"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bishop Steenson of the Rio Grande on the HOB Meeting and the Future

Writing about the presentation of the Special Commission on the Anglican Communion to the House of Bishops' Meeting last week the Rt Rev. Jeffrey Steenson, bishop of the diocese of the Rio Grande, comments:

The commission will propose several resolutions that will make clear the Episcopal Church’s desire to remain a part of the Communion, specifically by declining to authorize same sex blessings and by discouraging the consecration of bishops who are in “same-gender relationships.” It is an interim approach, to be sure, intended to get us to the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in July 2008. It does not adopt the Windsor Report’s “moratorium” language, but it is certainly a step in that direction. There is now evidence that a majority of bishops are beginning to rethink the position staked out by the General Convention 2003 when it approved the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire. ...

In everyone’s mind is the May 6 episcopal election in the Diocese of California, where three candidates have identified themselves as having same-gender partners. If one of these persons is elected, the consent process at General Convention will in effect become an up or down vote on Windsor, and the special commission’s efforts to find a solution to hold things together until Lambeth will be for naught. The Bishop of Exeter, England, the Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish, brought an extraordinary message to the House of Bishops (no doubt from the Archbishop himself) that must have served as a wake-up call to many: the Anglican Communion will not permit the Episcopal Church have it both ways, blessing the homosexual lifestyle and enjoying the benefits of full communion. “’I suppose one of the major challenges for the Episcopal Church now has to do with whether there are enough of you to stand broadly on the same ground, holding a range of opinions on Lambeth I.10 but firm in carrying forward the Windsor vision of a strengthened and enabling communion life,” he observed.

It appears that this common ground is now emerging. In order for us to get to the Lambeth Conference 2008, the only body which can bring some clarity and resolve to these divisive matters, we in the Episcopal Church must demonstrate restraint. At least amongst the bishops, I sense this is indeed happening, and so I left Kanuga hopeful.

Read the bishop's entire letter here. This letter essentially confirms the views expressed in +Arizona's letter of a few days ago. I note that on Titusonenine the Rev. David Roseberry, a promenient Evangelical priest in the diocese of Dallas, receives the news of this letter positively. Fr. Roseberry says in comment 8 there:

We will see…but I too am more hopeful than I had been before. I may be being fooled, but I sense that the HOB has shifted its momentum…from forward to slight reverse. They may be understanding the true nature and cost of schism with the AC. But this will not end in Columbus. Victory will require more strategy and strength from the conservatives than most want. We all want a quick solution…but it will take years and years of important battles and key victories to pull ECUSA away from an early grave. I trust Bishop Steenson (a friend) and his letter seems perfectly consisitent with the Bishop of AZ. I was also encouraged to read that the HOB ‘gets it’ in admitting a systemic decline. ECUSA prided itself on making of the most inclusive decisions possible in the approval of VGR. Thousands more would join our churches. But thousands have left instead. But still…I think there might be some hope here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Randall, do you consider this good news or bad news? A group at our church recently studied a publication put out by St. Martin- in-the-Fields Church in London on homosexuality and Christianity, and this has piqued my interest in the events in the ECUSA and the Anglican Communion.

Becky Jo

10:15 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Hello, Beck Jo. Well, when I first started posting on this topic I was a bit disappointed. Part of me had accepted the idea that this summer would be the breaking point, and at least after GenCon we would know where everyone stood and could move forward on different paths. Separation after so much disagreement seemed a relief.

But now, after a few weeks of reflection, I am willing to "give peace a chance." If the revisionist ECUSAn leadership will climb back off the cliff they have put us all on and submit to the will of the world-wide Communion that now is not the time to push forward on these matters relating to sexuality, then I am willing to give them a chance to prove their bona fides. Perhaps better sense will prevail and a meaningful, semi-unified Anglican witness to "the faith once delivered to the saints" preserved in North American Anglicanism. We shall see.

5:04 PM  

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