Updated at 9:15 p.m.
Updated at 12:00 a.m.
The first set of stories and responses are beginning to appear.
Rachel Zoll of AP in the first of several stories she will file writes:
Episcopal leaders, pressured to roll back their support for gays to keep the world Anglican family from crumbling, affirmed Tuesday that they will “exercise restraint” in approving another gay bishop.
The bishops also pledged not to approve an official prayer for blessing same-gender couples and insisted a majority of bishops do not allow priests to bless the couples in their parishes.
It’s all here.
Stephen Bates of the Guardian writes:
A slender lifeline was offered to Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his attempt to keep the worldwide Anglican communion intact, when Episcopal bishops pledged at a meeting in New Orleans yesterday to maintain a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and authorising blessings services for gay couples.
While the statement may satisfy parts of the Anglican communion, and just be enough for the archbishop to sell to other church provinces, it was being dismissed last night by conservative evangelicals as inadequate.
Read him here.
AFP, meanwhile, has gotten the story entirely wrong. The Times-Picayune also gets it wrong, I think, although less egregiously so. It’s just that Bruce Nolan writes as though he knows the mind of the Primates regarding our response. And I don’t think the Primates know it themselves yet.
Reuters has quotes from Bishops Gene Robinson and Bruce MacPherson who are in surprising agreement.
The New York Times is saying Episcopal Bishops Reject Anglican Church’s Orders:
Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday rejected demands by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to roll back the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, increasing the possibility of fracture within the communion and the Episcopal Church itself.
The article relies on Canon Kendall Harmon of South Carolina and Martyn Minns, a bishop in the Nigerian church, for its slant on the news. It does quote Episcopal Cafe’s Jim Naughton for a different point of view.
Click “Read more” to see Integrity’s statement, which includes:
The bishops were pressured by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other international guests to comply with the primate’s demands. The bishops struggled mightily amongst themselves to achieve a clear consensus on how to respond. Integrity is gratified that the final response from the House of Bishop declined to succumb to the pressure to go backwards, but rather took some significant steps forward.
The members of Integrity have prayed unceasingly for their bishops as they met this week to consider a response to the primates’ communiqué. The bishops were pressured by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other international guests to comply with the primate’s demands. The bishops struggled mightily amongst themselves to achieve a clear consensus on how to respond. Integrity is gratified that the final response from the House of Bishop declined to succumb to the pressure to go backwards, but rather took some significant steps forward.
We are encouraged by their strong language against the incursions of uninvited bishops into this province, their commendation of the Anglican Listening Process, their unequivocal support that the Bishop of New Hampshire should receive an invitation to the Lambeth Conference, and their affirmation of safety and civil rights for LGBT persons.
Integrity President Susan Russell said, “In response to requests for ‘clarity’ the House of Bishops made it clear today that the Episcopal Church is moving forward in faith. I believe today’s response will be received as a sign of great hope that we are committed to working through the hard ground of our differences. I look forward to taking the support of the House of Bishops for the Listening Process with me when I and other Integrity representatives meet with Anglican colleagues in London next month to prepare for our witness at the Lambeth Conference.”
“Integrity is confident that The Episcopal Church will continue to move forward,” concluded Russell. “Integrity expects General Convention 2009 to be a tipping point for equality. We will be working hard in the months ahead to repeal B033 and to authorize development of a rite for blessing same-sex relationships as steps toward the goal of the full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ.”