Summary Analysis of Lambeth Conference 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: Summary Analysis of Lambeth Conference 2008

Date 2008/8/21 14:20:00 | Topic: Theology, Research ...

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: Summary Analysis of Lambeth Conference 2008

From the American Anglican Council
August 21, 2008

Executive Summary

1) Before it began, the 2008 Lambeth Conference was designed to not have any resolutions or votes. The conference was centered on dialogue. While bishops discussed important matters, no formal conclusions, resolutions, or positions were produced by the conference. Instead, organizers developed reflection and observation documents that merely illustrated what the bishops discussed.

2) Archbishop Rowan Williams gave three main addresses at the conference. In them, he advocated for a communion covenant and urged the bishops to seek what he called true Christian unity. The Archbishop also set out an agenda that, among other items, included: a) Calling a Primates meeting in early 2009. b) Seeking detail on a proposed .pastoral forum.. This forum is similar to those called for by the Dar Es Salaam Communiqué and Windsor Report. c) Building .bridges. with the GAFCON primates. d) Continuing the development of the Covenant which is expected to be finalized and sent to the provinces after the ACC meeting in May, 2009.

3) Other than the bishops, there were three main groups contributing to the Lambeth Conference.

a) Windsor Continuation Group - Appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, this group brought few original ideas to the conference. The WCG reaffirmed all three moratoria recommended by the Windsor Report and clarified that the moratorium on same-sex blessings included all celebrations and not just the creation of official liturgies. Their .observations. document did call for a .faith and order commission. that, if implemented, would be a fifth instrument of communion.

b) Listening Group - Made up of 16 bishops from the conference, this group created a .narrative. that described the discussions and thoughts of the bishops at Lambeth. The .reflections document. was not put before the conference for a vote of approval.

c) Covenant Design Group - This group met during two days of the conference and held hearings at which bishops gave input and commentary on the Covenant design process and current draft. The group did not make a revision to the current .St. Andrew's. draft but is expected to meet in September of 2009.

4) The Episcopal Church was highly invested in shaping the conference's outcome and media coverage. TEC urged its bishops to publically minimize the conflict and disunity in the Communion and instead focus on the church working together in mission as the key means of unity. Additionally, in their indaba groups some TEC bishops misrepresented the facts surrounding litigation in the U.S., falsely claiming TEC was the defendant in the many lawsuits that have been filed against former TEC churches. 5) In remarks after the conclusion of Lambeth, Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada leadership and LGBT advocates are claiming they will not stop their advance toward .full inclusion..  


1) Attendance

a) "...the total number of Anglican bishops who pre-registered was only 617, and not all of them were present. ...Conference organizers included all of the ecumenical bishops in attendance to arrive at the total of 670 present when registration closed on July 21.... (Source: The Living Church, August 3, 2008)

2) Agenda a) ....Instead of the classic communiqué or resolutions style of communication this year's conference will produce a reflections document... Among the desired outcomes anticipated by this diverse group from across the Communion was not so much debates, position papers, votes and resolutions but participation on an equal footing, listening as well as speaking and the emergence of wisdom and a common mind. The answer to the question how do we achieve that end was indaba. .... (Source: Kenneth Kearon in an email to Lambeth attendees. STAND FIRM)

b) ....And our hope is that we shall end up with a Reflection' from the Conference that is not a set of resolutions and decisions, but which does genuinely change the situation and take us forward. It's a difficult balance to achieve. All of us are involved in making it work..... (Source: Archbishop Williams' first Presidential Address)

c) The Episcopal Church was highly invested in shaping the conference's outcome and media coverage. Ruth Gledhill of the London Times discovered TEC hired a public relations firm that developed .talking points. for its Bishops to aid their efforts. The goal of the .talking points. was to craft a message of unity and downplay the division in the Anglican Communion. (Source: Ruth Gledhill, London Times and the Anglican Communion Institute's analysis)

d) LGBT activists also sought to influence Lambeth. In spite of TEC's pleas to include him, Bishop Gene Robinson was not invited to Lambeth, but he maintained a visible presence in the Marketplace and at various fringe events. A large contingent of well- funded gay activists was present, according to a report by Anglicans United.

