The report of the Eames Commission, which was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consider relationships within the Anglican Communion was released on Monday morning under the title The Windsor Report. The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, is continuing to prayerfully digest the report, which he receives with utmost seriousness and respect. Bishop Sauls has planned a series of meetings with diocesan leaders this week, and a full clergy meeting on October 27th. Efforts have been made to provide background materials regarding the structure and function of the Anglican Communion and the history of other controversies which have concerned the Communion, in order to provide a context for the reception of this report, which contains the recommendations of the Lambeth Commission. The report will now go to the Primates, or the bishops and archbishops who are the elected heads of the constituent members who make up the Anglican Communion for their consideration. The report will also be received by the Anglican Consultative Council, made up of bishops, priests and lay persons from the constituent churches in the Anglican Communion. Unlike the Roman Church, there is no overarching canon law that is binding on all constituent members, nor is there any parallel in Anglicanism to the Pope, in terms of jurisdiction in all dioceses.
Bishop Sauls states: “The issue before the Lambeth Commission and the Anglican Communion is far deeper than the current controversy regarding the ordination of Gene Robinson or the blessing of Christians in same-sex monogamous relationships. The Lambeth Commission was not charged with resolving that theological issue. We will have to engage in deep and serious conversation with each other to do that. How to engage together as partners in the Gospel is what I hope the Lambeth Commission will help us with –how a diverse communion lives and works together. In our diversity, we are indeed partners. What we do in this country impacts real people in other parts of the world. At the same time, others in the Anglican Communion need to be aware of the impact of their decisions here.
Many people have been waiting for the release of this report with hopes of substantiating their particular perspective regarding the current controversies. The report admonishes all concerned- not so much for specifics of the current situation, but for lack of regard for other members of the Anglican family in making local decisions. The Episcopal Church in the United States is called to task for ways in which we made decisions at General Convention in 2003, and others in the Anglican Communion are called to task for interfering with how we solve our problems. We are now, and have always been, a communion grounded in our common life in Baptism and Eucharist; not by legal bonds, but by bonds of affection. For Anglicans, legalism and enforced uniformity have always been too easy a way out of honestly dealing with our differences. The task that remains for us is how we live out that common life in diverse cultural contexts.
It is my intention as Bishop that the Diocese of Lexington will honestly and faithfully engage the report of the Lambeth Commission -- especially its call for how we honor each other throughout the Communion as we work through to an understanding and practice of the Gospel that we as Anglicans can hold in common.”
The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls
Bishop of Lexington