TEC Dioceses Respond to PRIMATES 2016 Communique -- UPDATED
Sadness, dismay, hurt, anger and defiance spill over following decision by Primates to discipline the Episcopal Church
Not a single Episcopal bishop responded to the call for repentance
By David W. Virtue DD
January 18, 2016
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said, "This is not the outcome we expected, and while we are disappointed, it's important to remember that the Anglican Communion is really not a matter of structure and organization. We are the Episcopal Church, and we are part of the Jesus Movement, and that Movement goes on, and our work goes on. It may be part of our vocation to help the Communion and to help many others to grow in a direction where we can realize and live the love that God has for all of us, and we can one day be a Church and a Communion where all of God's children are fully welcomed, where this is truly a house of prayer for all people. And maybe it's a part of our vocation to help that to happen."
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies said this: "I want to assure you that nothing about what the primates have said will change the actions of General Convention that have, over the past four decades, moved us toward full inclusion and equal marriage. And regardless of the primates' vote, we Episcopalians will continue working with Anglicans across the globe to feed the hungry, care for the sick, educate children, and heal the world. Nothing that happens at a primates' meeting will change our love for one another or our commitment to serving God together.
"The practical consequences of the primates' action will be that, for three years, Episcopalians will not be invited to serve on certain committees, or will be excluded from voting while they are there. However, the primates do not have authority over the Anglican Consultative Council, the worldwide body of bishops, clergy and lay people that facilitates the cooperative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion."
The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi of Utah said this: "I am saddened by the Primates' decision, but not surprised. I want to emphasize it DOES NOTE CHANGE US --IN WHO WE ARE IN UTAH or in the Episcopal Church for that matter. We were inclusive about marriage equality before today. We still are. We welcome all people whether they agree or disagree with the stance our Episcopal Church took in Utah last summer when we gathered together and listened for God's guidance. Our unity is in Christ."
The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, said, "I am deeply saddened by the statement released today from the Primates meeting being held in Canterbury, England. The statement released by the Primates fails to recognize the glaring reality that every part of the Anglican Communion faces the same questions we have faced, and every Province of the Anglican Communion will have to decide to whom they are willing to deny the Sacraments.
"As our Presiding Bishop, Michael B. Curry, told the Primates at Canterbury, 'Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all.'"
Bishop Todd Ousley, Bishop of Eastern Michigan said, "The Primates have collectively but not unanimously determined that the more expansive understanding of marriage faithfully discerned by the Episcopal Church, violates beliefs in a number of other Provinces of the Communion. I humbly accept this determination and will abide by the recommended consequences as they are laid out in the days ahead. However. I also intend to participate in efforts to enhance mutual understanding across theological differences and to deepen relationships within our beloved Communion. Furthermore, I invite you to join me in this holy work."
The Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher, Bishop of Western Massachusetts wrote, "The Episcopal Church is not backing down on our support for same-sex marriage and for the dignity and equality of LGBTQ persons. But I also, as a Bishop in the Episcopal Church which is part of the Anglican Communion, apologize to LBGTQ persons. This decision by the Primates is hurtful for you -- you who are God's creation and beloved by God as you are. I wish they had never said what they did and I support you.
"I support you despite the Primates' Meeting and I look forward to this as an opportunity to once again make this support public. We are not 'set back.' Just the opposite. This is an opportunity to again say to LGBTQ persons -- 'you can come home to the Episcopal Church.' We will not back away from that support -- not in these three years of 'sanctions' and never in the years after that. Not only are you welcomed, but you are a great gift from the Living God."
Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington writes, "I regret that the primates' decision has caused pain to those who have been deeply wounded by prejudice in the church they love because of their sexual orientation. But I am also confident in the decisions we as the Episcopal Church have made, based on over 40 years' engagement with Scripture and one another, on issues of human sexuality. While not all in the Episcopal Church agree with those decisions, they are as solid as earlier decisions made regarding the full inclusion of women in leadership, our positions on divorce, and our commitment to racial justice. The primates seek to limit the Episcopal Church's membership and participation in certain bodies within communion governance for the next three years. While the primates say they are requiring these limitations...they do not have authority over the bodies they seek to direct. While this issue is debated, I want us to be mindful of more lasting concerns."
