House of Bishops: stories and reactions (III)

Updated 3:30 PM

Note: Part I here, Part II here.

The Australian newspaper reports:

Opinion is split among the Anglican church’s Australian leaders over the US church’s decision to maintain its moratorium on ordaining non-celibate gay priests as bishops and ban blessing same-sex unions.

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, a member of the Primates’ Standing Committee, who addressed the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church at its New Orleans meeting, said the US church had “responded positively” to worldwide concerns it had been asked to address. Careful analysis was required, he said. “My initial reaction based both on my preliminary reading of the document and on my first-hand conversations with many of the bishops involved is that the house has responded positively.”

Sydney’s conservative evangelical Archbishop Peter Jensen disagreed….It is understood Sydney Anglicans are awaiting the response of the anti-gay clergy faction Global South to the US church’s latest pronouncement.

He said it a day before the Response of the House of Bishops, but what the Primus of Scotland says stands as a reaction:

It was very obvious at the recent meeting of Anglican Primates that the vast majority wish to stay with an Anglican church that is open and welcoming and prepared to live with difference. This is Anglican mainstream and we have to make it clear that it represents majority opinion among church leaders. Attempts to try to turn the Communion into something that is controlled from the centre, with expulsion the result of disagreement, will fail.

Doug LeBlanc at Covenant-Communion:

I wish both sides would give more than lip service to the disciplines of the Windsor Report. This much seems clear, several years into the Windsor discussion: Neither side is prepared to be fully Windsor-compliant. Neither side is prepared to make that level of sacrifice. I consider that an indictment of us all.This statement is, I think, proof that the House of Bishops is savvy enough to do what it must — and precious little more — to stay firmly planted at the table of the Anglican Communion.

Like some others, the Anglican Scotist comments that the Response is not timelessly poetic and it didn’t need to be.

Tobias says get rid of Resolution 1.10.

Mad Priest has a surprisingly modulated response.

At Inclusive Church blog Giles Goddard concludes: “It seems to me and to those I’ve spoken to in the UK that the Bishops have done a good thing. They have gone the extra mile to meet ++Rowan’s desire to hold the Communion together and to keep talking.”

Thinking Anglicans draws our attention to a statement by Graham Kings of Fulcrum, an evangelical group in the UK that counts Bishop N. T. Wright as one of its benefactors:

On a first reading, this statement is very significant and seems to go further and be more encouraging than many conservatives thought to be likely. The Presiding Bishop, and others who have worked hard with her from various traditions, deserve thanks for gathering support for an almost unanimous statement.

Thanksgiving in All Things has a reflection which includes this quotation: “I had thought that Episcopalians were leading the way, but now I see the privilege of The Episcopal Church for the first time. We Lutherans may just get there ahead of you.”

TIME is not convinced the bishops found the magic formula.

AP has another story out, this time with some global reaction:

The spokesman of the Anglican Church of Uganda, Aron Mwesigye, said the American bishops “deserve to be appreciated for making such a good decision. I also appeal to the gay bishops to repent and come out to live normal lives.”

But Rt. Rev. Stephen Njihia Mwangi, the second-most senior official of the Anglican Church of Kenya, questioned the timing of the statement…. “I don’t think they are serious about what they mean. I think the timing seems to suggest that this is just a technical thing to ensure that the Lambeth conference goes ahead,” Mwangi told The Associated Press, referring to the once-a-decade meeting which brings together all the bishops in the Anglican world.

Bishop David Beetge, vicar general of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said he welcomed the decision “for the simple reason it gives us more space and time to talk to each other.”

“It is a very generous step and a good step, and I think it shows willingness to dialogue with other parties,” he said.

The Religion News Service story is here.

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