Has the Episcopal Church really complied with the Primates’ request?
A key element in the Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion in February was the request that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada "voluntarily withdraw" their members from the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in June. (Known as the ACC, this is the international body that meets once every three years and is composed of a bishop, priest, and lay member from each of the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion.) Many interpreted this request as a kind of temporary suspension from full membership in the Communion. It certainly points to the seriousness of the continuing crisis that has confronted us since the General Convention of 2003.
On April 13th, the national Executive Council of the Episcopal Church considered this request and agreed to comply, but with one important provision: our members will nonetheless be present at the ACC meeting "to be available for conversation and consultation." So what does that mean? It means, "We will comply with the request, but not really. We will go, but just not vote."
While some will applaud this decision as reconciling and as an attempt to cooperate with the Primates, we need to see it for what it really is. It is one more example of the Episcopal Church playing games with the recommendations of The Windsor Report instead of complying with them. We want to have our cake and eat it too. Yes, we want to remain full members of the Anglican Communion, but no, we do not intend to conform to the teaching of the Communion about homosexual practice.
So stay tuned, dear friends. The conflict continues with no apparent resolution in sight.
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo
April 15, 2005