One of the options considered by the Lambeth Commission, whose report will be published on 18 October, is a plan whereby the 60 or so bishops who voted for Canon Gene Robinson to be elected as a bishop will be individually excluded from the next Lambeth Conference. The thinking behind this seems to be that it would allow ECUSA to remain formally within the Anglican fold, while reprimanding the “guilty”. Furthermore, it would allow the status quo to be restored naturally when these bishops retire – as many of them will have done before the next Lambeth Conference.
The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Robin Eames issued a statement after the Commission’s final meeting at Windsor Castle. The report could make “a profound and practical impact for good in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion”, he said. “This has been a labour of love in the faith that Christ is our guide and strength in working for peace and healing.” The Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, a member of the Commission, said that healing required “appropriate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. We have done our best to offer that, and we have finished our task.”
Dr Wright said the Commission’s mandate was about how the Communion made decisions. “We were asked to clarify the ways in which decisions are made, and this will inevitably be not only about the past, but also about the future. There has been a clarifying of perspectives that are already there. It was not asked to consider “whether it is or is not appropriate to have public rites of same sex-blessings or to consecrate into the episcopate someone who was openly living in a same-sex situation,”
The chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council, (CEEC), the Ven. Paul Gardner, said: “The CEEC will want to continue talks very widely with bishops right round the world. We want to see the Eames report upholding traditional biblical and orthodox understandings of behaviour and the place of holiness in Christian life. We will judge all things by scripture.”
Anglican Mainstream warned that the report would not be accepted if it tried to resolve the crisis by adopting a process of “reception”, nor if it proposed any kind of associate status for the Episcopal Church in the United States. Federation was also out. “Orthodox members of the Communion will not accept such a compromise move,” the group said.