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DAR2007: A Statement by the AAC on the Communion Sub-Group Report

A Statement by the AAC on the Communion Sub-Group Report

AAC Press Release
February 15, 2007

A Statement by the American Anglican Council on the Communion Sub-Group Report

The American Anglican Council (AAC) finds a report released today by the Anglican Communion Sub-Group highly inadequate in its assessment of the U.S. Episcopal Church's response to requests made of the church by the Anglican Communion primates. The sub-group - which consists of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Central Africa Bernard Malango, Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, Chancellor of the Province of West Africa Philippa Amable, and Church of England representative Elizabeth Paver - was charged with assisting Dr. Williams and Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general for the Anglican Communion, in evaluating the U.S. Episcopal Church's response to the 2004 Windsor Report and February 2005 primates' requests. The report was completed last fall but has just now become available to both the primates and the public.

The Communion Sub-Group's report, through analysis of General Convention resolutions and consideration of a few selected circumstances in the U.S. province, states that The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States is in compliance with two of the primates' three requests. The report says that, despite not using the same language as the Windsor Report, TEC has complied with the request for a moratorium on the consent to bishop-elects living in same-sex unions, as well as the request for an expression of regret for the consecration of V. Gene Robinson, a partnered homosexual, in 2003. However, the report determines that the U.S. church did not address the issue of a moratorium on same-sex blessings and that it is therefore "hard to discern exactly where the Episcopal Church stands on this issue." Despite acknowledgement of evidence to the contrary, the report avows that it is "not at all clear" whether TEC is complying with the moratorium request and says the topic should be "addressed urgently" by TEC's House of Bishops.

The report by the Communion Sub-Group minimizes or ignores the known existence of verifiable evidence of Windsor non-compliance by TEC. Its examination of the text of General Convention resolutions' language is literal and gives TEC the benefit of a doubt when the resolution language is vague. In addition, the report fails to address individual diocesan resolutions that have rejected General Convention resolutions pertaining to Windsor compliance. The report confirms that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 remains the standard for sexual behavior in the Anglican Communion, yet ignores the many instances at all levels of TEC, from the presiding bishop down to diocesan and parish level, where statements and actions defy this standard.

"This report gives a 'best-case scenario' picture of TEC that is not only skewed in favor of TEC but quite simply fails to reflect the reality of life in the Episcopal Church," said the Rev. Canon David Anderson, AAC president and CEO, who is on-site in Tanzania covering the Primates' Meeting for the AAC's Encompass publication. "This report misses the mark entirely in its analysis of TEC's beliefs and intentions. Furthermore, the report does not indicate an understanding that the issues surrounding human sexuality are only the tip of the iceberg. The crisis in TEC goes to the very core of Christian beliefs, and many of the primates have already recognized that sexuality is only a symptom of those deeper issues, including biblical authority and the nature of who Jesus is."

The Anglican primates heard presentations today from three other U.S. bishops who were specially invited to give an account of the situation in TEC at this week's Primates' Meeting; the primates are expected to make a decision on TEC's status in the Communion, and on the requests by U.S. orthodox for alternative primatial oversight, before their meeting ends Monday, Feb. 19.

"The Episcopal Church leadership has become expert at spinning the issues in order to placate the worldwide Communion and avoid discipline for their actions, but the AAC prays that the primates will see through this deception and will recognize the urgency of the situation in the United States, especially in view of the recently stepped-up persecution and hostility experienced by orthodox in the face of revisionist bishops and dioceses," Canon Anderson said. "Now is the time to act; we have waited too long to address the problems in the U.S. province - as the Communion Sub-Group's report itself admits - and if the primates do not respond decisively now, it will deal a severe - perhaps fatal - blow to Anglicanism in North America and world-wide."

END

American Anglican Council
Contact: Jenny Abel
770-414-1515 (o)
202-412-8721 (m)

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