Gene Robinson, the bishop of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of New Hampshire, said at his consecration that the church could not buy the sort of publicity that his election and approval had attracted. One could say the same of how Jill Lawless of The Associated Press summed up one decision of the Anglican Counsultative Council, which met this week in Nottingham, England:
The Anglican Communion rejected Wednesday an attempt by traditionalists to punish the Canadian and U.S. wings of the church for their stand on homosexuality, watering down a resolution that called for the North Americans to be suspended from all church bodies.
Clergy including Archbishop Peter Akinola, head of the 17.5-million-member Church of Nigeria, submitted a resolution to the influential Anglican Consultative Council requesting "that the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) and the Anglican Church of Canada withdraw their members from all other official entities of the Communion" for three years.
The resolution was adopted by a vote of 30-28, with a key change -- "all other official entities of the Communion" was replaced with a reference to the council's "standing committee and the inter-Anglican finance and administration committee."
The Episcopal Church's own Episcopal News Service did not place such an optimistic interpretation on the ACC's vote. Likewise, Solange De Santis of Anglican Journal -- the national newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada -- described the ACC as narrowly supporting censure of the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) and the Canadian church.
As with any other meeting of Anglicans -- from the Lambeth Conference to the regular meetings of Anglican primates -- there is enough ambiguity in the ACC's votes that both sides can claim victory and go home. It's a rare thing, though, for an AP reporter to claim victory for one side in such strong language.