There will probably be a number of notes published by diocesan bishops over the next week regarding the decisions made or not made at General Convention in Anaheim. Here’s a sampling of a few that have already appeared.
Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas writes of his frustration with the way the decision regarding authorization to gather resources on Same-sex blessings and pastoral generosity was made, at least in the House of Bishops:
“The legislative process has been wholly unsatisfactory for me and a number of other bishops. I spoke to the ‘discharge’ motion yesterday because I believe the House of Bishops has in its power to make decisions and take actions through pastoral letters to the church without the House of Deputies. And, on issues as divisive as sexuality it is imperative that the Bishops be willing to speak to the whole church, the whole flock, across political lines. Win or loose resolutions do not accomplish the unity that Jesus prayed to God to grant his disciples.
On Tuesday, I felt as though there was no place for me that might hear my voice because of the legislative process, I found myself very frustrated. I did not feel that there was room for a moderate voice. I was not the only one and the Presiding Bishop announced that a group of bishops were going to gather that night. I joined in.
It was a diverse group of 26 bishops. We each took turns telling our story and speaking about the unique missionary context in which we do ministry, the repurcusions of our actions, and how we felt about the work before us.
This was an important time for me because it gave me the opportunity to be very clear about who we are in the Diocese of Texas. I shared with them my very clear commitment to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Windsor Process, and the Covenant Process. I also shared with them that we are a diverse diocese in our opinions on sexuality issues, though a clear majority of our members continue to reaffirm a traditional understanding of marriage and a commitment to the processes I outlined above.[…]
Both resolutions (DO25 and CO56) will, I am most certain, place strain on the Anglican Communion. Reactions I’ve received support this belief. However, we need to give the communion time to respond, and we need to listen to our Archbishop as he speaks to us about his thoughts and reflections on the events of General Convention.”
NB: It is a bit odd to refer to Rowan Williams as “our Archbishop”. Perhaps the bishop misspoke.
Bishop Ed Little of Northern Indiana writes to people in his diocese who might be troubled by his or the Episcopal Church’s actions:
Both resolutions passed with overwhelming majorities (D025, with a margin of 99-45, with two abstentions; and C056, 104-30, also with two abstentions). In both cases, I voted with the minority. I did so with sadness. Gay and lesbian Christians are beloved members of our diocese, and I am grateful to be their chief pastor. I’m profoundly aware that my vote may be painful to many of them. And so, in explaining the reason for my vote, I must also – and rightly – reaffirm my love and care for them.[…]
Yet I write these sober words with a sense of hope. After the vote on C056, a group of bishops, about twelve of them, gathered to write a statement in which we could together affirm our dual commitment: to remain loyal members of the Episcopal Church, obedient to its constitution and canons; and to remain at the same time loyal members of the Anglican Communion, in communion with the historic See of Canterbury. Together we drafted the Anaheim Statement, and one of our number – Bishop Gary Lillibridge of West Texas – read it to the whole House of Bishops on behalf of all of us. Our statement was received by our colleagues, particularly those who had voted in favor of D025 and C056, with respect and appreciation. So far, about 34 bishops have joined us in signing the statement. I’ve appended it to the conclusion of this report.
Bishop Dean Wolf of Kansas writes in a similar vein as Bishop Little but from the other side of the aisle:
I voted in the affirmative on both of these resolutions after participating in extensive discussions in an effort to moderate the original language and make it possible for as many bishops as possible to come to agreement. I believe these resolutions, as amended, describe a present reality that should be acknowledged. I also believe that while these positions may not represent the feelings or theological perspectives of some in our diocese, they express a generous orthodoxy that I believe we will come to appreciate over time. These resolutions do not, in my mind, constitute a departure from our desire to be in greater relationship with the Anglican Communion, but rather a realization that all relationships must be based in honesty.
As long as I am your bishop, there will always be a place for those who come to different conclusions about these issues. Our diversity of experience and perspective are signs of our strength in the Body of Christ and not a weakness. I pray that the gay and lesbian people in our diocese will see these resolutions as hopeful signs, and I pray that those who disagree with these actions will believe their perspectives are honored and deeply valued as well.