Resolution Number: 1991-A104
Title: Affirm the Church's Teaching on Sexual Expression, Commission Congregational Dialogue, and Direct Bishops to Prepare a Pastoral Teaching
Legislative Action Taken: Concurred As Substituted and Amended
Final Text:

Resolved, That the 70th General Convention of the Episcopal Church affirms that the teaching of the Episcopal Church is that physical sexual expression is appropriate only within the lifelong monogamous "union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind" "intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord" as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer; and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continues to work to reconcile the discontinuity between this teaching and the experience of many members of this body; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention confesses our failure to lead and to resolve this discontinuity through legislative efforts based upon resolutions directed at singular and various aspects of these issues; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention commissions the Bishops and members of each Diocesan Deputation to initiate a means for all congregations in their jurisdiction to enter into dialogue and deepen their understanding of these complex issues; and further this General Convention directs the President of each Province to appoint one Bishop, one lay deputy and one clerical deputy in that province to facilitate the process, to receive reports from the dioceses at each meeting of their provincial synod and report to the 71st General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention directs the House of Bishops to prepare a Pastoral Teaching prior to the 71st General Convention using the learnings from the diocesan and provincial processes and calling upon such insight as is necessary from theologians, theological ethicists, social scientists and gay and lesbian persons; and that three lay persons and three members of the clergy from the House of Deputies, appointed by the President of the House of Deputies be included in the preparation of this Pastoral Teaching.

Citation: General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of...The Episcopal Church, Phoenix, 1991 (New York: General Convention, 1992), p. 746.

Legislative History

Author: The Standing Commission on Human Affairs
Originating House: House of Bishops
Originating Committee: Committee on Ministry

House of Bishops

Original Text of Resolution:

(A104)

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That each Diocese of this Church, acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and in accordance with its own constitution and canons, is fully competent to determine whom best to ordain to the ordained ministry of the Church in the light of the qualifications presented for ordinations in the Book of Common Prayer; and be it further

Resolved, That, in accordance with national and local canons and long-standing practice, the Ecclesiastical Authority in each diocese determines which clergy may be received or licensed to officiate within the respective diocese(s).

Proposed Committee Substitute:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this 70th General Convention affirms the teaching of the Episcopal Church that physical, sexual expression is appropriate only within the life-long, monogamous, heterosexual union contracted in marriage, as described by the Book of Common Prayer and codified by the Canons of the Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continues to struggle to resolve the discontinuity between this teaching and the experience of many members of this body; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention confesses our failure to lead and to resolve this discontinuity through legislative efforts based upon random resolutions directed at singular and various aspects of these issues; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention commissions the bishops and members of each diocesan deputation to initiate a means for all congregations in their jurisdiction to enter into dialogue and deepen their understanding of these complex ethical issues; and further this General Convention respectfully directs the Presidents of the various provinces to appoint one bishop, one lay deputy and one clerical deputy in that province to facilitate the process, to receive reports from the dioceses at each annual Provincial Synod and report to the 71st General Convention.

The Bishop of Northern Michigan moved to amend the Committee Substitute.

Proposed Amendment:

In the second Resolved, after the word "many," add "gay and lesbian."

Motion defeated

Amendment defeated

The Bishop of Central Florida moved to amend the Committee Substitute.

Proposed Amendment:

Add as a fifth Resolved:

Resolved, That this 70th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, mindful of the expectation that clergy are to "strive to pattern their lives after the teachings of Christ," and to be "wholesome examples to the flock," calls upon its bishops, priests, and deacons, to abstain from sexual relations outside of marriage.

