From Columbus: Deputies debate bishop moratorium

June 19, 2006

The House of Deputies approved an expression of regret June 19 for "straining the bonds of affection" within the Anglican Communion for the actions of General Convention 2003.

The house also ran past its scheduled adjournment time in order to hear debate on Resolution A161 to honor a moratorium on electing gay or lesbian bishops, but took no action.

The original form of resolution A160 expressed regret for"breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection" for, among other things, affirming the 2003 election of Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

The Rev. Lorne Coyle, a deputy from Central Florida, urged the house to pass the original language of the resolution,"as a sign of our desire of reconciliation with our communion partners," he said."If there is a tear in the fabric of our Communion, and I believe there is, this is an important first stitch in repairing that tear."

That language was too much for some who questioned what the definition of"proper" might be, as well as those who contend the Anglican Communion is strained, not broken.

“What are these ‘proper constraints’? Who decided what are they were? And how could we have known?" asked the Rev. Gay Jennings, from the Diocese of Ohio. She then offered an amendment substituting the word"straining" for"breaching" the bonds of affection. The amendment passed and the resolution was adopted a short time later.

A"committee of conference," represented by Tim Mack of Dallas and the Rev. Carolyn Kuhr of Montana, was established to reconcile the two versions of resolutions A159 (Interdependence in the Anglican Communion) and A166 (Anglican Covenant). They and two bishops will present unified language for each of the resolutions for both of the houses to consider. The intent is to streamline the concurrence process.

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