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WINDSOR REPORT: A "Self" defining moment for ECUSA and The Ang. Communion

WINDSOR REPORT: A "Self" defining moment for ECUSA and The Anglican Communion

by The Rev. Dr. Philip Turner


It is so good to be back! I count my recent visit to the Diocese of West Texas among the best of my memories, that is to say memories of clergy conferences. I want to thank you for the careful attention you gave my remarks and for the very intelligent and probing questions with which you responded. This time my assignment is somewhat different. I have been asked not to anticipate, but to comment on, the first two sections of the Windsor Report (WR); and to help shape a discussion among you that might serve to produce a measured and helpful response to its content. I agreed to this assignment, and I assure you that I will deliver on my promise with both care and candor. First, however, I feel compelled to say something about the significance of this report for both ECUSA and the Anglican Communion.

As my colleague, Oliver O'Donovan, said recently, when placed along side most Anglican Documents, the Windsor Report is decidedly "up market." In contradistinction to a number of contrary judgments, I agree; and the burden of my remarks will be designed to show that, despite certain omissions and errors (some serious) the report provides a credible way forward both for ECUSA and the Anglican Communion as a whole. However, it would be a terrible mistake to wend our way along the path down which the report leads its readers without pausing to take note of the fact that WR places before ECUSA and the Anglican Communion fundamental decisions. The decisions are ones that cannot be avoided. For ECUSA, the decision is do we, as a church, wish to be self-identified as an autonomous church within the Anglican Communion; or do we, as a church, wish to be self-identified as a denominational boutique within the fan of Protestant options that now comprise the religious scene in America. For the Anglican Communion, the decision is whether it wishes to retain its claim to be a communion of churches; or whether it wishes to devolve into a religious federation bound together by a rapidly disappearing historical memory.

To my mind, the most brilliant thing about this report is the fact that it does not command. Rather, it offers a choice. It maps a way for Anglicans throughout the world to stay together as a communion; and basically says choose something like this so as to "walk together," or choose another way and so "walk apart." (WR #157) In placing the issue in the form of a choice, WR honors the autonomy of the various provinces of the Anglican Communion. It does not smuggle in a putative but non-existent centralized polity that can issue commands. It begins with what is-a communion of autonomous provinces that have a real choice about their future.

It has become painfully clear to me in the past months that there are those on both the left and the right who, though they would probably deny it, have made a choice to walk apart. The prophets on the left claim the backing of divine providence that has placed them ahead of the pack. They are content to go it alone and simply wait for others to catch up. The prophets on the right claim to be the champions of orthodoxy--charged with maintaining a faithful church in the midst of "apostasy." They are content to go it alone and await the vindication of God. WR maps a more arduous and painful way forward-one that seeks to create a space in time within which very serious divisions within this portion of the body of Christ can be confronted and overcome.

My starting point is that of WR. I want to map a way forward that keeps Anglicans together as a communion. I want to show what it might mean for ECUSA to make a choice for communion rather than denominationalism and federation. I am consequently saddened by the reaction of those on the left-one that expresses regret but makes it clear that they will motor on despite the wreckage they may cause. I am saddened also by reaction of those on the right who seem to exert more energy thinking about a way forward after ECUSA rejects WR than it does seeking to bring ECUSA to a considered and charitable response to what I believe to be an extraordinarily fine ecclesiological statement.


I have been charged to focus on the first two sections of WR, but their significance and adequacy cannot be grasped apart from the conclusions to which they lead. In the "Introduction" to WR, the chair of the commission that produced WR asserts that the report makes no "judgments:" but "contributes to a process." I hope very much that it does contribute to a process. Nevertheless, it is important to note that, despite the disclaimer of the chair, the report in fact contains a number of "judgments." It is further important to note the specific content of these judgments because they comprise in part the way forward the authors of the report urge both ECUSA and the Anglican Communion to take. It would I think be unhelpful simply to discuss the biblical foundations and principles of communion presented in the first two sections of WR without first at least noting the conclusions to which these theological foundations lead. Thus, I propose to begin by noting the judgments contained in the report; and then go on to review the foundations upon which these judgments rest. I will conclude with suggestions about the course of action the theological foundations, the derivative principles, and the judgments suggest as an appropriate course of action for both ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada.

