Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bishops' Statements in Brief

The following additional statements and reflections were offered on Friday.

Bishop James Jelinek (Diocese of Minnesota) writes: "Guided by the Holy Spirit, we stand unequivocally for the inclusion of all people in God's Church. Believing that to be central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we kept our arms open wide to embrace all of our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Communion, praying that they may be able to embrace us as well." Bishop Jelinek explains that "the Communiqué from the Primates . . . asked more than we could give for the sake of unity, or, to be more accurate, for the sake of our possible continued inclusion in the Communion. So we said 'No' to some of the particulars of their demands, in particular the proposed pastoral council and primatial vicar." Read the full statement.

Bishop Marc Andrus (Diocese of California) articulates his support for the House of Bishops' action. He puts it in context: "The rhetoric of some critics of the Episcopal Church have said that we have let ourselves be distracted by the issues of human sexuality as the earth is being crushed under the burdens of poverty, war, and disease. At last the bishops of the Episcopal Church answered that false argument by saying, as I see it, that God’s divine energy for justice empowers us to seek the same for gay and lesbian people, for women, for children, for all the poor of the earth, and for the earth itself. We have realized it is not an either/or equation, nor based on sacrifice, but on the overflow of compassion originating in God." Click here to read his full statement.

In the Diocese of Southern Ohio, Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr., and Bishop-Elect Thomas E. Breidenthal have prepared statements that are available here. Both are supportive of the House of Bishops' actions and their statement help explain the depth of the bishops' commitment to the Anglican Communion while also rejecting the demand for a Pastoral Counsel and Primatial Vicar. In addition, Bishop Price comments on the "spirit of this meeting":

I have been a bishop for almost 13 years and have been to many meetings. In my estimation, none has been as positive as this one. A lot of this had to do with the expertise of our new Presiding Bishop in both chairing the meeting and allowing full and ample discussion of all points of view. But just as important an element was the strong desire of the bishops present to listen, respect and work together for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Statement from our House issued on March 20 sums up the action of our House in very clear language. When it was proposed and discussed, the House, with all of is varying degrees of theological and political positions voted for this without an audible dissenting vote. This almost never happens. I think it speaks volumes of the desire of the House of Bishops for us to continue to work together as an Episcopal Church and as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion in our witness to the world.

Read, mark, and inwardly digest both their statements on the diocesan website.

At Telling Beads, Jeffri Harre (with a big assist from Ann Fontaine) is tracking bishops' statements on last week's meeting. Consult this page for the most comprehensive list of links we have seen.

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