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BeitragVerfasst: 21. September 2007 09:12 
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Sicher interessant im Auge zu behalten ist die folgende Adresse:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/89878_ENG_HTM.htm
House of Bishops - News From Episcopal Life

(hier gibt es auch Bilder und Audio/Video-Clips)


Hier die ersten News:

Eight bishops agree to serve as 'episcopal visitors'
By Bob Williams, Sep 20, 2007
Eight bishops have accepted Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's invitation to serve as "episcopal visitors

House of Bishops sessions reflect 'passionate commitment' to Anglican Communion
By Pat McCaughan, Sep 20, 2007
Bishops meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in New Orleans on September 20 characterized their conversations...

(Überschriften anklicken zum Weiterlesen)

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BeitragVerfasst: 21. September 2007 09:22 
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Meeting Held on Anglican-Episcopal Split

By RACHEL ZOLL – 4 hours ago

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Episcopal bishops met privately for seven hours Thursday with the archbishop of Canterbury, trying to preserve the church's role in the Anglican family despite Episcopal support for gays.

The denomination is the Anglican body in the U.S. and has a more liberal view of Scripture than most Anglicans overseas. Tensions over Bible interpretation erupted in 2003, when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, has been struggling to keep the 77 million-member Anglican Communion from breaking apart — an effort he has called "exhausting." Unlike a pope, Williams doesn't have direct authority to force a resolution.

Colorado Bishop Robert O'Neill, who briefed reporters after the meeting, called the conversation "open and forthright," but provided few specifics.

But Canon Jim Naughton, a spokesman for the Diocese of Washington, said Williams had suggested that Episcopalians "needed to exercise greater concern" for unity.

The archbishop also asked Episcopal leaders "how far they were willing to go" to fulfill demands from Anglican leaders that they roll back their support for gays and lesbians.

Williams "made it clear that he believed the Episcopal Church had acted preemptively in consecrating Bishop Robinson," Naughton said.

Anglican leaders have set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for gay couples. If Episcopal leaders say no, they could lose their full membership in the Anglican Communion.

The communion is a fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. Anglicans comprise the third-largest Christian body in the world, behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

In her opening sermon, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the Episcopal Church, urged the bishops to be open to opposing views. She denounced the "disdain, violent words and destructive action" that have become part of the Anglican debate about their future.

She also appointed eight U.S. bishops from across the ideological spectrum to take her place in providing some oversight for dioceses that do not accept her authority.

It's unlikely, however, that the appointments will mollify the small minority of Episcopal conservatives and their supporters overseas.

Three conservative dioceses — Pittsburgh, Quincy, Ill., and San Joaquin, Calif. — have taken the first steps toward breaking with the national church. About 60 of the more than 7,000 Episcopal parishes have either split from the church or suffered serious membership losses.

And conservative Anglican leaders from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and elsewhere have been appointing bishops to work in the U.S. and oversee networks of breakaway Episcopal parishes that rival the national church.

Episcopal leaders have apologized repeatedly for the turmoil they've caused, but they haven't expressed regret for consecrating Robinson.

Last year, the top Episcopal policymaking body, the General Convention, asked bishops to "exercise restraint" by not approving candidates for bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge" to the church. However, the measure isn't binding, and a lesbian with a female partner is among the finalists in an upcoming election for Chicago bishop.

The Episcopal prayer book has no liturgy for blessing same-gender couples, but about a dozen of the 110 U.S. dioceses allow priests to perform the ceremonies.

Williams has one more session with the bishops Friday morning. Episcopal leaders will continue to meet through Tuesday to draft a statement to the Anglican Communion.

___

Episcopal Church: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/

Anglican Communion: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/


---------------------------------------------------------
Episcopals reveal little of gay rift talks

Fri 21 Sep 2007, 2:54 GMT

(Recasts, updates with archbishop sermon, adds bishop quotes)

By Bruce Nichols

NEW ORLEANS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Episcopal bishops were tight-lipped on Thursday about meetings with the Archbishop of Canterbury aimed at healing a rift in their church over the ordaining of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The gay issues are threatening to tear their Worldwide Anglican Communion apart, but there were no reports of progress at the start in New Orleans of a conference of U.S. bishops and delegates from overseas Anglican churches.

A news briefing by two of the 109 bishops at the convention, held after seven hours of closed-door meetings with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the 77-million-member church, provided little information and the Archbishop disclosed even less in a church service on Thursday night.

