dallas TX. It consisted of twenty-five persons: five each of bishops, laypersons, scholars, heads of national ministries and rectors of large churches. They adopted a statement of faith previously drafted by The Very Rev Dr John Rogers Jr., former dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, entitled: “A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission.” They met again in June of 1996, with seventy-five participants, which included nine bishops. The AAC was incorporated on 19 Aug 1996 as a non-profit organization in the District of Columbia.

Tenets:

The AAC realized that “far from being a monolithic or even homogenous faction of the Church, we were actually a group with a great deal of diversity to hold in tension.” They quickly concluded “it is neither possible nor desirable to construct a litmus test for ‘orthodox’ Anglican belief.” But they went on to declare their intention, through affiliation with the Ekklesia Society, to “also forge relationships between AAC parishes and Anglicans around the globe who affirm the Lambeth Quadrilateral, which affirms the essentials of the Christian faith as Holy Scripture, the Nicene Creed, the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion, and the Historic Episcopate (BCP p. 887 [877]).” The AAC also affirms “those documents contained in the ‘Historical Documents’ section of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (BCP p. 863),” which includes the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. But it is quite clear that homosexuality is the real common concern of the AAC.  Hence their statement “God has instituted marriage to be a life-long union of husband and wife….All Christians are called to chastity: husbands and wives by exclusive sexual fidelity to one another and single persons by abstinence from sexual intercourse.” “When there arise within the Church at any level tendencies, pronouncements, and practices contrary to biblical, classical Anglican doctrines and moral standards, we must not and will not support them…we will resist them in every way possible.”

Affiliated Dioceses:

Dallas, Fort Worth, Quincy [at once time there were more, but they have joined the ACN.]

Public disclosure of an AAC secret strategy paper:

The 14 January 2004 issue of The Commercial Appeal printed an article (picked up by the Washington Post) revealing a 28 December 2003 letter of the Rev. Geoffrey Chapman, writing on behalf of the AAC and their Bishops Committee on Adequate Episcopal Oversight. This letter outlines the AAC’s “’confidential’ game plan for the destruction of The Episcopal Church U.S.A. by becoming a ‘replacement’ jurisdiction, even if it means ‘disobedience of canon law on a widespread basis.’”

Among other things, the letter states, “Our ultimate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil….We believe in the end this should be a replacement jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism.” “We seek to retain ownership of our property as we move into this realignment.” “We will creatively redirect finances….We will innovatively move around, beyond or within the canons.” It indicates, “In the end, everything will be spoken plainly, but the ability to get organized and take counsel together effectively depends upon our readiness to keep confidentiality.” “Be careful of your language.” “American revisionist bishops will be reticent to play hardball for a while.”[62] Subsequent events have shown that this game plan has been carefully followed.

But the game plan also backfired. In a pastoral letter to his diocese dated 15 January 2004, the conservative Bishop of West Tennessee, Don Johnson called it “deceitfulness and subversive sabotage.” He stated, “I do not endorse, support or condone their plan to methodically create anarchy in the Church,” and urged others who might have been sympathetic with the AAC “to rethink and officially disassociate with this organization.”[63]

Other conservatives have expressed similar sentiment. An essay on “Don’t Call Them Conservatives” by Teresa Mathes, wife of the Bishop of San Diego, recently appeared on a blog site. She insists, “The AAC and the ACN do not represent true conservatives,” though they are frequently so labeled. Among other things, for Mathes, a true conservative is concerned “about preserving what is best in society.” “This is where the AAC and ACN fall farthest short in my view. The Internet now bristles with memos leaked to the press or uncovered during lawsuits that reveal a common theme: threats to ‘separate,’ plans to secure church property, commitments to ‘realignment’ and to ‘guerrilla warfare.’ There is nothing preservationist in this behavior, and it is especially repugnant for its air of secrecy and deceit….I am ashamed that the AAC and the ACN are now synonymous with conservatism and I wish to give genuine conservatives back their name. The conservatives I know are honest, civil people who would scorn secret memos and ‘innovations’ meant to skirt the canons. Let’s face it, that kind of behavior also represents a profound challenge to the traditional understanding of moral fitness for ministry.”[64]

