This much discussed report, the subject of countless rumors, will probably be online somewhere soon, and I will provide a link. In the meantime, click here to see the resolutons that the commission recommends.
Resolution A159 Commitment to Interdependence in the Anglican Communion
Resolved, the House of _____ 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 the descriptive Preamble of our church’s Constitution that states 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, and commends Sections A and B of the Windsor Report as a means of deepening our understanding of that commitment; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons, as an expression of this interdependence, make provision for persons from other Provinces of the Anglican Communion to serve with voice but not vote on each of the Standing Commissions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
The Windsor Report is part of a process for maintaining the highest degree of communion possible. The first two resolve clauses of this resolution state this General Convention’s desire for full life in the Anglican Communion and to maintain the distinctively Anglican bonds of communion. At their 2005 meeting, the primates requested “all Provinces to consider whether they are willing to be committed to
the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion understood in the terms set out in” sections A and B of the Windsor Report (Dromantine Communiqué, paragraph 8). The third resolve addresses this question. The final resolve clause invites members of other Anglican churches into the deliberations of our standing commissions as an expression of our mutual responsibility and interdependence with sister and brother Christians from around the world.
Resolution A160 Expression of Regret
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church join the House of Bishops’ March 2005 “Covenant Statement” in expressing “our own deep regret for the pain that others have experienced with respect to our actions at the General Convention of 2003 and we offer our sincerest apology and repentance for having breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking these actions.”
This resolution addresses the invitation of the Windsor Report that “the Episcopal Church be invited to express regret” for breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection (Windsor Report 134). It concurs with and affirms the language of the House of Bishops’ expression of regret, thus signaling our synodical intentions to remain within the Communion.
Resolution A161 Election of Bishops
Resolved, the House of _____ 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 urge nominating committees, electing
Report of the Special Commission on The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion conventions, Standing Committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise very considerable caution in the nomination, election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life present a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.
The Windsor Report has invited the Episcopal Church to “effect 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 134). Within the parameters set by our Constitution and Canons, this resolution frames a response encouraging caution regarding “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.” The resolution does not
specify what constitutes a “manner of life” that “presents a challenge to the wider church;” we leave this to the prayerful discernment of those involved in nominating, electing, and consecrating bishops. Concerns we discussed were by no means limited to the nature of the family life; for example, the potential of bishops to serve effectively as pastors for all within their diocese, and their level of commitment to respect the dignity of and strive for justice for all people are also relevant. Finally, the Special Commission was not of one mind on the use of the words “exercise very considerable caution in,” with some instead recommending the words “refrain from.” As a group and in a spirit of cooperation and generosity, however, we decided to offer the resolution as it stands for debate at the 75th General Convention.
Resolution A162 Public Rites of Blessing for Same-Sex Unions
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirm the need to maintain a breadth of private responses to situations of individual pastoral care for gay and lesbian Christians in this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention concur with the Windsor Report in its exhortation to bishops of the Anglican Communion to honor the Primates’ Pastoral Letter of May 2003, by not proceeding to authorize public Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, until some broader consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention advise those bishops who have authorized public diocesan rites that, “because of the serious repercussions in the Communion,” they heed the invitation “to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorization” (Windsor Report 144).
The first resolve clause reaffirms the need for a breadth of response in pastoral care for gay and lesbian Christians (Windsor Report 143). The second resolve concurs with the Windsor Report’s call for a moratorium on authorizing public Rites of Blessing (Windsor Report 144). Recognizing that some dioceses may in fact have developed diocesan-authorized rites, the third resolve recommends that the bishops so authorizing be invited to express regret.
Resolution A163 Pastoral Care and Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight
Resolved, that the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirm the centrality of effective and appropriate pastoral care for all members of this church and all who come seeking the aid of this church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commit the Episcopal Church to the ongoing engagement of and sensitive response to the request and need of all the people of God – in particular, but not exclusively, those who agree and those who disagree with the actions of this body, those who feel isolated thereby, and gay and lesbian persons within and without this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention recognize the agonizing position of those who do not feel able to receive appropriate pastoral care from their own bishops, and urges the members of the House of Bishops to seek the highest degree of communion and reconciliation within their own dioceses, using when necessary the Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) process detailed in the March 2004 statement of the House of Bishops, “Caring for All the Churches;” and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention urge continued attention to the proper maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries and the authority of the diocesan bishop.
This resolution affirms the process of reconciliation known as Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight and the ancient practice that bishops exercise their ministries within their own dioceses or elsewhere only with permission of the diocesan bishop (Constitution of the Episcopal Church, Article II.3).
