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Convention Criticized for ‘Choosing to Walk Apart’: TLC 7.14.09 July 15, 2009

Posted by geoconger in 76th General Convention, Living Church.

First published in The Living Church

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright has issued a sharp rebuke to the 76th General Convention for approving Resolution D025, saying it “marks a clear break” with the Anglican Communion.

On July 13, the House of Bishops adopted an amended version of D025, effectively overturning the pledge made in Resolution B033 at the 75th General Convention in 2006 not to affirm the election of clergy in active same-sex relationships. The House of Deputies concurred with the Bishops on July 14.

In a letter to the Times of London to be published on July15, Bishop Wright likened the state of international Anglicanism to a “slow-moving train crash.” With passage of D025, the Episcopal Church had “finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether,” marking a “clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.”

General Convention was “ignoring” the pleas of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates and the Lambeth Conference for a “moratorium on consecrating practicing homosexuals as bishops.”

General Convention had rejected the Windsor Report and the proposed Anglican Covenant, Bishop Wright said, and was “formalizing the schism they initiated six years ago when they consecrated as bishop a divorced man in an active same-sex relationship,” the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire.

The Episcopal Church by its vote, he argued, had “chosen to ‘walk apart’.”

He rejected the “appeal to justice as a way of cutting the ethical knot in favor of including active homosexuals in Christian ministry,” saying it “simply begs the question.”

Justice did not mean “treating everybody the same way,” but “treating people appropriately”, he argued, “which involves making distinctions between different people and situations. Justice has never meant ‘the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire’.”

The Episcopal Church was now distancing itself from the fellowship of the Anglican Communion, he argued, and raised the specter of recognizing the Anglican Communion in North America, writing that he hoped that ways could be found “for all in America who want to be loyal to [the Anglican Communion], and to scripture, tradition and Jesus, [and] to have that loyalty recognized and affirmed at the highest level.

The Rev. Ian Douglas, a member of the Anglican Consultative Council, and clergy deputy from Massachusetts, told The Living Church that there had been communications between the highest levels of the Episcopal Church and the Church of England over D025 over the past few days, noting that claims that the Episcopal Church was walking away from the Anglican Communion were untrue, as D025 was not crafted as a repeal of B033.

The Committee on World Missions received 13 resolutions concerning B033: six that “called for a full repeal” of the 2006 resolution, six that called for “a strengthening of the non-discriminations canons” and one resolution that stated “where we are as a church.” Fr. Douglas said D025 was an “invitation to dialogue, not a rebuke of the Anglican Communion’s instruments of communion.”

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