CHICAGO, May 11, 2009--The Chicago Consultation released this statement today from its co-convener Ruth Meyers in response to the Anglican Consultative Council’s affirmation of the recommendations made by the Windsor Continuation Group and its decision to postpone the release of the Anglican Covenant for consideration by provinces:
The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), meeting now in Kingston, Jamaica, has committed itself to the hard work of debating recommendations and documents that seek to define the Anglican Communion. We are grateful for the efforts of its representatives, and we especially commend the decision to delay sending a draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant to the provinces until more work has been done that might strengthen, rather than tear down, our common life.
However, we believe that the ACC and the Windsor Continuation Group have made a grievous error by concluding that God is calling us to exclude baptized Christians who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender for the sake of communion. These moratoria, which were requested in the Windsor Report and by the primates, have not been formally agreed to by the democratic structures of the Episcopal Church and are inconsistent with both the Anglican tradition of seeking unity through diversity and with scripture’s mandate to do justice.
Moreover, much of the recent debate suggests that we are in danger of coming to believe that the Anglican Communion is defined by meetings, documents and resolutions rather than by our call to be the body of Christ in the world. All baptized people share equally in that call and no resolution or moratorium can diminish it.
At its best, the Anglican Communion is a manifestation of the body of Christ in which the Holy Spirit blesses members from different cultures and contexts in various ways and gives us grace to embrace all of these gifts. All around us, we see evidence that this Communion—strengthened by common prayer and sacraments, mutual mission, and ministry of our gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters—offers rich possibility for our common life.
Sometimes this way is difficult, but we believe it is the path on which God is calling us to go forward together. We urge the Anglican Consultative Council, the working group to be appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Episcopal Church to follow by doing justice and seeking true communion, without fear about where God might lead us.
The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. We believe that our baptismal covenant requires this.
The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives that will rid the church of this sin.
Editor’s note: The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers is Co-Convener of The Chicago Consultation; Professor of Liturgics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; and Deputy from the Diocese of Chicago.