WR holds that it is the calling of the church to be "an anticipatory sign of God's healing and restorative future for the world." (WR #2) WR argues that this calling has three constitutive aspects-"unity," "communion," and "holiness." In a moment, I will say something about each of them, but for now I will stick to the judgments they produce. Listen to the extensive list of judgments a close reading of WR renders.

1. ECUSA, the Diocese of New Westminster, the Anglican Church of Canada, and those who have crossed jurisdictional boundaries to aid parishes and dioceses in distress have acted against the ideal of communion presented in the Pauline literature and the principles of communion and interdependence implied by the biblical witness as a whole (WR #122)

2. In acting as they have, these churches and ecclesial bodies have clearly violated communion teaching as set forth in successive resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops and subsequently affirmed by all of the instruments of unity within the Communion. (WR #69)

3. The actions of ECUSA, the Diocese of New Westminster, and the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada cannot be judged to be part of a process of "reception" for the simple reason that these actions are ones that "are explicitly against the current teaching of the Anglican Communion as a whole" (WR #69) Reception, the authors contend, is a doctrine that applies to matters that have not become a part of established teaching.

4. The actions of The General Convention of ECUSA and the Diocese of New Westminster that license or promote the blessing of same gender unions constitute "a denial of the bonds of communion."

5. The bishops of ECUSA, with full knowledge, have consecrated a person bishop whose ministry as a "bishop in the Church of God…very many people in the Anglican Communion" could "neither recognize nor receive." As the authors of the report go on to say, this action raises questions about the bishops commitment to ECUSA's interdependence as a member of the Anglican Communion. (WR #129)

6. The actions of ECUSA, the Diocese of New Westminster, and the Anglican Church of Canada have caused scandal within the Anglican Communion and placed severe stumbling blocks before the majority of its members. (WR #s 87-96)

Allow me to state in even briefer compass the judgments of the authors of this report. ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada have (1) acted in a way contrary to the witness of Holy Scripture and the principles of communion implied therein; (2) violated the teaching affirmed by all the communion's instruments of unity; (3) falsely claimed that their actions might be considered part of a process of reception; (4) denied the bonds of communion that define Anglicanism; (5) in the case of ECUSA, consecrated a person bishop who cannot exercise a central aspect of the Episcopal office; (6) acted in ways that cause scandal through out the Anglican Communion.


When taken together, these judgments are sobering to say the least; and they are particularly so when one considers the fact that the members of the commission reached these judgments unanimously! The question is how adequate are the foundations upon which these judgments rest? It is this question that brings us to the heart of my assignment: a critical analysis of Sections A and B wherein the basic theological claims of WR are presented. So, in the words of the well-known hymn, let us ask "how firm a foundation" is in fact provided?

On several occasions, the authors of WR remind their readers that it is not their brief to make determinations in respect to the theological and moral issues that swirl about the contested matter of same-gender sexual relations. Their brief is of an ecclesiological nature; namely to comment on "the ways in which provinces of the Anglican Communion may relate to one another in situations where the ecclesiastical authorities of one province feel unable to maintain the fullness of communion with another part of the Anglican Communion." (WR #1) Appropriately, the authors of WR begin with an account of the "communion ecclesiology" that has shaped the recent ecumenical dialogues in which Anglicans have been involved. (See e.g., the various ARCIC reports)

From my perspective, one can only hail this starting point if for no other reason than the authors of WR feel bound to the ecumenical commitments of the Anglican Communion; and in so doing do not (as is now so common) act as autonomous agents utterly unencumbered by either history of social ties. Nevertheless, it must be noted that many on both the left and the right do not begin their ecclesiological discussions here. Many on the left begin with the church as a prophetic vanguard commissioned to fight within various political systems for the rights of those who are disadvantaged by those systems. Many on the right view the church primarily as the guardian of certain saving truths contained in Holy Scripture and in various creedal or confessional statements. These perspectives, different thought they are, lead those who hold them to similar visions of themselves; namely, as advocates and/or guardians who must, before all else, hold to principle.

