By Jim Naughton
Updated: 6:45 pm EDT Monday, July 28
Be afraid: some of our bishops think the pastoral forum proposal has a head of steam, that it is what Rowan Williams wants and that he has established the credibility at this conference to get it. They don’t go as far as I am about to, but the implication of their thinking is that the Episcopal Church should prepare to distance itself in some way from the Anglican Communion, or accept some sort of reduced status so as not to a) implode; b) compromise one of the few things that makes us attractive to our rapidly secularizing culture; c) betray our consciences on the issue of full inclusion.
Be not afraid: others folks I have talked to say that we should be glad to have had a look at the Windsor Continuation Group’s work in process because it provides an opportunity to make our views known; that the fact that the recommendation for a pastoral forum won’t be voted on by this conference is a good thing; that the fact that the report will be presented to the Anglican Consultative Council for final action is also a good thing because the ACC is the most widely representative of the so-called instruments of union.
Our bishops will talk this over tomorrow at a provincial meeting.
Meanwhile, I just ran into Bishop Martin Barahona, the primate of Central America in the café downstairs. I asked him his impressions of this afternoon’s hearings. “The Windsor Report,” he said. “It’s just a report. When did it become like The Bible. The Covenant. Why do we need another covenant? We have the Baptismal Covenant. We have the creeds. What else do we need?”
Integrity has commented on the proposals put out by the Windsor Continuation Group:
The Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity USA, issued the following statement after today’s release of Part Three of the Windsor Continuation Group’s Preliminary Observations:
“LGBT Anglicans are back on the chopping block based on the work of the Windsor Continuation Group. While we recognize that this is a long-term process, sadly, what was continued today was the process of institutionalizing bigotry and marginalizing the LGBT baptized. Acceptance of these recommendations would result in de facto sacramental apartheid.
“We applaud the strong testimony in today’s hearings from TEC bishops who are committed to be pastoral to all the sheep in their flock, not just the straight ones. We call on them to take that witness to their Indaba groups. We ask them to remember the 1976 commitment of the Episcopal Church to ‘full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church’ for the LGBT baptized.
“It is a sad thing indeed that the message today’s report sends out from the Anglican Communion to the world is that homosexuals getting married in California are of more concern to the church than are homosexuals being mugged in Nigeria.
“As Integrity continues to offer our witness here at Lambeth Conference, we demonstrate our deep commitment to our ongoing relationship with the rest of the global Anglican Communion. At the same time, we will witness to our conviction that the vocations and relationships of the LGBT baptized are not for sale as bargaining chips in this game of global Anglican politics. At the end of the day, too high a price to pay for institutional unity.”
Thinking Anglicans has the documents here.
Mary Frances Schonberg, for Episcopal Life Online reports on the proposal and reactions here.
Anglican Journal, Canada, covers it here