As is by now well known, last month the Anglican Primates gathered in London issued their communique
requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.
We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.
Later that same day, a church on the west side of London decided that it could help restore relationship, heal hurt, and recognise the extent of our commonality whilst reaching out in love and grace to its cousins in The Episcopal Church by sending abundant gifts of friendship.
This project began on the day that the Primates of the Anglican Communion applied sanctions to the Episcopal Church of the USA. The Primates did this because they disagreed with the Episcopal Church’s stand on the full equality of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning people.
Many members of the Episcopal Church of the USA clearly value the Anglican Communion and the historic link with the Church of England. Here in the Church of England many members value the Episcopal Church for its dynamic commitment to the Gospel and social justice.
We couldn’t stand by and see our brothers and sisters hurting. This is why we are sending friendship bears.
Friendship bears from St Laurence, Cowley, have now arrived and are spreading their love all over the States. Not all of the bears, however, are grizzly. This little lamb arrived at the Church of the Epiphany, Euclid, Ohio over the weekend, and is sending bleating greetings back to its friends in London, especially since the Facebook page for the parish has recently requested prayers for their priest, Fr Steve Hardwicke, in the wake of a serious illness.
Has your church had a hug from St Laurence?