3) Three Main Committees a) Windsor Continuation Group - formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in February, 2008, the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) was asked to .address outstanding questions arising from the Windsor Report and the various formal responses from provinces and instruments of the Anglican Communion..

i) The members of the group are: The Most Revd Clive Handford, former Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East (chair) The Most Revd John Chew, Primate of South East Asia The Right Revd Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas The Right Revd Victoria Matthews, former Bishop of Edmonton The Very Revd John Moses, former dean of St Paul's, London

The Most Revd Donald Mtetemela, Former Primate of Tanzania Consultants: Dame Mary Tanner, Co-president of the World Council of Churches Canon Andrew Norman of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Staff Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office (Source: Anglican Communion News Service)

ii) Contributions/Observations - The WCG presented its .observations. to the conference in three sections with the following disclaimer: .This document is NOT a report by the Windsor Continuation Group. It constitutes their preliminary observations on the life of the Communion and of the current state of responses to the recommendations of the Windsor Report, and offering some suggestions about the way forward. These observations are offered to the Lambeth Conference for conversation and testing. Are they an accurate description of the current state of our life together?. (Source: Windsor Continuation Group)

(1) Titled. Where we are: the severity of the situation," the first section of the observations candidly described the status of the Anglican Communion. Some of the descriptions are as follows:

(a) There are competing value systems at work and a lack of clarity about a shared value framework.

(b) There is inconsistency between what has been agreed, and what has been done.

(c) Suspicions have been raised about the purpose, timing and outcomes of the Global Anglicanism Future Conference; there is some perplexity about the establishment of the GAFCON Primates' Council and of FOCA which, with withdrawal from participation at the Lambeth Conference, has further damaged trust.

(d) The symptoms of this breakdown of trust are common to all parties in the current situation - felt and expressed by conservative and liberal alike

(e) Parties within the Episcopal Church have sought allies within the wider Communion, who are seen as only too willing to respond.

(f) All this amounts to a diminishing sense of Communion and impoverishing our witness to Christ, placing huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion.

(2) Titled. Where would we like to be: Towards a Way Forward," the second set of .observations. advocated the timely creation of a covenant, critiqued the instruments of communion, and suggested the furthering of four processes that would lead toward reflection and thus common understanding in the communion. Those four processes are: (a) The Listening Process
(b) The Hermeneutics Project - The Bible in the Church
(c) The Principles of Canon Law Project
(d) A Faith & Order Commission These last two processes are linked. During the conference, the Principles of Canon Law Project was presented to the conference in the form of a book. The book was written by the Anglican Communion Network of Legal Advisors. Canon Lawyer John Reece said the project aims to describe general principals found in various Anglican Communion provinces.

Using the work done by the Network of Legal Advisors, the WCG recommended a .Faith & Order Commission. that would .give guidance on the ecclesiological issues raised by our current crisis'. . Some claim the .Faith & Order Commission would become a fifth instrument of communion. When asked to comment on the proposed .Faith & Order Commission,. Archbishop Williams had this to say: .'...there is a very strong feeling that we need another level of structure to have a clearing house for some of these issues.' He added: 'I don't want to say anything about the detail because it's a flag raised to see who salutes it.' He said the proposal was being discussed by bishops in their indaba groups today. We'll see how it flies.'. (Source: Anglican Journal, July 25, 2008)

