I thought it might be helpful to extract the bishops’ seven points from the rest of the verbiage of their proposed statement. Here they are:
1. We affirm and support the PB’s plan to provide Episcopal visitors for dioceses within the Episcopal Church. The Windsor Report (paragraph 152) affirmed that our plan for DEPO is reasonable and saw no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by bishops from within this province. We believe the Presiding Bishop’s plan is consistent with DEPO and we thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry.
2. While we have already expressed concerns about the recommendations made by the Primates for a pastoral scheme, we nonetheless urge the PB to continue conversations with those requesting alternative oversight, seeking ways to create and implement arrangements which meet pastoral needs and which do not violate our Constitution and Canons. We urge those requesting such oversight to participate in these conversations and to assist in finding appropriate solutions. We pray that a way forward can be found which will bring an end to the incursions of extra-provincial bishops. These incursions imperil the Communions principle of honoring one another as we work together in good faith on these very difficult issues.
3. We continue to invite all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to join in the listening process which was embraced by the 1998 Lambeth Conference I prayerfully considering the place of gay and lesbian people in our common life. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process from every province if the communion and to our own continuing participation with others in this crucial project. We see an important role for the ACC in helping to accomplish this objective, as well as in addressing other important issues that come before us. The ACC is representative of both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches, and it is the only body possessing a written constitution.
4. We have attempted to respond to the Primates questions regarding Resolution B033. in honesty we must report that within the HOB there is disagreement as to how this resolution is to be interpreted and applied. As we live with this painful reality, conversation study and prayer will continue. We recognize the challenge our disagreement presents for some in the Communion and we respectfully ask for their patience and forbearance.
5. Because we are a liturgical church our actions concerning
blessings are expressed in public liturgies. No rite of blessing for
persons living in same sex unions has been adopted or approved by our
General Convention. We wish to make it clear that the House of
Bishops has not voted to authorize such liturgies. Even in the
absence of such public rites, we acknowledge that the blessing of
same sex unions, no matter how public or private, is unacceptable to
some of our brothers and sisters in our own House, in our church, and
in the Communion. The issue remains perplexing for us as we seek to
balance these concerns about rites of blessing and the pressing
pastoral need that confronts us. We wish to offer respect for these
We are grateful that the Primates have articulated their support for
meeting the individual pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons. In
2003 they wrote “there is a duty of pastoral care that is laid upon
all Christians to respond with love and understanding to homosexual
persons.” The Primates have writeen that there must be a breadth of
private and pastoral responses to individual situations. It is the
case that for many decades, the Episcopal Church has explored the
most faithful ways of ministering to and with gay and lesbian people
who are part of our common life. We acknowledge that in some of our
dioceses this includes the blessing of same sex unions.
6. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008
Lambeth Conference look forward to that gathering with hope and
expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with
bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish those
relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on
We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received
an invitation to Lambeth. We are also mindful that the Archbishop of
Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a way to include Bishop
Robinson in the Lambeth Conference. Because we believe that this is a
matter of importance to the House of Bishops, we propose that the
Archbishop of Canterbury invite a small group of bishops appointed by
the Presiding Bishop to assist him in facilitating Bishop Robinson’s
presence and participation.
7. We reaffirm our March 2007 statement in which we said, “We
proclaim the Gospel of what God has done is doing in Christ, of the
dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace.
We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no
male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in
Christ all God’s children, including women, are full and equal
participants in the life of Christ’s Church. 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. We
proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including
violence done to women and children as well as those who are
persecuted because of their difference, often in the name of God.”