Thursday, October 27, 2005

What Shall We Do with the Windsor Report?

In an ongoing conversation being held elsewhere, a possible response to the WR by General Convention was offered, which included honoring the the two moratoria suggested; blessings and consecrations. In reply to this suggestion, Michael Russell, Rector of All Souls', Point Loma, CA, identified eight "negotiation points" that would have to be considered before agreeing to such a response. With his permission, I am offering these eight points for further discussion here;

1) We have to look at the WR in light of all the receptive comments made around the communion so far and then draw our own conclusions about its merit in whole or in part. I think there are parts that are important for further discussion: the authority of scripture and who properly interprets it (which I would not leave to the Bishops alone), subsidiarity as it might work in all directions, and a more formal process of reception.

2) I would not under any circumstances accede to the 4 Instruments of Unity. They have already proven themselves an empty shell because of the absence of checks and balances and separation of powers. They are a bad idea and have proven so. The only evidence we need is that of the primates themselves who have refused to abide by the WR, Dromantine or Lambeth I.10. Recent discussion here has focused on who decides if what TEC has done is enough, and I would add the question of how we discipline the Instruments of Unity?

3) I might accept a moratorium, might if all the forces of disunion stop cross-Diocesan invasions and poaching. That is a clear part of WR and Dromantine ignored completely since their promulgation. As long as foreign provinces are diddling in US Dioceses I would give them nothing more than what the PB, HOB and Exec. Council have done.

4) The Lambeth conversation must return to the spirit of 1978 and 1988, whose authority, btw has not been superseded by any resolution in 1998. There are no rules that state that more recent resolutions outweigh earlier ones.

5) My own personal position is that unless the WWAC calls for decriminalization of homosexuality in all provinces and the primates actively work for it in their own provinces, any claim to restart a "listening" process is a sham. I see no point to accepting a sham as a good faith offering.

6) We should call for primates to cease interfering with the delivery of aid monies to people in their regions whose lives can be saved or improved. They do not have to agree with us to accept it, but it must be deployed for development or relief purposes. If they refuse, we should make it clear we will work around them.

7) I believe we should make it clear that we are prepared to support clergy and congregations in any Diocese anywhere who do not wish to be associated with the particular form of curial-biblical supremacism that manifests itself as evangelical orthodox today.

8) I would insist on creating a process for the formation of an international Constitution and Canon to bring the rule of law to our intra-communion work.
I could live with a plan that incorporated these eight points, although I am very uncomfortable with #8. That one will take quite a bit more conversation.

The more I look at the WR, the more I think that it simply won't work. Instead of trying to rework it, maybe what we need to do is to present our own plan?

What would such a plan look like? A good starting point might be An Immodest Proposal offered by Tobias S. Haller BSG, Vicar of Saint James Church, Fordham, The Bronx.

So what shall we do with the Windsor Report? Try to refine it, or start from scratch?


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