A roll call vote was called for: Aye--85 Nay--93 Abstain--5 Absent--3

Bishops who voted Aye--85

Bishop Gooden

Bishop Harte

The Bishop of Cuernavaca

The Bishop of Kentucky

Bishop Bailey

Bishop Frey

Bishop Robinson

Bishop Rivera

Bishop Haynsworth

Bishop Stewart

Bishop Varley

Bishop Vogel

Bishop Shirley

Bishop Edward M. Turner

Bishop Sheridan

Bishop Cox

Bishop Carral

Bishop Atkinson

Bishop Parsons

Bishop Bigliardi

Bishop Wolterstorff

The Bishop of Mississippi

The Bishop of Florida

Bishop Cochrane

The Bishop of Louisiana

The Bishop of Arizona

The Suffragan Bishop of Michigan

Bishop Warner

Bishop McAllister

The Bishop of Northern California

The Bishop of Upper South Carolina

The Bishop of Southeast Mexico

The Bishop of Fond de Lac

The Bishop of Texas

Bishop Allison

The Bishop of Eau Claire

The Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

The Bishop of Northwest Texas

The Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast

The Bishop of Western Kansas

The Bishop of Pittsburgh

The Bishop of Western Mexico

The Suffragan Bishop of Connecticut (Bishop Coleridge)

The Bishop of Guatemala

The Bishop of Springfield

Bishop Charlton

The Bishop of San Diego

The Bishop of West Tennessee

The Bishop of Dallas

The Bishop of Georgia

The Bishop of Honduras

The Bishop of Albany

The Bishop of Virginia

The Bishop of Milwaukee

The Bishop of Lexington

The Bishop of Forth Worth

The Suffragan Bishop of Mexico

The Bishop of Southwest Florida

Bishop Carr (The Assistant Bishop of Upper South Carolina)

The Bishop of Oregon

The Bishop of West Texas

The Bishop of Alabama

The Bishop of Northern Indiana

The Bishop of the Virgin Islands

The Suffragan Bishop of Connecticut (Bishop Rowthorn)