The publicized agenda for the AAC, “Equipping the Saints: A Crisis Resource for Anglican Laity,” was released 4 April 2004, and is posted on the AAC website. It does not advocate anything in secret or outside the canons.[65]

 

Anglican Communion Network (ACN) www.acn-us.org/

(aka The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes)

 

The ACN is “a united, biblically driven missionary movement dedicated to bringing the ‘true and legitimate’ expression of Anglicanism to North America,” in fellowship with global Anglicanism. The ACN allows Episcopalians “to remain in communion with the vast majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion who have declared either impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church USA. For some Episcopalians, the ACN has “come to represent the hope for a return to the historic faith and order of Anglicanism.”

Tenets:

It is committed to “orthodoxy,” to “the faith once delivered to the saints.” It is committed “to evangelical faith and catholic order.” “We are faithful to the promises of Holy Scripture and the tenets of the Creeds. We are faithful to what the Episcopal Church has, at its best, always been: evangelical, catholic and charismatic.”

History:

Because of the actions of General Convention 2003, (that is, the consecration of an openly gay bishop, which allegedly abandoned “2000 years of biblical teaching and historical church order”), twenty-one Provinces of the Anglican Communion declared either impaired or broken communion with ECUSA. The ACN claims that it was originally suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who “encouraged us to form a networking of confessing dioceses and parishes to support and encourage the life and ministry of those alienated by the actions of General Convention 2003.” Initial plans for the Network were laid at a gathering of Anglican leaders in London in November 2003. Their intention was to “begin taking steps toward organizing a network of ‘confessing’ dioceses and congregations within ECUSA.” The Network of Anglican Communion dioceses and Parishes was officially launched on 20 January 2004 at the Network’s Organizing Convocation at Christ Church, Plano, Texas. The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, was elected moderator of the Network. Fourteen Primates have now recognized the ACN as the legitimate Anglican presence in North America: representing the Provinces of Nigeria, West Indies, Southern Cone, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda (retiring and incoming), Congo, Tanzania, Central Africa, South India, Pakistan, South East Asia, and Philippines.

Affiliated Dioceses:

Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, South Carolina, Springfield. (Two other dioceses were at the Organizing Convocation: Florida and Western Kansas.)

 

What is the distinction between the AAC and ACN?

Officially, “ACN is an ecclesial body, whereas the AAC is an advocacy organization dedicated to reforming the Episcopal Church. While they share a dedication to biblical authority, the Great Commission and the historic faith and order of Anglicanism, these two are separate entities. ACN is a link for dioceses and parishes. The AAC is an advocate for renewal of the Episcopal Church.”[66] In truth, the AAC seems to have morphed into the ACN.

 

The Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) www.theamia.org/

 

The Anglican Mission in America is under the Anglican Archbishops of South East Asia and Rwanda. It provides a way for U.S. congregations and clergy to be fully Anglican, “while at the same time, being free of the crises of faith, leadership and mission in the Episcopal Church USA.”

Tenets:

The AMiA upholds “the Bible as the Word of God” and belief in “the historic statement such as the Nicene Creed and the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles.” The AMiA draws from “evangelical, anglo-catholic, and charismatic influences, like three streams flowing together as one river in Jesus Christ.”

History:

Following three years of preparation, the Anglican Mission in America was begun in Amsterdam in August 2000. There, Archbishops Kolini of Rwanda and Yong of South East Asia “gave the signal ‘Full Speed Ahead’ to what had been the First Promise Movement and AACOM (Association of Anglican Congregations on Mission), and the Anglican Mission in America was born.” Two bishops, Chuck Murphy and John Rodgers, who had been [irregularly] consecrated Missionary Bishops to the United States from Rwanda and South East Asia 29 January 2000, became its overseers. They were soon joined by four additional bishops consecrated in Denver in 2001. Their canonically illegal and uninvited consecrations were denounced by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. AMiA is now focusing on planting new Anglican congregations across the United States. AMiA is not officially part of the Anglican Communion, but is part of the Common Cause Partners.

