Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Consultation's Letter to Dr. Williams

ENS draws our attention to a letter delivered to the Archbishop of Canterbury before he left for Tanzania. The letter originated from The Consultation Steering Committee. The specific issue addressed by the letter was the requests for AlPO (alternative primatial oversight). As I reviewed the letter once again, I was struck by how clearly it outlines the understanding of many of us regarding a number of issues. For instance, consider this passage:

...Those seeking “alternative primatial oversight” are in effect asking to walk away from the messiness and ambiguity of our current disputes about gays and lesbians in the church. In so doing, they give to these questions a doctrinal weight not in keeping with historic Anglican understandings. Allowing dioceses to reject the oversight of the duly selected primate of The Episcopal Church because of disagreements about this matter would open the door for others, here and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, to reject pastoral and sacramental leadership on the basis of non-essential matters. This would lead to fragmentation of the Anglican Communion rather than deeper unity in Christ...
This should be one of the primary concerns for all the Primates gathered in Tanzania regarding consideration of any form of an "alternative province" in North America. Such a decision would result in an eventual fragmentation not only within their provinces and dioceses, but also within some of their congregations. Once you open that door, it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to close it again.

As I've recently mentioned, this letter also contains an excellent summary of the response of General Convention 2006 to the Windsor Report:

...Some of those requesting “alternative primatial oversight” have also claimed that The Episcopal Church has not responded adequately to the Windsor Report. However, we do not view the Windsor Report as an ultimatum dictating precise forms of response by The Episcopal Church. We remind you of Archbishop Eames’ statement in the Foreword to the Report that it is not a judgment but part of a process. We understand participation in this process to include serious study of the report and prayerful consideration of its recommendations to The Episcopal Church. We believe that The Episcopal Church did so in its preparation for and actions at the General Convention, and committed by resolution to continue to do so, even as the process continues worldwide.

As with a response to any other recommendation or resolution from one of the Instruments of Communion or other international Anglican body, our response to the Windsor Report was made in light of our understanding of Scripture, the polity of The Episcopal Church, and sensitivity to the cultural contexts of this Church. We affirmed our desire to remain in the Anglican Communion, gave our support to the process of development of an Anglican Covenant, and committed ourselves to participate in the ongoing Windsor process as well as the listening process commended by the 1978, 1988, and 1998 Lambeth Conferences and the Windsor Report. We expressed regret for straining the bonds of affection in the confirmation and consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, and we urged standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to refrain from consenting to “the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” The House of Bishops had already developed a plan for delegating episcopal pastoral oversight, and the Convention approved this plan. Although the convention did not adopt any resolutions about blessing same-sex relationships, no such liturgy has been authorized by any convention; instead, any decision to permit celebration of such a liturgy remains with the bishop, consistent with the provisions of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. In sum, we believe that the General Convention of The Episcopal Church has responded with great care to the Windsor Report, and at significant cost to some members of this Church. We urge you to reject claims that The Episcopal Church has not responded adequately to the Windsor Report, particularly as those claims become the basis for division rather than reconciliation. It is now time to allow others in the Anglican Communion, including the Instruments of Communion, to respond...
Bookmark this letter, as it may become useful in the days to come. It is a solid rebuttal to those who may claim that we did not listen or "adequately respond" to the Windsor Report.

You may recall that solicitation for signatures to this letter began last November. I encouraged those who visit here to sign it. The letter received over 900 signatures before it was sent to Dr. Williams. As I scanned the list, I was pleased to recognize quite a few names that have become familiar here at Jake's place.

Then there are those, like myself, who for various reasons prefer to use another name here. Out of curiosity, without anyone "outing" themselves, I'm wondering if those who affixed their signature to this letter might be willing to speak up?

So, the question is, did you sign the Consultation letter? My answer is YES! Next?


1 comment:

  1. Yes, I signed it, and thank you, Fr. Jake, for setting this thread for those of us using Safari!