The Windsor Report was published in October 2004 by the Lambeth Commission, established in October 2003 by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the request of the Anglican Primates and chaired by the Most Reverend Dr Robin Eames Archbishop of Armagh.
The Commission’s mandate spoke of the problems being experienced as a consequence of a number of events: the decision by the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) to give consent to the election of bishop Gene Robinson to the Diocese of New Hampshire; the authorising by a diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada of a public Rite of Blessing for same sex unions; and the involvement in other provinces by bishops without the consent or approval of the incumbent bishop to perform episcopal functions. These events uncovered major divisions throughout the Anglican Communion. There was talk of crisis, schism and realignment.
The mandate spoke of the need to seek a way forward which would encourage communion within the Anglican Communion, requesting consideration of ways in which communion and understanding could be enhanced where serious differences threatened the life of a diverse worldwide Church. How does the Anglican Communion address relationships between its component parts in a true spirit of communion?
LGBT sexuality was the explosive issue which was threatening the unity of the Communion. Since the 1970s controversies over issues of human sexuality had become increasingly divisive and destructive throughout Christendom. Within the Anglican Communion the intensity of debate on these issues at successive Lambeth Conferences demonstrated the reality of these divisions.
There were divisions at several levels of Anglican life: between provinces, between dioceses and between individual Anglican clergy and laity. The identification of ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’, and ‘the west’ as opposed to ‘the global south’, is an over-simplification of complex divisions.
The four sections of the report dealt with the Purpose of Communion, Fundamental Principles, Our Future Life Together and the Maintenance of Communion. Appendix Two contained a Proposed Anglican Covenant and Appendix Three contained supporting documents including Lambeth Conference resolutions.
Section D #136 to 146 addressed the current controversies, called for a moratorium and included positive recommendations about the need for open exploration of and debate about the place of LGBT people in the Communion.