"The general posture was simply one of having a very open and forthright conversation. I don't think anybody was holding back, but everybody was conducting themselves with respect and courtesy and honesty," said the Rev. Robert O'Neill, bishop of Colorado, at the Thursday briefing.

"Our conversation has been rich in content, looking at all the issues that are before us," said the Rev. John Rabb, bishop of Maryland.

Williams delivered a 15-minute sermon at a religious service in the New Orleans Convention Center in which he did not mention the controversy at all.

He focused on "gratitude" among people and rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in August 2005, as a safe, God-fearing city.

The gay issues conflict was prompted by the U.S. church in 2003 when it consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history.

That caused dissension within the U.S. church and angered Anglicans in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which combined now account for half of the world's Anglican followers.

The New Orleans convention is viewed as a possible showdown because Anglican bishops meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this year asked the 2.4-million-member U.S. church to renounce by Sept. 30 the blessing of same-sex marriages and make clear it will not allow more non-celibate gays to become bishops.

The results of not complying with the Sept. 30 deadline were not spelled out in the African meeting. They could lead, however, to the Episcopal church losing full membership in the Anglican communion, religious leaders say.

Rabb told reporters the African request was discussed in Thursday's meetings, but so were other topics.

"Dar es Salaam ... was not the essence of all of our conversation. It was certainly part of the conversation," he said.

Williams is scheduled to hold a press conference on Friday with Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, then leave. The conference goes on until Tuesday.

Williams took a break from his meetings to bless a new parish, the Church of All Souls, which is being opened in an abandoned Walgreen's store in New Orleans' mostly black Lower Ninth Ward. The area was hard hit by Katrina flooding and has not recovered.

"I feel very, very proud that our church is here and doing something in this area where so much is needed," the archbishop said.

(Additional reporting by Russell McCulley in New Orleans)

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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Meeting Held on Anglican-Episcopal Split

By RACHEL ZOLL – 4 hours ago

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Episcopal bishops met privately for seven hours Thursday with the archbishop of Canterbury, trying to preserve the church's role in the Anglican family despite Episcopal support for gays.

The denomination is the Anglican body in the U.S. and has a more liberal view of Scripture than most Anglicans overseas. Tensions over Bible interpretation erupted in 2003, when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, has been struggling to keep the 77 million-member Anglican Communion from breaking apart — an effort he has called "exhausting." Unlike a pope, Williams doesn't have direct authority to force a resolution.

Colorado Bishop Robert O'Neill, who briefed reporters after the meeting, called the conversation "open and forthright," but provided few specifics.

But Canon Jim Naughton, a spokesman for the Diocese of Washington, said Williams had suggested that Episcopalians "needed to exercise greater concern" for unity.

The archbishop also asked Episcopal leaders "how far they were willing to go" to fulfill demands from Anglican leaders that they roll back their support for gays and lesbians.

Williams "made it clear that he believed the Episcopal Church had acted preemptively in consecrating Bishop Robinson," Naughton said.

Anglican leaders have set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for gay couples. If Episcopal leaders say no, they could lose their full membership in the Anglican Communion.

The communion is a fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. Anglicans comprise the third-largest Christian body in the world, behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

In her opening sermon, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the Episcopal Church, urged the bishops to be open to opposing views. She denounced the "disdain, violent words and destructive action" that have become part of the Anglican debate about their future.

She also appointed eight U.S. bishops from across the ideological spectrum to take her place in providing some oversight for dioceses that do not accept her authority.

It's unlikely, however, that the appointments will mollify the small minority of Episcopal conservatives and their supporters overseas.

Three conservative dioceses — Pittsburgh, Quincy, Ill., and San Joaquin, Calif. — have taken the first steps toward breaking with the national church. About 60 of the more than 7,000 Episcopal parishes have either split from the church or suffered serious membership losses.

And conservative Anglican leaders from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and elsewhere have been appointing bishops to work in the U.S. and oversee networks of breakaway Episcopal parishes that rival the national church.

Episcopal leaders have apologized repeatedly for the turmoil they've caused, but they haven't expressed regret for consecrating Robinson.

Last year, the top Episcopal policymaking body, the General Convention, asked bishops to "exercise restraint" by not approving candidates for bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge" to the church. However, the measure isn't binding, and a lesbian with a female partner is among the finalists in an upcoming election for Chicago bishop.