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop and the Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts wrote, "The communique includes recommendations which have come in terms unexpected and dismaying to many of us. In the face of that distress, we, your bishops, wish to make the following affirmation. We re-affirm our commitment to the full inclusion of all Christian persons, including LGBTQ Christians, in the life of the church--its fellowship, its leadership and its sacramental life. This commitment is firm in the Diocese of Massachusetts, where we have known the immeasurable grace brought to our life together by such full inclusion. We re-affirm our identity as Anglican Christians. That identity, since its inception, has included two foundational principles: the ecclesiological autonomy of the church in a given land, and a comprehensive inclusion of divergent theological viewpoints. Our identity as Anglicans has never been a matter of credal or doctrinal subscription, nor of conciliar membership requirements."
Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, said, "This moment is neither a 'badge of courage' nor a repudiation of our sincere care for all God's people. It is a challenging moment in time in the story of the Anglican Communion. However, it does not define our wider mission in the world. Our diocese has deep and profound relationships all over this Communion, including the many islands of the Caribbean, throughout Africa, South America and the far reaches of Asia. These connections to family and colleagues in ministry remain strong. The sanctions do not have any bearing on our established relationships which are deep and rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop of New Hampshire said this, "The decisions of the majority of the Primates do sting. Their chastening hurts because in the bonds of the body of Christ we cherish the relationships they represent throughout the world, and we deeply desire to be partners with them in God's mission of reconciliation and healing. While there is some question as to the authority of the Primates to levy any kind of sanction on The Episcopal Church--a matter of deep concern to my colleagues who have devoted so much of their lives to our relationships within the Communion--the gravity of their statements cannot be dismissed. Though the news from Canterbury exposes wounds within the Body of Christ, the Church is alive and we are very much a part of it."
Michael L. Vono, Bishop of the Rio Grande said this: "While this may sound like only terrible news to some there is a silver lining. The leadership of the Primates who are represented in the global south (GAFCON and I thank God that they and the leadership of ACNA were invited and attended) added that: 'This action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning. There is no schism in the Anglican Church. We are merely at yet another important junction.' The Primates stated 'this agreement acknowledges the significant difference that remains,' but 'the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ.'"
W. Andrew Waldo, Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina said this: "It is critical to note that the Communique is a communique. The Primates' Meeting, while serving as what we call an 'instrument of unity' within the Communion, has no authority in and of itself to say who is in or who is out of the Anglican Communion, or to discipline constituent provinces. The other instruments of unity are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lambeth Conference of all bishops in the Communion. Schism has not occurred. A reiteration of our common desire to stay in relationship is in fact explicit in the Communique."
Mark Beckwith, Bishop of the Diocese of Newark said this: "The pain is real. The Primates punishment sounds harsh -- and it is, to a degree. But The Anglican Communion is less a structure and more a network of relationships. While we have been given a 'time out' for three years in TEC's participation on some of the formal bodies of the Anglican Communion, it will not -- as far as I can tell, have any effect on our participation on the Anglican Consultative Council or other formal or informal networks that have long been the hallmark of what it means to be Anglican.'"
Georgia Bishop Scott Benhase said this: "The Anglican Communion Primates have spoken through their vote. We respect their position, yet we are a communion of independent churches. Their voice, while important, has no effect on the mission of the Diocese of Georgia."
Whayne M. Hougland Jr., Bishop of the Diocese of Western Michigan wrote, "I am saddened by the recent action taken at the Primates meeting in Canterbury, England. This action touches a painful nerve for many of us who deeply love both the Episcopal Church and our Anglican heritage. I stand by the decisions of General Convention that expanded our understanding of marriage and provided appropriate new marriage rites. I personally find this action to be really rather un-Anglican. Anglicans do not have litmus tests for right understanding or true belief. This is one of the things that makes us uniquely Anglican. This action does not change our call to serve the least, the last and the lost. The Episcopal Church is still part of the Anglican Communion. We must stay focused on our mission and not be distracted by powers and forces that seek to divide us."
