Skip to comments.A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004
Posted on 01/13/2005 12:50:32 PM PST by sionnsar
[Background, as I understand it: The House of Bishops meeting has ended, and they have chosen to issue a "pastoral letter" as opposed to a "statement"; as one commenter noted, the former allows them to avoid making any declarative statements or assertions. Apparently the letter is titled "A Word to the Church," but I have not seen a copy of it yet.
However, the "network bishops" have issued their minority report, which follows in the comment section below. --sionnsar]
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), meeting in Salt Lake City January 12-13, 2005, issued A Word to the Church regarding the Windsor Report 2004. While the letter referenced regret for the crisis resulting from decisions at General Conventions 2003, the House failed to address the Windsors Reports call for moratoria on election/ordination of non-celibate homosexuals as well as the blessing of same sex unions, choosing instead to consider that issue at its March meeting.
Requesting a moment of personal privilege, Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, noted that the Episcopal Church USA often uses graceful language but our behavior (the politics of power) contradicts the words.
In light of the House of Bishops failure to issue a definitive statement on moratoria and to submit to the Windsor Report as asked by the Communion, a group of bishops have issued A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004. Currently, 21 bishops have signed this statement and more signatures are expected in the future.
The Primates meet in February to receive and respond to the Windsor Report, and they will consider a variety of ingredients in their deliberations, said Bishop Edward Salmon, Diocese of South Carolina. The response of the House of Bishops did not rise to level expected by the Communion. We heard a call for submission, and we who are unequivocally prepared to submit have responded accordingly.
Bishop Duncan also cautioned the bishops assembled about the destructive nature of power politics. The majority has the power to coerce the minority and even put us out, but in so doing, they ensure their destruction. We represent the vast majority of church planters, growing churches, missionaries, the Global South, and the largest seminary in the US (Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry).
A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004
We the undersigned Bishops:
(1) Accept the Windsor Reports key idea of autonomy-in-communion, that is, freedom held within interdependence
(2) Pledge in the future to maintain the bonds of affection by only making decisions that are fully compatible with the interests, standards, unity and good order of the Anglican Communion
(3) Acknowledge that as a province we have acted in ways incompatible with the Communion principle of interdependence, and our fellowship together has suffered immensely as a result
(4) Seek for ECUSA to comply in full with the unanimous recommendations of The Windsor Report by:
a. Expressing its regret for its own role in breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire and for the consequences which followed
b. Calling on the Executive Council, and recommending to the next General Convention, that they express their own regret in these terms
c. Effecting 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
d. Effecting a moratorium on all public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions and calling on those bishops who have authorized such rites to withdraw their authorization and express their regret that by such authorization they breached the proper constraints of the bonds of affection
e. Endeavoring to ensure commitment of all bishops to the common life of the Communion
(5) Reaffirm our commitment to engage with the Communion in our continuing study of the biblical and theological rationale for recent actions because these potentially divisive issues should not be resolved by the Episcopal Church on its own (General Convention 1991 B020)
Signatures of Bishops (as of January 13, 2005):
Henry Scriven (Assistant, Pittsburgh)
David J. Bena (Suffragan Albany)
Gethin B. Hughes (San Diego)
Keith L. Ackerman (Quincy)
John W. Howe (Central Florida)
William J, Skilton (South Carolina)
Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh)
James Adams (Western Kansas)
Stephen H. Jecko (Assistant, Dallas)
Daniel W. Herzog (Albany)
James Stanton (Dallas)
Bertram Nelson Herlong (Tennessee)
Edward L. Salmon, Jr. (South Carolina)
Jack Iker (Fort Worth)
Don A. Wimberly (Texas)
James B. Folts (West Texas)
Gary R. Lillibridge (Coadjutor, West Texas)
John David M. Schofield (San Joaquin)
D. Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana)
William C. Frey (Colorado, retired)
Peter Beckwith (Springfield)
A Word to the Church
From the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
January 12 13, 2005
Salt Lake City
To the faithful in Christ Jesus, greetings in the season of Epiphany. We rejoice together with you that God has caused a new light to shine in our hearts revealing Gods glory in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. The sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the aftermath of tsunamis in South Asia and flooding and mud slides in California and here in Utah where we are meeting, make us long all the more for this new light revealed to us in Christ. We are mindful as well of the suffering around the world caused by global poverty, HIV/AIDS, malaria, other diseases, and war. In this suffering world we are called to serve and signify Gods mission to the world, that mission whereby God brings to men and women, to human societies and to the whole world, real signs and foretastes of that healing love which will one day put all things to rights (Windsor Report, paragraph 3).