The authors of WR, though they care mightily about truth and justice, see both as contained within and witnessed to by something more basic; namely, a form of common life that is a sign of God's will for the entire creation. Thus, they see unity, communion, and holiness of life as providing something like a circle of grace within which sinful people who have been brought into a new form of life by incorporation into Christ can struggle within the conditions of finitude and sin to bring about a faithful witness to God's purposes for the world. Thus, unity, communion, and holiness of life are constitutive of the calling of the church. Truth and justice (along with love) are the fruits that arise within this circle of grace and so give light to the world. For the authors of WR, the matter of primary importance is for the church within its common life to be characterized by these three distinctive marks. Apart from them, the church loses its assigned character and so fails in its vocation.

How might such a starting point be substantiated? Only if it accords with Holy Scripture! From the beginning, accordance with Scripture (rather than with council, creed, or confession) has been for Anglicans the proper foundation for theological assertions. In accordance with this principle, the authors of WR made a strategic decision. They believe, I think correctly, that the witness of the bible about the calling of the church is well captured by the Epistle to the Ephesians and by Paul's letters to the Corinthians. To my mind, the choice of this particular biblical foundation by the authors of WR is apt; and their exposition adequate, though at one point seriously incomplete.

What then is the witness of Holy Scripture in respect to the calling of the church? Ephesians, so WR suggests, provides what can fairly be considered an epitome of the biblical witness. According to the authors of WR, the witness of Ephesians is this. God has made know in Christ a plan "for the rescue of the whole created order from all that defaces, corrupts, and destroys it." (WR #1) This sentence is clearly meant to render Ephesians 1:9-11. Herein lies the basis or the entire report-a starting point that would have been more effectively made with a direct quotation from the letter itself. Better to say, using the words of Ephesians; in Christ, God "has made known to us (i.e., the church) the secret of his will in accordance with his purpose which he set forth in him (Christ) for administering the fullness of the ages so as to sum up all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on earth." In other words, God, in Christ, has made known his eternal purpose for creation itself. That purpose is to unify all aspects of the created order in Christ. Further, this purpose, formerly hidden, has now been revealed to the church.

It is, therefore, God's plan, rather than human intention, that gives meaning to the existence of the church. It is God's plan that, as it were, gives the church its marching orders. Because the secret of God's will has been entrusted to the church, its common life is to be what WR terms an "anticipatory sign of Gods healing and restorative future." God's plan for the creation requires of the church that its members, in the words of the report, "live as a united family across traditional ethnic and other boundaries." (WR #2) The characteristics of a united family, so WR contends, requires of the church a life that brings together many peoples and makes them one people-a people whose common life manifests unity, communion, and holiness of life. In this way, the church becomes an anticipatory sign of God's providential design for his creation.

The creation of a united ethnos constitutes the immediate purpose and issue of Christ's death and resurrection. Thus the report reads: "The communion we enjoy with God in Christ by the Spirit, and the communion we enjoy with all God's people living and departed, is the specific practical embodiment and fruit of the gospel itself." This gospel is described as "the good news of God's action in Jesus Christ to deal once and for all with evil and to inaugurate the new creation." (WR #3)

Now one further point! The various ministries or gifts to be found among the people God has chosen to be his anticipatory sign within the world exists to "sustain" and "maintain" "the unity to which Christ's body is called." The ministries presented in Ephesians and Corinthians (and specifically cited by WR) are apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and educational. (WR #3)


With one exception (which I will get to in a bit) this précis of the message of Ephesians (and by implication Holy Scripture) seems to me more than adequate. But adequate or not, it serves to explain many of the negative "judgments" contained in the report. Let us say simply that, if one looks at the recent actions of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada through the lens of Ephesians, the divisions these actions have brought about compromise both the very essence of the church's life and the purpose of its various ministries.

They also run contrary to what WR presents as the primary direction of the history of the Anglican Communion-a history whose major precedents support self-identity as a communion rather than a federation of churches. Thus, WR notes that throughout their history Anglicans have been sustained as a communion by "a common pattern of liturgical life" that is "shaped by the continual reading…of the Holy Scriptures." (WR #7) They have also been connected "through a web or relationships" that includes the See of Canterbury, bishops, consultative bodies, companion dioceses and projects of common mission. (WR #7) Communion identity was given "formal expression" in the third Anglican Congress that described life in communion as "mutual interdependence and responsibility in the Body of Christ" (Sic!) (read mutual responsibility and interdependence or MRI) This communion identity was later strengthened by the articulation of the "Ten Principles of Partnership" set forth by MISAG II. In case you have forgotten, the "Ten Principles are "Local initiative, mutuality, responsible stewardship, interdependence, cross fertilization, integrity, transparency, solidarity, meeting together, and acting ecumenically." (WR Appendix 3, #5)

This historical survey is not unimportant, Anglican Polity, like the British constitution, works more from precedent than written constitution. The power of these communion-making precedents is visible, WR contends, in the way in which the matter of the ordination of women was handled within the Communion. The authors trace this history to make visible a process that manifests communion identity rather than unfettered autonomy; and to show, by contrary example, the ways in which the recent actions of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada move in a way contrary to both that identity and the Ten Principles that give it visibility.

