This afternoon we had our first “Hearing” regarding the “Windsor Continuation Group” and the effort to produce an “Anglican Covenant.” If anyone thought we might be close to completing that task at this Lambeth Conference, I think s/he was quickly disabused of the notion. I would guess there were 300 present, and following an opening update of where we are in the process we had about an hour for comments. 21 people each spoke for approximately three minutes apiece, eight of them Americans. (We haven’t entirely given up trying to dominate the proceedings!)
The tone was set by the first speaker, a Bishop from TEC, who used his time to assert the need for the FULL acceptance of LGBTs by the Church; he was really quite animated about it, and then he ended by declaring, “And I believe in the Virgin Birth, the bodily resurrection of our Lord, the necessity of his death upon the cross for our salvation; I believe him to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and I believe the Bible contains all things necessary for our salvation!”
Almost all of those who spoke were fairly to deeply critical of the efforts to date, albeit for all different kinds of reasons. There was great anger expressed by a number of our Bishops over the incursions into their Dioceses by international jurisdictions. And there was a claim by one of them that, “Less than 7/10 of one percent of The Episcopal Church has defected” over “the issues,” so “Please, let’s stop repeating the ‘myths’ about how deep this ‘crisis’ is.”
One of our Bishops apologized on behalf of TEC for our “tearing the fabric” of the Communion.
One of the predominant themes from many (both TEC and others) was that we do not want a Covenant that can be used “juridically” to expel, discipline, or exclude.
Apparently, a number of others wanted to speak, but we ran out of time. They were invited to write down their concerns, and to come to the other Hearings scheduled later during the Conference.
Tonight I have just come from a meeting of seven of the “Global South” Primates, several of the British Bishops, and 14 of our American Bishops, some involved in “Common Cause” and some in “Communion Partners.” The point was again made that CP is an “inside” strategy, and CC an “outside” one, but that both are needed; and we want to do the best we can to support each other. The Primates were very clear in repeating several times their promise of solidarity with both effort