We decided at our September meeting in 2004 to set aside this time so we might together begin to receive the Windsor Report with humility. We have met for a day and a half in Salt Lake City. We welcome with gratitude the work of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. We realize this is a long-term effort which will most likely extend beyond our March meeting. In the meantime, we aim to practice the more intentional consultative processes called for by the Windsor Report. We also anticipate the Executive Council of our church joining in this consultation.
In this spirit of intentional practice, we affirm that all need to repent, as the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded us in his Advent Letter 2004. We repent of the ways we as bishops have sometimes treated each other, failing to honor Christs presence in one another. Furthermore, too often we have also failed to recognize Christs presence fully manifest in our sister and brother Anglicans around the global communion. We honor their full voice and wisdom. We desire mutuality. We recognize our interdependence in the Body of Christ.
Moreover, we as the House of Bishops express our sincere regret for the pain, the hurt, and the damage caused to our Anglican bonds of affection by certain actions of our church. Knowing that our actions have contributed to the current strains in our Communion, we express this regret as a sign of our deep desire for and commitment to continuation of our partnership in the Anglican Communion.
We note here that our decision-making structures differ from those in many parts of the Anglican Communion and that our actions require conciliar involvement by all the baptized of our church, lay and ordained. Therefore we as bishops, in offering our regrets, do not intend to preempt the canonical authority of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. At the same time, we are keenly aware of our particular responsibility for episcopal leadership.
We long for the fullest expression of the gift of communion that God has given us through Christ. The communion we enjoy with God in Christ and by the Spirit, and the communion we enjoy with all Gods people living and departed, is the specific practical embodiment and fruit of the gospel itself (Windsor Report, paragraph 3). We rejoice in our partnership in the worldwide Anglican Communion and affirm anew our commitment to the interdependence of this church as a member of the Anglican Communion.
We agree that one important expression of our communion would be a Communion-wide study and discernment process on matters of human sexuality as recommended by Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988 and 1998 and are eager to continue to respond to this challenge. This would be a sign of respect for gay and lesbian persons in our common life and of our ongoing pastoral care for them. We also believe that such a process would strengthen our communion. By doing so, we will be able to share more of the prayerful conversations and studies on the ministries and contributions of homosexual persons in the church that have enriched our experience for many years. The Presiding Bishop has already established a committee to offer a theological explanation of how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ (Windsor Report, paragraph 135).
We pray our brothers and sisters throughout the Anglican Communion will forgive us and that together we may remain in steadfast relationship so we might open our lives and our hearts to one another and learn how the Holy Spirit is acting in our different contexts. We are eager to take steps to make this possible, and particularly would welcome invitations to visit other Anglican provinces to learn from them the many ways they are vital witnesses to the healing love of Christ, often in very difficult circumstances.
During this brief meeting we humbly struggled in our deliberations to discern how best to receive the Windsor Report. We had an extensive discussion about 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, paragraph 134). We have only begun a serious and respectful consideration of how we might respond. Further, we have not had sufficient time to give substantive consideration to recommendations in the Report calling for a moratorium on diocesan boundary violations or the call for a moratorium and further discussion of the authorization of liturgical texts blessing same sex unions. (Here we note that there are those among us who do not agree with the statement in paragraph 144 of the Windsor Report that the Episcopal Church has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions.)
