anthills–Episcopalians & the Anglican Communion

Stances on Anglican Communion at General Convention 2006

Decisions about the Anglican Communion (with the background debate on sexuality) at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church exposed our deep differences about as clearly as anything. See also DEEPEST DIFFERENCES.Here is a typology of our radical diversity as it is seen in the current crisis (and if you say it is not a crisis, or should not be, you are in one of the types). The official question at GC was: What shall we do about the Anglican Communion? The specific questions were put to us in The Windsor Report. The debate about same-sex intimate relationships was the companion issue.

Many Bishops and Deputies had their feet and hands in more than one type (think of the saucy party game).

The basic positions in ECUSA on the Anglican Communion in context of the sexuality debate:

1. The full inclusion/affirmation of LGBT people in the sacramental/ministerial life of the church is so bound up with the gospel that The Windsor Report and the Anglican Communion may have to be casualties. The Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) must move forward at all costs and “Let the chips fall where they may.”

This is the position of Integrity and Claiming the Blessing. See this essay from Susan Russell and her exchange with K. Harmon (links here). Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, made a speech at the end of debate to oppose Presiding Bishop Griswold’s pressure to pass “something.”

2. The full inclusion of gays in the life of the church and our place in the Anglican Communion are two great “goods” that must be held in tension. This group claims that a shared mission can hold the Communion together.

Mark Harris, a member of the Special Commission, put it this position in devotional terms. Many bishops have come out since Convention with the “common mission” theme

3. The full inclusion of gays is essential, but the process may have to come to a halt or slow to a crawl, at least until Lambeth 2008 or GC 2009.

This is the position of the current Presiding Bishop and the PB-Elect, forcefully imposed on the General Convention on its last day. B033 may or may not be effective as a de facto moritorium on the consent to another gay bishop living in a relationship. Newark intends to test the resolution. Authorization of liturgies for same-sex blessings, although requested in several resolutions, were not approved.

4. Reform of ECUSA may still be possible. Local option is tolerated.

This position is held by several “conservative” bishops, including some who call themselves “Windsor bishops.” Bishop John Howe seems to be in this category.

5. Same-sex unions are not justified by Scripture and tradition. Those involved in sexual relationships outside the marriage of a man and a woman are not qualified to lead the church as clergy. Welcome and pastoral care will be sincerely offered to all who seek God through our churches. A failure by G.C. to conform to the requests of The Windsor Report will almost certainly push us to some breaking point.

Kendall Harmon is on record with this position. See his exchange with Susan Russell (links here). This position has been publicly staked out in militant terms by the American Anglican Council and the Anglican Communion Network.



  1. your blog is a gold mine of info, thx

    Comment by remeron — May 27, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

  2. remeron–Thanks for the comment. Glad to be of help to anyone really.

    Comment by anthill — May 27, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

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