 

The Anglican Province of America (APA) www.anglicanprovince.org

 

The Anglican Province of America is Anglican, having risen as the American branch of the Church of England. The AFA is catholic, having been established by the Lord himself [!] and his successors the Apostles. It is episcopal, that is, governed by bishops, descendants of the Apostles and of the first Episcopal bishops in the United States. The APA is evangelical, meaning Bible-based. And it is traditional, meaning, “we do not allow the current winds of public and societal opinion to alter that Faith which we have received from our forefathers as contained in the Holy Bible, the writings of the Early Church, and the Book of Common Prayer. APA uses the 1928 Prayer Book and the King James Version of the Bible. [Never mind that King James was a notorious and open homosexual.]

Tenets: “The faith of the Church is summarized in the three historic Creeds, Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian, and in the teachings defined by the Early Church.”

The APA is one of the members of the Common Cause Partners. The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, of Oviedo (Orlando), Florida, is the current Presiding Bishop of the APA.

 

Anglicans United (AU) www.anglicansunited.com/

(formerly: Episcopalians United for Reformation, Renewal and Revelation, Inc. [EURRR])

 

According to An Episcopalian Dictionary of the Church, a group called Episcopalians United was organized in 1975 by the Rev. Canon Albert J. DuBois, then president of the American Church Union. The group was formed in opposition to the ordination of women and the adoption of a new Prayer Book. In 1977, Canon DuBois organized another group (changed the previous group into?) Anglicans United, again opposed to the ordination of women and the revision of the Prayer Book, this time with the goal of creating an Anglican Province of persons dissatisfied with the Episcopal Church. This resulted in the formation of the Pro-Diocese of St. Augustine of Canterbury, but it was never joined to another branch of the Holy Catholic Church.[67]

 

More recently, and seemingly unrelated, in 1987, just prior to the 1988 General Convention, a group, which included the Rev. John Troop, formed Episcopalians United for Reformation, Renewal and Revelation, Inc. Rev. Troop became the first Executive Director. EU quickly became the largest conservative organization in the Episcopal Church. In 1989, the Board named the Rev. Todd H. Wetzel as the new Executive Director. By 1992, EU published a newspaper, United Voice, and founded a publishing company, Latimer Press in 1993. At the 1994 General Convention, the EU succeeded in sending advance copies of a sexuality study commissioned by the national church, which, they claim, resulted in its failing to be accepted. Fr. Wetzel claims to have been publicly excoriated by the Presiding Bishop, and the EU was labeled as both alarmist and strident by most of the national church. In 1995, Fr. Wetzel supported the creation of the AAC. In 1997, the EU joined with The Ekklesia Society and directed their efforts towards influencing the1998 Lambeth Conference. At that conference, the bishops voted 526 to 70, that homosexual behavior is incompatible with Scripture. According to the AU website, “This was probably the first sound of shattering of the Anglican Communion, as American bishops declared they would not ‘defer to the beliefs of some bishop in Asia or Africa.’”[68] Following the 98 Lambeth Conference, United Voice became Anglican Voice. Prior to General Convention 2000, Fr. Wetzel “worked to network an effective orthodox Anglican presence on the American shore,” seeking to bring together the Reformed Episcopal Church, the APA and other splinter groups from ECUSA. This resulted in the U.S. Anglican Congress, which was held in Atlanta in 2002 and 2003. Early in 2003, Episcopalians United became Anglicans United, to reflect the expanded scope of the ministry. The Board of Trustees was restructured to include bishops and laity from the AMiA, Reformed Episcopal Church, APA and FiFNA. “Since 1987, Anglicans United has been a steadfast force for Anglican orthodoxy,” and the “promulgation of the Gospel while forming Christian disciples in the evangelical, catholic and reformed Anglican way.”

 

Common Cause Partners

 

Common Cause Partners was formed 6 June 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia, “to ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global communion,” and “to create a unity in the essentials of our Anglican faith that respects our varied styles and expressions.” It represents an unprecedented alliance of several churches and ministries in the Anglican tradition. [Again, isn’t it amazing that Anglo-Catholics, who are very high church and uphold the importance of apostolic succession, and the Reformed Episcopal Church, which is very low church and rejects apostolic succession in the historic episcopate, can come together?] Common Cause is headed by Bishop Duncan, the moderator of the ACN.

