The Episcopal Church has approved an apology from the American Anglican Church for the actions of the General Convention of 2003 when tension was created due to the appointment of gay bishop Gene Robinson.

The House of Deputies welcomed an expression of regret for “straining the bonds of affection” within the Anglican Communion at the denomination’s General Convention.

The original form of resolution A160 expressed regret for “breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection” for particularly Bishop Robinson’s affirmation as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

Reverend Lorne Coyle, a deputy from Central Florida, urged the house to pass the original language of the resolution, “as a sign of our desire of reconciliation with our communion partners,” he said: “If there is a tear in the fabric of our Communion, and I believe there is, this is an important first stitch in repairing that tear.”

That language was too much for some who questioned what the definition of “proper” might be, as well as those who contend the Anglican Communion is strained, not broken.

“What are these ‘proper constraints’? Who decided what are they were? And how could we have known?” asked the Reverend Gay Jennings, from the Diocese of Ohio.

She then offered an amendment substituting the word “straining” for “breaching” the bonds of affection. The amendment passed and the resolution was adopted a short time later.

However, the house ran out of time to debate a resolution on banning the election of gay or lesbian clergy.