South Carolina Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg wrote, "There have been reports from the Primates' Meeting in Canterbury, England, that have disturbed Episcopalians. These reports speak of actions such as 'suspension' or 'discipline' or other punitive measures, directed toward The Episcopal Church. We acknowledge that our actions in this country may have made life more difficult for Anglicans in other countries, never losing sight of the pain and difficulty experienced by our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters here and around the world."
J. Scott Mayer. Fort Worth Provisional Bishop/Northwest Texas wrote, "As things stand now, it appears to mean that two people who represent The Episcopal Church on ecumenical and interfaith bodies will attend but not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity for a period of three years. Our membership in the Anglican Communion remains intact, and The Episcopal Church remains the Anglican presence in our part of North America. Moreover, this action will not affect the ongoing relational work of dioceses and congregations carrying out Gospel imperatives with our communion partners."
Thomas C. Ely, Bishop of Vermont said, "For me, sadness and disappointment are the overwhelming feelings in my heart as I read and ponder the statement from this week's gathering in Canterbury. I find it especially disappointing to read that the principle offering from a meeting called by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the spirit of reconciliation includes what comes across to me as a rebuke of one member of the Anglican family, the Episcopal Church. In some ways, this agreement is nothing short of miraculous, given the prior predictions of schism and discord. I don't foresee the Episcopal Church changing the course of its commitment to the full inclusion of all in the Body of Christ. Other parts of the Anglican Communion are also moving steadily in this direction."
Maryland Assistant Bishop Chilton R. Knudsen wrote, "The sky is not falling! You may have heard news reports the Episcopal Church has been sanctioned by the Anglican Communion. In truth it was the primates and presiding bishops from the 38 autonomous churches meeting in Canterbury that voted to suspend us from serving on committees within the organizational life of the Communion.The Anglican Consultative Council is the body that can take such actions, not the primates. This is not the first time that we have been asked to refrain from participating in the governance of the Anglican Communion."
Andrew M.L. Dietsche, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York wrote, "Our communion is intact. In no way will this vote impair or diminish the commitment of the Diocese of New York to continue our own mission relationships and the work we are doing through our Global Mission Commission and through the many parishes of New York among the people and churches of Haiti, India, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and across the world. We have countless friends in myriad places, and I am confident that the depth and richness of those relationships across world and communion will continue to make us glad and rekindle every day our love of the historic communion we are happy to still claim.
"I particularly want to speak to those of our diocese in the LGBT community. Please do not fear that the divisions in our communion expressed yesterday, or the consequences of those divisions for the Episcopal Church, will ever cause for this bishop or diocese a scrap of regret for the decisions made here to provide for all people, particularly for gay and lesbian people, the fullest possible inclusion in our common life and full access to the sacramental life of the church, notably the sacraments of marriage and ordination."
Greg Brewer, the Evangelical Bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida wrote this: "It is inevitable that an international organization that calls itself a 'Communion' (held together by faith, polity, and 'bonds of affection') would react when one of its members operates 'unilaterally' and ignores the unifying faith and polity of the organization. The surprise is that such action was so decisive. We are used to a Communion that 'muddles through,' and sometimes that is the wisest course of action, trusting that over time God will sort out the inconsistencies. But we have an Archbishop of Canterbury who, among other positive attributes, is a man of action; someone who is acting in ways that bear out his commitments to hold together the tensions between Biblical faithfulness and a coherent church unity. It is important to note that a clear precedent has been set by the 'consequences' imposed on The Episcopal Church.
"The Primates communique makes clear that the actions of The Episcopal Church 'on a matter of doctrine' were 'unilateral' and a departure from mutual accountability and interdependence. I disagree with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's position on gay marriage, I cannot help but admire and commend his generosity, kindness, and humility. The message coming out of this communique was that each branch of the Communion cannot choose to exist on its own terms and disregard the impact it may have on the rest of the Communion. We are interrelated and global. It is significant that Apb. Foley Beach was invited and seated, but no ongoing formal relationship was established...this meeting of the Primates is a clear signal that global Anglicanism has a significant future, and I find that deeply encouraging."
