The Key Recommendations of the Primates
I have to say that while I am receiving calls from reporters asking me what I make of the recommendations made by the Primates I don’t really know what to say. The structures the Primates are proposing seem cumbersome, and the opportunities for meddlesome abuse seem manifold, yet, under the right sort of leadership, I suppose it is just possible that it can be brought off.
The definition of “authorizing,” as in we must renounce the authorization of “any Rites for Blessing of same-sex unions,” by Sept. 30 will be hotly debated. As I have said before, I think we are being given some room here, as there is a difference between authorizing and allowing. I take comfort in those capital letters. We are being asked not to approve texts. Very, very few dioceses have approved texts. Our diocese doesn’t. So I think we can comply with this.
I am eager to hear from the Presiding Bishop. I’ve heard she is going to have a quote or two in an upcoming ENS story.
Here is the schedule:
The Primates recognise the urgency of the current situation and therefore emphasise the need to:
affirm the Windsor Report (TWR) and the standard of teaching commanding respect across the Communion (most recently expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference);
set in place a Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
encourage healing and reconciliation within The Episcopal Church, between The Episcopal Church and congregations alienated from it, and between The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion;
respect the proper constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding the interdependent life and mutual responsibility of the Churches, and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole;
respond pastorally and provide for those groups alienated by recent developments in the Episcopal Church.
In order to address these foundations and apply them in the difficult situation which arises at present in The Episcopal Church, we recommend the following actions. The scheme proposed and the undertakings requested are intended to have force until the conclusion of the Covenant Process and a definitive statement of the position of The Episcopal Church with respect to the Covenant and its place within the life of the Communion, when some new provision may be required.
A Pastoral Council
The Primates will establish a Pastoral Council to act on behalf of the Primates in consultation with The Episcopal Church. This Council shall consist of up to five members: two nominated by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council.
The Council will work in co-operation with The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and the leadership of the bishops participating in the scheme proposed below to
negotiate the necessary structures for pastoral care which would meet the requests of the Windsor Report (TWR, §147–155) and the Primates’ requests in the Lambeth Statement of October 2003 ;
authorise protocols for the functioning of such a scheme, including the criteria for participation of bishops, dioceses and congregations in the scheme;
assure the effectiveness of the structures for pastoral care;
o liaise with those other primates of the Anglican Communion who currently have care of parishes to seek a secure way forward for those parishes within the scheme;
facilitate and encourage healing and reconciliation within The Episcopal Church, between The Episcopal Church and congregations alienated from it, and between The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion (TWR, §156);
advise the Presiding Bishop and the Instruments of Communion;
monitor the response of The Episcopal Church to the Windsor Report;
consider whether any of the courses of action contemplated by the Windsor Report §157 should be applied to the life of The Episcopal Church or its bishops, and, if appropriate, to recommend such action to The Episcopal Church and its institutions and to the Instruments of Communion;
take whatever reasonable action is needed to give effect to this scheme
and report to the Primates.
A Pastoral Scheme
We recognise that there are individuals, congregations and clergy, who in the current situation, feel unable to accept the direct ministry of their bishop or of the Presiding Bishop, and some of whom have sought the oversight of other jurisdictions.
We have received representations from a number of bishops of The Episcopal Church who have expressed a commitment to a number of principles set out in two recent letters . We recognise that these bishops are taking those actions which they believe necessary to sustain full communion with the Anglican Communion.
We acknowledge and welcome the initiative of the Presiding Bishop to consent to appoint a Primatial Vicar.
On this basis, the Primates recommend that structures for pastoral care be established in conjunction with the Pastoral Council, to enable such individuals, congregations and clergy to exercise their ministries and congregational life within The Episcopal Church, and that
the Pastoral Council and the Presiding Bishop invite the bishops expressing a commitment to “the Camp Allen principles” , or as otherwise determined by the Pastoral Council, to participate in the pastoral scheme ;
in consultation with the Council and with the consent of the Presiding Bishop, those bishops who are part of the scheme will nominate a Primatial Vicar, who shall be responsible to the Council;
the Presiding Bishop in consultation with the Pastoral Council will delegate specific powers and duties to the Primatial Vicar.
