Within one day of its release, the Windsor Report has become one of the most renowned statements in the history of the Anglican Communion. Top Anglican leaders across nations and theological beliefs have overviewed this 100-page report on human sexuality, and have come across only one consensus: further study must be undertaken before the next step of action is planned.
The Windsor report, which was released on Oct. 18 in London, England, is the long awaited statement that was commissioned to promote unity within the nearly divorced Anglican Communion. The main focus of the report was on maintaining unity and communion within the 77-million member body. Nonetheless, the core of the report was based on the recent events that sparked the worldwide schism between the liberal and conservative Anglican factions: the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA)s decision to ordain an actively gay bishop and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC)s decision to bless same-sex marriages.
In essence, the Windsor Report urged both the ECUSA and the ACC to apologize for their unilateral decisions to open the priesthood and marriage to homosexuals, but fell short of rebuking the two denominations.
Conservative Episcopalians, under the banner of the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council, have noted this fact, and have commented that they were disappointed at the frothiness of the reprimand.
We have strong concerns, however, about the fact that they call only for the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) to express regret and fail to recommend direct discipline of ECUSA.
Meanwhile, they urged the US bishops to heed to the advice and apologize or withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion.
They also called on the ECUSAs head Frank Griswold to express godly sorrow, immediately implement a moratorium on ordinations and consecrations of practicing homosexuals as well as the blessing of same sex unions.
The Episcopal Church is now faced with serious and difficult choices. They can follow the lead of Bishop Griswold which will ultimately lead to the demise of the Episcopal Church or they can choose to embrace the core covenant recommended by the commission, reject false doctrine and preserve faithful unity, they wrote.
The Report makes demands on all of us, regardless of where we may stand, and is grounded in a theology of reconciliation and an understanding of communion as the gift of the triune God. It is therefore an invitation for all of us to take seriously the place in which we presently find ourselves but to do so with a view to a future yet to be revealed, Griswold noted.
Here I am put in mind of the words of Archbishop Eames in the Foreword to the Report. "This Report is not a judgment. It is part of a process. It is part of a pilgrimage towards healing and reconciliation." It is my earnest prayer that we will undertake this pilgrimage in a spirit of generosity and patient faithfulness, not primarily for the sake of our church and the Anglican Communion but for the sake of the world our Lord came among us to save.
The Episcopal Church USA announced, also on Monday, that the report will be discussed during the November meeting of the Episcopalian bishops. The Canadian church also will be holding a special conference to discuss the implications of the report.