Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY
Business Office: 68 South Swan Street - Albany, NY 12210 - (518) 465-4737
Christ the King Spiritual Life Center: 575 Burton Road - Greenwich, NY 12834 - (518) 692-9550

Episcopal Diocese of Albany

The Right Reverend Daniel W. Herzog, Bishop
The Right Reverend David J. Bena Bishop Suffragan
68 South Swan Street
Albany NY 12210
(518) 465-4737
Fax (518) 436-1182

July 7th, 2006

Statement of the Standing Committee of the
Episcopal Diocese of Albany on the Response of the
75th General Convention to the Windsor Report

The history leading up to the 75th General Convention needs little introduction. It is important, however, to realize that much of the debate has been shaped by the secular media and groups within and without the Episcopal Church holding passionate views and agendas. It is important for this reason to step back. Some things can and must be clearly affirmed now. Some things will require theological reflection within the Communion which will necessarily take some more time.

The outline to that further process and its theological underpinnings is found in the recent communiqué of the Archbishop of Canterbury, entitled “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.” The Standing Committee and Bishops receive Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Reflection enthusiastically and commend it to your prayerful and careful reading.

The Reflection outlines a process of Covenant. The Covenant process was recognized and affirmed by the 75th General Convention in Resolution A166. The form of the Covenant proposed by Archbishop Rowan Williams centers in “constituent” or “associated” membership in the Anglican Communion. Those member Churches that conform to and live in accord and full cooperation with the Anglican Communion Covenant will be full or constituent members of the Anglican Communion. Those who will not accept the discipline of our mutual life as defined by this Covenant will be considered “associated” churches only. They will not have a vote in the councils of the Anglican Communion.

This brings us to what can and must be clearly said now. The Windsor Report required compliance with both the spirit and letter of its content. Most pressing was the complete moratorium on the consecration of bishops engaged in sexual contact outside the union of marriage between one man and one woman. Relatedly, the Windsor Report required a moratorium on the authorization of blessing of same-sex unions or any associated rites.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Albany affirms the following:

1. The 75th General Convention has willfully failed to meet both the spirit and letter of the Windsor Report in areas of human sexuality and to show proper regard for “the bonds of affection” within the Anglican Communion.

2. We thankfully receive as the way forward the communiqué of the Archbishop of Canterbury, entitled “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.”

3. We hold without reservation the witness of Holy Scripture and the historic teaching of the Church that sexual relations are to occur only in the context of marriage between one man and one woman. Neither rites nor blessings of same-sex unions are authorized in this Diocese because both are clearly contrary to Holy Scripture and Christian Tradition. It is our intention to be in full compliance with the Windsor Report.

4. While finding the 75th General Convention’s Resolution B033 an inadequate response to the Windsor Report, we affirm our full compliance with the Resolution as it stands. This Standing Committee will "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

5. We reaffirm our full commitment to the Lambeth Conference 1998: Resolution 1.10 Human Sexuality, including sections 3 & 4:

“This Conference: 3 recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ; 4 while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex....”

6. We commend to careful and prayerful reading the following words of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Reflection, believing that much misunderstanding of motivation lies at the heart of our divisions. Quoting Archbishop Williams:

The Anglican Communion: a Church in Crisis?
“What is the current tension in the Anglican Communion actually about? Plenty of people are confident that they know the answer. It’s about gay bishops, or possibly women bishops. The American Church is in favour and others are against – and the Church of England is not sure (as usual).
‘It’s true that the election of a practising gay person as a bishop in the US in 2003 was the trigger for much of the present conflict. It is doubtless also true that a lot of extra heat is generated in the conflict by ingrained and ignorant prejudice in some quarters; and that for many others, in and out of the Church, the issue seems to be a clear one about human rights and dignity. But the debate in the Anglican Communion is not essentially a debate about the human rights of homosexual people. It is possible – indeed, it is imperative – to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation, and still to believe that this doesn’t settle the question of whether the Christian Church has the freedom, on the basis of the Bible, and its historic teachings, to bless homosexual partnerships as a clear expression of God’s will. That is disputed among Christians, and, as a bare matter of fact, only a small minority would answer yes to the question.”

7. We stand in solidarity and deepest sympathy with our sister Dioceses that have found the actions and inaction of the 75th General Convention to require an appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference for various aid and relief.

8. We repudiate all false expressions of our Christian Faith that would seek to dilute or avoid Jesus’ clear words: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6.)

In conclusion, we support and uphold our bishops in their statement of June 30, 2006 that “being part of the greater Church is necessary to prosper and we are confident that Albany will hold to that higher course.”

This statement unanimously approved by the members of the Standing Committee undersigned, meeting on the 7th day of July, 2006 at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, New York.

The Rev’d Paul J. Hartt, President
Mr. David Beaulac
Mr. Richard Drumm
Mrs. Patricia Gibbons, Secretary
The Rev’d Scott Harding
The Rev’d Robert Holman
The Rev’d William Love
The Rev’d Lorraine Lyons
Mrs. Sue Ellen Ruetsch
The Rev’d Derik Roy

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