Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, recently issued a statement concerning the Episcopal Church’s recent actions at General Convention to change the marriage canon and establish trial rites in favor of marriage equality.
In the light of the decisions of canonical and liturgical character taken by General Convention regarding the marriage of people of the same sex, I want to express the following words:
We respect deeply the TEC’s autonomous decision because this is a constitutive feature of our Anglican Communion.
The decision was made after years of theological conversation, which reflects the degree of maturity of the Episcopal Church.
This decision was taken in a spirit of prayer and reflected the overwhelming majority of the Church by lay and clerical representatives.
The decision saved an important pastoral principle to offer to those who do not feel comfortable with, offering freedom of conscience.
Bishop Francisco notes that Brazil’s Supreme Court has recognized civil marriage between same-sex partners since 2011 and that the Brazilian prayer book has already been change to allow for the possibility of marriage equality, though the Church itself remains in conversation without reaching a final consensus yet.
Speaking to the changes being made in some Provinces regarding marriage equality, and the debate engendered in others, the Primate celebrates diversity while making clear the value of unity.
We see with joy changing processes in the churches of Canada and Scotland. We see with joy advances in discussion of the theme in the churches of England, Wales, Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. We must respect this process which also occur in dioceses and parts of other Anglican Provinces.
I pray to God so that these processes are done with honest listening from all people. As Province within our Communion, we are committed to the unity and do not agree with any initiative that seeks to isolate the provinces that are adopting new pastoral and theological perspectives.
He also says that these are topics that need to be openly discussed at the next Primate’s meeting and that he understands the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments as expressing concern but not as an objection and that though he shares a sense of concern, he will remain committed to continuing relationship.
He ends by saying;
I reaffirm my solidarity on the ways where the Episcopal Church is searching to be a safe site for all!
God bless our Anglican Communion and let`s stay in dialogue!
To read the entire statement, go here
For more background info on Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, check out this profile on ENS
image: From left, the Rev. David Copley, the Episcopal Church’s officer for mission personnel, Episcopal Church-appointed missionary Monica Vega, Young Adult Service Corps missionary Kirsten Lowell, Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, primate of the Province of Brazil, Young Adult Service Corps missionary Nina Boe, and Episcopal Church-appointed missionary Heidi Schmidt. Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS