College of Bishops Response to Anglican Primates' Letter of February 2009

College of Bishops Response to Anglican Primates' Letter of February 2009

The Anglican Primates met in Alexandria in February 2009. At the conclusion of their meeting, they issued a communiqué in the form a letter addressed to the Churches of the Anglican Communion, entitled Deeper Communion; Gracious Restraint. The College of Bishops has since had the opportunity of a first hand report of the Prmates' meeting from the Primus and considered that it would be appropriate to issue a short response to the Primates' letter, including comment on the so-called "Anglican Moratoria".

The College welcomes the fact that the Primates were able to talk honestly and openly together and that despite the alienation and pain felt by many parts of the Communion, there was nevertheless a spirit of graciousness in evidence in the meeting. It shares the desire expressed by the Primates for the Communion to flourish and remain united and it equally desires the flourishing and unity of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The College notes and shares the conviction of the Primates that God is calling Anglican Churches to deeper communion, which may be significantly furthered through our adoption of a period of gracious restraint. That restraint is to be exercised in the three areas covered by the Moratoria, namely the ordination of those in same-gender unions to the episcopate, the authorisation of rites for same-sex blessings and cross-border interventions.

The College of Bishops recognises that, whilst the "Lambeth Indaba" document records that "there is widespread support for the moratoria across the Cornmunion" and that they "can be taken as a sign of the Bishops' affection, trust and goodwill towards the Archbishop of Canterbury and one another", it also agrees that, in practice, there are likely to be difficulties in the moratoria being upheld across the Communion. The concept of a moratorium also gives rise to some difficulty for the College in that it is not clear when, or in what circumstances, a moratorium would end.

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