Chicago Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee wrote this: "The Anglican Communion ...is not a governing body with authority in the internal workings of its member churches, and this announcement will not change in any way the Diocese of Chicago's commitment to the full inclusion of all of God's people in our life and ministry. As your bishop and as a Christian, I believe that the faithful, loving, and lifelong union of two persons--of the same sex or of opposite sexes--is capable of signifying the never failing love of God in Christ for the church and the world, and nothing that happens in a meeting or anywhere else will ever change that."
Oklahoma Bishop Edward J. Konieczny wrote, "I wholeheartedly support our Presiding Bishop in this matter. As we move forward, The Episcopal Church will be involved in discussions regarding exactly what these changes mean, and how they will affect our relationships in the Anglican Communion. While these actions by the Primates of the Anglican Communion may affect relationships between The Episcopal Church and parts of the Anglican Communion, they do not affect the mission, ministry or service of our Church or our diocese. We will continue working, worshipping and serving together to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ."
East Tennessee Bishop George D. Young III wrote, "It is unfortunate that a majority of the Primates of the Anglican Communion have told The Episcopal Church to go 'sit in the corner.' Regardless, we are still sisters and brothers in Christ with all people in the Anglican Communion, and more importantly sisters and brothers in Jesus. That will never change. Never."
The Bishop of San Diego Jim Mathes wrote, "I pray that in the end walking together will prevail over the forces of division. In that spirit, we will strive to stay in relationship. We will also authentically follow Jesus in fearless love that transcends boundaries and borders."
Mark Handley Andrus, Bishop of California said, "The primates made peace among themselves by scapegoating The Episcopal Church, and even more fundamentally by further marginalizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The primates acted covertly -- not honestly and openly. The primates acted deviously. How could the faithful of the world have prepared for such an outcome based on the public statements of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who spoke about the possibilities of schism, but did not mention a vote to suspend a member of the Communion?"
"We, the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Anne E. Hodges-Copple and the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee, wholeheartedly support the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the statement he shared from the streets of Canterbury. We are grateful he has such courage of presence and clarity of proclamation at a difficult time within the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is still part of the Anglican Communion; still a beloved and faithful member of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. That is result of baptism, not a vote."
The Bishop of Western Louisiana Jake Owensby wrote, "This is a difficult and painful time for our Communion. We disagree about weighty matters. All parties to this conversation are people of deep, abiding faith. The Episcopal Church remains committed to our inclusive understanding of the Gospel, understanding that some within our own pews as well as many across the sea disagree.Granting access to marriage for same-gender persons joins the list of points of tension among members of the Communion."
Bishop of Missouri Wayne Smith wrote, "The requirements that the Anglican primates set for The Episcopal Church this week will bring pain to many of us, as our Presiding Bishop has noted. The most important sentence in the primates' communique, however, is 'It is our unanimous desire to walk together.' I cannot recall any previous unanimity among the primates around issues of human sexuality. And if sanctions help provide a space through which our Communion and its leaders can seek reconciliation, then so be it."
Bishops of Texas, the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, the Rt. Rev. Dena A. Harrison and the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher issued a joint response saying, "Neither the people of The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, nor the membership of the Compass Rose Society are of one mind on these issues. Yet both groups have committed to work beyond any differences of opinion we have theologically. We have committed to a unity made possible by the reconciling ministry of Jesus Christ and are bound together in our common witness to God's love for all humanity. As Bishop of the Diocese of Texas and President of the Compass Rose Society, these events will not affect our work with more than 45 different Anglican ministries globally. These events will not change our commitment to support, through leadership and dollars, the continuing global ministries of the Anglican Communion. Neither will these events impact our present ministry and mission in proclaiming the Gospel to all people."
The Bishop of Ohio Mark Hollingsworth, Jr. wrote, "The Primates' meeting, while not entirely unexpected, is deeply disappointing to me. In the same breath that it professes a 'unanimous desire to walk together,' it announced a decision 'requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent [the Anglican Communion] on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.'
"As painful as this action is to many of us, it is, of course, nothing new to people of color, to the LGBT community, to countless ethnic and religious minorities, to those trapped in poverty, and to many others. To the privileged of our church, it may provide an introduction to the marginalization that is all too familiar to so many."
