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Saturday, February 24, 2007
(11:44 PM) | Stephen:
More on the Anglican Communion

This probably doesn't have the broadest appeal, but eh, who cares.

I've been doing some more reading and talking, and the results of the Primates' meeting in Tanzania are interesting, to say the least. Things are still tense, but there is a possible way forward through this crisis and beyond.

There is a possible compromise that has been set forth for The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion, specifically those provinces that have been the most agitated over ECUSA's acceptance of gays, authorization of same sex marriage rites and the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay and non-celibate bishop. This compromise calls for ECUSA to declare a moratorium on consecrating any more non-celibate gay bishops and same sex marriage rites. The rest of the Communion would be required to refrain from raiding American dioceses for congregations that are unhappy with ECUSA's acceptance of homosexuals.

Those congregations that decide of their own accord, including those that have already taken themselves out of The Episcopal Church and placed themselves under the authority of a bishop of another province could ask to be placed in a special group under the authority of a bishop appointed by a special primates' committee, of which Presiding Bishop Jefforts Schori would be a member. This committee would delineate this bishop's authority and role as well as choose the person. The compromise, to my knowledge, does not say anything about membership or even the ordination of non-celibate homosexual priests and deacons, thereby allowing ECUSA to continue its current practice in these areas.

ECUSA has until September 30th of this year to reply to this compromise. If ECUSA - meaning its House of Bishops - agrees, then full membership in the Anglican Communion is no longer in jeopardy and its bishops will be invited to and seated at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. If ECUSA does not agree, there is the possibility of a reduced status within the Communion or removal; it doesn't spell it out.

From what I have heard, some of those who advocate the acceptance of this compromise believe that by making this sacrifice and allowing ECUSA to remain in the Communion, it forces the rest of the provinces to remain in dialog with us, to listen to us and respect our positions. The United States is not the only country with GLBT Anglicans, and keeping us in the Communion, it is hoped, will speed the acceptance of GLBT Anglicans all over the world.

That last bit is the only reason that I consider this to be even a possibly good idea. Perhaps this issue isn't as simple as fighting for sacred justice or capitulating to theologically conservative extortion. It may be a choice between fighting for sacred justice of those within the USA or fighting for sacred justice for all provinces and peoples of the Anglican Communion.

As a new member of the Anglican Communion, I don't know enough about the players in this drama to know just where it is they want to head and what their priorities actually are. As a heterosexual, I don't know just how much The Episcopal Church should ask its GLBT members to sacrifice.

Walking With Integrity is a good source of opinion coming from the "liberal" side of things. There is suspicion and hostility to the compromise position, which is unsurprising. The speculation above is exactly that, speculation, and therefore is not likely to have broad support among ECUSA's GLBT community.

The House of Bishops meets in March. The next step, though not the final step, is theirs to take.

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