The Episcopal prayer book has no liturgy for blessing same-gender couples, but about a dozen of the 110 U.S. dioceses allow priests to perform the ceremonies.

Williams has one more session with the bishops Friday morning. Episcopal leaders will continue to meet through Tuesday to draft a statement to the Anglican Communion.

___

Episcopal Church: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/

Anglican Communion: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/


---------------------------------------------------------
Episcopals reveal little of gay rift talks

Fri 21 Sep 2007, 2:54 GMT

(Recasts, updates with archbishop sermon, adds bishop quotes)

By Bruce Nichols

NEW ORLEANS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Episcopal bishops were tight-lipped on Thursday about meetings with the Archbishop of Canterbury aimed at healing a rift in their church over the ordaining of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The gay issues are threatening to tear their Worldwide Anglican Communion apart, but there were no reports of progress at the start in New Orleans of a conference of U.S. bishops and delegates from overseas Anglican churches.

A news briefing by two of the 109 bishops at the convention, held after seven hours of closed-door meetings with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the 77-million-member church, provided little information and the Archbishop disclosed even less in a church service on Thursday night.

"The general posture was simply one of having a very open and forthright conversation. I don't think anybody was holding back, but everybody was conducting themselves with respect and courtesy and honesty," said the Rev. Robert O'Neill, bishop of Colorado, at the Thursday briefing.

"Our conversation has been rich in content, looking at all the issues that are before us," said the Rev. John Rabb, bishop of Maryland.

Williams delivered a 15-minute sermon at a religious service in the New Orleans Convention Center in which he did not mention the controversy at all.

He focused on "gratitude" among people and rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in August 2005, as a safe, God-fearing city.

The gay issues conflict was prompted by the U.S. church in 2003 when it consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history.

That caused dissension within the U.S. church and angered Anglicans in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which combined now account for half of the world's Anglican followers.

The New Orleans convention is viewed as a possible showdown because Anglican bishops meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this year asked the 2.4-million-member U.S. church to renounce by Sept. 30 the blessing of same-sex marriages and make clear it will not allow more non-celibate gays to become bishops.

The results of not complying with the Sept. 30 deadline were not spelled out in the African meeting. They could lead, however, to the Episcopal church losing full membership in the Anglican communion, religious leaders say.

Rabb told reporters the African request was discussed in Thursday's meetings, but so were other topics.

"Dar es Salaam ... was not the essence of all of our conversation. It was certainly part of the conversation," he said.

Williams is scheduled to hold a press conference on Friday with Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, then leave. The conference goes on until Tuesday.

Williams took a break from his meetings to bless a new parish, the Church of All Souls, which is being opened in an abandoned Walgreen's store in New Orleans' mostly black Lower Ninth Ward. The area was hard hit by Katrina flooding and has not recovered.

"I feel very, very proud that our church is here and doing something in this area where so much is needed," the archbishop said.

(Additional reporting by Russell McCulley in New Orleans)

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

_________________
Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.


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 Betreff des Beitrags: TEC: HoB response
BeitragVerfasst: 26. September 2007 06:55 
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House of Bishops response 'to questions and concerns raised by our Anglican Communion partners'
September 25, 2007
[Episcopal News Service]



House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 25, 2007

A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners:
In accordance with Our Lord's high priestly prayer that we be one, and in the spirit of Resolution A159 of the 75th General Convention, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the gift of the Anglican Communion as a sign of the Holy Spirit's ongoing work of reconciliation throughout the world, we offer the following to The Episcopal Church, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the larger Communion, with the hope of "mending the tear in the fabric" of our common life in Christ.

"I do it all for the sake of the Gospel so that I might share in its blessings."
1 Corinthians 9:23.

Introduction
The House of Bishops expresses sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates for accepting our invitation to join us in New Orleans. By their presence they have both honored us and assisted us in our discernment. Their presence was a living reminder of the unity that is Christ's promised gift in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Much of our meeting time was spent in continuing discernment of our relationships within the Anglican Communion. We engaged in careful listening and straightforward dialogue with our guests. We expressed our passionate desire to remain in communion. It is our conviction that The Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion, and we heard from our guests that the Anglican Communion needs The Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops offers the following responses to our Anglican Communion partners. We believe they provide clarity and point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue. Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God's call is a lively partnership among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention.

