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Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

Long Island bishop responds to Primates Meeting call for sanctions

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 4:59pm

[Diocese of Long Island] Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I want to take a moment to touch base with you regarding the recent news from Lambeth Palace. As many of you are aware, a majority of the Anglican Primates have voted this week to sanction the Episcopal Church for the next three years. This largely comes in reaction to our full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of the church and specifically provisions from General Convention providing marriage rites for same-gender persons.

This moment is neither a “badge of courage” nor a repudiation of our sincere care for all God’s people. It is a challenging moment in time in the story of the Anglican Communion. However, it does not define our wider mission in the world.

Our diocese has deep and profound relationships all over this Communion, including the many islands of the Caribbean, throughout Africa, South America and the far reaches of Asia. These connections to family and colleagues in ministry remain strong. The sanctions do not have any bearing on our established relationships which are deep and rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In particular, we continue to enjoy a powerful connection to the Diocese of Torit in South Sudan, our companion diocese.  Bishop Bernard and I pray daily for each other and regularly talk by phone. These are our sisters and brothers in mission and they will continue to be.

Included here is a video message from our Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry.  I commend his words to you and your congregations. They are a sincere expression of where we find ourselves at this moment in the church’s history and an encouragement for each of us to move forward in the ministry of the church.

The Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of Long Island

New Hampshire bishop’s statement on the Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 4:42pm

[Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire] In the wake of actions taken by the Primates of the Anglican Communion meeting together in Canterbury, England, I invite the Church of New Hampshire to view or read the powerful and inspired words of our Presiding Bishop, Michael B. Curry. I give God thanks and praise for his wisdom and for his leadership of The Episcopal Church and for his forging of new relationships among new colleagues in this strenuous time.

The decisions of the majority of the Primates do sting. Their chastening hurts because in the bonds of the body of Christ we cherish the relationships they represent throughout the world, and we deeply desire to be partners with them in God’s mission of reconciliation and healing. While there is some question as to the authority of the Primates to levy any kind of sanction on The Episcopal Church—a matter of deep concern to my colleagues who have devoted so much of their lives to our relationships within the Communion—the gravity of their statements cannot be dismissed.

We are called to be faithful to a God who was willing to suffer shame, and even death, to be in solidarity with humanity, and that means all humanity, including our brothers and sisters who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.  As disciples of Jesus, we should not be surprised that we will suffer rebuke for pursuing what we have faithfully and assiduously discerned in the Holy Spirit to be right in the extension of welcome to all people.  We experience reproach when we express love for our Muslim neighbors, when we denounce the idolatry of guns, when we bear witness to the end of the death penalty, when we share our church spaces with the homeless. It is fitting that we contemplate the costliness of bearing witness this weekend when we remember the witness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his tireless work for racial reconciliation, an end to war, and economic justice.

Though the news from Canterbury exposes wounds within the Body of Christ, the Church is alive and we are very much a part of it. We can draw courage and increased boldness in our witness from two things:  First, from the unanimous sentiment expressed by the Primates to stay in relationship with The Episcopal Church and the choice of those who disagree with our actions at our General Convention this past summer to uphold fully the dignity of our LBGT sisters and brothers to remain around the Altar of Communion.  Second, and more importantly, we can take strength from the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount who urges us to rejoice and be glad, for we share in the blessing of those who have thirsted for justice and righteousness in the generations before us, even when they suffered rebuke.

May we continue to be bold for the Gospel of Jesus in a world so in need to know God’s grace. May we continue to risk all for the healing of the world that God entered in the flesh so that all may come to share the divine life that Jesus Christ promises us.

Yours Gratefully in the Risen Christ,

+Rob

Rio Grande bishop’s reflections on the primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 4:38pm

[Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande] I am happy to share a few reflections with you concerning the recent press release following the meeting of the Anglican Communion’s Primates. Mind you even having read all the major news releases this morning I am aware that the primary source document – the resolution agreed to by the majority of primates – has yet to be released from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby. What has been released by the press is that a majority of the Primates asked that the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, (ENS) “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.”

While this may sound like only terrible news to some there is a silver lining. The leadership of the Primates who are represented in the global south (GAFCON and I thank God that they and the leadership of ACNA were invited and attended) added that: “This action must not be seen as an end, but as a beginning.”  BBC News reporter Caroline Wyatt reflected: “the careful wording of the resolution agreed by the majority of the Primates ensured there was no mention of the words “sanction” or “punishment.”

There was a move by a few Primates to ask the Episcopal Church to voluntarily remove itself from the Communion but the majority voted that down. There is no schism in the Anglican Church. We are merely at yet another important junction. The Primates stated “this agreement acknowledges the significant difference that remains,” but “the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ.” This is good news we need to embrace as our journey of discerning the Church’s doctrine, disciple and worship continues.