The Suffragan Bishop of West Texas

The Bishop of Quincy

The Bishop of Oklahoma

The Bishop of Taiwan

The Bishop Coadjutor of Southern Ohio

The Bishop Coadjutor of San Joaquin

The Bishop of West Missouri

The Bishop of Rio Grande

The Bishop of Western North Carolina

The Bishop of Central Florida

The Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania

The Bishop of West Virginia

The Bishop of Western Louisiana

The Suffragan Bishop of Texas

The Bishop of Nebraska

The Bishop of North Dakota

The Bishop of Kansas

The Bishop of South Carolina

The Suffragan Bishop for the Armed Forces

The Suffragan Bishop of Panama

Bishops who voted No--93

Bishop Girault Jones

The Bishop of East Tennessee

Bishop Barrett

Bishop Putnam

Bishop Moore

Bishop Davidson

Bishop Burt

Bishop Appleyard

Bishop Davies

Bishop Stough

Bishop Krumm

The Bishop of Haiti

Bishop Henton

Bishop Charles

Bishop McGehee

Bishop Righter

Bishop Sims

The Bishop of New Jersey

The Bishop of Missouri

The Bishop of Southern Virginia

The Bishop of Newark

The Bishop of Indianapolis

The Bishop of Wyoming

The Bishop of Minnesota

Bishop Child

The Bishop of Southeast Florida

The Bishop of Southwestern Virginia

The Bishop of California

The Suffragan Bishop of New York

The Bishop of East Carolina

The Bishop of Connecticut

Bishop David Lewis

Bishop Hopkins

The Bishop of North Carolina

The Bishop of Rhode Island

The Bishop of Eastern Oregon

The Bishop of Arkansas

Bishop Wolfrum

The Bishop of Central New York

The Bishop of New York

The Bishop of Maryland

Bishop Birney

The Bishop of Northern Michigan

The Bishop of Bethlehem

The Bishop of Ohio

The Bishop of Easton

The Bishop of Panama

Bishop Pettit

The Bishop of Western Massachusetts

The Bishop of Rochester

The Bishop of South Dakota

The Bishop of Maine

The Bishop of Nicaragua

The Bishop of Chicago

The Bishop Coadjutor of Southern Virginia

The Bishop of Massachusetts

The Bishop of Montana

The Bishop of Pennsylvania

The Bishop of New Hampshire

The Bishop of Vermont

The Bishop of Nevada

The Bishop of Western New York

The Suffragan Bishop of Ohio

The Bishop of Utah

The Bishop of Washington

The Bishop of Delaware

The Bishop of Hawaii

The Bishop of Atlanta

The Bishop of Long Island

The Bishop of Los Angeles

The Bishop of Iowa

The Bishop of Michigan

The Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts

The Suffragan Bishop of Minnesota

The Bishop of Olympia

The Bishop of Mexico

The Bishop of Western Michigan

The Suffragan Bishop of Maryland

The Bishop of the Navajoland Area Mission

The Suffragan Bishop of North Carolina

The Bishop of Central Ecuador

The Bishop of Idaho

The Bishop of El Camino Real

The Bishop of Spokane

The Bishop of Colorado

The Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles

The Suffragan Bishop of Chicago

The Bishop Coadjutor of Missouri

The Bishop of Alaska

The Suffragan Bishop of Newark

The Bishop Coadjutor of East Tennessee

The Bishop Coadjutor of Northern California

The Bishop Coadjutor of Mississippi

Bishops present but abstaining--5

Bishop Rose

The Presiding Bishop

The Bishop of the Dominican Republic

Bishop Meeks

The Bishop of Tennessee

Bishops who were absent at the vote--3

Bishop Emrich

Bishop Primo

The Suffragan Bishop of Pennsylvania

Motion defeated

Amendment defeated

Bishop Reynolds moved to amend the Committee Substitute.

Proposed Amendment:

Delete the fourth Resolved and add:

Resolved, That we respectfully direct the Presidents of the House of Deputies and of the House of Bishops to appoint a task force by October 1st, 1991, drawn from lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons from the Episcopal Church; To achieve a new pattern in dealing with areas of fundamental teaching that do not lend themselves to the normal legislative process, including the fundamental questions of our human sexuality in light of the baptismal covenant by which the widest participation by the membership of this Church will enter into prayer, education and dialogue about the nature and responsibility of this Church's teaching regarding sexual behavior in the lives of the baptized members of the body of Christ and our common life as a Christian community.

The Bishop of West Texas moved to amend the proposed amendment.

Proposed Amendment to the Amendment:

After the words "House of Bishops," add the words "in consultation with their Councils of Advice."

Motion carried

Amendment to the amendment adopted

The Bishop of Arizona moved the previous question.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

The House voted on Bishop Reynolds' amendment to the Committee Substitute.

Motion defeated

Reynolds amendment defeated

The Bishop of Upper South Carolina moved to amend the Committee Substitute.

Proposed Amendment:

Delete the fourth Resolved in its entirety and add:

Resolved, That all remaining resolutions dealing with Human Sexuality be set aside for the remainder of this 70th General Convention, and that they be referred to the House of Bishops with the request that the bishops spend the coming triennium dealing with these matters and prepare for the 71st General Convention for its consideration a statement on human sexuality.

The Bishop of Louisiana moved the previous question.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

The House voted on the Bishop of Upper South Carolina's amendment to the Committee Substitute.

Motion defeated

Bishop of Upper South Carolina amendment defeated

The Bishop of Connecticut moved to amend the Committee Substitute.

Proposed Amendment:

Add a fifth Resolved:

Resolved, That having acted in a spirit which seeks to lead the Church to a common mind on these matters, the members of the House of Bishops will take no action without first having sought in writing the counsel of the other members of this House.

The Bishop of Rio Grande moved the previous question.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

The House voted on the Bishop of Connecticut's amendment.

Motion defeated

Bishop of Connecticut amendment defeated

The Bishop of El Camino Real moved a substitute resolution.

