Fulcrum Comparative Study of Statements From Dar es Salaam and New Orleans

Fulcrum Comparative Study of Statements

From Dar es Salaam and New Orleans

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church USA met in New Orleans, 20-25 September 2007. They had been asked to respond to the communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 15-19 February 2007. The following notes are a summary of the comparative study of the statements produced by these two meetings, together with comments, in italics, from Fulcrum.

1. Lambeth 1.10

Dar es Salaam: Lambeth 1.10 is the Communion standard on sexual behaviour
New Orleans: no mention of it.

This is a significant omission.

2. Same-Sex Blessings – past and present

Dar es Salaam:
A lack of clarity in The Episcopal Church about authorisation of rites for same-sex blessings; recognises that General Convention etc has not provided official rites, but is not ‘local pastoral provision made in some places’?
New Orleans: reiterates that General Convention has not provided official rites; only comment of clarification is ‘the majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions’, which implies that quite a few actually do.

The result of this is a clarification, but in the direction Dar es Salaam was afraid of, directly against The Windsor Report, and no sign whatever of pulling back from that. General Convention in 2003 explicitly allowed local diocesan provision.

[This is the first of the two direct and explicit points at which the House of Bishops in New Orleans says ‘certainly not’ to the Primates at Dar es Salaam]

3. Same-Sex Blessings - future

Dar es Salaam: more specifically concerning the future, requests that the bishops ‘will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention’.
New Orleans: merely reiterates ‘we pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing’.

Granted the debate, this is a clear subsidiary ‘no’ to the previous one.

4. Anglican Covenant

Dar es Salaam: we need to work towards the Covenant (‘the scheme… and undertakings... 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’).
New Orleans: never mentions, let alone commends, the Covenant.

This is a major omission.

5. The Windsor Report

Dar es Salaam: need to be reassured that The Episcopal Church is ready to embrace The Windsor Report fully.
New Orleans: says that the House of Bishops is going with The Windsor Report in spirit and content.

However, the rest of the statement raises serious questions about this.

6. Pastoral Council and Pastoral Scheme

Dar es Salaam: before interventions can stop, we need a new pastoral oversight scheme, spelled out in detail (Pastoral Council plus Pastoral Scheme)
New Orleans: rejects proposed scheme vehemently (‘in March...we expressed our deep concern that this scheme would compromise the authority of our own primate and place the autonomy of The Episcopal Church at risk... we encourage our Presiding Bishop to continue to explore ...consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons’).

This is a clear rejection of the Primates’ proposal. While recognising that it may have presented a real difficulty for the polity of The Episcopal Church, there was no attempt, in the intervening seven months, to engage with it. Instead the House of Bishops statement proposes exactly the sort of alternative that the Primates knew was not working and would not work (‘we commend our Presiding Bishop’s plan for Episcopal visitors’). The implication is that they want interventions to stop on their terms, not on the terms of the Primates’ proposal.
Quoting The Windsor Report’s support for Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) is inappropriate. In the three years since The Windsor Report was published (September 2004) it has become clear that DEPO is unworkable.

[This is second of the two central points at which the House of Bishops in New Orleans gives a clear ‘certainly not’ to the Primates’ in Dar es Salaam]

7. Consent to the Consecration to the Episcopate of people living in Same-Sex Unions

Dar es Salaam: please confirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 means that a candidate in a same-sex union will not receive consent to be consecrated to the episcopate
New Orleans: ‘The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains’.

This clarification is welcome. We note that the word ‘moratorium’, however, is not used.

[This is the one point where the House of Bishops in New Orleans has conceded what the Primates in Dar es Salaam asked]

8. Commitments ‘Until a Broader Consensus emerges across the Communion’

Dar es Salaam: The Episcopal Church should make the commitments concerning same-sex blessings and the resolution B033 of General Convention until ‘some new consensus ... emerges across the Communion’.
New Orleans: we will do what we say ‘until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion or until General Convention takes further action’.

This means that they are not prepared to go with the spirit of the Windsor Report about Communion-wide consensus on highly contentious matters and they wish to stress again the autonomy of their General Convention.

9. Litigation

Dar es Salaam: urges The Episcopal Church to suspend all actions in law, property disputes, etc.
New Orleans: never mentions it, and The Episcopal Church has continued with these legal cases unabated.

We deplore litigation on all sides.

10. ‘Camp Allen Principles’

Dar es Salaam: ‘Camp Allen Principles’, spelled out
New Orleans: never mentioned.

These principles were bypassed and marginalised.

11. The Bishop of New Hampshire and the Lambeth Conference

Dar es Salaam: Not mentioned but in the Windsor Report, reinforced by the invitations to the Lambeth Conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘the Bishop of New Hampshire should not be invited to the Lambeth Conference’.
New Orleans: yes he should be invited, the Archbishop of Canterbury said he expressed a desire to explore a way for him to participate, but we stress that we want him invited as full participant.

A full, or partial invitation, would be inappropriate since his consecration has been the focus of disunity.

12. Language concerning Issues of Sexuality

Dar es Salaam: reiterates Lambeth 1.10
New Orleans: we oppose anything that violates gay or lesbian persons’ ‘dignity as children of God’... ‘we proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children including gay and lesbian persons are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s church.’

On the surface, this is not only appropriate, it also resonates with many of the concerns for civil rights which are endorsed within Lambeth 1.10. Yet underneath, the coded message implies ‘and therefore have the right to be ordained to any office, and to have their unions blessed’ and this is entirely the matter at issue.

[Again, a ‘no’ to the Windsor Report, the Primate’s Meetings at Dromantine and at Dar es Salaam]


The House of Bishops in New Orleans has said ‘yes, no, and no’ to the three central questions asked by the Primates in Dar es Salaam, and a series of further ‘no’s to the other concerns that the Primates wanted them to address.

For further Fulcrum comment, see the Fulcrum Response to the New Orleans Statement and the forthcoming article by Andrew Goddard, ‘Half Empty, Half Full, Too Little, Too Late?’

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