The example is well chosen in that it puts to rest a major claim by those who believe that the issue of same gender sexual relations is on all fours with that of the ordination of women. Prescinding from the question of whether these two issues are of equal moral weight, one can say, as does the report, that the ways in which the issues have been addressed, are quite different. In one case, the principles of communion shaped the process. In the other, actions were taken that simply ignored these principles. (WR #22)


These actions, WR holds, should be viewed as symptoms of an illness. It is perhaps worth pausing for a moment to take in what these sub-titles within the report are saying about us. WE ARE SICK! (Not something institutions often say about themselves!) The symptoms of our disease are said to be both "surface" and "deep." The surface symptoms are two fold. ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada have taken actions in the matter of same gender sexual relations that run contrary to what now may be considered both Anglican teaching and the majority opinion within the Anglican Communion. In reaction to these actions, jurisdictional boundaries have been crossed in various ways that run contrary to what WR cites as ancient practice. Both sorts of action are seen as contrary to the principles of communion.

The deeper symptoms stem in the first instance from the failure of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada to follow communion practice in cases where there is a dispute about the adequacy of a development in doctrine. Thus, neither the Diocese of New Westminster nor ECUSA "made a serious attempt to offer an explanation to, or consult meaningfully with, the Communion as a whole about the significant development of theology which alone could justify the recent moves by a diocese or a province." (WR #33) Further, neither ECUSA nor the Diocese of New Westminster "went through the procedures which might have made it possible for the church to hold together across differences of belief and practice." (WR #35)

Behind these symptoms lay others that, one might say, contributed to their severity. Many consider the issues in question to be adiaphora; matters not essential to the gospel witness and so subject to local determination. Thus, these persons believed that they were free, on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, to take decisions locally that "the rest of the communion believe can and should be decided only at the Communion-wide level." (WR # 39) In combination, these factors have produced a fifth symptom; namely a lack of trust that has issued in a dispute that has become "adversarial, not to say abusive." (WR #40) Finally, these symptoms have revealed one of profound significance; namely, that there is a lack of clarity within the Communion about the nature and function of authority in circumstances where communion threatening disputes arise.

WR's analysis of symptoms leads directly to its second chapter-one in which principles are set out that might allow for treatment of the sickness it has identified. I will examine those principles in a moment, but first several brief comments on WR's account of "The Purposes and Benefits of Communion." The first is that their depiction of the calling and ministry of the church is true to only a portion of the witness of Ephesians and Corinthians. Ephesians and the letters to the Corinthians make it clear that the same forces that crucified the Lord, even though defeated, continue to roam abroad and do their divisive and destructive work. Consequently, the life of unity, communion and holiness to which the church is called is not lived out in a perfect manner. Rather, these characteristics manifest themselves only in a fearful struggle in which sin must be met and overcome both within the common life of the church and at the intersection where the life of the church meets that of the surrounding world. The account given in WR of unity, communion, and holiness of life does not address the character of this battle; and it fails to give an account of the weapons to be employed as it is waged against a divisive enemy that lies both within and without. The result is an account of the life of the church that omits its cruciform nature. There is no call for the church to take the "whole armor of God" and to "stand" in a battle that can only be won by Christ. Further, the call for repentance, though present, is stated in such a modest way that it can easily be missed. (WR #134)

This sanguine account of the life of the church leads to an inadequate diagnosis of sickness the report rightly reports. It leads also to a serious omission in its account of unity, communion, and holiness of life. If one reads the account in WR of the symptoms of our disease, it appears at first that our illness has been produced by a simple failure to follow proper procedure. However, one must ask what has led ECUSA and New Westminster, despite the universal disapproval of the instruments of unity within our communion, knowingly to take unilateral actions that not only failed to follow procedure, but serve as well to divide and scandalize the communion? And what lies behind what the report terms "adversarial not to say abusive behavior?" According to Ephesians, the appearance of arrogant, adversarial and abusive behavior within the life of the church must be read not as a procedural problem but as a sign of the presence within the life of the church itself of the very powers of darkness that crucified the Lord. The presence within the common life of the church of what Ephesians calls "a former manner of life" and "a darkened understanding" is made visible by the appearance of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. One can only sadly admit that these little germs are far more common in our life together at the moment than are the signs of the counter-reality it is the calling of the church to manifest.

