Fulcrum Response to the Statement from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

Fulcrum Response

to the Statement from the House of Bishops

of The Episcopal Church

New Orleans, 25 September 2007

We believe that the response from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church to the three central questions asked by the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam has been ‘yes, no, and no’:

  • Yes to the withholding of consent to the consecration to the episcopate of people living in same-sex unions
  • No to the cessation of the practice of some bishops covertly allowing the blessings of same-sex unions, even though a public rite has not been authorised
  • No to the proposed Pastoral Scheme and Pastoral Council, even though a scheme of Episcopal Visitors is still being clarified

Furthermore, we believe that there is a series of further ‘no’s to the other concerns that Primates wanted them to address, in particular a complete silence on the Covenant process.

This follows from our careful analysis of the House of Bishops statement and a detailed comparison of it with the requests made by the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

We conclude that the Archbishop of Canterbury should:

• underline the sections in his invitation to the Lambeth Conference concerning the importance of the Windsor Report and the Covenant process
• disinvite the bishops of the Episcopal Church who are not willing to work with these tools
• work forwards from here with the ‘Windsor Bishops’ of the Episcopal Church, who have done their best to hold the high middle ground, to provide acceptable pastoral oversight for conservative parishes and dioceses
• urge again the cessation of litigation on all sides

We consider that:

  • the resolution prepared by Bishop Bruce MacPherson, which provided clarity of choice concerning the requests of the Primates, should have been put and voted on
  • the ‘vote by voice’ on the statement, at the end of such a crucial meeting, led to lack of clarity as how many bishops were opposed to it and that a ‘vote by hands’ would have been much more appropriate.

We appreciate the detailed work contributed to the meeting in New Orleans by:

  • the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • the Presiding Bishop, in facilitating an open atmosphere in the meeting
  • the Primates on the Joint Standing Committee
  • the ‘Windsor Bishops’ who met at Camp Allen

We believe that it is vitally important for the future of the Anglican Communion that:

  • a large Lambeth Conference take place in July 2008
  • the Bishop of New Hampshire should not be invited, since he is a focus of disunity
  • ‘Windsor-compliant Bishops’ should be encouraged to play their full part in the Conference
  • a major part of the Conference should be the detailed discussion of the Covenant

For further Fulcrum analysis, see the Fulcrum Comparative Study of the Dar es Salaam and New Orleans Statements and the forthcoming article by Andrew Goddard, ‘Half Empty, Half Full, Too Little, Too Late?

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