Summary

* We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
* We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
* We commend our Presiding Bishop's plan for episcopal visitors.
* We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.
* We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
* We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
* We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
* We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.

Discussion
Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention
The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution EC011 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."[1] The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.

Blessing of Same-Sex Unions
We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. In the near future we hope to be able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process. In the meantime, it is important to note that no rite of blessing for persons living in same-sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. In addition to not having authorized liturgies the majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions. We do note that in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty "to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations." They further stated, "…(I)t is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care."

Episcopal Visitors
We affirm the Presiding Bishop's plan to appoint episcopal visitors for dioceses that request alternative oversight. Such oversight would be provided by bishops who are a part of and subject to the communal life of this province. We believe this plan is consistent with and analogous to Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) as affirmed by the Windsor Report (paragraph 152). We thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry. We hope that dioceses will make use of this plan and that the Presiding Bishop will continue conversation with those dioceses that may feel the need for such ministries. We appreciate and need to hear all voices in The Episcopal Church.

Incursions by Uninvited Bishops
We call for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops in accordance with the Windsor Report and consistent with the statements of past Lambeth Conferences and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. Such incursions imperil common prayer and long-established ecclesial principles of our Communion. These principles include respect for local jurisdiction and recognition of the geographical boundaries of dioceses and provinces. As we continue to commit ourselves to honor both the spirit and the content of the Windsor Report, we call upon those provinces and bishops engaging in such incursions likewise to honor the Windsor Report by ending them. We offer assurance that delegated episcopal pastoral care is being provided for those who seek it.

Communion-wide Consultation
In their communiqué of February 2007, the Primates proposed a "pastoral scheme." At our meeting in March 2007, we expressed our deep concern that this scheme would compromise the authority of our own primate and place the autonomy of The Episcopal Church at risk. The Executive Council reiterated our concerns and declined to participate. Nevertheless, we recognize a useful role for communion-wide consultation with respect to the pastoral needs of those seeking alternative oversight, as well as the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons in this and other provinces. We encourage our Presiding Bishop to continue to explore such consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.

The Listening Process
The 1998 Lambeth Conference called all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to engage in a "listening process" designed to bring gay and lesbian Anglicans fully into the Church's conversation about human sexuality. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and to participating with others in this crucial enterprise. We are aware that in some cultural contexts conversation concerning homosexuality is difficult. We see an important role for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in this listening process, since it represents both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches, and so is well-placed to engage every part of the body in this conversation. We encourage the ACC to identify the variety of resources needed to accomplish these conversations.

The Lambeth Conference
Invitations to the Lambeth Conference are extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish these relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on such partnerships.

We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to the conference. We also note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a way for him to participate. We share the Archbishop's desire and encourage our Presiding Bishop to offer our assistance as bishops in this endeavor. It is our fervent hope that a way can be found for his full participation.

Justice and Dignity for Gay and Lesbian Persons
It is of fundamental importance that, as we continue to seek consensus in matters of human sexuality, we also be clear and outspoken in our shared commitment to establish and protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons, and to name and oppose at every turn any action or policy that does violence to them, encourages violence toward them, or violates their dignity as children of God. We call all our partners in the Anglican Communion to recommit to this effort. As we stated at the conclusion of our meeting in March 2007: "We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God."

[1] The Communion Sub-Group noted that “the resolution uses the language of ‘restraint’, and the group noted that there has been considerable discussion since General Convention about the exact force of that word. By requiring that the restraint must be expressed in a particular way – ‘by not consenting …’, however, the resolution is calling for a precise response, which complies with the force of the recommendation of the Windsor Report.” The group also noted “that while the Windsor Report restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by the Windsor Report, and commend it to the Communion.”

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Bishops provide 'clarity' in response to Primates' communiqué

By Pat McCaughan and Mary Frances Schjonberg September 25, 2007

[Episcopal News Service, New Orleans]

After nearly a full day of deliberations, the House of Bishops on September 25 agreed overwhelmingly by voice vote to "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

They also pledged not to authorize public rites for same-gender blessings "until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action," according to the response.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told reporters at a news conference following the conclusion of the meeting that bishops found "common ground to stand on … high ground. Not everyone is 100 percent happy with every word in this document, but we believe we have found a place that all of us can stand together -- at the foot of the cross."

The final statement adopted by the House of Bishops is being sent immediately via email to the JSC and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is traveling in Armenia and Syria, a spokesperson for the Anglican Communion said.

