Thursday, September 27, 2007

Were the Bishops Asked to Repent?

Some parts of the Communion are not pleased with the Bishops' statement. Although that in and of itself is no surprise, the reasons they are giving for their rejection of the statement are worth noting.

From Nigeria:

...Instead of the change of heart (repentance) that we sought what we have been offered is merely a temporary adjustment in an unrelenting determination to “bring the rest of the Communion along” as stated by a bishop at one of the press conferences...

From Kenya:

...The Kenyan archbishop said the US church leaders' comments did not go far enough.

"What we expected to come from them is to repent - that this is a sin in the eyes of the Lord and repentance is what me, in particular, and others expected to hear coming from this church," he said...
From Global South Anglican:

...After all, we know that B033 pertains to anyone, including ‘non-celibate gay and lesbian persons.” It does not affect the intent of B033 which avoids responding to the specific Windsor language of regret/repentance or Dar es salem’s request for clarification in this regard...
Was repentance from the bishops asked for in the Primates' Communique? No. Three requests were made; clarification of B033, blessings, and a response to the pastoral scheme. And that is what the bishops did.

The Windsor Report made a request that is similar to what Nigeria, Kenya and some of the Global South seem to have expected, although the word "repent" was not used:

...the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed, and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion...

In response to this invitation, in June of 2006, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved Resolution A160:

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of “the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ” (Windsor Report, paragraph 134), express its regret for straining the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences which followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within our Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of communion one with another.
The Episcopal Church has expressed their regret, apologized and asked for forgiveness. If this resolution is not sufficient for some parts of the Global South, so be it. But to suggest that our bishops failed by not including "repentance" in their statement is to ignore the previous work of General Convention and to attempt to place expectations on the Bishops' statement that did not exist prior to their meeting.

I think someone does indeed need to repent...of bearing false witness.


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