Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's Wednesday morning.

Have been following VERY CLOSELY the General Convention.

Thought you might like to know where we stand.

as reported:
British church leaders pressuring Episcopal assembly over gay bishops

By Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer June 16, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio --Top British Anglican leaders are bringing new pressure on the Episcopal General Convention to enact a ban on electing gay bishops before the assembly ends next week.

If the legislative body fails to endorse a moratorium, the overseas bishops fear the divide in the global Anglican Communion over homosexuality will escalate to a full-blown schism.

Church of England Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham said in a statement being widely circulated at the meeting that prohibiting gay bishops -- for now, anyway -- is "the least that can be done that will restore the unity that has already been lost."

The crisis erupted in 2003, when the Episcopalians consecrated New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who lives with his longtime male partner. The move shocked conservative Anglicans around the world, who believe gay sex violates Scripture.

Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the second-highest ranking cleric in the Church of England, told Episcopal delegates that their current proposals to mollify fellow Anglicans do not go far enough. The U.S. church is a member of the Anglican Communion.

The main measure under consideration stops short of a moratorium. Instead, it warns dioceses to "exercise very considerable caution" in choosing leaders.

"Will it actually be sufficient to secure this impaired friendship? Personally, I'm doubtful," Sentamu told a hearing on the legislation earlier this week.

Jim Naughton, who is monitoring the convention for the Diocese of Washington's blog, said that Sentamu has continued to privately lobby bishops for a toughened proposal.

Separately, a senior Church of England leader, Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, flew into Columbus for a worship service Friday organized by the American Anglican Council.

The council represents Episcopalians with traditional views of Scripture who vehemently oppose ordaining gays. The group works with a network of 10 conservative Episcopal dioceses and more than 900 parishes that are debating whether to remain within the church.

"When people claim something as coming from the Spirit, we have to test it in terms of the clear teaching that we find in our Bible and confessed by the church throughout the ages," Nazir-Ali said in his sermon.

The 77 million-member Anglican Communion is a loose association of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William is the spiritual leader of the communion, but each province governs itself.

Many Episcopalians cherish that independence. They believe Anglican leaders should respect the church's decision to elect bishops without outside interference. The Rev. Tobias Haller, a priest at St. James Fordham in New York City, said delegates may resent the British push.

"We will hear what everyone says," Haller said, "but Americans can be pretty resistant to pressure."

Still, delegates recognize that there is intense international interest in their deliberations.
On Friday, Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, told the convention that Williams has formed a small group of advisers to help him assess the outcome of the General Convention, which runs through next Wednesday.

Williams sent a message to the convention that did not recommend a specific vote, but said "we cannot survive as a communion of churches without some common convictions about what it is to live and to make decisions as the Body of Christ."

An Episcopal committee shepherding the moratorium issue through the assembly is considering whether to revise the proposal. It was unclear when the convention vote will occur.

Also Friday, the House of Bishops overwhelmingly approved a resolution regretting its support of slavery and agreeing to study for three years the possibility of providing some form of reparations.
The resolution didn't make clear who would receive the reparations or what form they might take. The measure now goes to the House of Deputies for their consideration.

an editorial from the middle ground:
Justice for All


Yesterday afternoon, it looked like we were about to walk apart from the Communion with the rejection of Resolution A161, one of the Church’s responses to the Windsor Report.

Last night, fortunes changed when Deputies passed the revised A159, on our commitment to interdependence, and the rewritten A166, on the development of a covenant. Deputies refused to allow amendments, clearly stating that we need to stay in the Communion and allow new Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to take part in the conversation.

If we truly want to remain Anglicans, our chance to do so comes this morning.

Today is the last day of Convention – what we do today will resonate throughout the Communion. The question before Convention is one of justice – justice for gay and lesbian Episcopalians, as well as justice for the rest of the Communion – and how we are to live into this tension.

Immediately following the Eucharist this morning, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold will address a joint session, to help Convention craft a response to the Anglican Communion. This is the time for both Deputies and Bishops to be focused, not on individual desires and ideas, but on what we share as Anglicans and how to communicate that message to the rest of the world.

Despite yesterday afternoon’s actions, which left many in a bit of shock, we seem determined to honor our heritage. How that will look at the end of the day is uncertain, but last night, Deputies took a positive step forward.

We need to keep going.

as presented, adopted and/or be voted on:

Resolution A0159
Resolved, the House of Bishops 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 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.
To be determined

Resolution A0160
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, 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 A0161
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 A0166
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, as a demonstration of our commitment to mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Anglican Communion, support the process of the development of an Anglican Covenant that underscores our unity in faith, order, and common life in the service of God’s mission and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention direct the International Concerns Standing Committee of the Executive Council and the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council to follow the development processes of an Anglican Covenant in the Communion and report regularly to the Executive Council as well as to the 76th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention report these actions supporting the Anglican Covenant development process, noting such missiological and theological resources as the Standing Commission on World Mission and the House of Bishops’ Theology Committee to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates, and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion; and that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church report the same to the Primates of the churches of the Anglican Communion.
To be determined

Pray for guidance for our Communion this last day.


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