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From Columbus: Crowded Hearing Spotlights Windsor Report Response

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    From Columbus: Crowded hearing spotlights Windsor Report response By Matthew Davies Episcopal News Service Wednesday, June 14, 2006 [ENS] A public hearing on
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 15, 2006
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      From Columbus: Crowded hearing spotlights Windsor Report response
      By Matthew Davies
      Episcopal News Service
      Wednesday, June 14, 2006

      [ENS] A public hearing on the response to the Windsor Report welcomed
      more than 70 speakers the evening of June 14 to address the Standing
      Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion on four
      resolutions (A160-163) that deal with the expression of regret,
      election of bishops, public rites for blessing same-gender unions,
      pastoral care and Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO).

      More than 1,000 people packed the Hyatt Regency Ballroom for the
      two-and-a-half hour hearing, which began at 7:30 p.m. An audio feed
      was provided for an overflow audience outside the room.

      In his opening comments, the Rev. Francis H. Wade of Washington,
      committee co-chair, said the most important thing is listening. "All
      of us need to hear," he said. "The people doing the real work are
      those who will listen and open their hearts to hear."

      Resolution A160 echoes the House of Bishops' March 2005 Covenant
      Statement in expressing regret with respect to actions of the 74th
      General Convention. It offers an "apology and repentance for having
      breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion..."

      The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, said
      toward the end of the hearing that the Windsor Report was acting like
      a doctor, saying a relationship needs to be healed.

      "Anglicanism has always responded to the challenge ... by scripture,
      reason and tradition," he said. "Maybe the committee should ask: do
      these resolutions help us ourselves ... to show the marks of our own
      crucifixion?"

      Speaking against A160, the Rev. Michael Hopkins, an alternate from the
      Diocese of Rochester, acknowledged that if there is an expression of
      regret, "it needs to be much fuller and expressed by all."

      Resolution A161 urges "very considerable caution in the nomination,
      election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life
      presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further
      strains on communion."

      The Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon, a deputy from the Diocese of South
      Carolina, raised concerns about what he called the clarity and honesty
      in A161.

      "The Windsor Report uses clear language. This resolution doesn't take
      the specific language of Windsor seriously enough," he said. "We have
      been asked to place a moratorium; the timeframe is clear ... yet the
      language we get is to exercise considerable caution -- a fudge. Let's
      be honest, let's be clear."

      Resolution A162 suggests that public rites for blessing same-gender
      unions not be authorized "until some broader consensus in the Anglican
      Communion emerges."

      Resolution A163 commits to pastoral care of those who disagree with
      past actions of Convention; gay and lesbian persons; and commends
      using, when necessary, the Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight
      (DEPO) process.

      Several speakers, including Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, cited
      a June 14 statement from Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham that suggests if
      the resolutions are passed without amendment, the Episcopal Church
      will have decided not to comply with the Windsor Report.

      Decisions made by the Episcopal Church have global consequences, said
      Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of American Churches in
      Europe, "because we are a global church -- the only global church in
      the Anglican Communion -- and our decisions can't be American first.
      This General Convention has to convince the Archbishop of Canterbury
      that the Episcopal Church wants to be part of the process that he set up."

      Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in
      the Anglican Communion, said that the light of Christ in gay and
      lesbian people of the church is being recognized and that the Church's
      job is to discern the will of God "as humbly as we can."

      "Our homosexual agenda is Jesus Christ ... Are we not in this debate
      because we have seen the fruits of the Spirit evidenced in the lives
      of our brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to be gay?" he said.
      "This debate is not, principally, about saving the Anglican Communion
      -- we cannot make decisions about what the Communion will or will not do."

      The committee will reflect on the hearings and discuss the legislative
      path of the resolutions through the houses during its June 15 morning
      meeting.

      In earlier action, Resolutions A159: "Commitment to Interdependence in
      the Anglican Communion," A166: "Anglican Covenant Development
      Process," and C007: "Anglican Consultative Council Appropriation,"
      were voted out of committee.

      On June 16, public hearings will be held at 7:30 a.m. in the Hyatt
      Regency on Resolutions A168: "Human Rights for Homosexual Persons,"
      A169: Amend Canon III.1: Quadrilateral and Exercise of Ministry," and
      D017: Marriage Rite in Book of Common Prayer for Same-Sex Couples.

      -- Matthew Davies is international correspondent for the Episcopal
      News Service.


      Editors Note.

      Information and news from General Convention can be found here:
      http://www.episcopalchurch.org/gc2006news/

      Resolutions index can be found here: http://gc2006.org/legislation/
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