The Bishop of Nevada, Dan Edward, wrote, "If being excluded from committees for three years is the price we have to pay for full inclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, it is a price I would pay many times over. If our not serving on committees for three years preserves the bonds of Christian fellowship that constitute the Anglican Communion, I am more than willing to pay the price for that good purpose as well. Our union in Christ does not depend on committees but on our love of God and service to God's people in common mission."
Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Diocese of Rhode Island wrote, "There is a real sense of pain and sadness that the Episcopal Church is being censured for decisions it made in response to the pastoral needs of our members in our local contexts. I believe it is important to note that the decisions made by our General Convention were done after decades of passionate conversation, biblical and theological engagement, by those in favor and those opposed, and with the understanding that no one is expected to uphold a position that their conscience cannot support."
The Rt. Rev. William H. (Chip) Stokes, Bishop of New Jersey wrote, "It is important to note that characterizations of the Primates' vote as a 'suspension of the Episcopal Church' which appeared in the popular press are grossly overstated. The Communique was clear that the unanimous decision and desire of the Primates is "to walk together, however painful this is, and despite our differences, as a deep expression of our unity in the body of Christ. Once more, it appears the Primates' Meeting makes statements of care and support on the one hand, while punishing The Episcopal Church on the other."
Bishop Singh of the Diocese of Rochester wrote, "I am grateful that the primatial communion continues to stay at the table. Their decision to sanction the Episcopal Church for her decision to change the marriage canon is painful. However, if the cost of upholding human personality is a sanctionable offence then I am happy to be part of a faith community that is deemed guilty of such an offence. While our unity is in Christ our differences also are in understanding the love of Christ."
Clifton Daniel, Bishop of Pennsylvania wrote, "This decision is painful to many of us in The Episcopal Church, especially faithful gay/lesbian communicants of this church who once again feel the harshness of exclusion. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ."
Bishop Holly Hollerith of the Diocese of Southern Virginia wrote, "My initial reaction to the agreement was one of surprise, followed by disappointment. I'm particularly disappointed that our new Presiding Bishop, who was present at the meeting, was forced to endure what was most certainly a difficult and painful experience. I ask that you keep Michael in your prayers. From my perspective, this recent decision should not in any way seriously impact the mission and ministry of the greater Episcopal Church."
The Rt. Rev. George D. Young, III, Bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee, wrote, "It is unfortunate that a majority of the Primates of the Anglican Communion have told The Episcopal Church to go 'sit in the corner.' Regardless, we are still sisters and brothers in Christ with all people in the Anglican Communion, and more importantly sisters and brothers in Jesus. That will never change. Never."
The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida wrote, "Please know that we have not been suspended from the Anglican Communion. This primatial statement does not change anything for the Diocese of Southwest Florida, nor does it change anything on the congregational, diocesan or provincial level. As they stated, there are no victors or vanquished."
Diocese of Tennessee Bishop Bauerschmidt wrote, "A Communion in which there is no way to reach a common mind about the extent of difference will not be able to grow together, or even hold together. Insisting that our present differences are not enough to divide us will not convince others who believe differently. Instruments are needed by which we can engage each other and hold each other accountable, and not simply be churches that are talking past each other."
The Diocese of Fond du Lac's Bishop Matt Gunter wrote, "Over the past week the unanimous decision of the Primates was to walk together, however painful this is, and despite our differences, as a deep expression of our unity in the body of Christ. To be a member of the Church is to be bound to all other members by the enduring bond of baptism. Because we are bound to one another, we walk together. Because we sometime disagree with one another or act in ways that hurt one another, that can be a painful thing. It is the pain of love. To be in in real communion is difficult. It requires dying and rising. It requires patience, perseverance, and endurance."
Diocese of Indianapolis Bishop Catherine Waynick said, "What will happen with Partner relationships between and among dioceses is yet to be seen, and will certainly be a Province by Province or Diocese by Diocese decision. My intention and hope is that our partnerships will continue during and beyond this three year period."
The Rt. Rev'd Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. Bishop of Michigan wrote, "In light of Primates' action, we must maintain our mission. We will have to be patient to discover exactly what Anglican Communion committees will not benefit from the full participation of Episcopalians for the time of the 'consequences.' However, I assure you that our commitment to mission with and among those less fortunate than ourselves and our commitment to the Waters of Reconciliation among the diverse populations of our communities will continue."