It is also the sanguine character of WR's account of unity, communion, and holiness that leads to a serious omission; namely, a discussion of the place of discipline within the common life of the church. The very people who are responsible for tearing the fabric of the Anglican Communion are rather naively called upon voluntarily to absent themselves from communion functions until they bring their practice into accord with that of the rest of the Communion. Really?! It is true that WR mentions that Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians does not hesitate to administer "severe discipline in the case of scandalous behavior (WR #4). WR also suggests that the Archbishops of Canterbury has the authority both to invite and refrain from inviting to functions of the Communion. Nevertheless, apart from these brief and undeveloped references, no further mention is made of a factor that throughout the New Testament is considered crucial for the maintenance of the unity, communion, and holiness of the church. I for one cannot imagine the clear intent of WR being realized apart from a rather careful, even extended, discussion of this issue. Apart from a serious attempt to grapple with the form discipline might take within the sort of polity that characterizes the Anglican Communion, it will most certainly not long remain a communion.


It is this remark that brings me to the second section of WR. Here are presented the principles the authors of the report view as a cure for the sickness whose symptoms they have described. Not surprisingly, the first of the principles mentioned is what we might call the pre-existence of communion-one rooted both in "our shared status as children of God" and "in our shared and inherited identity." (WR #45) This inherited existence "subsists," says WR, "in visible unity, common confession of the apostolic faith, common belief in scripture and creeds, common baptism and shared eucharist, and a mutually recognized common ministry." (WR #49) From the given reality of communion, WR draws an important conclusion; namely, "In communion, each church acknowledges and respects the interdependence and autonomy of the other, putting the needs of the global fellowship before its own." (WR #49) When this principle is not observed, states of "impaired communion" result. In such circumstances, WR goes on to say, the constitutional status of several member churches of the Anglican Communion is called into question because "many…mark out their identity in terms precisely of being in full communion either with Canterbury or with all other churches in communion with Canterbury." (WR #50) The authors of the report thus, in the strongest possible terms, issue the following caution: "the divine foundation of communion should oblige each church to avoid unilateral action on contentious issues which may result in broken communion." (WR #51)

I labor these points only to make clear how seriously the authors of WR view our present conflict. The very identity of Anglicanism hangs in the balance. Thus, their presentation of "The bonds of communion" is central to their suggestions as to how we, as a communion, might continue to walk together rather than apart. Communion is reality given by God, but God maintains the communion he gives in various ways. Chief among them is the reading and singing of Holy Scripture within the context of common worship. It is through this medium that God continues to exercise authority over the church. The authority of scripture, according to the authors of WR, actually refers to the authority of God exercised through the reading of scripture within the common life of the church.

It is at this point that a careful reader of the report ought to have a problem. Surely, the authority of scripture must also be viewed, as it were, from below. That is, from the way in which it is used within the church to discern God's will. Thus, the authority of scripture, among Anglicans, has traditionally meant that a given theological or moral claim must be "in accord with Holy Scripture." When disputed matters arise, Anglicans have always claimed that scripture has authority in that it must be the locus for testing any theological or moral claim. The authority of Holy Scripture does not share equal authority with reason, experience, and tradition. It must be the final and decisive testing ground for any theological claim.

