July 28, 2008


Dear Friends:

As I mentioned in my last update, the conversations here at Lambeth were beginning to move into the more difficult issues facing our Communion. Last Wednesday, July 23 and today, Monday, July 28, there were hearings regarding the Windsor Report.  Bishops were invited to address The Windsor Continuation Group, a committee appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury following the presentation of the Windsor Report a few years ago.  The Group was asked to “advise on outstanding matters from the Windsor Report.”  I am still processing much of what was said during the hearings, but I wanted to try and give you some insights as to the difficulties being addressed here.

In listening to many of the comments it was clear many bishops throughout the Communion are unaware of how The Episcopal Church has responded to the requests of the Windsor Report and how we as a province continue to address the challenges facing us in our own Church. It was also clear that there are those on both sides of the issues who intentionally or unintentionally promoted misinformation about various aspects of what is happening not only in The Episcopal Church, but the Church of Canada.

These comments have, in a positive way, led to fruitful conversations with many bishops, and in a negative way, led to further division between some bishops. In my conversations with bishops I have learned that those who do not have access to various forms of information, i.e., the Internet, regular news sources, the sharing of internal pieces of information, etc., were unaware that The Episcopal Church in the United States had made any response to the Windsor Report and were under the impression that we as a church had completely ignored the report.

Naturally these bishops arrived in Lambeth with a preconceived sense of The Episcopal Church. Fortunately, through personal conversation many have expressed a desire to learn more and continue our conversations.

As in most forums with an “open mike” format, the voices that are heard are often those who have passionate opinions and sometimes are on the extremes of the issues. From my perspective in the two hearings before the Windsor Continuation Group, many of those who spoke in the hearings, spoke from the extreme opposites of the issues. In this environment it is difficult for the voices in the middle to be heard. I have had a number of conversations with bishops from other provinces and from our House of Bishops, who share a centrist or moderate position who are committed to remaining in communion and doing the hard work of addressing the issues before us. My hope is that these voices will find there way into the larger conversation.

On Saturday, August 2, the conversation around the Windsor Report will continue in our Indaba groups. The Windsor Continuation Group will then meet again in late 2008 and offer a report back to the Archbishop of Canterbury about their findings regarding how the provinces within the Anglican Communion are responding, and if there are circumstances that require more attention.  An update will also be published to the larger Communion for review.

I am still hopeful that through those who are faithfully entering into personal conversations and dialogue, we as a Communion can find a way forward. The fear is that there are those who are not here (and some that are), that have signaled a desire for some concrete decision to be made at Lambeth.  If there is none, they will continue their push to restructure the communion.

In the days ahead our Bible Study groups and our Indaba groups are scheduled to have intentional conversations around our mission, the interpretation of scripture and human sexuality. Though we have touched briefly on these subjects throughout our time together, these will be direct conversations about those difficult issues.

One thing I think we all need to be reminded of is that there is no intention of producing some kind of definitive document regarding the issues facing our communion from this Lambeth Conference. There will be a “Reflections Document” which will be published that will hopefully reflect the diversity of our Communion, the issues before us, and the commitment to unity. The work will continue following Lambeth as we explore ways forward and the prospects of an Anglican Covenant.

I want to thank all who continue to pray for us and your encouraging words of hope. Please know that we are working hard and though many are tired from the long days, we are committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His Church, and to all you the faithful who have entrusted each of us to do this work.

+Bishop Ed