In February 2005 the Primates of the Anglican Communion will consider the Windsor Report. We commit ourselves to a more thorough consideration of the range of concrete actions identified in the Report at our House of Bishops meeting in March 2005. We do not wish to act in haste. We believe it is extremely important to take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to show us ways we can engage with people throughout our church in a consideration of all of the invitations for further reflection and the recommendations of the Windsor Report.
We seek together the epiphany of Christs reconciling love for the world, which lies at the heart of the mission we share. It is our prayer that along with Anglican Christians around the world we may be faithful to Gods mission.
[Note: I've just posted this; I don't expect to have time to read it for several hours --sionnsar]
Quick scan sounds to me like they've tied to perfect the "4-sided" triangle..will check back tonite...thanks again for all your efforts.
In essence, "we are sorry you are insulted but we are sure you will come around someday".
In my view, you nailed everything exactly correctly, but this was particularly masterful:
"Let me say for the record that I do not see the question of ordination of gay people to be the most significant issue facing the church today. I think the problem runs much deeper. And I think the language of this 'word to the Church' is symptomatic. The deeper problem has to do with a sense of independence from Christ and the Word of God that enables those on both the left and the right to use Scripture (and human words) to manipulate others for their own power-driven goals."
I just LONG for the Episcopal church to return to being a quiet, biblical, and holy part of the body of Christ, but I can't see that happening. The world has invaded us and it will NOT let go. MY little church IS quiet, biblical, and holy, so I guess I stay as long as I can. But my options when I leave aren't enticing-- go to the Catholics or the Lutherans, both of which have many of the same problems, or find a non-liturgical evangelical church, and mostly lose the sacrament of communion. Sheesh. How do I make a choice like that?
I am also a weasel-word specialist (lawyer) and they are clearly bobbing and weaving to avoid committing to the essence of what they were asked to do. They do pray that they may be forgiven . . . but for what? They've muddied the water so much higher up the document that it's entirely unclear.
"But my options when I leave aren't enticing-- go to the Catholics or the Lutherans, both of which have many of the same problems, or find a non-liturgical evangelical church, and mostly lose the sacrament of communion. Sheesh. How do I make a choice like that?"
Instead of swimming the Tiber or the Rhine, swim the Adriatic into Orthodoxy. :) When I was a kid, we were told that the Epsicopalians were "English Orthodox"! I guess the bishops were wrong.
I was hesitant to seek refuge in the Catholic church . . . after all I was raised on tales of Bloody Mary and Charles Kingsley's Jesuit plotters, etc. etc. But when I actually went out and started looking for a nice, believing Catholic parish, I found there what the Episcopal church has lost. I was surprised, and regretted that we didn't make the switch sooner, because this rot in ECUSA is not sudden - the handwriting has been on the wall for a long, long time.
Bearing in mind that my family is rather "high", I still think that Episcopalians may have some wrong ideas about Catholics, or are judging them from the Awful Example of a few high-profile, loony lib parishes.
Here is our parish website, take a look around, especially the parish bulletins and the "activities and ministries" section. You may be pleasantly surprised at how familiar it all seems.
"But, your Honor, it's a very very small one."
You got it, Sister!
(p.s. . . . if we didn't have Catholic connections (my husband's mom and aunt), we would have seriously considered the Orthodox Church. After all, the New Testament was originally Greek . . . and I actually took 2 semesters in college so I could read it . . . although it's just enough to get myself into trouble.)
Take note of this, my friends. This is the old 'outsiders just don't understand how our church works lingo'. And the hobs definitely state they do not plan to hinder the Gen Con in any way. That line is the final coffin nail.
They are rare, and hard to find, but there are liturgical evangelical churches. There are also semi-liturgical and "contemporary liturgical" (not quite as bad as it sounds) evangelical churches.
That being said, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod would probably be a good place to start looking if there is a convenient one.
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