Common Cause has proposed a Theological Statement and Covenant Declaration for consideration by the ACNC at their 31 July-2 August meeting in Pittsburgh. These proposals include: “Holy Scripture as the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation, and as the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life,” “the teaching of the Seven Ecumenical Councils in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and have been held by all, everywhere, at all times” [never mind that this was never true], “the 1549 through the 1662 Books of Common Prayer and their ordinal [which implies men only] as the foundation for Anglican worship and the standard for doctrine and discipline,” “the godly Historic Episcopate to be necessary for the full being of the Church” [how could the Reformed Episcopal Church buy in to this?], and “the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as  foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses” [there went the Anglo-Catholic service of Benediction (the Sacrament carried about and gazed upon) and the relics in Sewanee chapel and at Nashotah House].[69]

Affiliates: American Anglican Council (AAC), Anglican Communion Network (ACN), Anglican Essentials Canada, Anglican Mission in America, Anglican Network in Canada, Anglican Province of America (APA), Forward in Faith North America, and the Reformed Episcopal Church.[70] As of now, the Anglican Mission in America and the Reformed Episcopal Church are not in the Anglican Communion.[71]

 

Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church (CCLEC)

www.episcopalian.org/cclec/

(subtitle: A lay movement of concerned and faithful Episcopalians to renew and reform the Church) [a lay movement of clergy and laity?]

 

I have not found anything on the history or formation of the CCLEC. The First Promise Statement, which was apparently produced by them and signed by priests [never mind that their subtitle reads “a lay movement”] 9 September 1997 at Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, is indicative of their focus. They believe that the Episcopal Church “has departed from [the teachings of the apostles] in many actions, and failures to act, over the last several decades [beginning with the “mandatory and coercive enforcement of the ordination of women”], and that many of its leaders have abandoned ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’” They base their beliefs on the Bible, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, the Thirty-Nine Articles, “A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission” (1996) [suggesting some connection with the AAC], and the “Kuala Lumpur statement” (1997). The name First Promise comes from the “first promise” required of every deacon and priest in the 1979 Prayer Book: to “be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them” (BCP 526, 538) [Actually the 1979 Prayer Book reads: “to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.”] But, aside from the irony of getting the first promise wrong, and their confusion about whether they are a lay movement or clergy and laity, the statement endorses the following actions to be taken immediately: “We will not receive any canon nor submit to any ecclesiastical action which ordains that which is ‘contrary to God’s Word written.’” “We hereby endorse the ‘Kuala Lumpur Statement’ (1997) [which is basically a prototype of Lambeth 98 Resolution 1.10, which had not yet appeared][72] as a true and accurate statement of the apostles’ teaching concerning biblical authority and human sexuality.” “We intend to be in communion with that part of the Anglican Communion which accepts and endorses the principles aforesaid and not otherwise.” “We will not be bound, in the exercise of our priestly or diaconal ministries, by the legal or geographical boundaries of any parish or diocese, if those boundaries are being invoked to prevent the preaching and teaching of ‘the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.’” “We pledge to remain under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of faithful bishops who uphold our heritage in the gospel, seeking alternative Episcopal oversight if necessary.” According to the AMiA history above, the CCLEC became part of the AMiA. Nevertheless, they still have a separate website.

 

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA)

(aka The convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America)

 

On 7 April 2005, the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, announced the formation of the Convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America. He says that CANA will function as a ministry of the Church of Nigeria in America. He insists, “Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada but rather to provide safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches.” On 28 June 2006, Bishop Akinola announced the election of the Rev. Martin Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, Virgina, as a bishop of the Church of Nigeria with oversight of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

On 17 November 2005, Archbishop Akinola announced a covenant between the Church of Nigeria and the Reformed Episcopal Church and the APA.[73]

 

Prayer Book Society (PBS) www.episcopalian.org/pbs1928/aboutus.htm

(aka The society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer)

 

The Prayer Book Society was founded in May 1971 in Sewanee, Tennessee. It was begun in reaction to the publication of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and favors the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. The PBS is also opposed to the ordination of women, the blessing of same-sex relations, and the ordination of openly homosexual persons. It is currently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is headed by the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon.[74]

 

The Ekklesia Society www.ekk.org/mov/ekk1.swf

The Ekklesia Society, named after the Greek word for “church,” is a conservative Anglican fellowship committed to the biblical, creedal, and historic faith of the Apostles, as summarized in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. It was chartered on 12 April 1996. The American branch is located in Carrollton, Texas. The Anglican provinces represented in the Ekklesia Society include: Australia, Brazil, Burundi, the Anglican Church of Canada, Central Africa, Congo (Zaire), ECUSA, the Church of England, Kenya, Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South India, South East Asia, the Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda. The AAC has declared its intention, through affiliation with the Ekklesia Society, to “forge relationships between AAC parishes and Anglicans around the globe.” [In truth, they seem to be working more through Common Cause.]

 

Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA) www.forwardinfaith.com/

 

Forward in Faith began as “a worldwide association of Anglicans who are unable in conscience to accept the ordination of women as priests or as bishops.” In a statement dated 7 August 2003, the Rev Dr David L. Moyer, then president of Forward in Faith, said, “The revisionist majority has taken the Episcopal Church out of the Christian religion and severed it from any claim to uphold Biblical, Catholic, Apostolic, and Evangelical Faith and Order….The Episcopal Church has ignored and dismissed the counsel of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and has rejected the mind of [the] Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church as a denomination has willfully created a new religion.” [Note how the same arguments used today, were used then to oppose the ordination of women.] The purpose of Forward in Faith North America is “to uphold the historic Faith, Practice and Order of the Church Biblical, Apostolic and Catholic, and to resist all efforts to deviate from it” and to work “internationally and cooperatively for the creation of an orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in North America.” FiFNA voted to affiliate with the ACN in February 2006. It is also affiliated with Common Cause.

 

Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) www.ird-renew.org/

 

The Institute for Religion and Democracy is a well-financed, conservative think tank, headquartered in Washington, DC, which is aggressively working to counter liberalism in mainline churches—including the Episcopal Church. While not specifically an Episcopalian group, its former president, Dianne Knippers, who died 8 April 2005, was one of the founders and a board member of the AAC.[75] She was also a lay leader at Truro Episcopal Church, Fairfax, VA.[76] (Truro is one of the largest evangelical and conservative congregations in the Washington, DC, area, and Archbishop Peter Akinola recently appointed its rector, Martyn Minns, a bishop for CANA.)

 

VirtueOnline (VOL) www.virtueonline.org/

 

David W. Virtue, D.D., located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, sponsors a website VirtueOnline: “The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism.” Virtue is one of the most sensational and outspoken conservatives in the Episcopal Church. Peter Toon is included among his columnists. It was David Virtue who at the last minute at General Convention 2003 brought the stunning but false allegation that “Gene Robinson’s website is linked by one click to 5,000 pornographic websites.”[77] Allegedly, “Virtue pranced excitedly around the media center shouting: ‘I have found the smoking gun. We got him!’”[78]

 

Appendix D

 

Some Major Recent Moderate & Liberal Groups

(called “revisionist/progressive” by conservatives)

 

Integrity www.integrityusa.org/

 

Integrity is a national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] Episcopalians and others who support their cause. It is the leading voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church. Integrity was founded in 1974 in Georgia by Dr. Louie Crew, and is now headquartered in Rochester, New York.

 

Louie Crew www.newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/

 

Louie Crew, the founder of Integrity, is one of the leading spokespersons and advocates for inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church, and maintains a website with information on that issue.

 

Via Media USA www.viamediausa.org

 

Via Media, (“the middle way,”) is “not a compromise for the sake of peace, but a comprehension for the sake of truth.” Via Media is an alliance of groups from across the Episcopal Church “committed to promoting and protecting the faith, unity and vitality of The Episcopal Church.” “We are united in our desire to remain within The Episcopal Church and, through it, within the Anglican Communion.” Via Media USA “strives to emulate Jesus Christ, respecting the dignity of every human being.” It affirms the four principles of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, but “acknowledges that Holy Scripture must be understood within the context of its origins and traditions of interpretation, as well as with the mediation of reason and the Holy Spirit.” Via Media “celebrates its diverse understandings of matters outside the basic tenets of the faith as indicative of humanity’s struggle to understand God’s will for contemporary societies.” Via Media is a response to the actions of conservative bishops, and is active particularly in those dioceses that are affiliated with the ACN. Hence it includes groups from the dioceses of: Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, South Carolina, Southwest Florida, Springfield [apparently no longer active], and Tennessee.[79]



[1] One of the actions of General Convention was to change the name of the church from “ECUSA” (or was it The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society?) to “The Episcopal Church.” I haven’t found the resolution. In any event, I don’t think they intended that we should always capitalize the “t,” as some folks are now beginning to do. That would seem a bit arrogant to me.

[2] The Lambeth Commission on Communion: The Windsor Report 2004 (The Anglican Communion Office, 2004). The Windsor Report [it is not usually italicized] is an attempt by the Anglican Communion to respond to the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which consented to the election of an openly gay bishop. It makes specific requests of the Episcopal Church (USA) in hopes of preserving the unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

[3] Most Rev. Dr. Robin Eames, “The Anglican Communion: What Communion?,” Virginia Theological Seminary, 5 October 2005, ENS.

[4] Most Rev. Dr. Robin Eames, “Where now for World Anglicanism?,” Pitt Lecture 2005, Berekley Divinity School at Yale, 12 October 2005, www.yale.edu/divinity/video/convo2005/Pitt_Lecture_10_12)05.pdf.

[5] Announced 19 September 2005. Some would argue that this is tantamount to withdrawal from the Anglican Communion, since the one thing that defines the Anglican Communion is being in communion with the See of Canterbury. “Nigerian Church New Constitution Redefines Relationship with Canterbury,” Christian Today, 3 August 2005, www.chritiantoday.com/news/africa/nigerian.chruch.new.constitution.redefines.relationship.with.Canterbury.

[6] George Carey, “A communion in Crisis? A Reflection offered by Lord Carey,” Virginia Theological Seminary, 9 May 2006. http://glcarey.co.uk/Speeches/2006/Communion%20in%20crisis.html.

[8] “From Columbus: Text of Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold’s June 21 message to a Join Session of the 75th General Convention’s House of Bishops and the House of Deputies,” ENS.

[9] George Conger, “Resolution B033: An Extraordinary Compromise,” The Living Church, 23 June 2006, www.livingchurch.org/publishertlc/printarticle.asp?ID=2207.

[10] “General Convention Actions Inadequate (Bishops’ Statement),” ACN, 21 June 2006, www.acn-us.org/archive/2006/06/general-convention-actions-inadequate-bishops-statement.t=html.

[11] Douglas LeBlanc, “General Convention pulls back from the brink at the last minute,” Church Times, 28 July 2006. www.churchtimes.co.uk/.

[12] “Open Letter from Gene Robinson after General Convention 06,” 24 June 2006, http://voicesofcolumbus.wordpress.com/200606/24/open-letter-from-gene-robinson-after-general-convention. 

[13] “A Statement of Conscience,” Episcopal Diocese of Washington, 21 June 2006, www.edow.org/news/window/special/generalconvention/2006/0621conscience.html.

[14] While the election of a new Presiding Bishop came on Sunday, 18 June, that is before passage of Resolution B033, I have chosen, for greater cohesiveness, to discuss all the resolutions together, and discuss the election of the Presiding Bishop here.

[15] Maria Mackay, “Archbishop Falls Short of Congratulating New Female Episcopal Church Head,” Christian Today, 22 June 2006.

[16] Matthew Davies, “From Columbus: Anglican leaders reflect favorably on Jefferts Schori election,” ENS.

[17] Ibid.

[18] The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, “Statement at the Election of the Bishop of Nevada to be the 26th Presiding Bishop,” www.can-us/archive/2006/06.

[19] “Anglicans must split, says bishop,” BBC News, http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/.

[20] Ruth Gledhill, “Bishop breaks stained glass ceiling,” London Times, 19 June 2006.

[22] My experience is quite limited, but it seems to me that we seldom encounter deeply spiritual persons. Of the people I have encountered in the world today, I would put Rowan Williams, Frank Griswold and Desmond Tutu in that category. The biggest common factor I find in these people is that they exude calm, peace and love—compassion. They are the ones who make Anglicanism attractive to me. Unfortunately, I find many of the persons in the forefront of the crisis in the church today, instead, exude impatience, hatred and intolerance.

[23] “Pittsburgh Action Called Divisive,” Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, 2 July 2006.

[24] “Nine parishes challenge recent actions of the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh; declare their loyalty to the Episcopal Church,” press conference 11 July 2006 at Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh.

[25] “Presiding Bishop responds to Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflections,” ENS, 28 June 2006.

[26] “The American Anglican Council’s Comments on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Statement on ‘Challenge and Hope’ for the Anglican Communion,” AAC Press Release, 27 June 2006, file://C:\DOCUME~1/Temp/UUS6DENE.htm.

[27] Matthew Davies, “Anglican leaders respond to Williams’ reflections on Communion,” ENS, 29 June 2006.

[28] “Fort Worth: Standing Committee wants to leave Province VII,” ENS, 27 July 2006.

[29] Mary Frances Schjonberg, “‘Alternative primatial oversight’ requested by three standing committees,” ENS, 28 June 2006. www.episcopalchurch.org.

[30] Never mind that in the medieval period many, including Julian of Norwich, spoke of Jesus, our Mother, and this idea was expressed in the widespread symbol of a pelican feeding it brood with blood from its breast. Or, that Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not” (Mt 23:37; Lk 13:34). How freely we pick and choose which traditions and which scriptures to heed and which to ignore, which children to gather and which to exclude.

[31] “Central Florida: Diocese makes official request for ‘alternative primatial oversight,’” ENS, 27 July 2006.

[32] Tim Townsend, “Episcopal church faces crisis as 7 bishops rebel,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 July 2006, www.stltoday.com.

[33] The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, “Response to General Convention,” 28 June 2006, www.epicenter.org/edot/GC_BishopStatement.asp?SnID=2105293285.

[34] “A Response to General Convention 2006 From the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Dallas,” 3 July 2006, diocesan website, www.episcopal-dallas.org/

[35] The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, “A Pastoral Letter,” 5 July 2006, diocesan website, www.episcopal-dallas.org/.

[36] “Tennessee: Pastoral letter makes no mention of ‘alternative primatial oversight,’” ENS, 27 July 2006.

[37] “Albany: Standing Committee calls on diocese to ‘step back,’ ENS, 3 August 2006.

[38] “Pittsburgh Action Called Divisive,” News Release from Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, 2 July 2006.

[39] News release from 11 July 2006 press conference held at Calvary Episcopal Church: “Nine parishes challenge recent actions of the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh; declare their loyalty to the Episcopal Church.”

[40] “Diocese Responds to Calvary Press Conference,” Pittsburgh Diocesan website, www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/calvarypressconference071106

[41] Both are available on the PEP website: http://progressiveepiscopalians.org.

[42] “Central Florida ‘mainstream’ group opposes standing committee action,” ENS, 6 July 2006, www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_76508_ENG_Print.html.

[43] Tim Townsend, “Episcopal Church faces crisis as 7 bishops rebel,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 July 2006, www.stltoday.com/.; Chris Wetterich, “Episcopal bishop seeks new direction,” The State Journal-Register, Springfield, IL, www.sj-r.com/sections/news/printfile/90810.asp.

[44] Mary Frances Schjonberg, “Virginia priest elected by Church of Nigeria to serve in North America,” ENS, 28 June 2006.

[45] “Virginia bishop calls Nigerian election an ‘affront’,” ENS, 30 June 2006.

[46] “An American Anglican Council Statement Regarding the Nomination of a Non-Celibate Homosexual in the Diocese of Newark, AAC Press Release, 29 June 2006, www.americananglican.org.

[47] “Women bishops approved in principle at Church of England’s Synod,” ENS, 8 July 2006.

[48] Matthew Davies, “Church of England begins long process toward ordaining women bishops,” ENS, 19 July 2006.

