Windsor Report on Episcopals Overwhelming, Complex, Clergy Say; Anglican Panel Calls on Church "To Confess, Seek Reconciliation" for Ordaining Gay Bishop

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BRUMLEY, The Times-Union

At nearly 100 pages, the Windsor Report is theologically complex and overwhelming, First Coast clergy said.

"People will be studying this for years to come," said the Rev. Sam Pascoe, rector at Grace Church, an Episcopal parish in Orange Park.

The report, issued by a committee of the worldwide Anglican communion, criticized the Episcopal Church for ordaining a gay bishop and asked that the American branch refrain from further ordinations of homosexuals.

The issue has threatened to split the American church and alienated many Anglicans.

The report was released Monday via the Internet, so no one has really had time to fully digest it.

"My initial read has been very brief," said the Right Rev. John Howard, bishop of the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida.

The problem for Pascoe, Howard and others in leadership positions in the Episcopal Church is that everyone from reporters to their own parishioners wanted answers on Monday. So priests and bishops around the country sifted through the document -- also known as the Lambeth Report after the Lambeth Commission that crafted it -- as quickly as they could to start answering questions.

From what he could see from "a quick, first read" of the report, the Rev. Neil Lebhar said it looks as if the commission is on target with its criticism of the denomination but falls short by failing to recommend discipline.

"Most encouraging is that it makes clear how unilaterally the Episcopal Church acted" in electing openly gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in New Hampshire in November 2003, said Lebhar, rector at the Church of the Redeemer on Southside Boulevard in Jacksonville.

Lebhar's parish is one of more than 20 in the diocese that protested that action and since then affiliated with an association of conservative parishes.

"It's crystal clear . …