(3) Titled .How do we get from here to there," the third set of .observations. brought two issues that .need addressing.. Those issues are:
(a) Moratoria - .the celebration of blessings for same-sex unions,
(b) consecrations of those living in openly gay relationships, and
(c) all cross border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.. NOTE: the WCG attempted to clarify what .moratorium. meant by saying, .Our understanding is that moratorium refers to both future actions and is also retrospective: that is that it requires the cessation of activity. This necessarily applies to practices that may have already been authorised as well as proposed for authorisation in the future.. However, spokesperson Archbishop Clive Handford said at a press conference that the WCG was not recommending that Gene Robinson resign.
(b) Pastoral Forum - .the swift formation of a 'Pastoral Forum' at Communion level to engage theologically and practically with situations of controversy as they arise or divisive actions that may be taken around the Communion.. NOTE: while it did say that the Archbishop of Canterbury would preside over the forum, the WCG did not provide any further detail on how the forum should operate.

b) Listening Group - made of up one representative from each of the 16 indaba groups, assisted by Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office, and chaired by Archbishop Roger Herft of Perth, Australia the Listening Group was charged to generate the conference's .Reflections Document.. (Source: Anglican Communion News Service) NOTE: While the 16 representatives of the Listening Group were elected by their peers, the group's final document/reflection was not set before the conference for a vote of approval or disapproval. One description of what the final document would represent called it .an account of what has transpired at this gathering of Anglican bishops.. Also, the first page of the final reflections documents reads, .This document is not the primary outcome of this Conference...The status of the document is that of a narrative. It seeks to describe our lived experience and the open and honest discussions we have had together on the daily themes of the conference..
i) The members of the Listening Group were: Roger Herft, Australia Andrew Proud, Jerusalem & the Middle East Alan Abernethy, Ireland Howard Gregory, West Indies Sue Moxley, Canada KG Daniel,South India Peter Lee, Southern Africa James Ochiel,Kenya Jo Seoka, Southern Africa Ezekiel Kondo,Sudan Neil Alexander, United States Roger Chung Po Chuen,Indian Ocean Gerry Wolf, United States David Njovu, Central Africa Bill Godfrey, Southern Cone Michael Perham, England Thomas Soo, Hong Kong Gregory K Cameron, ACO (Staffing) ii) The following are some excerpts from the 44-page Lambeth Indaba reflections document. NOTE: The document was replete with ambiguous and/or contradictory statements. (Source: Anglican Communion News Service)

31. We affirm that the Church is called to be faithful in the exercise of its mission in the context within which it is located with due regard to culture... The Bible must be taken as authoritative guiding principle in our proclamation of the gospel.

41. ...The Communion must recognize the individual Provinces as self- determining Provinces... At the same time the Communion must help the Provinces, Dioceses and local churches to recognize the value of the gifts they bring to the whole Communion...

58. ...We commit ourselves to discerning and interpreting local needs in a way that leads to action, because this is being prophetic. Taking due regard of local contexts, we commit ourselves to advocating and lobbying ...on the many issues of social justice we find in our world.

60. ...Environment is the top priority for some provinces and must be a high priority for all of us.

73. ....Churches should act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately.... we have to recognise that what affects one affects all, and that it behoves each Church to live in accountability to the rest of the oikumene.

89. The purpose of dialogue is not compromise, but growth in trust and understanding of each other's faith and traditions.

111. ... For some, the new teaching cannot be acceptable on biblical grounds as they consider all homosexual activity as intrinsically sinful. Tension has arisen when those who hold the traditional teaching are faced with changes in the Church's life or teaching without being able to understand or engage with a clear presentation of how people have come to a new understanding of scripture and pastoral theology.

112. ...In some parts of the Communion, homosexual relations are a taboo while in others they have become a human rights issue.

119. It was also reported that there has been positive effects in parts of ... the world when homosexual people are accepted as God's children, are treated with dignity and choose to give their lives to Christ and to live in the community of faith as disciples of Jesus Christ with fidelity and commitment.

