Sunday, June 18, 2006

First "Windsor" Resolutions Coming

I just got an e-mail from the Episcopal News Service that the Special Committee #26 will be sending to the House of Deputies the final drafts of two of the resolutions drafted by the Special Commission on Communion appointed by the Presiding Bishop earlier this year.

The first one, A160, "Expression of Regret" reads:

"Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of ‘the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ’ (The Windsor Report paragraph 134), express its regret for breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences that followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within the 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."

Initial thoughts: I am very pleased with the wording of this resolution. It adheres closely to the language of the Windsor Report without trying to either improve on it or dodge it. It is very clear that we are expressing regret for how we did what we did; acknowledges that our actions had an impact on others in the rest of the Communion; and it goes at least one step further in both apologizing and seeking forgiveness. The language "our failure to accord sufficient importance" is to me very clear that we are acknowledging that we did not heed the advice and concerns of others as to the impact of our actions. Seeking forgiveness shows that we want to heal the strain in our friendship.

The second one, A163, "Pastoral Care and Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight" reads:

"Resolved, that the House of Bishops concurring, that the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirm the centrality of effective and appropriate pastoral care for all members of this church and all who come seeking the aid of this church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention commit the Episcopal Church to the ongoing engagement of and sensitive response to the request and need of all the people of God - in particular, but not exclusively, those who agree and those who disagree with the actions of this body, those who feel isolated thereby, and gay and lesbian persons within and without this Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention recognize the agonizing position of those who do not feel able to receive appropriate pastoral care from their own bishops, and urges the members of the House of Bishops to seek the highest degree of communion and reconciliation within their own dioceses, using when requested in good faith the Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) process detailed in the March 2004 statement of the House of Bishops, ‘Caring for All the Churches’; and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention urge continued maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries, the authority of the diocesan bishop, and respect for the historical relationships of the separate and autonomous Provinces of the Anglican Communion."

This also shows how seriously the Special Commission #26 and the Special Commission is working to take seriously the recommendations of the Lambeth Commission on Communion and living them out. Three points here: DEPO is not only for conservative parishes in "liberal" dioceses, it is also for gay and lesbian people in dioceses where they are marginalized or in unsafe dioceses. Second, all Bishops are asked to use the DEPO process; and, third, crossing diocesan and provincial boundaries as a way to either do an end-run of the DEPO process or as a way of cherry-picking dissenting parishes into the jusrisdictions of other provinces is not living in communion.

1 comment:

Lisa Fox said...

Amen! Why is it that people clamor for "protection" for the conservatives in Pennsylvania, but no one -- not even those on the Left -- has paid attention to the gay men and lesbians in San Joaquin to whom the Bishop specifically refuses communion???