An Informal Gathering and Conversation about Agreements and Disagreements in the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
Last night fifty seven bishops gathered for an hour an a half to identify areas of substantial agreement and disagreement to help facilitate our process and frame our conversation as we approach gathering in legislative session.
We had substantial agreement on the following things we would like to see happen…
-Ask all Provinces in the Anglican Communion to ensure the human rights of gay and lesbian persons: (Anglican Communion agrees to follow the directive on human rights.)
-Ask for more definitive statement from the ABC in reference to jurisdictional boundaries
-Ask the Anglican Communion to engage in the listening process (Lambeth 1.10)
-Move forward in Mission with as many global Anglican partners as possible.
-Engage in respectful discussions with everyone in the room.
In the spirit and depth of the Elizabethan Settlement, we have learned to live with disagreement. We would hope to be a model to others within the Anglican Communion.
We need to be as generous as possible with one another and the Communion. We are a minority in the Anglican Communion on certain issues and we need to be as generous with others holding a minority view within our own Province.
We should say we are not of one mind. One of our major charisms is that we can agree to disagree. This is often a place of creativity
The Anglican Communion Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council Report of the Subgroup should be used as an “anchor” and as a support for our document.
The following represents varying levels of disagreement and our need for on-going work …
-The House of Bishops should take responsibility for initiating a process to facilitate conversations regarding the inclusion of the Bishop of New Hampshire at Lambeth, 2008.
-Restate more clearly what has already been said through General Convention resolutions.
-We would not expand on General Convention resolutions (some confusion regarding what this means)
-Ask bishops not to formulate official same-sex blessing rites or policies regarding such rites until General Convention speaks with clarity on this issue.
-Support the Presiding Bishop’s proposal for “Episcopal Visitors.”
-Restart the Doctrinal Study/Process with respect to Human Sexuality (modest interest)
-We can agree to the two requests of Primates to the House of Bishops. (1. Withhold consent on Consecration of bishops living in same-sex relationships. 2. Withhold authorization of same-sex blessings.) (substantial disagreement)
-Consider the request of the Primates regarding a “Council” within our polity. (substantial confusion about what this proposal would entail).