It is intriguing to me that this meeting took place at the beginning of Pope Francis’ 2016 “Jubilee Year of Mercy,” weeks before the solemn penitential season of Lent, and as the nations confront the violent and deadly actions of ISIS to rid the world of infidels. In his recently released book, God’s Name is Mercy, Pope Francis says,  “I can say that the centrality of mercy, which for me is Jesus’ most important message, has slowly evolved over the years in my work as a priest.”

I believe in the grace of God’s mercy. I believe that Life in Christ Jesus, the love of God and love for our neighbor, and the ongoing revelation of truth overcome every obstacle. Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry appealed to the Primates prior to the vote. “For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain.”

The birth of new life and change is always painful yet durable for those committed to Christ Crucified/Christ Risen. This pain will dissipate in time for the entire communion. The GAFCON leadership is wise. This statement, which has merely introduced yet another pause for continued dialogue, study and reflection for the both Global North and South, is a time of opportunity and must not be seen as an end, but another beginning.

At every new juncture of a process there comes new voices, new perspectives, differing perspectives and God-centered interpretation. Our Anglican heritage and insistence on a comprehensive inclusion of Scripture, Tradition and Reason in discerning all church doctrine, polity and teaching goes on. Ecclesiastes 3:7 reminds us that there is a “a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak…”

The church’s journey continues and as history demonstrates silenced voices speak loudly.  So we Episcopalians remain faithful. We embrace mercy, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, mutual respect and mutual love for one another. Jesus is one with every one of us. God’s will be done.

I have been asked if I am very concerned about this unexpected outcome at Canterbury. My response is “No.” I am more concerned about the elderly homeless man I met the other day in Santa Fe who was hungry, cold and friendless. I am more concerned about gun violence, trafficking of women and children, the high rate of teen suicide in New Mexico, international terrorists, drug addiction, family violence, discrimination, criminalization and exclusion of people based on race, religious creed and sexual orientation. I am more concerned about the forgotten poor, political and economic refugees, abandoned elderly, the sick, those in prison, unjust wages for workers and fair health care for all in our Country. Church disagreements? This too will pass.

Keep the faith, follow Jesus, pray for one another and carry on!

Many Blessings,

+Michael L. Vono
IX Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande

Upper South Carolina bishop’s message to the diocese on the Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 4:33pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina] Many of you have by now seen the various media reports about the Anglican Primates’ Meeting that have taken place this week in Canterbury, England. The most visible result of the meeting was a Communiqué from Primates 2016 temporarily suspending The Episcopal Church from representation on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, being appointed or elected to internal standing committees, or voting in any decisions on issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called the Primates of the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion together –  plus a non-voting guest from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)  –  specifically to discuss tensions within the Communion around homosexual and women’s ordination and same-sex marriage.

The Communiqué reflects deep pain that already exists in the Communion; it also causes deep pain among those of us who have acknowledged and/or embraced LGBT persons as full participants in the sacramental life of the Church.

It is critical to note, however, that the Communiqué is a communiqué. The Primates’ Meeting, while serving as what we call an “instrument of unity” within the Communion, has no authority in and of itself to say who is in or who is out of the Anglican Communion, or to discipline constituent provinces. The other instruments of unity are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lambeth Conference of all bishops in the Communion.

The deepest desire expressed by the Meeting and its Communiqué was that we continue to “walk together in Christ.” In fact, the vast majority of connections remain intact between the Episcopal Church and many of the provinces, dioceses and congregations who dissent from the General Convention 2015’s decisions on marriage-through mission partnerships, companion diocese relationships, friendships and, especially, shared faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Schism has not occurred. A reiteration of our common desire to stay in relationship is in fact explicit in the Communiqué.

In this Diocese, we have persisted in dialogue and relationship, maintaining respect for one another in the presence of sometimes strong disagreements among us. And we have succeeded remarkably well, opening doors for new understandings of multiple perspectives, traditional and progressive, and the recognition that it is more important that we stand together around the table of Christ, to be transformed by his Body and Blood, than it is to win this or that doctrinal battle. But that we are all welcome at that table is non-negotiable. Following the Primates’ Meeting, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said this:

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”

As in every age of human existence, we have much work to do together, as the very need for the Primates’ Meeting confirms. And that work entails, as Archbishop Welby defines reconciliation, “learning to disagree well.” That work is the work of mercy and forgiveness extended to one another, laying our burdens at the feet of Christ and rejoicing in the love, grace and mercy God has abundantly showered upon all people.

Blessings to each and every one of you in the name of Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina

Newark bishop writes to diocese on primates’ action

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 3:00pm

[Diocese of Newark] The Primates of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have just concluded their first meeting in five years. Their concluding statement indicates that because of our decision at the 2015 General Convention to allow same-sex marriages, for a period of three years The Episcopal Church (TEC) will “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.”

