The Church Society, an ultra-conservative group within the Anglican Communion, said it was bitterly disappointed with the recently released Windsor Report on homosexuality and called on leaders to scrap the report during their upcoming gathering.
We are bitterly disappointed with the recent report of the Lambeth Commission. Despite the effort that has gone into the report it does not effectively address the serious underlying issues nor does it provide proper pastoral care to ECUSA and Canada, the Church Society wrote in an Nov. 8 statement.
The Windsor Report, released on Oct. 18, is the yearlong project undertaken by the Lambeth Commission to study ways to maintain unity within the Anglican Commission at the wake of a churchwide theological crisis on homosexuality. The homosexuality debate, which strained relationships between liberal and traditional Anglicans for decades, erupted last year upon the ordination of an openly gay man as bishop to the U.S. Anglican church the Episcopal Church USA.
In essence, the Report rebuked the ECUSA for its schismatic action, and encouraged those involved with the ordination to express regret for the consequences of their actions.
Gene Robinson, the gay bishop at the center of the debate, heeded to the advice but only at a superficial level. Robinson said he regretted the rift created by his ordination, but was not sorry that he was elected.
The Report also chided the conservative churches for breaking fellowship with the ECUSA, and called on the traditional churches to apologize for their actions.
African bishops, the vast majority of whom broke communion with the ECUSA over the past year, rejected this call for repentance, calling it offensive.
"To call on us to 'express regret' and reassert our commitment to the Communion is offensive in light of our earlier statements. If the Episcopal Church USA had not wilfully 'torn the fabric of our communion at its deepest level' our actions would not have been necessary," the African bishops wrote in their statement.
We reject the moral equivalence drawn between those who have initiated the crisis and those of us in the Global South who have responded to cries for help from beleaguered friends, they added.
The recent statement by the Church Society reflected the sentiments of the African Bishops.
If the report's recommendations are followed it will allow immorality to fester. In time it will destroy the churches of the Anglican Communion and the spiritual lives of their members, the statement read.
The Church Society recommended that the leaders of the Communion set aside the Windsor report during their annual meeting in February, and rather take decisive action.
What is needed is clear action and discipline without creating international structures that will undermine the historic nature of Anglicanism. We hope that when the leaders of the Communion meet in February they will set aside the Windsor report and take decisive action, the statement read.
There must be a clear rebuke to the provinces of the United States and Canada, together with a call to repentance. Christian repentance always involves putting right what is wrong. Until this is done the provinces concerned should be declared to be outside the Communion. They must not be involved in any of its central bodies.