133. ...We are clear that the Word of God does not change from place to place and its light and truth applies throughout the whole of God's world. At the same time we acknowledge that our ability to hear God's Word is profoundly affected by the context in which we listen for it.

c) Covenant Design Group - The Covenant Design Group met during the conference. The group's chairman, Archbishop Drexel Gomes, said the Lambeth bishops were .invited to commend or to challenge what has been produced and to respond in a way that will inform the debate about the Covenant in the Communion at large.. At a press conference, Archbishop Gomes said the Covenant would not steer the communion towards legalism but that it depended on .mutual cooperation.. According to a Lambeth press release, .All presenters agreed that at this stage in the design process, there is no clarity about what will happen to provinces who feel they cannot sign a Covenant, and noted that such consequences will be determined as the process unfolds. They also agreed, however, that the design group was not in a hurry and that it would need to allow time and space for provinces to reflect on how they might respond.. i) The members of the Covenant Design Group are:

The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, West Indies

The Rev. Victor Atta-Baffoe, West Africa

The Most Rev. Dr. John Chew, South East Asia

Sriyanganie Fernando, Ceylon

The Rev. Dr. Kathy Grieb, USA  

The Rt Rev. Santosh Marray, Indian Ocean

The Most Rev. John Neill, Ireland

The Rev. Canon Andrew Norman, Archbishop of Canterbury's representative

Chancellor Rubie Nottage, West Indies, Consultan

The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, USA

Nomfundo Walaza, Southern Africa

The Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, Anglican Communion Office, Secretary While no official revisions or changes were made to the current draft, the next steps of the design process were outlined. Those steps are:

ii) The Covenant Design Group will meet in September, 2009 in Singapore.

iii) .A =Lambeth Commentary' would be compiled after the Conference and would feed into Provincial discernment in 2008 and 2009.. (NOTE: It appears that this will be a document reflecting various Lambeth Bishops' thoughts on the process and current draft.)

iv) .In April 2009, the Group would meet to draft a third version of the Covenant for presentation to the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Jamaica.. (Source: Anglican Communion News Service and Lambeth News)

4) Rowan Williams - The Archbishop of Canterbury gave several addresses to the bishops including three main .presidential. addresses. In each address, Archbishop Williams attempted to further reveal his strategy and thinking on the Lambeth Conference and the future direction of the Communion. The following are some excerpts of those addresses: a) First Presidential Address: July 20 - Opening of Conference i) ....And our hope is that we shall end up with a =Reflection' from the Conference that is not a set of resolutions and decisions, but which does genuinely change the situation and take us forward. It's a difficult balance to achieve. All of us are involved in making it work.....

ii) ....It's my conviction that the option to which we are being led is one whose keywords are of council and covenant. It is the vision of an Anglicanism whose diversity is limited not by centralised control but by consent - consent based on a serious common assessment of the implications of local change....

b) Second Presidential Address: July 29 i) ....I spoke about council and covenant as the shape of the way forward as I see it. And by this I meant, first, that we needed a bit more of a structure in our international affairs to be able to give clear guidance on what would and would not be a grave and lasting divisive course of action by a local church.... ii) ....Properly understood, a covenant is an expression of mutual generosity - indeed, =generous love'... part of what this means is finding out what the other person or group really means and really needs.... iii) ....To the innovator, can we say, =Don't isolate yourself; don't create facts on the ground that make the invitation to debate ring a bit hollow'? Can we say to the traditionalist, =Don't invest everything in a church of pure and likeminded   souls; try to understand the pastoral and human and theological issues that are urgent for those you are opposing, even if you think them deeply wrong'? I think we perhaps can.... iv) ....We need to speak life to each other; and that means change. I've made no secret of what I think that change should be - a Covenant that recognizes the need to grow towards each other (and also recognizes that not all may choose that way). I find it hard at present to see another way forward that would avoid further disintegration....

c) Third Presidential Address: August 3 - Concluding Address i) ....What I am saying, in effect, is that every association of Christian individuals and groups makes some sort of =covenant' for the sake of mutual recognition, mutual gratitude and mutual learning.... ii) ....A fellow-Christian may believe they have a profound fresh insight. They seek to persuade others about it. A healthy church gives space for such exchanges. But the Christian with the new insight can't claim straight away that this is now what the Church of GOD believes or intends; and it quite rightly takes a long time before any novelty can begin to find a way into the public liturgy, even if it has been widely agreed.... iii) ....To say that the would-be innovator must be heard gratefully and respectfully is simply to acknowledge the debt we always owe to those who ask unfamiliar questions, because they prompt us to explore our tradition more deeply.