Bishop Tom Breidenthal Diocese of Southern Ohio wrote, "I am saddened by the Anglican Primates' decision to discipline the Episcopal Church owing to the disparity in our understanding of marriage. I hope we will accept this discipline graciously and with a clear conscience, walking with all our Anglican brothers and sisters to resolve our differences. Please keep the Episcopal Church and the entire Anglican Communion in your prayers during this difficult time."
Bishop Daniel Martins Diocese of Springfield said, "I write as a loyal Episcopalian, yet I believe that the action of the Primates in this case is not only appropriate, but actually quite restrained. I had been personally preparing myself for something much more stringent. Of course, the process of "spin control" has already begun in earnest, from one end of the ideological spectrum to the other. Many Episcopalian leaders are voicing a resolve to persist even more fervently in what they articulate as a gospel-driven struggle for justice. Many are expressing pride that the Episcopal Church is in a position to exercise prophetic leadership and bear costly witness to the rest of the Anglican world on behalf of gay and lesbian Christians not only in the U.S. but in those very countries represented by the GAFCON primates. My own wish for my own church at this time would be for the grace of humility. I do not expect my friends and colleagues to suddenly abandon their commitment to prophetic justice, even as I do not intend to abandon my commitment to the authority of scripture and the received teaching of the Church. But I do believe that we all might need to hold our views a little more loosely and charitably than we do. Humility is an elusive aspiration, in that precisely in the moment we believe ourselves to have attained it, we have failed to do so. Yet, it is not, in its difficulty, any less worthy of our efforts.
"These are my thoughts some 60 hours or so since the Primates' communique was made public. In brief, I am relieved, and soberly grateful. Of course, looming questions remain: What will happen when three years are up and the Episcopal Church has not changed its position? What will the ACNA's future relationship with the Anglican Communion look like? And these two questions are, in fact, rather closely related. But for the near term, the Primates (under the incredible leadership of Archbishop Welby, who is surely the right man for this hour) have bought us some time, some time for the Holy Spirit to be given rein and allowed to operate among us in sovereign manner. Jesus still lives and is the Lord of his Church."
Bishop Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa wrote, "We have gone down this road before. It does not make it any less painful especially for LGBT persons within our Church. Even such a temporary withdrawal of representation within Communion Boards and decision making bodies (presumably the Anglican Consultative Council) is a form of the cross which we carry for our readiness to invite all people into the Church of Jesus Christ offering full pastoral blessings on every aspect of their lives. It is hurtful that the Primates decision only perpetuates the pain and discrimination felt by LGBT persons not only within our expression of the Body of Christ, but across the Communion itself. In the peace of that love of Christ."
Bishop Marty Field of the Diocese of West Missouri wrote, "It's my belief that local parishes and congregations probably won't see much change or impact from this decision. It's largely a matter internal to the structures of the Communion and far removed from the lives of most local faith communities. It will certainly impact the work of scholars, ecumenists, leaders who serve us in Church-wide ministries, and those who have an interest in or work within the Communion's infrastructure. So, I don't foresee this having much impact where the rubber hits the road for The Diocese of West Missouri.
"I speculate that those who instigated these sanctions will attempt further punitive action against TEC if the next General Convention does not recant the decisions made and the actions taken in 2015. In other words, the 2018 Convention could, on one hand, forestall all further intra-Communion squabbles, or it could, on the other hand, lead to a new round of sanctions or other, harsher penalties when the next Primates' Meeting convenes in 2019. So, we may be in a time of testing--and I believe we are--with the rest of the Anglican Communion watching to see if we will repent for our decisions, repudiate our actions, or reverse our resolutions. What the Anglican Communion Office decides to do when it acts for the ACC is the next unknown in this drama. We don't know and can't now know what the curtain will reveal when it rises for Act II."
The Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii wrote, "At its core, this is about our decades long conversation within the Episcopal Church and out actions over the past two decades to fully include the LGBT community in the full life of the Church including ordination and marriage. This, of course, has happened as our cultural context and out understanding of humanity has changed. I was not surprised by the outcome. It is in many ways better than I had feared. In practical terms of our mission and ministry, the Primates' statement will have very little impact."
