Q and A with the Presiding Bishop


The York Daily Record interviewed the Presiding Bishop who will be visiting the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania this weekend. From a portion of the Q and A:

Q: The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, wrote on his Web site just after the U.S. church voted to allow same-sex blessings and to gay bishops in late July.

He suggested that perhaps the church might have to accept a two-tier model in which believers hold different opinions about gay clergy and same-sex unions. What do you think of that model?

A: He wrote about it three years ago, too. It’s an idea that’s found some traction in some parts of the worldwide Anglican Communion but not a great deal of traction in other parts.

Q: Is there anything you see in that model that you like or don’t like?

A: The Anglican Communion is composed of 38 individual church bodies. Each of those provinces in the Anglican Communion is autonomous. … It governs itself. It’s in relationship with other members of the Anglican Communion because of our shared heritage, because of our shared form of worship and to a large degree to our shared theology and understanding of Scripture and tradition.

We don’t all believe everything in the same way. We never have and never will. There are parts of the Anglican Communion that don’t ordain women and think it wrong to do so, yet we remain in communion and relationship and in mission partnerships together.

We’ve always had a variety of ways of being in relationship together, and I don’t think that will change.

Q: It did seem like the archbishop was implying that the Episcopal Church and others like it might have a reduced role if the communion were on a two-track system. I understand it couldn’t represent the Communion in, say, ecumenical discussions or hold seats on the Communion’s governing body. Did you read it that way?

A: It’s an idea that he has promulgated. He doesn’t have the authority to impose it. No individual body in the Communion really has the authority to impose a structure like that. It simply is his theorizing about what he thinks the future may hold.

Q: Episcopalians in the dioceses of Minnesota and Los Angeles are each preparing to elect a bishop from candidate pools that include priests in same-gender relationships. As church members approach these elections, should warnings from some Anglicans overseas to not elect more gay bishops affect their decision?

A: Well, the decisions about consent to such elections happen across the church. They come from diocesan bishops and from standing committees of the diocese of the church. Each of those bodies or persons make its own decisions, and if such a person were to be elected we would have to wait and see what the consent process produces.

Q: For all the things they’re considering and taking into consideration though . . .

A: Each diocese in producing a slate for an episcopal election is very careful in thinking about the qualities of the person they seek in their next bishop, their particular gifts, leadership capacity, the ability of that person to be a holy example for the people of that diocese. I assure you the diocese in electing processes are very careful about that work.

Read it all here.

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It strikes me that the reporter was unusually well prepared to ask significant questions. Obviously, the PB is well prepared to answer judiciously as well.

Jan Adams

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