Anglican bishops unanimously commend Windsor Report for study by the church

Canadian Anglican bishops meeting this week in Saskatoon, Sask., have unanimously declared the Windsor Report of the Lambeth Commission on unity in the Anglican Communion to be an important document worthy of study by the whole church.

Without dissent, the bishops approved a motion that calls on Canadian Anglicans to respond to the report in time for a meeting of the Primates of the Communion that will be held in Belfast next February [2005].

The bishops also voted unanimously to ask the Canadian Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, to write a pastoral letter to the Canadian Church asking Anglicans to consider the report and send their responses to him.

The Lambeth Commission was created by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams more than a year ago to consider how the world-wide Anglican Communion can preserve its unity in the face of controversies around issues such as the ordination of a gay bishop in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in a Canadian diocese.

The commission under the chairmanship of Archbishop Robin Eames of Armagh, submitted its report last month.  The commission conducted an exhaustive study of Anglican unity and the stresses it faces and made several recommendations including issuing a call for “expressions of regret” on the part of some bishops and churches whose actions have distressed others in the communion.  Bishops who have intervened in the affairs of dioceses other than their own are also asked to express regret and refrain from such interventions in the future.

The report also includes a model “covenant” to more closely bind provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Anglican Primates from around the world are to bring their churches’ responses to the Belfast meeting, and the Canadian Church has set up a process to gather those responses.

On another matter, the bishops also approved a document entitled “Shared Episcopal Oversight” which provides a model through which parishes and congregations that dissent from a decision on the blessing of same-sex unions made by their dioceses can be placed, temporarily, under the care of a bishop from outside the diocese.

The model described in “Shared Episcopal Oversight” also provides for a process of reconciliation where agreement between certain parishes or congregations and the diocese’s bishop cannot be reached.  In both cases, the diocesan bishop is involved in the process.

The document says that “shared Episcopal ministry” is based on a spirit of reconciliation, cooperation and good will.

The meeting of Anglican bishops is held twice a year and brings together bishops from each of the Canadian Anglican church’s 30 dioceses from across the country.

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For more information, please contact:  Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); [email protected]  OR Paul Feheley, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, [email protected]

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