Communion Across Difference: a response to the “Salt Lake City Statement”

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The House of Bishops approved this statement (as X022) in response the Communion Partners minority report in response to the passage of marriage equality

We the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church wish to express our love and appreciation to our colleagues who identify as Communion Partners and those bishops who have affinity with the Communion Partners’ position as stated in their “Communion Partners Salt Lake City Statement.”  Our time together in Salt Lake City, in conversation and in prayer, has demonstrated how profoundly the love of God in Jesus binds us together and empowers us for service to God’s mission.  As we have waited upon the leading of the Holy Spirit in our deliberations, we have been reminded that the House of Bishops is richly gifted with many voices and perspectives on matters of theological, liturgical, and pastoral significance.  This has been shown in our discernment with respect to doctrinal matters relative to Christian marriage.  We thank God for the rich variety of voices in our House, in our dioceses, in The Episcopal Church, and in the Anglican Communion, that reflect the wideness of God’s mercy and presence in the Church and in the world.

We give particular thanks for the steadfast witness of our colleagues in the Communion Partners.  We value and rely on their commitment to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.  We recognize that theirs is a minority voice in the House of Bishops in our deliberations with respect to Christian marriage; and we affirm that they are an indispensible part of who we are as the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.  Our church needs their witness.  Further, we appreciate that each of us will return to dioceses where there will be a variety of responses to Resolutions A054 and A036.  The equanimity, generosity, and graciousness with which the Communion Partners have shared their views on Christian marriage and remain in relationship is a model for us and for the lay and ordained leaders in our dioceses to follow.  We thank God that in the fullness of the Holy Trinity we can and must remain together as the Body of Christ in our dioceses, in the Episcopal Church, and in our relationships with sisters and brothers in Christ in the Anglican Communion.  The bonds created in baptism are indeed indissoluble and we pray that we have the confidence to rely upon the Holy Spirit who will continue to hold us all together as partners in communion through the love of God in Jesus.

 

Posted by Ann Fontaine

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Jesse Snider
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Jesse Snider

Amen to Doug Spurlin's comments. I cherish the diversity as well. I wish we had more conservatives to balance the voices. One of the things that pulled me to the Episcopal Church is that diversity of thought and practice, all these different people being "church" together. We cover it all. From the rich and dignified churches of the Anglo Catholic traditions to the awesome generosity and vibrance of Common Cathedral, we are the Episcopal Church and I believe God has set us in this world to be a rest to the weary, sight to the blind, ears to the deaf, hands and feet to the crippled. I love this church with a passion I never held for my former faith tradition. And by church I mean all of you my great family of Episcopalians.

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Rev Andrew Gentry
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Rev Andrew Gentry

Some of my dear Episcopalian friends are just kiddy over their general assembly er convention approving marriage equality for everyone BUT what they fail to remember let alone broadcast, and this is so typical, there is a provision that allows bishops and clergy in general to refuse to officiate at weddings of same gender couples! A wonderfully worded statement relishes the unity that is maintained by this compromise and provision and some even have gone so far as to say it is a model for all the Anglican churches "struggling" with the issue. It is really no different that the wonderfully worded compromise at the time of the Civil War that allowed Episcopalians to pray for both the Confederate President and the Union President as presidents of equal legitimacy and position and further allowed for the sake of "unity in the Body of Christ" for slave owners and abolitionists to be in loving disagreement in the same church!

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Doug Spurlin
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Doug Spurlin

This is one of the many reasons why I love and value the Episcopal Church. Although there have certainly been people and even churches that have jumped ship, it is still one of the only churches in America where people of differing theological beliefs continue to come together to worship God in communion with each other.

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