- Windsor Report
The Windsor Report was the document containing the finding of the Eames Commission. In 2003, Archbishop
Robin Eames, was appointed as Chairman of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. This commission studied significant challenges to unity in the Anglican Communion. Under examination were problems stemming from the reaction of conservatives to the consecrationof Gene Robinson, the first openly gay, noncelibate priest to be ordained to the historical episcopate, in the Episcopal Church USAand the blessing of same-sex unionsin the Diocese of New Westminster. The Commission published its findings the "Windsor Report" on 18 October 2004.
Robinson's effect on the Communion
Gene Robinson's election as the bishopof the Diocese of New Hampshire prompted a group of 19 bishops, led by Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to make a statement warning the church of a possible schism between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, stated that it "will inevitably have a significant impact on the Anglican Communion throughout the world and it is too early to say what the result of that will be." He added, "It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response." [http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/releases/2003/030806.html Archbishop of Canterbury's website.] Retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutustated that he did not see what "all the fuss" was about, saying the election would not roil the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. Other senior bishops of the church, like Peter Akinola, Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, have stated that their churches are in an "impaired communion" with the Episcopal Church.
New Westminster and same-sex unions
One Canadian diocese, New Westminster, authorized a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions at its 2002
Diocesan Synod. The use of the rite by individual parishes was incumbent upon a specific request of the parish made through its annual vestry meeting or resolution of its parochial church council. In May 2003, six of the diocese's 76 parishes received authorization to use the rite. [Diocese of New Westminster, Information on Same-Sex Blessings [http://www.samesexblessing.info/Overview/Chronology/tabid/72/Default.aspx Chronology of Actions taken by the Anglican Church Of Canada & the Diocese of New Westminster in regard to the Issue of Same Sex Unions] . Accessed 2007-07-22.]
As a result of the controversy over the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions, on
15 October 2003, Anglican leaders from around the world met in Lambeth Palacein an attempt to avoid a schism on the issue. The day after, they released a lengthy statement:
Lambeth Commission on Communion
In 2003, Archbishop
Robin Eames, the Anglican Primate of All Ireland, the self-styled 'divine optimist', was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterburyas Chairman of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. This commission studied the state of unity in the Anglican Communionin light of the reaction of conservatives to the developments in the United States and Canada. The Commission published its findings, the "Windsor Report", on 18 October 2004.
The report took a strong stand against homosexual practice, recommended a moratorium on further consecrations of actively homosexual bishops and blessings of same-sex unions, [The Windsor Report 2004. [http://www.anglicancommunion.org/windsor2004/section_d/p3.cfm On public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions] . Accessed
2007-07-17.] and called for all involved in Robinson's consecration "to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion". [The Windsor Report 2004. [http://www.anglicancommunion.org/windsor2004/section_d/p2.cfm On elections to the episcopate] . Accessed 2007-07-17.] However, it stopped short of recommending discipline against the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada.
The report also recommended solidifying the connection between the churches of the Communion by having each church ratify an "Anglican Covenant" that would, in part, commit them to consulting the wider Communion when making major decisions. It also urged those who had contributed to disunity to express their regret.
In February 2005, the Primates of the Anglican Communion held a regular meeting at Dromantine in
Northern Irelandat which the issue of homosexuality was heavily discussed. Of the 38 Primates, 35 attended. The Primates issued a communiqué that reiterated most of the Windsor Report's statements, with the additition that The Episcopal Church USA and Anglican Church of Canada were asked to voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council, the main formal international entity within the Anglican Communion until the next Lambeth Conferencein 2008.
The Windsor Report was criticized by liberals (for example, in "The Windsor Report: A Liberal Response") for seeming to take for granted that the actions of New Hampshire and New Westminster—and
homosexualityin general—were wrong. For example, while it calls for both conservatives and liberals to apologise for disunity, it acknowledges that the conservatives may have acted out of a sense of duty. However, it concedes no such acknowledgement to New Westminster and New Hampshire.
On February 12, 2008 the Archbishop of Canterbury announced the formation of the
Windsor Continuation Group(WCG). The WCG was formed to address the remaining questions around the Windsor Report and the various formal responses to the Windsor Report from the provinces and instruments of the Anglican Communion. The WCG is chaired by Bishop Clive Handford. [Press Release. [http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2008/2/12/ACNS4370 Anglican Communion News Service Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Windsor Continuation Group ] . Accessed 2008-07-23.]
Anglican views of homosexuality
Religion, Christian, Anglican
Global Anglican Future Conference
Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement
American Anglican Council
* [http://www.anglicancommunion.org/windsor2004/ The Windsor Report] Complete text at the
Anglican Communionofficial website.
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