estimony to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church public hearing on the Windsor Report
Delivered by the Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude
14 June 2006
“I am Colin Coward, the Director of Changing Attitude England, a group working for the equality of LGBT people in the Anglican Church.
I was the person first invited by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town to speak at the Lambeth Conference 1998 to the sub-section dealing with human sexuality.
With Michael Hopkins and other members of Integrity we prepared for a period of one year. At their first meeting, the sub-section refused to meet with us. We were summarily rejected, despite the commitment made by the bishops at Lambeth ‘78 and ‘88 to listen to us.
The sub-section went on to produce, in two and a half weeks of intense work, an excellent report. They were forced, against their better judgement, to draft a resolution, Lambeth 1.10.
I sat through the debate which followed. It was vitriolic, destructive, utterly un-Christian, and resulted in a dysfunctional, conflicted resolution. That debate was not enlightened by the presence of the Holy Spirit and neither was Lambeth 1.10.
The Windsor report has evolved from this dysfunctional process, in which time the Episcopal Church has worked diligently at the listening process and most of the rest of the Communion has done almost nothing.
The Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, has issued a statement which says that the wording of the resolutions before you do not satisfy the requirements of the Windsor Report. The Bishop of Durham has gay priests in his diocese who have publicly registered their partnerships, and he has done nothing to inhibit them. He is impotent and he is complicit in 30 years of dishonesty in the Church and the dishonesty of the Windsor report.
You are not about to be divorced from the Anglican Communion. The Church of England ordains partnered lesbian and gay people. Church of England clergy are registering their partnerships. The mother church practices, dishonestly, all that happens in the Episcopal Church, including consecrating bishops who are gay and partnered – no lesbians yet!
Other Provinces in the Communion might choose to divorce from us. The Church of England cannot be divorced from you.
Changing Attitude has groups in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland, now, Nigeria, and soon, Kenya. LGBT Anglicans in Africa are emerging and asking to be heard. Now is not the time to close the process of listening and reception. Listening has barely begun. The Holy Spirit is working dramatically. Keep the process open. Help make the world-wide Anglican Communion a safe place, globally, in which LGBT voices can be heard. Please help make this process functional at last.”