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standing ovation for the House of Bishops

Honestly, when I heard the text of the 'mind of the house' resolutions passed at The Episcopal Church's most recent meeting of the House of Bishops, I leapt to my feet cheering. I apologize to my neighbors if I disturbed them in the process.

I am so grateful to our bishops and glad to be an Episcopalian as well as an Anglican tonight that I hardly know how to say it.

My favorite paragraphs in a statement that deserves reading and rereading in its entirety:

Most important of all it [i.e., the Primates' 'pastoral scheme'] is spiritually unsound. The pastoral scheme encourages one of the worst tendencies of our Western culture, which is to break relationships when we find them difficult instead of doing the hard work necessary to repair them and be instruments of reconciliation. The real cultural phenomenon that threatens the spiritual life of our people, including marriage and family life, is the ease with which we choose to break our relationships and the vows that established them rather than seek the transformative power of the Gospel in them. We cannot accept what would be injurious to this Church and could well lead to its permanent division.


In anticipation of the traditional renewal of ordination vows in Holy Week we solemnly declare that "we do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and we do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church." (Book of Common Prayer, page 513)

With this affirmation both of our identity as a Church and our affection and commitment to the Anglican Communion, we find new hope that we can turn our attention to the essence of Christ's own mission in the world, to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Luke 4:18-19). It is to that mission that we now determinedly turn.

I love the Anglican Communion. I want The Episcopal Church to be fully a part of it, and fully participating in God's mission alongside the other provinces within it. The recent strident calls for separation and a narrow kind of "clarity" are out of character with classic Anglicanism, and come from the smallest minority of Anglicans -- most vocally from a subset of a group smaller than the student body at EDS, claiming in unverifiable ways to represent others who (like the Anglican women's delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women) clearly have markedly different priorities than their Primates. Our bishops in The Episcopal Church have now graciously asked these Primates to join in shared commitment to bedrock Christian faith and vital and urgent Christian mission, leaving traditional provincial structures as well as our mutual responsibility and interdependence intact, and even seeking to deepen them.

Thank you, bishops. Thank you.

March 20, 2007 | Permalink


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