Proposed Substitute:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this 70th General Convention affirms the received traditions both of the authority of bishops of the catholic church in ordinations and of the sanctity of marriage as taught by the Book of Common Prayer; and be it further

Resolved, That diocesan bishops are historically pastorally entitled to take orders and to ordain persons possessing the qualities necessary to be wholesome examples to the flock of Christ; and be it further

Resolved, That those dioceses who are yet to undertake the study of human sexuality as required by resolution of the 69th General Convention do so now in the next triennium and report to the 71st General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That it is not the mind of this Church to consider now the matter of the creation of liturgical forms for the blessing of same-sex unions.

Bishop Cochrane moved the previous question.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

The House voted on the Bishop of El Camino Real's proposed Substitute Resolution.

Motion defeated

Bishop of El Camino Real substitute defeated

The Bishop of Indianapolis moved to amend the Committee Substitution.

Proposed Amendment:

In the third Resolved, strike "failure to lead and" and replace with "inability."

The Committee on Ministry accepted the amendment.

Bishop Moore moved to substitute Resolution A104 for the Committee Substitute.

The Bishop of Mississippi moved the previous question.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

The House voted on Bishop Moore's substitution of Resolution #A104 for the Committee Substitute.

Motion defeated

Moore substitute defeated

Bishop Vogel moved to amend the Committee Substitute.

Proposed Amendment:

In the second resolved, delete the word "experience" and replace it with the word "persuasion."

Motion defeated

Amendment defeated

Bishop Cochrane moved the previous question on the Committee Substitute.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

The House voted on the Committee Substitute for Resolution A104.

Motion carried

Substitute resolution adopted

(Communicated to the House of Deputies in HB Message #94)

House of Deputies

The Committee on Ministry presented its Report #6 on House of Bishops Message #94 relating to Resolution A104s (Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain) and moved concurrence, with amendment.

Proposed Committee Amendment:

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That this 70th General Convention affirms acknowledges that the teaching of the Episcopal Church is that physical sexual expression is appropriate only within the life-long, monogamous heterosexual union contracted in marriage as described by the Book of Common Prayer and codified by the Canons of the Episcopal Church, "union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind" "intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord;" and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continue s to struggle work to resolve reconcile the discontinuity between this teaching and the experience of many members of this body; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention confesses our inability failure to lead and to resolve this discontinutiy through legislative efforts based upon random resolutions directed at singular and various aspects of these issues; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention commissions the bishops and members of each diocesan deputation to initiate a means for all congregations in their jurisdiction to enter into dialogue and deepen their understanding of these complex ethical issues; and further this General Convention respectfully directs the President s of the various each province s to appoint one bishop, one lay deputy, and one clerical deputy in that province to facilitate the process, to receive reports from the dioceses at each annual meeting of their Provincial Synod and report to the 71st General Convention . ; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention directs the House of Bishops to prepare a Pastoral Teaching prior to the 71st General Convention using the learnings from the diocesan and provincial processes and calling upon such insight as is necessary from theologians, theological ethicists, social scientists, and gay and lesbian persons; and that three lay persons and three members of the clergy from the House of Deputies, be included in the preparation of this Pastoral Teaching.

Deputy Coyne of Western Massachusetts moved a substitute, which would restore the House of Bishops Message #94, A104s, thereby taking out the Committee's amendment.

Proposed Substitute:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this 70th General Convention affirms the teaching of the Episcopal Church that physical sexual expression is appropriate only within the life-long, monogamous heterosexual union contracted in marriage as described by the Book of Common Prayer and codified by the Canons of the Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continue to struggle to resolve the discontinuity between this teaching and the experience of many members of this body; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention confesses our inability to resolve this discontinuity through legislative efforts based upon random resolutions directed at singular and various aspects of these issues; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention commissions the bishops and members of each diocesan deputation to initiate a means for all congregations in their jurisdiction to enter into dialogue and deepen their understanding of these complex ethical issues; and further this General Convention respectfully directs the Presidents of the various provinces to appoint one bishop, one lay deputy, and one clerical deputy in that province to facilitate the process, to receive reports from the dioceses at each annual Provincial Synod and report to the 71st General Convention.

