The Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies have adopted a resolution that declares the denomination’s ordination process open to all individuals but also expressed the church body’s ongoing commitment to the wider Anglican Communion.
After passing by a 77-31 lay vote and 74-25 clergy vote on Sunday, resolution D025 is now headed to the House of Bishops, where it must be passed to be enacted.
The Rev. Gay Jennings of the Diocese of Ohio, who introduced the resolution, said Sunday that it is simply a “statement of where the church is now” rather than a repudiation of resolution B033.
B033, which passed in 2006, called for restraint in ordaining bishops "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church" – mainly noncelibate homosexuals.
Opponents of the resolution argue that B033 was never intended to be permanent and that it was only passed to prevent further fractioning of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Anglican leaders overseas, however, have warned The Episcopal Church against rescinding resolution B033 or passing any resolution that would further put the American church body at odds with the larger Anglican Church.
The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, the Archbishop of the West Indies and chairman of the Covenant Working Group, said in May that if the General Convention rescinds resolution B033 and removes any barriers to persons involved in same-sex relationships, it will "imperil" the work of the Covenant and will have an impact on the rest of the communion because of the responses others will need to make.
Since The Episcopal Church elected its first openly gay bishop in 2003 , a number of churches have withdrawn completely from both the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion to form their own Anglican jurisdictions. Others have withdrawn from the Episcopal Church but aligned with other bodies within the Anglican Communion.
Last month, around 700 breakaway parishes in North America officially united into a single church body – the Anglican Church in North America – that is meant to serve as an orthodox, Anglican, mission-minded, and biblically-centered province. Together, the parishes represent some 100,000 conservative Anglicans.