It's worth adding, too, that the call for a moratorium on interventions across provinces belongs in the same theological framework. Such interventions often imply that nothing within a province, no provision made or pastoral care offered, can be recognizably and adequately Christian; and this is a claim not lightly to be made by any Christian community regarding any other without grave breach of charity. And it seems to be widely agreed in this Conference that internal pastoral and liturgical care, strengthened by arrangements like the suggested Communion Partners initiative in the USA and the proposed Pastoral Forum we have been discussing, are the way we should go if we want to avoid further ecclesial confusion.... iv) ....We have quite a strong degree of support for a Pastoral Forum to support minorities, a strong consensus on the need to examine how the Instruments of Communion will best work, and a recognition - though still with many questions - that a Covenant is needed. We have a strongly expressed intention to place our international development work on a firmer and more co- ordinated footing. Where will the work be done? Before the ACC meeting next year - which will be a significant element in implementing our vision - I intend to convene a Primates' Meeting as early as possible in 2009. I shall look within the next two months for a clear and detailed specification for the task and composition of a Pastoral Forum, and I shall ensure that the perspectives of various groups looking at the Covenant and the Windsor process, as well as the Design Group for this Conference help to shape the implementation of the agenda outlined in the Reflections document, and are fed into the special meeting in November of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the

ACC. We may not have put an end to all our problems - but the pieces are on the board. And in the months ahead it will be important to invite those absent from Lambeth to be involved in these next stages. Much in the GAFCON documents is consonant with much of what we have sought to say and do, and we need to look for the best ways of building bridges here.... (Emphasis Added)

d) In his final presidential address, Archbishop Williams described an .agenda. that the reflections document presented. He also gave more detail on this .agenda. at the final press conference. Williams claims the following items are part of this agenda: i) Almost everyone wants the three moratoria on SSBs, homosexuals in the episcopate, and border crossings to actually happen. ii) There is .a strong consensus on the need to examine how the Instruments of Communion will best work.. iii) Some sort of covenant is desired, although the extent of its power is still to be determined. iv) Most think that a Pastoral Forum would help the situation and he is looking for detail on how it will be formed. (1) The WCG, Lambeth Design Team, and Covenant Design Group will have input on the composition and description of the Pastoral forum. v) There is already scheduled a meeting of the JSC and ACC in November. (1) This meeting may address the creation of a Pastoral Forum vi) He will call a Primates meeting in early 2009 before the ACC meets. vii) He would like to .build bridges. and connect with the GAFCON primates and ask them their take on the covenant.

5) Post-Lambeth a) Episcopal bishop will ordain gays Source: The Boston Globe August 7, 2008 ....Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, said in an interview upon his return from London that he will continue to ordain gay clergy, which he called "pastorally important." He also said that local priests will continue to bless same-sex marriages, although Shaw said that those priests are doing so on their own and that "I haven't authorized anybody to do anything." As for whether he would follow up on his earlier intention to push for ending the moratorium on gay bishops and allowing church recognition of same-sex marriage when the Episcopal Church meets at its General Convention next year, Shaw said he would now wait until he meets with all the American bishops next month to decide how he will proceed....  

