June 21, 2006
For Immediate Release
Bishops’ Statement: General Convention Actions Inadequate
TO THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD:
We, the undersigned, Bishops of the Episcopal Church make the following statement:
In the wake of the action by this House granting consent to the consecration of Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, many of us in this House made an appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion “to intervene in the pastoral emergency that has overtaken us.” That appeal was heard and the Archbishop called for an extraordinary meeting of the Primates on 15–16 October, 2003. The Primates spoke forthrightly and unanimously about the consequences that would ensue across the Communion in the event that the consecration went forward, warning that it would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level.” They also called for the formation, under a mandate given by the Archbishop, of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. This General Convention has now given its response to the recommendations of the work of that Commission, known as the Windsor Report.
Now, once again, we find the need to speak candidly. The responses which the Convention has given to the clear and simple requests of the Lambeth Commission, the clear and simple requests indeed of the Anglican Communion, are clearly and simply inadequate. We reaffirm our conviction that the Windsor Report provides the way forward for the entire Anglican Communion, the ecumenical relationships of the Communion, and the common life of a faithful Episcopal Church. Further, we have agreed to submit ourselves to the Windsor Report’s requirements, both in what it teaches and in the discipline it enjoins. We have not changed in our commitment.
Sadly, because of statements made by members of this House at this Convention, we must question whether this General Convention is misleading the rest of the Communion by giving a false perception that they intend actually to comply with the recommendations of the Windsor Report. We therefore disassociate ourselves from those acts of this Convention that do not fully comply with the Windsor Report.
It is our intention not only to point to the inadequacies of the General Convention’s responses, but to declare to our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Communion that we continue as The Episcopal Church in this country who uphold and propagate the historic faith and order we have come to know through the Anglican heritage of apostolic teaching and biblical faith; who desire to be fully a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; and who are ready to embrace and live under the Windsor Report without equivocation. Accordingly, we repudiate the actions of the General Convention of 2003 which have breached the bonds of affection within the Communion. We bishops have committed to withhold consents for any persons living in same gender relationships who may be put forward for consecration as a bishop of the Church. And we have refused to grant authority for the blessing of sexual relationships outside Christian Marriage in our jurisdictions. We intend to go forward in the Communion confidently and unreservedly.
Our chief concern now is to fulfill our charge as bishops of the Church of God in the Anglican tradition to “guard the faith, unity and discipline” of the Church. Pastoral care and apostolic teaching must not only be given to our own dioceses, but to all the faithful in this country who seek apostolic oversight and support. We will take counsel together to fulfill our service on behalf of faithful Anglicans in this country, both clergy and laity, and to proclaim the Gospel and build up the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we seek the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates and Bishops of the Anglican Communion as we do so.
The Rt. Rev. Keith Lynn Ackerman, Diocese of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams Jr., Diocese of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith, Diocese of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Daniel W. Herzog, Diocese of Albany
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, DD, Diocese of Fort Worth
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Diocese of South Carolina*
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Diocese of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Diocese of Dallas*
The Rt. Rev. Henry W. Scriven, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. William J. Skilton, Diocese of South Carolina
* Drafters of the original statement
Wednesday, June 21, 2006