The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop of Olympia wrote, "An attempt at keeping the Communion together the Episcopal Church has been placed in a three year moratorium on some participation in the committees and structures of the communion. While this is regrettable, the move falls short of taking us out of communion, and at the same time keeps in some who threatened to walk out. We agree to disagree, we stay in relationship, albeit in a lessened place at the table, and we work on this matter."
The Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Spokane James Waggoner said, "Prayers are in order as we strive to walk together in the face of our differences."
Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Diocese of Pittsburgh responded and said this: "The fact that the current leader of the ACNA was invited to participate for the duration of their deliberations has opened old wounds for many of us: for lesbian and gay members of our diocesan family and the congregations who support them; for our more conservative sisters and brothers who have remained in TEC out of their love for the Church; for all of us who have spent painful years nurturing relationships across deep disagreements in order to hold the unity of the Body of Christ. There is not the least sign that our General Convention would undo recent actions in regard to marriage, nor that the Church of Canada will change course, nor that the Churches of the Global South will in any way become more tolerant of these trends. The trend indicated by the primates' actions suggest that the formal instruments of Anglican fellowship may become less important in the coming years."
The Bishop of Central Pennsylvania Audrey Scanlan responded to the Canterbury primates communique and said, "The international 'fall out' for our actions is not surprising and, still, I know that for many, this will be painful and received as shaming. I stand by the decisions that we made at our General Convention to embrace a wider definition of marriage and to minister to our gay brothers and sisters by offering marriage equality. I have never been prouder to be a member of a Church that boldly steps out, in the name of Love and respects the dignity of every human being."
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Ph.D., Bishop Diocesan of the diocese of Connecticut and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan said this: "We recognize that the news painfully reminds us that we in the Anglican Communion still have much work to do in God's Mission of restoration and reconciliation in this broken world. It is not clear if the primates have the authority to recommend such action for, as noted, the Anglican Consultative Council is the officially constituted representative body of the Anglican Communion. In the Episcopal Church in Connecticut we are blessed with dozens of parish-based partnerships in God's mission around the world from Kenya to Nigeria, from Haiti to Ecuador. Through the Companions in Mission Network, Sustainable Development Grants, Companions in Mission for Publication and Communication Grants, and countless other ways, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut engages in lasting and transforming mission relationships with sister and brother Anglicans around the world."
Bishop George Sumner Diocese of Dallas said this; "Constitutionally, we define this in Dallas as communion with the see of Canterbury, and by this measure the answer is an unequivocal ‘Yes.’ However the decision of this past week is, while not surprising, saddening and disquieting. The wound in our communion is real. At ground level, closer to home, I believe we are still welcome as brothers and sisters to most of our fellow Anglican Churches, especially since we are a diocese which shares the teaching of the tradition and of the Communion (we see this e.g. in the recent statement of the Church of the Sudan). We have not come to the last chapter of this story!"
The Bishop of Albanny, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love said this: "There is some argument as to whether the suggested sanctions should be seen as punishment or simply the consequences of The Episcopal Church's actions at General Convention. As much as I dislike the thought of being in an impaired or restricted relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion over the next three years, I pray that The Episcopal Church will humble itself and honor the Primates' request for the overall sake and good of the Anglican Communion. I understand why the Primates took the action they did. For several years now, The Episcopal Church has not only acted independently regarding issues of human sexuality, but in opposition to what the vast majority of the wider Anglican Communion has asked of us.
"Technically, the Primates' "recommendations" as outlined in their recent Communique are simply that - recommendations. However, there is no doubt that in issuing their recommendations to the Anglican Consultative Council and the various governing bodies of the Anglican Communion, the majority of the Primates expect them to be honored and followed. If The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Consultative Council choose to ignore the Primates' recommendations at the upcoming April Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Zambia (as some would like), I believe it will undo all the on-going efforts of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to bring healing, trust and unity back into the Anglican Communion. It will lead to further distrust, hurt and division, threatening the very existence of the Anglican Communion, as least as we have known it."
VOL will continue to add to this list as more responses come in from other bishops. Stay tuned.
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