The atmosphere is strained at the Episcopal Church's 75th General Convention, which began its first legislative day on Tuesday and continues through next Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio.
Sharp debates over homosexual ordination and marriage threatened to split the denomination three years after the openly gay Gene Robinson became bishop of New Hampshire. Episcopalians are part of the 77 million Anglican Communion. In 2004, top Anglican leaders issued the Windsor Report, calling for American Episcopalians to repent. In 1998, global Anglicans voted that homosexual behavior was contrary to Scripture.
For a few years now the Episcopal Church's bishops have stressed that only General Convention has the authority to commit the national church to action or inaction in response to the Windsor Report. Both Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the Very Rev. George Werner, president of the House of Deputies, said they wanted General Convention to resolve all Windsor-related questions before Sunday, when the House of Bishops chooses the church's next presiding bishop.
With only two legislative days left, nearly all Windsor-related resolutions are still in the care of a committee.
Convention's deputies and visitorsincluding the Archbishop of York, Jonathan Sentamudiscussed the resolutions for two and a half hours on Wednesday night. Sentamu asked the committee to consider whether the proposed responses to Windsor "lead us in the way of the crucified Christ."
"If they don't, you've got to strengthen them," Sentamu told the committee calmly.
The open hearing also heard frequent references to a 4,400-word paper by Bishop N.T. Wright, which was distributed by the American Anglican Council on Wednesday.
Gay activist Colin Coward of Changing ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.