Hot off the Press – Report from Primates Thursday Press Conference
Via sources on the ground. Ruth G has more analysis. Aspinall of Australia was main speaker. These are notes taken by hand at the press conference and therefore are somewhat “rough and ready” in parts:
Aspinall: Though the TEC did not use the precise language of the WR it did the most that could have been done, and response is adequate in its own terms.
The SubGroup was not clear or satisfied with TEC response on same-sex blessings. There was a discussion of the disparity of the position outlined by the former Presiding BishopB (to not proceed with same-sex unions) and what is happening pastorally and in practice on the ground where there is blessing of same-sex unions. The Sub-Group was not satisfied with TEC’s response.
Regret for breaching bonds of affection â€“ difference between straining and breaching. Group doing the monitoring â€“ sufficient to meet the request of the primates, 2/3 in relation to the rites of blessing.
The Primates did not celebrate the Eucharist. Instead there was an act of corporate penitence using the Litany from the BCP.
The Primates received 3 guests for more listening. These 3 bishops each made a presentation about their perception of the situation. There were contrasting views between the presentations and a tension in how the majority relates to those who hold minority views. Each explained the people they represented and the constituency and expressed frankly and passionately the views they represented. There was then an hour of discussion and exploration with the presenters aimed at finding a way that the Primates might be able to find a way of reconciliation. All three guest bishops looked to the Primates to assist them.
Unwanted and uninvited interventions sometimes caused difficulties and inhibit the Episcopal church in addressing the issues. “People and parishes are feeling pain and enough is enough”.
Dealing with conflict using Anglican bodies â€“ Assistance for provinces has been given by the Instruments of Unity (Lambeth Conf, Primates, ACC and Canterbury) and the Covenant proposal will provide a vehicle for healing and reconciliation. There has been intense listening but no decisions yet. Task before the primates â€“ discern the response and beyond that to the Episcopal church.
Stephen Bates asked “Where does this report leave the Episcopal Church? Do they still need to be disciplined? Have they done enough?”
Aspinall – Working on those specific proposals as to how the primates might respond. There is more work to be done.
Feeling from the Episcopal Church â€“ looking for some kind of assistance. Real work to be by the Episcopal Church. To implement the thrust of the Windsor Report in the Episcopal Church itself. Episcopal Churchâ€™s canons prevent discrimination â€“ not possible for the GC to implement straight away. Why not change the canons? Takes three years.
Question – Were both Sentamu and Schori seated?
Answer â€“ both present and seated. No dispute.
Q – Do you forsee the primates having a Eucharist together?
A – Scheduled today for the rest of the week. There are two chaplains â€“ Bishop of Western T and of all services. Local priest officiated. All primates are participating, reading lessons.
Agenda â€“ return to today â€“ Proposals of responses by the primates to the report and the EC. ArchBishop Carnley (the chair of the Panel of Reference) is reporting tomorrow (Friday). Discussion of the Anglican Covenant is also scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
The Commission finished it’s report 6 months ago and it was made public today for first time.
There will be no embargo on the US bishops speaking.
There is a photograph of the bishops on the ACNS website.
Q – Will members of Global South group still be calling for repentance?
A – There is Communion wide acceptance of the Windsor Report.
Q from BBC – Is schism closer or further away?
A – There is intense listening that is characterised by care and respect and gratitude in order to discern the best way to have the WR implemented. There was discussion of conservative dioceses under different bishops. A number of proposals were put before the primates but no decisions have been made so far. There is a Group working overnight to present proposals tomorrow.
Q – Do you have something to tell to the Anglicans here in TZ.
A -Glad for the hospitality, glad to be here. What primates do will strengthen the AC, will build and strengthen the bonds of affection and assist the Anglican Church to move forward in mission.
Q – Colin Coward. Forward Thinking, Least happy with rites of blessing, have they considered Guidelines re Civil Partnerships?
A – Point was made that this not an issue that affects only the English church. There will be few who are unaffected.