Monday, November 21, 2005

The Rochester Resolution

This resolution was recently passed in the Diocese of Rochester. It appears to be a good model for future diocesan conventions:

RESOLUTION E: A Resolution Responding to the Windsor Report for the 2006 General Convention

Resolved, That the Secretary of the 2005 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester submit the following resolution to the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Columbus, Ohio:

Resolved, the House of ____________ concurring, That this 75th General Convention adopt the following statement as its response to the Windsor Report:

The 75th General Convention expresses its deep desire to remain a member church of the Anglican Communion, which we understand to be a fellowship of churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, committed to mission together for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a spirit of mutual respect and forbearance.

We understand and regret that decisions made at the 74th General Convention have caused a strain in this spirit and, indeed, been received by many in the Communion as an unacceptable deviation from Scripture and the tradition of the Church. We acknowledge that this is true even within our own church. We wish to state clearly that we have no desire to impose a uniformity of position either in our own church or the Communion itself on these matters. We cannot, however, as a church, receive the statement of resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, “rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture,” as definitive Anglican teaching on this matter.

We do not believe that the current controversy regarding different understandings of the place of our members who happen to be homosexual in their orientation is a matter on which our essential unity depends. We believe that our unity as a Church is best expressed by our commitment to serve together in mission to the world, and that the theological essentials that unite us are best expressed in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

We acknowledge the House of Bishop’s Delegated Episcopal Oversight Plan (DEPO) as an important tool for maintaining our essential unity in a time of strain. We also accept the Executive Council’s decision to voluntarily withdraw our members from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) until the Lambeth Conference 2008. However, we look forward to our full participation in that Conference and our return to full participation in the ACC following it.

We also acknowledge the listening process begun by the ACC in 2005 and urge that in all member churches of the Communion it include the voices of faithful gay and lesbian Anglicans. We commend the document To Set our Hope on Christ as a positive contribution of the Episcopal Church to this process.

Finally, we affirm the place of our members who are gay and lesbian, both laity and clergy. In this affirmation we believe the words of To Set Our Hope on Christ, to be an accurate description of the experience of a majority of us that “For forty years, members of the Episcopal Church have discerned holiness in same-sex relationships and have come to support the blessing of such unions and the ordination or consecration of persons in those unions” (section 2.0).

Proposed by the General Convention Deputies


The 2006 General Convention will consider many responses to the Windsor Report and the subsequent meetings and actions of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). Chief among these will be the Episcopal Church’s presentation to the ACC, To Set our Hope on Christ. Several dioceses have already proposed resolutions to the General Convention, and these will be addressed by a special legislative committee. We think that it would be helpful to add the voice of the Diocese of Rochester to the mix at the General Convention. We therefore propose this resolution believing that it reflects the experiences and the perspectives of our diocese.

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