New ultimatum to Lambeth bishops: CEN 4.18.08 p 1. April 18, 2008Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference will be asked to affirm their willingness to abide by the recommendations of the Windsor Report and work towards the creation of an Anglican Communion Covenant.
A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams told The Church of England Newspaper that letters affirming support for Windsor and the Covenant process had not yet been mailed, but would go out presently.
Bishops attending Lambeth must have a “willingness to work with those aspects of the [Lambeth] Conference’s agenda that relate to implementing the recommendations of [the Windsor Report], including the development of a Covenant,” Dr. Williams wrote in his Dec. 14 Advent pastoral letter.
The Windsor Report calls for a ban on gay bishops and blessings and discouraged violating the diocesan boundaries of bishops in opposing theological camps. Affirming the recommendations of the Windsor Report may cause difficulty for US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other progressive American, Canadian, Brazilian and British bishops who have given either their formal or informal support to moves to normalize homosexuality within the life of the church. It also closes the door on full participation in the conference of the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson.
Overseas primates who have backed the violation of diocesan boundaries by African-consecrated American missionary bishops, could also fall afoul of Dr. Williams’ dictate. However, as the principle provinces backing overseas missionary bishops-Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda-will not be at Lambeth, the warning is a “moot point”, one overseas primate told The Church of England Newspaper.
Approximately 600 of the Communion’s 716 diocesan and 171 suffragan and assistant bishops have stated they would attend Lambeth, and more responses are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, a member of the conference team said.
Dr. William’s Advent letter warned against campaigning by the bishops on the disparate issues dividing the Communion. Attendance at Lambeth was predicated at avoiding “the present degree of damaging and draining tension arising again. I intend to be in direct contact with those who have expressed unease about this, so as to try and clarify how deep their difficulties go with accepting or adopting the Conference’s agenda.”
Speaking to the Fulcrum Conference in Islington last week, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright said “when the Archbishop issued his invitations, he made it clear as I said that their basis was Windsor and the Covenant as the tools to shape our future common life.”
“Those bishops who might be thought particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant” would be asked by Dr. Williams “whether they were really prepared to build on this dual foundation. “
“Many will say this is far too little, far too late – just as many others will be livid to think that the Archbishop, having already not invited Gene Robinson to Lambeth, should be suggesting that some others might absent themselves as well,” Dr. Wright said. “But this is what he promised he would do, and he is doing it.”