Resolution A164 Continued Attention to the Millennium Development Goals
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church urge continued participation in and advocacy for the Millennium Development Goals, and the giving of at least 0.7% of diocesan, parish and individual financial resources to international development work as a step toward the goal of relieving abject poverty, and making real a vision of the reign of God in our own day; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention ask that this resolution be referred to each Diocesan Council or Convention for affirmation and action as a sign of the Episcopal Church’s understanding that participation in the Millennium Development Goals is an expression of the hunger of this church for far deeper communion with all of God’s beloved.
This resolution signals the ongoing commitment of the Episcopal Church to deeper communion in God’s mission by participating actively in the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals.
Resolution A165 Commitment to Windsor and Listening Processes
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church commend the Windsor Report as an important contribution to the process of living into communion across the Anglican Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commit the Episcopal Church to the ongoing “Windsor Process,” a process of discernment as to the nature and unity of the Church, as we pursue a common life of dialogue, listening, and growth, formed and informed by the Baptismal Covenant and Eucharistic fellowship; and urges all members of this church to commit themselves to the call of communion and interdependent life; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commend the steps taken by the Anglican Communion Office in beginning a formal “Listening Process” across the Communion, as commended by resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commend for further study and as part of the continued Listening Process the document To Set our Hope on Christ, prepared for the 13th Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council by the Office of the Presiding Bishop; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention express its gratitude to the women of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Delegation to the United Nations Consultation on the Status of Women for providing a model of dialogue and engagement on issues of concern to all; and asks that this model be considered for implementation in the Windsor and Listening processes across the Anglican Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commends the report “One Baptism, One Hope in God’s Call” of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a resource in the Windsor and Listening processes.
The Windsor Report has advanced a process for mutual discernment of our common life together in the Anglican Communion. In a similar way, the Anglican Communion has taken steps to fulfill the 1998 Lambeth Conference commitment to a “Listening Process.” This resolution commends these two processes and commits the Episcopal Church to participate faithfully in them.
Resolution A166 Anglican Covenant Development Process
Resolved, the House of __________ 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.
This resolution supports the development of an Anglican Covenant as suggested by the Windsor Report, the Primates’ Meeting of February 2005, and the 13th Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. It directs appropriate bodies in the Episcopal Church to serve as resources for the development of an Anglican Covenant, and to report to the Episcopal Church regularly as to current covenant proposals.
Resolution A167 “Full and Equal Claim” for All the Baptized
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirm that gay and lesbian persons are by Baptism full members of the Body of Christ and of the Episcopal Church 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” (GC 1976-A069); and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reiterate its apology “on behalf of the Episcopal Church to its members who are gay or lesbian, and to lesbians and gay men outside the Church, for years of rejection and maltreatment by the Church,” and recommit to “seek amendment of our life together as we ask God’s help in sharing the Good News with all people” (GC1997-D011); and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reiterate that “our baptism into Jesus Christ is inseparable from our communion with one another, and we commit ourselves to that communion despite our diversity of opinion and, among dioceses, a diversity of pastoral practice with the gay men and lesbians among us” (GC2003–C051).
This resolution firmly articulates that the Episcopal Church is not backing away from its prior commitments against discrimination, and for the dignity of and justice for all people. The resolution does not provide an exhaustive catalogue of such commitments or of the church’s teaching on matters of human sexuality, but rather offers clarity regarding our church’s ongoing intention to ground our relationship with one another firmly within our Baptismal Covenant as members of one Body of Christ.
Resolution A168 Human Rights for “Homosexual Persons”
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirm “its conviction that homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens, and calls upon our society to see that such protection is provided in actuality” (GC 1976–A071); and be it further
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention affirms the statement in the Windsor Report paragraph 146: “Moreover, any demonizing of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care. We urge provinces to be proactive in support of the call of Lambeth Resolution 64 (1988) for them to ‘reassess, in the light of … study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude toward persons of homosexual orientation’”; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns seek ways to address this concern through the Anglican Communion Office.
The respect and dignity due every human being, and the affirmation of the human rights of every person, require the constant attention of this church. This resolution affirms the need for this attention.
Resolution A169 Amend Canon III.1: Quadrilateral and Exercise of Ministry
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That Canon III.1 be hereby amended by adding the following section:
Sec. 3. No person shall be denied access to any discernment process under these canons or to the exercise of any ministry in this Church on account of theological opinions consistent with (a) the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as containing all things necessary to salvation, and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith, (b) the Apostles’ Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith, (c) the two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of
Institution, and the elements ordained by Him, and (d) the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church.
Both the Episcopal Church and the bishops of the Anglican Communion encourage and recognize a diversity of theological opinions within the Christian Church subject to the broad boundaries defined by the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, as quoted, which has been a guiding principle in ecumenical relations of the Episcopal Church since 1886. The Quadrilateral’s generosity of spirit has fostered cooperative service to the mission of Christ both around the world and at home. For the sake of that same mission, our generosity toward those within our tradition should be at least as great as toward those of other traditions.