The Episcopal Church's 75th General Convention faced two major assignments as it convened in Columbus, Ohio: Respond to the Windsor Report (issued in 2004 by global Anglican leaders), and elect a new presiding bishop. The convention's presiding officers announced in advance that they wanted the convention to deal with the Windsor Report—which called on the church to adopt moratoria on blessing rites for same-sex couples and on any further noncelibate gay bishops.

Instead, a large committee spent most of the convention tweaking more than 10 Windsor-related resolutions. By the end of the convention, most of that tweaking was thrown out.

On the penultimate day of convention, after the moratoria resolution was defeated soundly in the house of deputies, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold announced that he would call bishops and deputies into a joint session.

Griswold told the joint session on Wednesday that the Episcopal Church had to offer a substantial response to the Windsor Report if it expected to have any continuing voice in Anglican discussions about sexuality.

"Humility is not an easy virtue, but it is very much required in this season," Griswold told the more than 800 deputies and more than 100 bishops seated before him. "Humility requires at times a stance of restraint in order that something larger can happen. There are times when what may appear to be a step backward may be called for in order to go forward."

The step backward, at least for the Episcopal Church's advocates for gay and lesbian inclusion, was a resolution asking standing committees and diocesan bishops "to 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 ...

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