PEP RESPONDS TO EVENTS IN NOTTINGHAM
June 22, 2005 - Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh is concerned about events unfolding at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Nottingham.
We commend to everyone, but particularly to those who have been unhappy with actions taken by the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, the booklet To Set Our Hope on Christ, which was prepared by the Episcopal Church and offered, along with personal testimony, at the ACC meeting. To Set Our Hope on Christ illustrates a truly Anglican approach to scriptural interpretation that largely has been absent from recent discussions about homosexuality, and it documents the decades-long discernment process regarding homosexual persons that has taken place within the Episcopal Church.
Although the ACC members clearly did not have time to absorb a 130-page booklet or to consider fully the oral presentations that accompanied its release, they promptly voted to affirm the request that the U.S. and Canadian churches voluntarily withdraw from the ACC and its three internal committees until the Lambeth Conference of 2008. The resolution making the request was passed by the narrowest of margins—by a minority of the members attending the meeting, in fact—with 30 votes in favor, 28 against, 4 abstentions, and 7 members not voting. (The 6 members from Canada and the U. S. who are participating only as observers, of course, did not vote.) Those critical of the two churches were not able to attract enough votes to pass a stronger resolution that would have asked the churches to withdraw from all bodies of the Communion. It is unfortunate and ironic that the ACC action was taken in closed session and in the absence of the representatives of the American and Canadian churches. As the Windsor Report notes, “It is an ancient canonical principle that what touches all should be decided by all.”
We applaud the passing of a resolution regarding “listening to the experience of homosexual persons,” and we hope that this process will be conducted with sincerity and open-mindedness.
We are pleased that 1998 Lambeth 1.10 was described not as the “teaching of the Anglican Communion,” a phrase without discernible meaning, given the nature of the Communion, but as something “which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion.”
We ask all members of Anglican churches to pray for the unity of our Communion, although we fear that events in Nottingham may not be moving us to the healing of our unfortunate divisions.