Skip to comments.Second meeting of self-styled 'Windsor Bishops' begins [ENS gets snarky]
Posted on 01/04/2007 7:26:43 AM PST by sionnsar
[Episcopal News Service] A group of Episcopal Church bishops gathered beginning January 3 at Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center, northwest of Houston, Texas, for a three-day meeting to continue discussing the church's relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion's provinces.
According to a story in the January edition of the diocese's newspaper, Texas Bishop Don Wimberly sent a letter to the clergy of the diocese saying that his correspondence with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, following the first meeting of self-styled "Windsor Bishops" in September, "encouraged" him to hold the second gathering.
The "Windsor Bishops" are a group of bishops who have said they agree that the terms of the Windsor Report provide a roadmap for a way forward in the midst of disagreements among the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion. They say they have come together in conversation about the church's future.
Wimberly is quoted in the newspaper as saying "the purpose of the gathering is not to form another 'group' or to issue proclamations, but to continue the conversation as requested in the Windsor Report.
Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth wrote in a statement on the Fort Worth website that the meeting will include presentations on next month's Primates Meeting and on the work of the Anglican Covenant Design Group.
"We also will be discussing the current situation in The Episcopal Church, the concern for representation of the Windsor Bishops at meetings of the Instruments of Unity, and responses to parishes and dioceses who are seeking alternative oversight," Iker wrote.
What Iker called the Instruments of Unity are referred to on the Anglican Communion's website as the Instruments of Communion. They are the Primates Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lambeth Conferences. The Archbishop of Canterbury is referred to as the Focus of Unity on the website.
Iker noted that Wimberly's invitation to the January meeting said that "We are approaching a critical junction in the life of our church and the life of our Communion. Our discussions are both timely and of extraordinary importance."
In late November, Williams, responding to a letter from the group Episcopal Majority, said that he was "not seeking to impose any new structure" on the Episcopal Church.
Williams wrote that he fully accepts that he has no jurisdiction in the Episcopal Church.
"I have had informal discussions with a number of parties in [the Episcopal Church], of very diverse opinions, as to what future possibilities there are, but I do not approach this with a pre-cooked agenda of my own," Williams wrote.
A group of 21 so-called "Windsor Bishops" met at Camp Allen September 19-22 and agreed to gather again early in 2007, inviting "others who share our concern and position to join us in our common work on behalf of the church."
In a letter issued to their colleagues in the House of Bishops at the end of the September meeting, the bishops said that they support the Windsor Report, believe that the 75th General Convention "did not adequately respond" to the report and subsequent statements, but they pledged to "care for all God's children in our dioceses."
The bishops who signed the letter are Mark L. MacDonald (Alaska), William H. Love (Albany), John W. Howe (Central Florida), James M. Stanton (Dallas), Jack L. Iker (Fort Worth), Michael G. Smith (North Dakota), Edward S. Little (Northern Indiana), C. Wallis Ohl, Jr. (Northwest Texas), Robert W. Duncan (Pittsburgh), Keith L. Ackerman (Quincy), Geralyn Wolf (Rhode Island), Jeffrey N. Steenson (Rio Grande), John-David Schofield (San Joaquin), Edward L. Salmon (South Carolina), John B. Lipscomb (Southwest Florida), Peter H. Beckwith (Springfield), Bertram N. Herlong (Tennessee), Don A. Wimberly (Texas), James M. Adams (Western Kansas), D. Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana) and Gary R. Lillibridge (West Texas).
No list of those attending the current meeting has been made available. The January issue of the Texas Episcopalian reported that "in addition to the nearly two dozen bishops who attended in September, a growing number of bishops from across the United States plan to attend the meeting in January."
West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, chair of Williams' Covenant Design Group, is reportedly attending the meeting, as is Tanzania Archbishop Donald Mtetamela.
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania issued a statement December 7 declaring "that its communion with the Episcopal Church (USA) is severely impaired" because of the 75th General Convention's "failure" to respond to the Windsor Report by expressing "honest repentance for their actions that were contrary to the dictates of the Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Anglican Church as expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference."
The statement said that "the Anglican Church of Tanzania remains in communion with those who are faithful to Biblical Christianity and authority of Scripture who remain in the Episcopal Church (USA) or have left or are considering leaving that church body for the same reasons."
Tanzania is due to host the February meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in Dar Es Salaam.
Iker's letter said that Church of England Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt of the Diocese of Winchester is again meeting with the group. He and his Church of England colleague Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham were at the original meeting.
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
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