Intended to clarify General Convention Resolution B033, the document offered the strongest language thus far about interventions from overseas bishops in local dioceses. "We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end," the document said. It also called for "unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons."

Its overwhelming passage indicated strong support for the leadership of Jefferts Schori, who received a standing ovation and sustained applause at the news she is approaching her one-year anniversary as presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. Bishops supported her plans for: episcopal visitors; communion-wide consultations; increased listening across the Anglican Communion and assisting in ways to invite the Bishop of New Hampshire to the Lambeth Conference in 2008.

Jefferts Schori praised the "remarkable work" of the bishops. "We have reaffirmed our firm desire to remain as full members of the Anglican Communion."
She emphasized that the meetings were carried out within a context of mission, outreach and transformation, noting that nearly $1 million was raised for Gulf Coast hurricane relief efforts and that bishops and their spouses painted, installed sheet rock, helped rebuild damaged homes and made other community connections. That spirit of connectedness and service infused the deliberations, she said.

Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawai'i, agreed. "It was non-adversarial and it was holy," he said of the efforts of the bishops to craft a statement that all could accept with integrity.

The conversations "were not a battle between right and left, but a discussion across a spectrum" with the main question being "what will the Episcopal Church be and how will we fit into the family of the Anglican Communion."

"It's not that you make a compromise; you live into your reality," he said. The resulting document represents the current reality of the House of Bishops "right down to the parsing of every word" and is an "honest portrayal of where we are without overstating any position," he said.

Former South Carolina Bishop Ed Salmon said that even though the process used to reach the final document did not acknowledge the "unconscious oppression of those who don't agree," the effort "represented significant progress in terms of the House of Bishops working together."

However, he said that the document did not directly address the Primates' Communiqué.

"I believe we have a problem in the Anglican Communion because we have a problem in the Episcopal Church," Salmon said, explaining that the problem is "symptomatically" about human sexuality, but "more deeply" about theological differences.

Still, Salmon said, he would do everything he could to make the statement work.

Bishop Caroline Tanner Irish of the Diocese of Utah, a diocese in which same-gender blessings have been offered as a pastoral response, said she would have to "unpack" the statement for the members of her diocese.

"I think putting [same-gender blessings] in the context of 'pastoral care' is the critical word," she said. She praised the House of Bishops for what she called the hard work and compromise offered by all the members.

"It was hard," she said. "We were doing very hard work. It required discipline and courtesy to each other."

Diocese of Texas Bishop Don Wimberly said that the bishops were "really sobered" by hearing from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council earlier in the meeting. It is one thing to "read reports" about what the rest of the Anglican Communion thinks about the actions of the Episcopal Church, he said, but it's another thing to sit face-to-face with people expressing those concerns.

"I'm going to support this," he said of the resolution, adding that the Episcopal Church would have to wait and see how the rest of the Anglican Communion will respond.

'Good and glorious work'
In other business, the bishops: updated reports of Designated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight or DEPO within their own dioceses; received information about an awareness campaign coinciding with Theological Education Sunday to, in accordance with General Convention Resolution B006, help avert the crisis in seminarian debt and counter its impact on attracting potential clergy.

Bishops also addressed anti-racism and antiwar issues, and urged the U.S. Congress to extend more assistance to the Gulf Coast for hurricane rebuilding efforts and also recognized the National Episcopal Health Ministries Network for organizing gifts of prayer shawls for bishops and spouses.

Jefferts Schori reported that she has visited 26 dioceses "in more than a perfunctory way and four others for just one event" within the past year. "Consecrations are not the only reason I come" for visitations, she told the gathering, adding that she likes to spend several days during visitations, face to face with clergy and laity, as well as "be present in some kind of public forum, not specifically church-related. You have the opportunity to say what would be most helpful, the possibilities are as broad as your imagination."

She told bishops "what's been most surprising to me about this ministry is the media interest," but added that it is a remarkable opportunity for evangelism and to talk about "the vitality and effectiveness and mission work in the Episcopal Church."

There is "good and glorious work that is going on in many, many, many places in this church. The conflict you read about in the headlines is not reality in 95 percent of this church."


-- The Rev. Pat McCaughan is senior associate for parish life at St. George's Church and Academy in Laguna Hills, California. She is also a correspondent for the Diocese of Los Angeles and Episcopal News Service. The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service. The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

_________________
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