Brakes and Breaks
The Covenant Statement from ECUSA's House of Bishops meeting in Texas applies the brakes to avoid breaks. For fifteen months, till the General Convention in June 2006, a moratorium has been declared on consecrating any bishops, not just those who live in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
The bishops in ECUSA who questioned the innovation of Gene Robinson's consecration, have been given encouragement for their case from the Windsor Report and the Primates' Meeting. The House of Bishops has responded positively.
There has been a significant shift, which we welcome as constructive; but we await further developments cautiously, as the process of discussion within ECUSA continues.
In particular we welcome the:
- desire to remain in the Anglican Communion
- apology and repentance for having 'broken bonds of affection' in not consulting before consenting to the consecration of the bishop of New Hampshire
- echoing of the Windsor Report's key phrase 'autonomy-in-communion' in their phrase 'autonomy within communion'
- moratorium on all consecrations to create a pause, or 'sabbath space', for the educational process called for in the Windsor Report and the Primates' Communiqué
- pledge not to authorize any public rites for the blessing of same sex unions, nor to bless any such unions, at least until the General Convention of 2006
- honest recognition of the enormity of the crisis and the openness with which they faced their deep divisions, which, they say in 'A Word to the Church', has not characterized their recent past
We note, however, that:
- there is no expression of regret or repentance for the action of authorizing the consecration of Gene Robinson, only for lack of consultation and its effects
- the moratorium asked for in the Windsor Report was 'until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges'
In this Covenant Statement, there is significant movement. We continue to pray for wisdom for the leaders of ECUSA.
- A Covenant Statement of the House of Bishops (15 March 2005) [ENS]
- A Word to the Church (16 March 2005) [ENS]