THE possibility that bishops at the Lambeth Conference will be invited to vote again on the divisive Resolution 1.10 from 1998 — which describes homosexual practice at “incompatible with scripture” — appears to have receded.
The reference to Resolution 1.10 and its affirmation of marriage “between a man and a woman” appears to have been inserted late into one of several “calls” — the one on Human Dignity — that the Conference will issue to the Anglican Communion worldwide during its proceedings (News 22 July; 25 July).
On Monday night, the organisers of the Conference, which begins in Canterbury later this week, introduced a third option for bishops, who will be asked to indicate via an electronic vote whether they approve a call, believe it needs further discernment — or, now — do not add their voice to the call (News, 25 July).
On Tuesday afternoon it was announced, also, that the wording of the draft call had been altered. Resolution 1.10 is still mentioned, but another of its clauses, welcoming all regardless of sexual orientation, is quoted alongside a reference to the 1998 wording that the “legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions” cannot be advised. The direct reference to heterosexual marriage has disappeared.
The first draft read:
“All human beings are made in the image of God. Therefore Anglicans are committed to respect, protect and acknowledge the dignity of all. That has been, however, a gap between rhetoric and reality. Historical exploitation, deepening poverty, and prejudice continues to threaten human dignity. Amid these threats, and our own divisions and discernment, we call for: (i) an Archbishop’s Commission for Redemptive Action; (ii) the establishment of an Anglican Innovation Fund; and (iii) the reaffirmation of Lambeth 1:10 that upholds marriage as between a man and a woman and requires deeper work to uphold the dignity and witness of LGBTQ Anglicans.”
The revised text now reads:
“Prejudice on the basis of gender or sexuality threatens human dignity. Given Anglican polity, and especially the autonomy of Provinces, there is disagreement and a plurality of views on the relationship between human dignity and human sexuality. Yet, we experience the safeguarding of dignity in deepening dialogue. It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that “all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ” and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (I.10, 1998). Many Provinces continue to affirm that same gender marriage is not permissible. Lambeth Resolution I.10 (1998) states that the “legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions” cannot be advised. Other Provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage after careful theological reflection and a process of reception. As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues.”
Bishop Tim Thornton, who chairs the Calls Subgroup, said on Tuesday: “We have listened carefully and prayerfully to what bishops and many others have said in response to the draft Calls, especially that on Human Dignity. Archbishop Justin [Welby] has invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion to come together as a family to listen, pray and discern — sometimes across deeply held differences.
“It is our prayer that these Calls can offer a basis for those conversations - and that all of our discussions will be marked by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.”