[49] Douglas LeBlanc, “Archbishop Carey Cancels Plans for Conference: He Cites ‘Delicate Talks,’” The Living Church, 8 August 2006.

[50] “Arkansas: Bishop allows same-gender blessings as pastoral response,” ENS, 27 July 2006.

[51] “News from San Joaquin,” FiF North America, 26 July 2006. www.forwardinfaith.com/artman/publish/printer_328.shtml.

[52] “Bishop of Texas to Host Meeting of Windsor-Affirming Bishops,” The Living Church, 3 August 2006.

[53] “Network Council: Moderator’s Address,” www.can-us.org/archive/2006/07/network-council-moderators-address.html. The tone of Bishop Duncan’s remarks do not sound like a very respectful way to address the Archbishop of Canterbury. Is this a hint at a future claim for someone else, say Archbishop Akinola, to be the rightful leader of the “orthodox” Anglican Communion?

[54] Stephen Bates, “A very civil partnership,” Guardian, 2 August 2006. http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/stephen_bates/2006/08/a_discreet_little_service.html.

[55] Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield, in an article by Tim Townsend, “Episcopal church faces crisis as 7 bishops rebel,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 July 2006. www.stltoday.com.

[56] The Lambeth Commission on Communion: The Windsor Report 2004 (The Anglican Communion Office, 2004).

[57] The Windsor Report expresses very little mindfulness of the hurt and offense to homosexuals, and does not address the issue of homophobia at all.

[58] “A Covenant Statement of the House of Bishops,” House of Bishops’ Spring Meeting, Camp Allen, Texas, 15 March 2005, ENS, www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_60016_ENG_Print.html.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[62] “The Realignment Movement is All About Schism,” www.fwviamedia.org/chapman.html.

[63] The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson, Bishop of West Tennessee, 15 January 2004 letter, www.episwtn.org.

[64] Teresa Mathes, “Don’t Call Them Conservatives,” http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/.

[65] “Equipping the Saints: A Crisis Resource for Anglican Laity,” An Education Resource Produced by the American Anglican Council, 2nd Edition, 2004.

[67] “Episcopalians United,” “Anglicans United,” An Episcopal dictionary of the Church, ed. Don S. Armentrout & Robert B. Slocum (Church Publishing, 1999) 187, 20.

[69] “Network to Consider Common Cause Theological Statement, Covenant,” http://www.acn-us.org/archive/2006/07/

[70] The Reformed Episcopal Church began in 1873, so it is hardly recent, and reflects the tension between high church/low church in the Episcopal Church rather than sexuality. For more information, please see: “Reformed Episcopal Church,” An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, ed. Don S. Armentrout & Robert B. Slocum (Church Publishing, 1999) 435; and Donald S. Armentrout, “Episcopal Splinter Groups: A Study of Groups Which Have Left the Episcopal Church, 1873-1985” (Sewanee, Tennessee, 1985) 1.

[73] ACNS 4075 Nigeria 17 November 2005 “Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) announces a covenant with two North American church bodies.”

[74] “Prayer Book Society,” in An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, ed. by Don S. Armentrout & Robert B. Slocum (Church Publishing, 1999) 410.

[75] Elizabeth Adams, Going to Heaven: The Life and Election of Bishop Gene Robinson (Brooklyn, NY, 2006) 123.

[76] Kevin Eckstrom, “Institute for Religion and Democracy President Dianne Knippers Dies at 53: Stalwart against liberalism in mainline churches had colon cancer,” Christianity Today, 19 April 2005, www.christianitytoday.com;ct/2005/116/; Peter Laarman, “A Canterbury Tale,” 6 July 2006, www.progressivechristiansuniting.org/2006/07/06/a-canterbury-tale/#more-105.

[77] Ethan Flad, “Virtual Trickery Backfires” [pun do doubt intended], Every Voice News, 6 August 2003, http://thewitness.org/agw/flad080703.html.

[78] Stephen Bates, A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality (I.B. Taurus, 2004) 185.

[79] “Integrity, Inc.” An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, ed. Don S. Armentrout & Robert B. Slocum (Church Publishing, 1999) 266.


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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