By Jim Naughton
I darted around this morning talking to bishops, and what follows is more a reporter’s notebook that a fully-crafted story. In summary, I would say bishops of the Episcopal Church, and those generally sympathetic to it are saying that they thought that the conference went very well and moved the issues in the right direction; that they were glad that no definitive statement on some of the controversial issues was planned, and that they recognized that gay and lesbian people were talked about, rather than talked with.
I should add that I conducted these interviews before the Archbishop of Canterbury gave his final presidential address, in which he stated he was calling a Primates Meeting before the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in May 2009, and that he plans to constitute a Pastoral Forum, a vague plan unveiled only last week, within the next two months.
The Most Rev. Carlos Touché Porter, Primate of Mexico : I was prepared for much worse. One thing I enjoy about being Anglican is to live with uncertainty and unresolved questions, and that is how we are going home. But if we are not of one mind, I think we are of one spirit.
The Most Rev. Martin Barahona, Primate of Central America: “I think we are in pretty good spirits. I think that the tension is down . We are happy to be together. I hope this can be maintained.
“We don’t need any resolutions or declarations. It can just be a statement.”
The Rt. Rev.Trevor M. Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana: The great virtue was really getting to know one another. The differences, we acknowledge, are there, but it does give us that hope to work on them.
“It’s all about patience, as well, in terms of how we want to walk together. Some want to run. Some want to walk. Some want to crawl. We need to find this pace together.”
The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of North Carolina: “There may be some who expected that there would be definitive documents, but maybe the most definitive and important document to come from this [are] the relationships that have been built here. “
Bishop Curry on the covenant: “What the final step of the proposed covenant will be that goes to the ACC, we don’t know yet.”
The Rt. Rev. Rob O’Neil, Bishop of Colorado: “One piece of hope I would share is that at least in the indaba group that I was in, there was a recognition that the voices of gay and lesbian Christians were not heard in the indaba groups themselves.
Bishop Curry: “Many bishops from many places tried to give voice and tell the stories … and I know that that happened, and while people didn’t necessarily change their minds the stories were heard.
And finally, a clear statement that at least one bishop is not in favor of a moratorium on gay blessings:
The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angles, on how the proposals for the suggestion that the Episcopal and Canadian churches stop blessing same-sex relationships would be received in his diocese: “With fear and trepidation for some of us. It’s important we remember it isn’t even a report. It is a reflection.
“I can only say that inclusion is a reality in our diocese and will continue to be. For people who think that this is going to lead us to disenfranchise any gay or lesbian person, they are sadly mistaken.”