b) Episcopal priest "not going to change" Source: London Telegraph Date: August 4, 2008 ....The Rev Susan Russell, the head of the pro-gay Integrity USA group, said: It's not going to change anything on the ground in California. We bless same-sex unions and will continue to do so.'.
c) Bishop of California cannot abide by moratoria Source: Bishop Marc Andrus Blog ....Archbishop Rowan in his final presidential address, given just after we received the reflections document noted that, .There will be some who cannot abide by these moratoria, and in this they signal that there are steps to deeper unity they cannot take; or it may be that they conceive of deeper unity in other ways.. I take this to be a profound and generous idea. In not abiding by the moratorium on same-sex blessings I take it as incumbent on me and on us in the Diocese to actively labor to both understand the position of those to whom that moratorium is important, and to convey the reality of our life together to the world. I must redouble my efforts at inhabiting a deeper unity....
d) Bishop of Los Angeles, Jon Bruno: "inclusion is a reality" Source: Episcopal Cafe ....And finally, a clear statement that at least one bishop is not in favor of a moratorium on gay blessings: The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angles, on how the proposals for the suggestion that the Episcopal and Canadian churches stop blessing same-sex relationships would be received in his diocese: .With fear and trepidation for some of us. It's important we remember it isn't even a report. It is a reflection. .I can only say that inclusion is a reality in our diocese and will continue to be. For people who think that this is going to lead us to disenfranchise any gay or lesbian person, they are sadly mistaken..
e) New Jersey Bishop reaffirms support of same-sex couples Source: North Jersey The spiritual leader for North Jersey Episcopalians said Thursday he will continue supporting the blessing of same-sex couples. There have been recent calls for a moratorium on the ceremonies from fellow bishops in the Anglican Communion - a global Protestant body that's threatening to break apart over homosexuality. "We in this diocese and I as bishop are continuing to support relationships of fidelity and commitment and give them the full blessing of the church," Bishop Mark M. Beckwith, of the Diocese of Newark, said Thursday in an interview. ...Beckwith, a strong Robinson supporter, acknowledged that the continuing dispute throws into question whether the American church can elect another gay bishop in the future. "That doesn't sit well with me," Beckwith said. "I hope we could do this again and raise up another gay or lesbian, but there are a lot of things in play, and it is unclear." The Diocese of Newark, which represents about 27,000 Episcopalians, is one of the most liberal dioceses in the nation and was among the first to ordain homosexuals to the priesthood. That will continue, Beckwith added.

"That's not an issue as far as I'm concerned," Beckwith said. "We continue to ordain anyone who has a passion for ministry."... f) Church Already Showing „Restraint. with Blessings SOURCE: LIVING CHURCH AUGUST 8, 2008 Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said The Episcopal Church already has been in a .season of gracious restraint. regarding the blessing of same-sex unions and consecrating partnered homosexuals to the episcopate, and said she doesn't expect that to change before next summer's General Convention. .I don't see there is any church-wide push to end that in the coming months,. Bishop Jefferts Schori said. .General Convention is the only body that really can decide to do anything significant related to [these issues]. Individual bishops have always made their own decisions within the canonical responsibilities of their dioceses..

Bishop Jefferts Schori made her remarks during an internet webcast Aug. 7, where she was joined by New York Bishop Mark Sisk in discussing the recently completed Lambeth Conference. Asked how Lambeth's proceedings will affect the status of gay and lesbian Episcopalians, Bishop Jefferts Schori said, .we were very clear for an overwhelming majority of the bishops of this church that the well being and adequate and appropriate pastoral care of gay and lesbian members of the church is a significant mission issue for us. We have been having conversations and debate for more than 40 years,. she continued. .Even though other parts of the Communion may not understand that, we have been working at this for a long time. Our conversations are not going to end. One bishop came up to me and said, =What you're doing is making it very difficult for me, but your job is not to make my life easier. You need to be paying attention to the pastoral realities in your own context as I need to be in mine',. the Presiding Bishop noted. Bishop Sisk asserted that for The Episcopal Church .there is only =us,' not a =them and us'.. He said the roles of gay and lesbian people have been .affirmed time and time again.. Both bishops said they were struck by what they characterized as a lack of  understanding in other parts of the world about The Episcopal Church. .I was surprised at questions about basic theological tenets and whether we really believe them or not,. Bishop Jefferts Schori said. .It's a reminder that even though we may think all Anglicans believe the basics of the faith, not everybody believes that we believe them.. In regard to the development of an Anglican covenant, Bishop Jefferts Schori said .there was great willingness to think about a covenant that spoke positively about what we do share as members of the Communion.. She said she saw .really no interest in producing a covenant that defined who could be excluded.. g) Some Canada Anglicans may reject same-sex moratorium

