At the top of the agenda is a “request” issued by the presiding Anglican bishops meeting in Africa earlier this year that the 2.4-million-member U.S. church, by September 30, clearly renounce the blessing of same-sex marriages and make it clear it will not allow more non-celibate gays to become bishops.
The U.S. church in 2003 consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history.
That not only caused dissension and defection within the U.S. church but riled defenders of traditional Christianity in African, Asian and Latin American congregations that now account for half of the world’s Anglican followers.
And it left Williams with an increasingly difficult task of keeping the loose federation of Anglicans under one tent without alienating the U.S. church whose wealth gives it power far beyond its numbers in Anglican operations worldwide.
The Episcopalians have never issued a pronouncement for or against the blessing of gay unions, although the practice is common in some congregations. At its general convention in 2006, the U.S. church adopted a resolution urging congregations to “exercise restraint” in elevating anyone to bishop whose “manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.”
Read it all. Many leaders and some dioceses consider resolution C051from the 2003 General Convention to be an approval for same sex blessings, which is why more dioceses are engaging in it since 2003. The key as I have said earlier in response to Bishop Henry Parsley’s misrepresentation is that “local pastoral provision” for blessings is to cease. As for resolution B033, it did not do what the Windsor Report asked. Be sure to factcheck all articles and blog entries this week and seek to read from a variety of points of view–KSH.
Update: My minority report on C051 available here is an important document to reread, especially this section:
3. On point five, we wish to state in the strongest possible terms that, far from being consonant with the Primate’s Pastoral Letter, this is a denial of it. We quote from that letter, “The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same-sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorization of such rites.”
Thus, the Primate’s letter, in the strongest language and with a clear intent, implored this church not to develop such rites. This resolution is a complete and arrogant repudiation of the clear intention of the leaders of our church.
4. On point five, we ask the question, “What does it mean ”˜to experience’ such liturgies?” A simple reading of this language flies in the face of the intention of the Primate’s letter as it raises the question of how one can “experience” a liturgy without actually performing such a liturgy. Thus, this resolution has the effect of authorizing the performing of (quoting the resolution) “celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.”