Sexuality resolutions don’t defy moratoria: TEC

Published September 1, 2009

U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori listens to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

The U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC)may have to accept a secondary role within the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested.

This follows resolutions pas-sed at the recent General Convention that were widely interpreted to be a lifting of moratoria on the election of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions.

In a reflection posted on his Web site, the spiritual head of the 77-million strong Communion wrote that “very serious anxieties have been expressed” by many about the resolutions despite assurances made by Episcopal church leaders.

“A realistic assessment of what Convention has resolved does not suggest that it will repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces…” said Archbishop Williams.

The presiding officers of the U.S. convention have written two letters to Archbishop Williams and to the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion clarifying the two resolutions on human sexuality. Resolution D025 affirms that “God has called and may call ‘gay and lesbian people’ to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church” and is “more descriptive than prescriptive in nature,” said U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, president of the house of deputies.
Resolution D025 has not repealed an earlier resolution, B033, passed by the General Convention in 2006, that urged bishops to exercise restraint in consenting to the consecration of bishops “whose manner of life,” (widely understood to mean homosexuality) might distress others in the Communion.
The resolution on same-gender blessings, C056, acknowledges “changing circumstances” that invite a renewed pastoral response from the church. It also authorizes the U.S. house of bishops and the standing commission on liturgy and music, to collect and develop theological resources for same-sex blessings.
At the opening of the Anaheim convention, Archbishop Williams urged the U.S. church not to take steps that would exacerbate tensions triggered by the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the diocese of New Hampshire in 2003.

In his five-page reflection, Archbishop Williams reiterated his earlier view that how provinces act on the proposed Anglican Covenant could determine the future of the Communion. Should some provinces choose not to accept the covenant, it could lead to a “two-track model, two ways of witnessing to the Anglican heritage…” he said.
“It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication but plainly as what they are – two styles of being Anglican, whose mutual relation will certainly need working out…”

With reports from Episcopal Life and Ecumenical News International


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