Archbishop Williams Welcomes Statement of Canada House of Bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has warmly welcomed the statement of the Canadian House of Bishops that was issued on 27th April 2005.

"I welcome this considered and courteous response from the Canadian House of Bishops. Their constructive approach provides a positive basis for further engagement with the questions facing our Communion," Dr Williams stated in a press release.

The statement of the Canadian House of Bishops is the latest reaction to the Windsor Report made by the Lambeth Commission on the Anglican Communion, and the communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion issued in February 2005.

During the meeting in Northern Ireland early this year, the Anglican Church of Canada and the U.S. Episcopal church (ECUSA) were asked to voluntarily withdraw its members from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), a central decision-making body; meeting in Nottingham in June 2005.

In the statement the Bishops have commented: "We see the value of the opportunity for reflection and response called for in the Windsor Report, but we also see risks inherent in honouring the request."

But the final decision regarding the request can be made only by the Council of General Synod that will meet over 6-8 May in Mississauga.

The ECUSA has already made the decision; they will send their representatives to the ACC meeting to present their position and to issue statements from the Episcopal Church. However, they will not be able to vote at the gathering.

The issue that has led the Church to brink of schism is the attitude towards the authorisation of same-sex blessing rites, and the consecration of bishops living in same-sex relationships.

The Bishops agreed "neither to encourage nor to initiate the use of such rites until the General Synod has made a decision on the matter."

The diocese of New Westminster, the one that allowed same-sex blessing rites in 2002, will consider the moratorium during the upcoming meeting of the diocese synod which will take place within the next two weeks reported Bishop Michael Ingham.

As a reaction to the controvesial blessing of same-sex consecrations, the Orthodox Anglicans in Africa and Latin America have demanded the suspension of the "Anglican churches that continue to flout biblical norms on issues such as homosexuality."

The Canadian Bishops in the statement acknowledged that "synodical decisions in some parts of the Canadian church, and the response to these, have caused distress in some parts of the Communion. We are sorry for the pain that this has caused and we regret that together we have not achieved a level of consultation deemed sufficient to the magnitude of the issues under consideration."