[Episcopal News Service — Alexandria, Egypt] Anglican leaders meeting in Egypt have affirmed the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group and called for the development of a "Pastoral Council" and the appointment of "Pastoral Visitors" to assist in healing and reconciliation given the current "situation of tension" in the Anglican Communion.
In a communiqué released on the final day of their February 1-5 meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, the primates are also encouraging all parties in the current controversies to maintain "gracious restraint" with respect to actions that could exacerbate the tensions, such as same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told ENS that she is encouraged by the tone of the communiqué, but acknowledged that "the long-term impact of ‘gracious restraint’ is a matter for General Convention," the Episcopal Church’s main legislative body that next meets in July in Anaheim, California.
"We are going to have to have honest conversations about who we are as a church and the value we place on our relationships and mission opportunities with other parts of the communion and how we can be faithful with many spheres of relationship at the same time," she said. "That is tension-producing and will be anxiety-producing for many, but we are a people that live in hope, not in instant solutions but in faithfulness to God."
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told the media on February 5 that "the spirit of this meeting has been very constructive. I don’t think many people have changed their minds, but there has been a willingness to listen and find accommodation for one another."