Final update: 11:00 AM (updating ceased)
NOTE: This post will be updated throughout the morning. It picks up coverage of “House of Bishops: stories and reactions” where Part I left off.
Chicago Tribune: (Attention headline writer: “Episcopals,” we’re not.)
The statement issued by bishops Tuesday followed private meetings with Williams last week and days of wrangling and hand-wringing over drafts, while a committee of Williams’ advisers waited just down the hall. Behind closed doors, those advisers often counseled the bishops on what it would take to maintain their relationship with the Anglican Communion.
“This resolution really is the result of finding common ground to stand on,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said. “Not everyone was 100 percent happy with every word in this document, as you might imagine, but together we believe that we have found a place that all of us can stand together.”
That optimism stunned some American conservatives, who said the document was too little too late and predicted a schism in the church, with 77 million members worldwide, by the end of the year.
It is unclear how the statement will affect the candidacy of Rev. Tracey Lind, a lesbian in a committed relationship and a finalist to become Chicago’s next Episcopal bishop.
Very few members of the House of Bishops’ canvassed by The Living Church expressed complete satisfaction with the final version of their “Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners,” released at the conclusion of their Sept. 20-25 meeting. But in the end there was only one ‘no’ voice vote registered and it didn’t belong to a traditionalist.
Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida, one of the most conservative bishops present at the meeting in New Orleans, said last night that he did not vote for the statement because it did not bar blessings of same-sex unions outright, but that he also thought that, among the Anglican primates, as leaders of provinces are called, “the majority will find it acceptable.” Howe, asked if he would try to remove his diocese from the Episcopal Church, said “absolutely not.”
“I think we did better than I expected,” he said.
“I would say the House of Bishops has acquiesced to the primates’ concerns,” said Louisiana Bishop Charles Jenkins, a conservative who has worked to avoid a break-up of the communion.
“I believe the Anglican Communion is saved for those who want to remain in it,” he said.
By several accounts Jenkins, and Washington, D.C., Bishop John Chane and Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno, both liberals, played key roles in fashioning the resolution the bishops passed.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) in the UK has expressed “disappointment” at the compromise on the Anglican gay row agreed by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in the United States – saying it will not halt division or stop the ministry of LGBT people.
But Changing Attitudes is upbeat in its statement:
The response of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church ‘to questions and concerns raised by our Anglican Communion partners’ gives encouragement to members of Changing Attitude and our brothers and sisters in Integrity, representing LGBT people in many parts of our Communion.
[The resolution will] be seized on by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as evidence that the American Church has sufficiently reversed its pro-gay agenda to escape punitive action. Dr Williams is now expected to call the bluff of hardline conservatives who have threatened to boycott next year’s showcase Lambeth Conference in Canterbury if the liberal American bishops are also there.
ENS has a story on the role of the Joint Standing Committee in the process, and other business it accomplished while in New Orleans.
AP’s Rachel Zoll filed another story on the resolution.
At his blog Wayne Floyd writes
It appears to have been Rowan Williams who planted the idea at the House of Bishops meetings that, in his words, “one can say you accept gay and lesbian persons as the Body of Christ and turn right around and raise questions about their eligibility for active roles in the Church.” And so they did. Turn right around.
Church Times: (strikeouts and insertions are mine)
The statement confirms the Church’s moratorium on the
appointment[election and consent] of any more partnered homosexuals [as bishops] (the statement uses the phrase “non-celibate”); and it reiterates the Church-wide ban on formal blessings for same-sex couples.
Bishops in the Episcopal Church in the US went as far as they could last night to avoid schism in the Anglican Church with a pledge not to consecrate any more openly gay bishops. They also pledged not to authorise same-sex blessings, even though such services take place regularly on an unofficial basis, as they do in England and elsewhere in the West.
That the US bishops have gone as far as they have represents a triumph for the strategy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who addressed them in private on Thursday and Friday of last week. It is also a tribute to the leadership of the US Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Anglican Resistance writes:
“Fear not.” The angel said it. Jesus said it, again and again.
In my last post I said something like “Now, over to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates and the ACC.” And it’s a good thing we can take a deep breath and let other prayerful and thoughtful people in our Communion consider what we have done. For those who will do their theology by press release (rather than by prayerful thought) this will be a confusing exercise.
The Fresno Bee gives us a variety of reactions from persons in the Diocese of San Joaquin.
Dan Martins and Chris Wells conclude “It was time for a Hail Mary pass. Instead, they punted.” Robert P. Imbelli concludes “I confess that my eyes grow dim when I encounter bureaucratic legalese, but to my Catholic ‘sensibilities’ it looks like a ‘Hail Mary’ pass, wafted aloft in the hope that Rowan’s outstretched arms can haul it in.”
The Canadian Anglican Journal’s story is headlined “U.S. bishops echo General Convention in message to Anglican Communion.”