The annual convention of the Washington Episcopal Diocese called last week on Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and other Anglican bodies to follow the example of the Episcopal Church and ordain women to the priesthood.
The resolution, which stirred considerable debate, was directed at two international meetings, involving Anglicans this summer at which ordination of women is to be discussed. The first meeting will be a session in the continuing Anglican-Orthodox dialogue, and the second is the Lambeth Conference, a worldwide gathering of bishops of Anglican-related churches. The latter is held every 10 years.
The resolution, brought to the convention floor by the diocesan Standing Committee, the elected body of priests and lay members that governs the diocese with the bishops, suggested that other dioceses of the church in this country take similar action to reaffirm the 1976 decision to ordain women.
In other actions, the convention received but did not discuss a report on homosexuality. The study urged that homesexuals seeking church membership "be incorporated into that parish family just as any other individual would be welcomed."
On the highly emotional question of ordaining homosexuals as priests, the reports makes no forthright recommendation other than to suggest that the matter be handled on a case-by-case basis, as is the present practise.
The report assert, that "being a homosexual is no a ground for disqualification from ordination." It also suggests that "to advocate or willfully and habitually choose to practice homesuxuality perhaps is . . . reason not to authorize ordination, at this time."
The report maintains that matrimony is a rite reserved for the marriage of a man and woman and "not an appropriate service for the blessing of the union of persons of the same gender."
The report, more than half of which is devoted to examination of what the Bible does or does not say about homosexuality, concludes with the suggestion that the entire subject requires more study.
A resolution on abortion, which also generated extensive debate, calls on the church and its members to "actively work to assure the Continuance of federal, state and local funds of abortion."
Noting the "increasingly bitter and divisive battle being waged in legislative bodies to force continuance of unwanted pregnancies," the resolution calls abortion a question of conscience for individuals concerned.
In an apparent reference to efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to get antiabortion legislation enacted, the resolutioin states that "the particular belief of one religious body should not be forced on those who believe otherwise."
Presiding at the convention for the first time as head of the diocese, Bishop John T. Walker reported, that "the diocese was and is in a healthy condition."
Bitter disputes that have split the Episcopal Church in some areas were not reflected in the local convention. Despite differences of opinion that persist on such questions as women priests and revision of the church's book of prayer, no parishes have left the diocese.
A budget report said that more than 98 percent of the amount pledged by the 94 parishes to the diocese's 1977 budget has been paid.The convention approved a budget of $1.47 million for 1978.