Abp. Barry Morgan on New Orleans: the inside story

The Archbishop of Wales, a member of the Joint Standing Committee whose membership recently met with the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, shares his thoughts about what happened in New Orleans and of the findings of the JSC in their report. His account is published in the Church Times.

At the end of an article, which recounts much of what we’ve already reported on from the House of Bishops meeting, he writes more specifically of what the JSC has done:

“The Joint Standing Committee agreed that the Episcopal Church had given the necessary assurances on these two issues. They saw that the Bishops had shifted ground considerably in passing these resolutions. The Committee consists of people of different views from provinces across the Communion: for it to come to this view speaks volumes of the real shift it believed the Bishops had made.

AS FOR THE pastoral care for dissenting minorities, the Presiding Bishop announced at the start of our meeting that she had appointed several bishops to minister to dioceses who found her ministry unacceptable (episcopal visitors). She felt that the theological stance of such bishops should be able to command the respect of the dissenting congregations. This was endorsed by the House of Bishops.

The Bishops also agreed that they would welcome discussion with the Instruments of Communion about these pastoral arrangements. Again, therefore, there was a general feeling in the Joint Standing Committee that the spirit of the resolutions about a pastoral council and primatial vicar had been met, while it understood why these precise suggestions made by the Primates could not be implemented.

The Committee felt strongly that, just as Windsor had had trenchant things to say to the Episcopal Church, it had also had equally trenchant things to say about interventions by other jurisdictions, and that these should now come to an end.

It was felt that if certain Primates called on the Episcopal Church to meet the recommendations of the Windsor report, they themselves could not be exempt from paying attention to some of its other recommendations, especially since interventions in other provinces had been condemned by successive Lambeth Conferences.

The House of Bishops rightly reminded us of the second part of Lambeth 1.10, reiterated by the Windsor report, about ‘the need to take seriously our ministry to gay and lesbian people inside the Church and the ending of persecution, discrimination and violence against them’. Selective adherence to only some parts of Lambeth Resolutions, while totally ignoring others, is not acceptable if the Communion as a whole is to retain its credibility.

During our time at New Orleans, some of us joined the Bishops in helping to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the richest nation on earth, there are still hundreds of houses in a state of dereliction. It was also a timely reminder to all of us that there are other issues of vital importance about which we ought to be concerned.”

Read the rest here.

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