The question was called on the Coyne Substitute to A104s, as amended.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

Deputy Randolph of Fort Worth moved an amendment to the main motion, A104s, as amended.

Proposed Amendment:

Add the words: "; provided, however, that during the term of such study a moratorium is hereby imposed on the ordination of any homosexual living openly with a lover of the same sex, and that any bishop who knowingly violates such moratorium shall be subject to deposition."

The question was called on the Randolph amendment to A104s, as amended.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

A vote was taken on the Randolph amendment to A104s, as amended.

Motion defeated

Randolph amendment defeated

Deputy Gipson of Alabama moved an amendment to A104s, as amended.

Proposed Amendment:

Restore all the words stricken from the first Resolved and strike all the words added in the Resolved added by the committee.

Motion defeated

Gipson amendment defeated

After the allotted twenty minutes time for debate expired, debate was stopped.

A motion was made to suspend the Rules of Order to allow ten additional minutes to debate and further perfect A104s, as amended.

Motion defeated

A vote was taken on the Coyne Substitute to A104s, as amended.

Motion defeated

[Coyne] substitute resolution defeated

Deputy Kinslow of Oklahoma moved to amend Report #37a of the Committee on Dispatch of Business to revise the order for voting on the Resolutions before the House to: (1st) A104s, as amended; (2nd) B003; and (3rd) C032.

The question was called.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

A vote was taken on the Kinslow motion.

Motion to amend the Special Order defeated

Deputy Belzer of South Carolina moved to suspend the rules to reconsider Resolution A104s (Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain) in order to extend the debate.

He was ruled out of order.

Deputy Rushing of Massachusetts moved to reconsider Committee on Dispatch of Business Report #37a.

The question was called.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

A vote was taken on the Rushing motion.

Motion defeated

The clerical deputations of Fort Worth and Quincy and the lay deputation of San Joaquin called for a vote by orders on Resolution A104s (Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain) as amended.

Ballot #22 was cast by orders on A104s as amended.

Ballot #22 taken

The Secretary read the results of Ballot #22 on A104s (Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain) with amendment.

The following deputations chose to be polled on Ballot #22:

