Silliman's Papers

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Windsor Report 2004
We must strive for that united worship and witness which celebrates and displays the fact we are worshipping the same God and are servants of the same Lord.

Summararized positions:
The Report
- opposes formal power given to the Instraments of Unity, or the establishment of a centeral curis.
- supports a clear demarcation of responsibilities.
- supports a common Anglican Covenant.
- opposes the idea that who is elect bishop is only of local concern.
- questions the commitment of Episcopal Church (USA) and Anglican Church of Canada to the Anglican Commune and suggests they “consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw.”
- supports a “moratorium” be place on same sex union rites and the ordination of homosexuals.
- supports requiring an explanation from ECUSA on how homosexual can be considered eligible to lead the church, requiring arguments from scripture, tradition and reason.
- supports conditional oversight for the dissenting (suggesting it be done by retired bishops).
- opposes parallel jurisdictions.
- opposes intervening bishops (e.g. AMIA).
- supports a “moratorium” on intervening bishops.
- supports requiring intervening bishops to express “regret.”
- questions the commitment of the intervening bishops and suggests they consider withdrawing from the Anglican Communion.

The language of “moratoriums” and “regrets” and the general niceties of this report are all so English-ish, and weirdly out of character (for better or worse?) with the language of those on both sides of the fight and the American fire-breathing nature in general.

Unity may be being emphasized to the detriment of orthodoxy. The report asks rhetorically “do we want Anglican unity?” but that may not be so rhetorical.

The continuing churches in the US (not so in Canada) have no ground to stand on which to fight so long as they’re fractured. Only a nation-wide unified dissent will be recognized by the world wide communion – much less the orthodox of other traditions – and considered seriously. The power mongering and pride that has accompanied the dissent following the affirmation of St. Louis has brutally delegitimatized the continuing churches position.

With the exception of AMIA, the dissenters the report are not mentioned by name, even when apparently explicitly specific about Bishop Duncan, etc.

The questions here are perhaps most fundamentally about authority – how it works, where it comes from, and who exercises it and what exactly the nature of authority is in Anglicanism. These are also, I think, the primary questions needing to be answered to further ecumenical relationships, especially with the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. The report re-articulates the tri-part Anglican authority of scripture, tradition and reason and yet there seems to be a lack of agreement on interpretation methods. We need, I think, to consider how much of this is a structural problem of Anglicanism.

The report supports an epistemological conservatism, placing the burden of proof on the new position and default siding with the old ones, requiring a consensus and an overwhelming acceptance for change. “No province, diocese or parish has the right to introduce a novelty which goes against the received traditon.”


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