Source: Reuters August 6, 2008

OTTAWA (Reuters) - There seems little chance that all Canadian Anglican clergy will honor the moratorium on blessing same-sex unions requested by the worldwide Anglican communion.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the global Anglican church, warned on Sunday that the 80-million-member church would be "in grave peril" if the U.S. and Canadian branches did not agree to moratoriums on same-sex blessings and on the ordination of gay bishops.

But the head of the Canadian church, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, told Reuters in a phone interview on Wednesday it would be especially tough for Bishop Michael Ingham of the British Columbia diocese of New Westminster to halt the homosexual blessings altogether.

h) Archbishop of Canterbury compares gay relationships to marriage Source: The Telegraph August 7, 2008 By Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Martin Beckford

(NOTE: The private correspondence referenced below was written over a two-year period from 2000 to 2001.)

In private correspondence, seen by the Daily Telegraph, Dr Rowan Williams, refutes the Anglican Communion's traditional teaching that homosexuality is sinful. Furthermore, he expresses his hope that the Church will change its position to be more accepting of gay partnerships... "...The Bible does not address the matter of appropriate behaviour for those who are, for whatever reason, homosexual by instinct or nature," Dr Williams writes. "By the end of the 80s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature.

"I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had the about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness..."

i) TEC Bishops Claim they are being Sued Source: Bishop of Lichfield .In the discussion afterwards we are told that the US House of Bishops has regretted for the hurt it has caused and its lack of consultation and has issued a public apology - though no one has the exact wording. We are also told that the Canadians have voted against same-sex blessings - though two dioceses are pressing their bishops to change that. We are told that in the lawsuits in America between parishes and their dioceses it is the dioceses who are the defendants and the conservative parishes who are the accusers.. NOTE: In reality, TEC dioceses are responsible for initiating many law-suits. Some examples are:

i) Christ Anglican Church in Mobile, AL (plaintiff was the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast---the suit settled before trial);

ii) St. John's Episcopal Church in Fallbrook, CA; St. Anne's, in Oceanside CA; and Holy Trinity, in Ocean Beach, CA (plaintiff in all three cases is the Diocese of San Diego--- apparently after not being allowed to amend an older suit, the Diocese simply filed a new one)

iii) Against St. James Anglican Church and two others in Newport Beach, CA (Diocese of Los Angeles is plaintiff---the case is now being reviewed by the California Supreme Court)

iv) St. John's Anglican Church in Petaluma, CA (Diocese of Northern California is plaintiff)

v) Against Bishop Schofield and the diocesan investment fund in the Diocese of San Joaquin, CA (for an update on that suit, see this post, as well as earlier ones you can find in the Guide)

vi) Trinity Anglican Church in Bristol, CT (recently settled)

vii) Rector and former vestry of Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, CT

viii) Redeemer Anglican Church in Jacksonville, FL (plaintiff was the Diocese of Florida)

ix) Christ Church in Savannah, GA (plaintiff is the Diocese of Georgia)

x) All Saints Church in Attleboro, MA (plaintiff was the Diocese of Massachusetts; the case settled in 2007)

xi) St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Morehead City, NC (plaintiff was the Diocese of East Carolina and those members of the parish who had not voted to join AMiA; following a jury mistrial, plaintiffs obtained summary judgment which was affirmed on appeal)

xii) Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, NY (The information above was compiled by Allen Halley. Please click on the link to view more examples of law-suits filed by TEC dioceses.)