Bishop of Texas to Host Meeting of Windsor-Affirming Bishops

Source: Living Church
by Steve Waring

The Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, is interested in assembling all members of the House of Bishops who are willing to stand firmly with the recommendations of the Windsor Report. In a letter dated July 28, Bishop Wimberly announced a consultation to be held Sept. 19-22 at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas.

“It is my hope that you will be able to accept this invitation and enter with fellow bishops into a consultation that can produce a way forward that both prevents some in our Church from ‘walking apart’, and others from seeking irregular means of preserving their Anglican identity,” Bishop Wimberly wrote. “I want to emphasize that this invitation is to a consultation rather than a conference.”

In May, Bishop Wimberly and eight colleagues met with the Most Rev. Rowan Williams and others from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s staff at Lambeth Palace for what was described at the time as “a bid to continue the dialogue within the Anglican Communion over the divisions within the Episcopal Church.”

In the letter, Bishop Wimberly revealed that two members from the Church of England’s House of Bishops will be present: the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, and the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester. Bishop Wimberly said the Archbishop of Canterbury “has been aware of these plans from the beginning. Both bishops, having had thorough discussions with him, are coming with his blessing to discuss with us the nature of our future relation to the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.”

Bishops from The Episcopal Church interested in attending are informed in the letter that they must be willing to agree to four points as a starting point for discussion:

• Agreement that Lambeth 1.10 now constitutes the teaching of the Anglican Communion.

• Commitment to the Windsor Report as marking the way ahead for the Communion, and acceptance of its recommendations in respect to blessing same-sex unions and the ordination of persons engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

• Acceptance of the Communiqué from Dromantine issued by the Meeting of the Primates in response to the Windsor Report.

• Agreement that the response of ECUSA’s General Convention to the Windsor Report does not go far enough, and the intent to find a way to be related to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Communion in a way that is not impaired.

Bishop Wimberly, who was unavailable when contacted by The Living Church, wrote that he is being assisted in preparing for the consultation at Camp Allen by the Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas; the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas; and the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Bishop of the Rio Grande. All three attended the May meeting at Lambeth Palace.

The letter inviting other “Windsor Bishops” to the consultation concludes by listing five points for discussion:

1. Solidifying Communion links to Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates;
2. Development of a leadership council for links with Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates;
3. Commitment to common action;
4. Thresholds for an Anglican Covenant;
5. Care of clergy and parishes not represented by “Windsor Bishops.”

“We are truly in a difficult set of circumstances,” Bishop Wimberly concluded. “My prayer is that we can together find a way both to strengthen our own church and remain fully a part of the Anglican Communion.”

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