The obvious issue is, given its central importance within Anglicanism, how scripture is to be interpreted so as to maintain unity, communion, and holiness of life within the body of the church. In response to this issue, WR has a number of useful things to say, each of which has a fundamental bearing on our present conflict. If the witness of scripture is to be rightly discerned, it is of central importance that there be teachers of scripture, chief among whom are bishops who aid the church in its efforts at discernment. (WR #s 57,58)

In the end, however, it is the church, through agreement among the faithful, that judges what is and what is not in accord with scripture; and it is here that a fearful problem is revealed. In the current conflict, the very writings through which God unites the church have themselves become a source of division. Our dispute over sexual ethics has revealed that they are read and inwardly digested in different ways in different parts of the world. In response, WR does not hurl insults like "fundamentalist" or "you deny the authority of scripture." Rather it calls for the Anglican Communion to "re-evaluate the ways in which we have read, heard, studied and digested scripture." (WR #61) In particular, WR calls for "a shared reading of scripture across boundaries of culture, region, and tradition." (WR #62)

One can only note that this call makes visible a central aspect of what it is to be a communion. One cannot claim communion and at the same time, in one's reading of scripture, refuse correction from outside the boundaries of one's own province. It is precisely such refusal of correction that now so threatens the Communion. Consequently, WR rightly goes on to ask how a shared reading of the bible is possible. Central to its answer is an interpretation of the role of the Episcopate. Bishops are not only the primary teachers of the church; they also occupy an office through which the unity of the church is expressed and maintained. They are more than local pastors of pastors. They represent the local church to the church universal and the church universal to the local church. Thus, WR concludes, "that the churches of the Anglican Communion, if that Communion is to mean anything at all, are obliged to move together, to walk together in synodality." (WR #66) Clearly, such synodical walking together is expressed most visibly through the office of bishop.

Once more, it becomes apparent that from the perspective of the authors of this report, the actions of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada, do not accord with the kind of practice that manifests a commitment to communion. Anglicans are, however, called to "the specific unifying task of a common discernment in communion." (WR #67) How then might discernment in communion take place? Discernment takes place through a process of reception that brings about agreement among the faithful (consensus fedelium) in respect to a disputed issue. This process clearly presupposes that forbearance and mutual subjection in love are prized practices among the faithful as well as among the bishops who represent them. The process requires both space and time for the godly resolution of conflict to take place.

This process, if allowed to take place, will issue in a common decision about what matters may rightly be considered appropriate for local decision (adiaphora) and which are matters that effect the Communion as a whole. The process yields those issues that may be decided by autonomous provinces of the communion and those that must await general agreement. There is, however, a significant limitation WR places upon the notion of reception. "It cannot be applied in the case of actions which are explicitly against the current teaching of the Anglican Communion as a whole, and/or individual provinces." (WR #69)

Consequently, autonomy within communion is a limited notion. It does not carry with it the notion of unfettered freedom. Within a communion and within the process of discernment, provinces are "autonomous only in relation to others." (WR #76) Autonomy is rightly understood within communion only in relation to the principle of subsidiarity that demands that only those decisions be taken locally that properly may be so taken. Thus, again, the actions of ECUSA are displayed as contrary to and subversive of the God give gift of communion.


With what then are we presented at the end of this rather lengthy discussion of "Fundamental Principles?" We are left with an admittedly slow process of discernment the purpose of which is to insure that the church has read, marked, learned, and digested the holy scriptures rightly; and in the process maintained the communion that is God's gift and God's destiny for the entire creation. We are left also with a sharp criticism of our own church as having acted in a way that threatens, indeed violates, communion within this part of God's sadly divided church.

In response, I have a final question. What might this diocese do to indicate that it wishes to remain an Anglican Communion Diocese? Further, what might this diocese do to bring ECUSA as a whole within the circle inscribed by identity as a member church of the Anglican Communion? In response to my own question, I have five suggestions; and they are these.

1. The Diocese of West Texas expresses regret for the communion threatening and communion breaking actions taken in the Episcopal consecration of Gene Robinson.
2. The Diocese of West Texas calls for a moratorium on the ordination of people engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of holy matrimony
3. The Diocese of West Texas calls for a moratorium on the blessing of same gender unions throughout the dioceses of ECUSA.
4. The Diocese of West Texas pledges itself not to ordain people engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony and further pledges that it will not license the blessing of such union.
5. The Diocese of West Texas use its good offices to obtain similar pledges from other dioceses and the governing bodies of ECUSA as a whole.

These are, in sum, the actions clearly called for and unanimously agreed to by the authors of WR. They seem to me minimal steps toward mending the fearsome tear our actions have rendered within the fabric of our communion; toward healing the sickness indicated by the symptoms of disease the authors of this report have so carefully described.


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