Ohio - Clerical

Harry Nevels, Jr.--no

Ernest DuRoss--no

Kathleen Burn--yes

Gay Jennings--yes

Northwest Pennsylvania - Lay

Lois Tamplin--yes

Gary Yaeger--yes

W. R. Burrows III--yes

Margaret Alexa-Allen--yes

Results of Ballot #22 on A104s

Summary of Votes

Type Total Yes No Divided Necessary
Lay 112 99 9 4 57
Clerical 115 106 5 4 58

BALLOT #22

A104s - Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain

Diocese Lay Clerical
Alabama Yes Divided
Alaska Yes Yes
Albany No No
Arizona Yes Yes
Arkansas Yes Divided
Atlanta Yes Yes
Bethlehem Yes Yes
California Yes Yes
Central Florida No Yes
Central Gulf Coast Yes Yes
Central New York Yes Yes
Central Pennsylvania Yes Yes
Chicago Yes Yes
Churches In Europe Yes Yes
Colombia
Colorado Yes Yes
Connecticut Yes Yes
Cuernavaca Yes Yes
Dallas No Yes
Delaware Yes Yes
Dominican Republic Yes Yes
East Carolina Yes Yes
East Tennessee Yes Yes
Eastern Oregon Yes Yes
Easton Yes Yes
Eau Claire Yes Yes
Ecuador Yes
El Camino Real Yes Yes
El Salvador Yes Yes
Florida No No
Fond du Lac Yes Yes
Fort Worth No No
Georgia Yes Yes
Guatemala Yes Yes
Haiti Yes
Hawaii Yes Yes
Honduras Yes Yes
Idaho Yes Yes
Indianapolis Yes Yes
Iowa Yes Yes
Kansas Yes Yes
Kentucky Yes Yes
Lexington Yes Yes
Litoral Yes Yes
Long Island Yes Divided
Los Angeles Yes Divided
Louisiana Yes Yes
Maine Yes Yes
Maryland Yes Yes
Massachusetts Divided Yes
Mexico Yes Yes
Michigan Yes Yes
Milwaukee Yes Yes
Minnesota Yes Yes
Mississippi Yes Yes
Missouri Yes Yes
Montana Yes Yes
Navaho Missions
Nebraska Yes Yes
Nevada Yes Yes
New Hampshire Divided Yes
New Jersey Yes Yes
New York Yes Yes
Newark Yes Yes
Nicaragua Yes Yes
North Carolina Yes Yes
North Dakota Yes Yes
Northern California Yes Yes
Northern Indiana Yes Yes
Northern Mexico Yes Yes
Northern Michigan Yes Yes
Northwest Texas No Yes
Northwestern Pennsylvania Yes Yes
Ohio Yes Divided
Oklahoma Yes Yes
Olympia Yes Yes
Oregon Yes Yes
Panama Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes Yes
Pittsburgh Yes Yes
Quincy Yes Yes
Rhode Island Yes Yes
Rio Grande Yes Yes
Rochester Yes Yes
San Diego Divided Yes
San Joaquin Yes Yes
South Carolina Yes Yes
South Dakota No Yes
Southeast Florida Yes Yes
Southeastern Mexico Yes Yes
Southern Ohio Yes Yes
Southern Virginia Yes Yes
Southwest Florida Yes Yes
Southwestern Virginia Yes Yes
Spokane Yes Yes
Springfield Yes Yes
Taiwan Yes
Tennessee Yes Yes
Texas Yes No
Upper South Carolina Yes Yes
Utah Yes Yes
Vermont Yes Yes
Virgin Islands No No
Virginia Yes Yes
Washington Yes Yes
West Missouri Yes Yes
West Tennessee Yes Yes
West Texas Yes Yes
West Virginia Yes Yes
Western Kansas Divided Yes
Western Louisiana Yes Yes
Western Massachusetts Yes Yes
Western Mexico Yes Yes
Western Michigan Yes Yes
Western New York Yes Yes
Western North Carolina Yes Yes
Wyoming No Yes

The House concurred with amendment

(Communicated to the House of Bishops in HD Message #177)

House of Bishops

The Committee on Ministry presented its Report #35 on HD Message #177 relating to Resolution A104sa (Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain) and moved concurrence as amended by the Committee.

Proposed Committee Amendment:

In the first Resolved, replace "acknowledges" with "affirms."

In the first Resolved, after "love of the Lord," add "as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer."

The House concurred with amendment

(Communicated to the House of Deputies in HB Message #224)

House of Deputies

The Committee on Ministry presented its Report #35 on Resolution A104sa (Diocese to Determine Whom to Ordain) and moved concurrence.

Deputy Sutherland of Arkansas moved an amendment.

Proposed Amendment:

Delete all but the first Resolved.

The question was called on the Sutherland amendment and the main motion.

Motion carried

Debate terminated

A vote was taken on the Sutherland amendment.

Motion defeated

Sutherland amendment defeated

A vote was taken on Resolution A104sa.

The House concurred

(Communicated to the House of Bishops in HD Message #249)

Resolution Concurred by Both Houses, July 19.

Report Reference:   Standing Commission on Human Affairs, Reports to the 70th General Convention, 1991, pp. 195-223.
Abstract:   The 70th General Convention affirms that physical sexual expression is appropriate only within the lifelong monogamous "union of husband and wife." It calls the Church to continue to reconcile the discontinuity between this teaching and the experience of members of this body and requests preparation of a Pastoral Teaching.