Once this scheme of pastoral care is recognised to be fully operational, the Primates undertake to end all interventions. Congregations or parishes in current arrangements will negotiate their place within the structures of pastoral oversight set out above.
We believe that such a scheme is robust enough to function and provide sufficient space for those who are unable to accept the direct ministry of their bishop or the Presiding Bishop to have a secure place within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion until such time as the Covenant Process is complete. At that time, other provisions may become necessary.
Although there are particular difficulties associated with AMiA and CANA, the Pastoral Council should negotiate with them and the Primates currently ministering to them to find a place for them within these provisions. We believe that with goodwill this may be possible.
On Clarifying the Response to Windsor
The Primates recognise the seriousness with which The Episcopal Church addressed the requests of the Windsor Report put to it by the Primates at their Dromantine Meeting. They value and accept the apology and the request for forgiveness made . While they appreciate the actions of the 75th General Convention which offer some affirmation of the Windsor Report and its recommendations, they deeply regret a lack of clarity about certain of those responses.
In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144); and
2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (cf TWR, §134);
unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion (cf TWR, §134).
The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007.
If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.
On property disputes
The Primates urge the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation. We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations.
“The Camp Allen Principles”
The commitments expressed in the letter of 22nd September 2006 were:
an acceptance of Lambeth 1998 Res. I.10 as expressing, on its given topic, the mind of the Communion to which we subject our own teaching and discipline;
an acceptance of the Windsor Report, as interpreted by the Primates at Dromantine, as outlining the Communion’s “way forward” for our own church’s reconciliation and witness within the Communion;
a personal acceptance by each of us of the particular recommendations made by the Windsor Report to ECUSA, and a pledge to comply with them;
a clear sense that General Convention 2006 did not adequately respond to the requests made of ECUSA by the Communion through the Windsor Report;
a clear belief that we faithfully represent ECUSA in accordance with this church’s Constitution and Canons, as properly interpreted by the Scripture and our historic faith and discipline;
a desire to provide a common witness through which faithful Anglican Episcopalians committed to our Communion life might join together for the renewal of our church and the furtherance of the mission of Christ Jesus.
The principles expressed in the letter of 11th January 2007 were:
1. It is our hope that you will explicitly recognize that we are in full communion with you in order to maintain the integrity of our ministries within our dioceses and the larger Church.
2. We are prepared, among other things, to work with the Primates and with others in our American context to make provision for the varying needs of individuals, congregations, dioceses and clergy to continue to exercise their ministries as the Covenant process unfolds. This includes the needs of those seeking primatial ministry from outside the United States, those dioceses and parishes unable to accept the ordination of women, and congregations which sense they can no longer be inside the Episcopal Church.
3. We are prepared to offer oversight, with the agreement of the local bishop, of congregations in dioceses whose bishops are not fully supportive of Communion teaching and discipline.
4. We are prepared to offer oversight to congregations who are currently under foreign jurisdictions in consultation with the bishops and Primates involved.
5. Finally, we respectfully request that the Primates address the issue of congregations within our dioceses seeking oversight in foreign jurisdictions. We are Communion-committed bishops and find the option of turning to foreign oversight presents anomalies which weaken our own diocesan familieis and places strains on the Communion as a whole.
1. Whilst we reaffirm the teaching of successive Lambeth Conferences that bishops must respect the autonomy and territorial integrity of dioceses and provinces other than their own, we call on the provinces concerned to make adequate provision for episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities within their own area of pastoral care in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates (Lambeth, October 2003)
2. Namely, a letter of 22nd September 2006 to the Archbishop of Canterbury and a further letter of 11th 2007 to the Primates setting out a number of commitments and proposals. These commitments and principles are colloquially known as “the Camp Allen principles”. (see Appendix One)
3. As set out in Appendix One.
4. 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 Communion Sub-Group added the comment: “These words were not lightly offered, and should not be lighted received.”