Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Executive Council to Consider Response to Communique

Episcopal Life is reporting that a draft statement in response to the Primates' Communique was released today:

...The proposed statement, and three resolutions, suggest a response to portions of the communiqué issued by the Anglican Primates at the end of their February meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The communiqué contained the Pastoral Scheme and called for the Episcopal Church "to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges."

The proposed statement would have the Council acknowledge the communiqué as "a good-faith contribution" to the on-going discussion about Anglican identity and authority but state that the "requests of the Primates are of a nature that can only be responded to by our General Convention." The Convention next meets in the summer of 2009.

The statement would have the Council "question the authority of the Primates to impose deadlines and demands upon any of the churches of the Anglican Communion."

"Assertions of authority met by counter-assertions of polity are not likely to lead to the reconciliation we seek," the draft statement says. "Our salvation is not in the law but in the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Savior; so too with our relationships as Anglicans."

The statement would have the Council say that "the only thing we really have to offer in that relationship is who we are -- a community of committed Christians seeking God's will for our common life."

The draft statement claims unity through baptism, says that "we are, whether we wish it or not, God's gift to each other" and acknowledges that the church has historically struggled to embrace people who have been marginalized, including the current debate over the place and vocation of gay and lesbian people in the life of church.

The task group proposes three resolutions for Council. The first would receive and adopt the statement the group has drafted.

The second, titled "Commending the report of the Communion Sub-Group, " refers to the report of an Anglican Communion group which generally gave the Episcopal Church positive marks for its response to various requests to explain its decisions regarding same-gender blessings, the episcopal ordination of an openly gay and partnered priest, and its desire to remain a part of the Anglican Communion. The resolution would have the Council encourage the House of Bishops to consider the report as it prepares to meet in September.

The third resolution, "Executive Council's response to the House of Bishops' Mind of the House Resolution on the Proposed Pastoral Scheme," refers to the House of Bishops' declaration in March that a plan the Primates put forward for dealing with some disaffected Episcopal Church dioceses "would be injurious to The Episcopal Church." The bishops' resolution urged that the Executive Council decline to participate in it and the proposed statement would in fact have Council decline and "respectfully ask our Presiding Bishop not to take any of the actions asked of her by this scheme"...
No response until GC2009, questioning the authority of the Primates, emphasizing our unity through baptism, and rejecting the pastoral scheme. A good first step, it seems to me.

The Executive Council will discuss this draft tomorrow. If it is adopted with few alternations, let us hope it will provide a blueprint for the House of Bishops to follow in September.


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