A press release from the Diocese of West Texas:
Speaking for a group of about 15 bishops, Bishop Lillibridge read a statement on Thursday during the House of Bishops’ private time that “reaffirms our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion” while seeking to “find a place in the Church we continue to serve.” The statement was drafted by several bishops, including Lillibridge and Bishop David Reed, wanting to articulate their place in the Anglican Communion.
The statement represents the voices of many bishops who consistently find themselves in the minority at the 76th General Convention. “It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality,” says the preamble to the statement. “We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself.”
The bishops say they “seek to provide the same honesty and clarity” and invite all bishops who agree with them to sign the statement. About 25 bishops had signed the statement by late in the day on Thursday.
The statement asks for reaffirmation of commitment in five areas:
- membership in the Anglican Communion, communion with the See of Canterbury, and commitment to preserving those relationships
- the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church
- the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion
- the Anglican Communion Covenant process
- the apostles’ teaching and fellowship that is “foundational to the baptismal covenant” and the apostles’ teaching in “interpreting the Gospel.”
“The majority voice has spoken at this General Convention,” said Lillibridge later. “But I think it is important to also hear from the significant minority that represents about one-third both in the House of Bishops and House of Deputies.”
He said that in the Diocese of West Texas, the focus will remain on being a part of The Episcopal Church and continuing as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.
“Out of all of this,” said Lillibridge, “what I want to bring home to the diocese is the deepening of our conversation regarding the issue of human sexuality as well as the relationship between minorities and majorities as we all seek to work together.”
He said that he and Bishop Reed will have more to say about this General Convention when they return to San Antonio.
The General Convention ends on Friday, July 17.
Addendum. In its reporting The Living Church says the number of signatures has reached 29. It includes a partial listing of those signing and notes the list of names "included bishops who voted on both sides of D025 and C056."
The Anaheim Statement, General Convention, 2009
At this convention, the House of Bishops has heard repeated calls for honesty and clarity. As the conversation has proceeded within the HOB, repeated attempts to modify wording which would have been preferable to the minority in the vote were respectfully heard and discussed, but in the end most of these amendments were found unacceptable to the majority in the House. Many in the majority believed the amendments would make the stated position of this House less honest about where they believe we are as The Episcopal Church.
It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality. We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself. We are grateful for those who have reached out to the minority, affirming our place in the Church.
We seek to provide the same honesty and clarity. We invite all bishops who share the following commitments to join us in this statement as we seek to find a place in the Church we continue to serve.
* We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.
* We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538)
* We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.
* We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.
* We reaffirm our commitment to "continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship" which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in "interpreting the Gospel" which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.