Bishop Michael Ingham told his Diocesan Council at its December meeting that there are hopeful signs more members of the Anglican Communion may be persuaded to strike a more balanced approach to sexuality and other issues.

He reported on a meeting in Chicago he attended earlier in the month that included about 50 participants from Africa, Central and South America, Europe, New Zealand, as well as Canada and the US, that vowed to work for the full inclusion of all baptised persons in the Anglican Communion – including gay and lesbian Christian.

Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Diocese of Washington (D.C.) - Photo courtesy PBS

Organized by the Bishop of Washington (D.C.) John Bryson Chane, the group is developing a “strategy of inclusion” in advance of the Lambeth Conference next July.

The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of all the world’s Anglican bishops called together every ten years or so by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1998 it was mired in controversy over the issue of homosexuality, with a majority of bishops, many from the developing world, refusing to consider arguments for same sex blessings or homosexual priests or bishops.

Bishop Ingham said the group he met with pledged to try to return the Anglicans to a balance of emphasis on scripture, reason, and tradition, and press for what they consider to be moderate, classical Anglicanism.

The group will provide bishops attending Lambeth with theological and other papers to attempt to bring balanced perspective to the area of human sexuality.

“I came away from that meeting with some hope that the Communion – the bishops attending Lambeth and those who follow the proceedings – will have some material that gives balance, unlike last time,” Bishop Ingham said.

“Those of us who were at the 1998 l conference watched with some astonishment as a particular theology from a particular part of the Anglican world was driven through the conference by a well funded, well organized lobby,” he said. “The one aspect of this meeting in Chicago is to make sure that is balanced at the next Lambeth meeting.”

A full report of the meeting, called the Chicago Consultation, is available on the website of the US Episcopal Church here.

The bishop also report that he had attended an ecumenical meeting with six Roman Catholic bishops outside Montreal in November, and found the bishops gracious, intelligent, open-minded, non-judgmental, and very interested in events within the Anglican Church of Canada. The talks convinced him of the value of face-to-face ecumenical dialog.

He also said he and others concerned about the effect of widespread, government-sponsored gambling met to convey their concerns to BC Solicitor General John Les.