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The Episcopal Church, USA and homosexuality

The 2006 General Convention: Part 3
Subsequent reactions to B033. Other resolutions.

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This essay is a continuation from Part 2

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Subsequent reactions to B033:

ENS reported:

bulletBishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, co-chair of the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, said that the resolution was:

"...an appropriate and blessed way forward, strengthening the Episcopal Church, strengthening the Anglican Communion, without closing any doors unnecessarily."

bulletBishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, a member of the committee, said it is:

"...the best that we can do. It's a relief to me because my hope is that we can stay in communion and continue the conversation and affirm the Windsor process. Having this vote in both houses says to the Anglican Communion that we are very serious about our relationship."

bulletBishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire expressed some disappointment:

"The church has a picture of the wide diversity in this church and people have been remarkably honest and loving in all of this. I have been approached by all kinds of people who have felt called to vote for this resolution in order for us to continue the conversation with the Anglican Communion...In some sense, having given the Anglican Communion what it asked for regarding gay and lesbian members of this church, we'll be looking to them to see if they were serious about wanting to be in conversation about this, or whether they wanted this to end the conversation...This is not what we hoped for, but it's what we have, so I'm much more interested in talking about tomorrow than I am about today or yesterday."

bulletThe Rev. Canon David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, a conservative activist group, said:

"I don't think there's the willingness to actually enforce it and carry it out. The best prediction of what a person will do is what they have done before, and a number of the very revisionist bishops have very honestly said, 'We've been doing same-sex blessings, we've been ordaining homosexual persons and we're going to keep right on doing that.' ...I applaud them for their honesty, although I disagree with them."

bulletThe Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity, a gay-positive activist group said:

"I am disappointed that whether or not we go to Lambeth matters more than the lives of gay and lesbian people, and their vocations in this church. At the same time I understand this to be a part of a process. We are on a journey. It is part of an ongoing conversation."

She noted that the General Convention has:

"done nothing about genocide, about evangelism, about the environment, about economics, about all those other hundreds of resolutions that are now going to fall into the abyss because this house has not been able to pull itself up and take some action."

bulletKatherine Tyler Scott, a deputy and member of the standing committee in the Diocese of Indianapolis, said she had been blessed to work with very diverse people:

"listening to one another, respecting each other, really hearing and coming to what we thought was a common mind on these issues."

bullet More than 60 international visitors attended the General Convention. One was Bishop Mano Rumalshah of Peshawar in Pakistan. He said that the resolution:

"...could have been much more but at least it keeps the door open and allows the dialogue to continue and let's rejoice in that. Let's not give up. Let's not draw the lines too hard. Let's continue to have hope in humanity and each other and in God's spirit that, yes, things can go on." 1

The American Anglican Council (AAC) took a distinctly negative view towards the Convention. AAC CEO and president, the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson wrote:

"The worldwide Communion asked for simple, unambiguous compliance with the Windsor Report, specifically an expression of regret for decisions made in 2003 and subsequent actions, as well as moratoria on consecrations of non-celibate homosexuals and same-sex blessings. The Episcopal Church did not deliver. Instead, both the House of Bishops and House of Deputies bowed to intense pressure from the Presiding Bishop to pass B033, a resolution characterized by ill-defined language with no provision for enforcement or accountability. The legislation 'called upon' standing committees and diocesan bishops to 'exercise restraint' by not consenting to the election of individuals whose 'manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.' Why was this legislation not cast in Windsor language? It was clear that neither house would have approved Windsor compliance wording...."

"...the Episcopal Church simply refused to address the matter of same-sex blessings. Dodging the issue with a claim that ECUSA has not authorized official rites, General Convention ignored the fact that same-sex blessings are occurring on a regular basis all around the country, performed in churches by Episcopal clergy and bishops. In addition, numerous dioceses have developed, or are in the process of developing, rites of same-sex blessings."

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a brief comment, stating that the Anglican Communion will have to carefully review the Convention's decisions.

Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) issued an open letter stating:

"...reports to date of your elections and actions suggest that you are unable to embrace the essential recommendations of the Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué necessary for the healing of our divisions....We assure all those Scripturally faithful dioceses and congregations alienated and marginalised within your Provincial structure that we have heard their cries."

Global South primates are scheduled to meet during 2006-SEP to offer their "concerted pastoral and structural response."

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Other resolutions:

On matters relating to human sexuality, ENS reports:

"Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops in opposing the criminalization of homosexuality, opposing state or federal constitutional amendments that prohibits same-gender civil marriage or civil unions and affirming the civil rights of gays and lesbians."

"Another resolution reiterates Episcopal Church support of gay and lesbian people as 'children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church'."

"Deputies also concurred with bishops in adopting a resolution calling for equal representation of women and men on all decision-making bodies within the church at local, diocesan and national levels. This recommendation originated with the 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council...."

"Additional resolutions were passed that came from the special committee that considered resolutions in response to the Windsor Report. They reiterated the historic separate and independent status of the churches of the Anglican Communion and affirmed the 'Windsor process' to discern the nature and unity of the church and the report's call for a listening process."

[The House of Deputies] "approved for trial use new liturgies concerning rites of passage, including reaching puberty, earning a driver's license and dating relationships (A067). 2

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References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Matthew Davies, "From Columbus: Major Windsor action draws mixed reactions," Episcopal News Service, 2006-JUN-21, at: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/
  2. Melodie Woerman & Jim DeLa, "From Columbus: Deputies finish work with rapid agenda," Episcopal News Service, 2006-JUN-21, at: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/
  3. George Byron Koch, "Future of the Episcopal Church and Church of the Resurrection, West Chicago," 2006-JUN-29, at: http://www.resurrection.org/

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Copyright © 2005 & 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-JUN-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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