I want to echo, support and give thanks for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s statement to his brother Primates (and they are all men):

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain. For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

The pain is real. The Primates punishment sounds harsh – and it is, to a degree. But The Anglican Communion is less a structure and more a network of relationships. While we have been given a “time out” for three years in TEC’s participation on some of the formal bodies of the Anglican Communion, it will not – as far as I can tell, have any effect on our participation on the Anglican Consultative Council or other formal or informal networks that have long been the hallmark of what it means to be Anglican.

I take a large measure of comfort in the primates’ unanimous desire to continue to “walk together”. That says to me that there is a widespread recognition that we need to stay in relationship. That across the Anglican Communion we can acknowledge difference and disagreement – and still be in relationship with one another through the living Christ whose reach knows no bounds.

I am reminded by the challenge given by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks to the 700 bishops from around the world at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury England in 2008. Rabbi Sacks was then the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, a gifted scholar and the author of a very important new book, Not in God’s Name, about the need for Muslims, Christians and Jews to remain in relationship. He knows the Anglican Communion intimately, having grown up in Anglican schools in Britain. He told us that we were one of the largest, if not the largest voluntary organization in the world. He said – no, he shouted, you have to stay together – for the sake of the rest of us.

That is not always easy to do. There are disappointments and misunderstandings and painful outcomes. Sometimes “walking together” is as much as we can do. And that can count for a lot.

Georgia bishop’s statement on Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 2:51pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Georgia] The Anglican Communion Primates have spoken through their vote. We respect their position, yet we are a communion of independent churches. Their voice, while important, has no effect on the mission of the Diocese of Georgia. We will continue to proclaim and seek to live out the gracious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do our utmost to welcome all God’s Children, regardless of who they are, into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. Our call and mission have not changed. I pray that everyone in the Diocese will redouble their efforts to include the lonely, the lost, and the left out in this part of Christ’s Body.

Bishop Scott Benhase
Diocese of Georgia

Western Michigan bishop offers diocese prayer for Anglican unity

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 2:47pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan] I am saddened by the recent action taken at the Primates meeting in Canterbury, England. Please continue to pray through this situation especially holding up +Michael, our Presiding Bishop, whom I wholeheartedly support, and all the Primates of the church. This action touches a painful nerve for many of us who deeply love both the Episcopal Church and our Anglican heritage.

First and foremost, please know that I stand by the decisions of General Convention that expanded our understanding of marriage and provided appropriate new marriage rites. It is a rather strange honor to be “sanctioned” for offering caring support and pastoral concern for others, particularly our LGBT friends who continue to be unfairly discriminated against and marginalized for simply for loving someone. I am committed to being open and inclusive of all people, recognizing we are all vulnerable and tender, and in constant need of mercy and forgiveness. This is what God in Jesus continually teaches us about the counterintuitive, countercultural, everlasting love of God.

Quite frankly, the Anglican Communion is a quirky deal. We are, properly understood, as an autonomous collective of churches whose authority rests locally. The Primates are not a governing body. They have no authority to sanction. They comprise one of four instruments of Anglican unity. These instruments are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and The Primates Meeting. (For more information, click here.)

I personally find this action to be really rather un-Anglican. Anglicans do not have litmus tests for right understanding or true belief. This is one of the things that makes us uniquely Anglican.

As a white, American heterosexual male, I have never really experienced any form of discrimination. I have access to great privilege based simply on the fortunes of my birth. This limiting action by a majority of the Primates does not sit well with folk who are accustomed to privilege. So, I have to measure my personal response over and against those who experience discrimination daily. This realization humbles me, making me more grateful to God for my many blessings and moves me to use my privilege to help end discrimination of any kind, shape or form.

This action does not change our call to serve the least, the last and the lost. The Episcopal Church is still part of the Anglican Communion. We must stay focused on our mission and not be distracted by powers and forces that seek to divide us.

You have heard me say, time and again, that Christianity is all about relationships. Fostering and cultivating intentional, mutual, respectful relationship is what it’s all about. So, for me, it is the breakdown in relationship and trust that hurts most. This division works against our missional call to be about restoration and unity. I find comfort, however, in the opening sentence of the Primates statement which simply says, “It is our unanimous desire to walk together.” Let us do this. I invite you to stay in the struggle, to stay in relationship with God, each other, with those whom we are blessed to serve and even with those with whom we disagree.

I love this Church and am proud to be an Episcopalian,

Peace,

+Whayne M. Hougland, Jr., DD
IX Western Michigan

For the Unity of the Church

O God, give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Diocese of Virginia on understanding the outcome of Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 2:12pm

[Diocese of Virginia] The Primates of the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion have just completed their gathering in Canterbury, England. Links to important articles and documents are below. We invite you to read these carefully for yourself so that you are not left to rely solely on social media commentary that may not be accurate. We will be sharing information about these matters in a variety of contexts in the Diocese of Virginia in coming weeks.

We ask your prayers for reconciliation, hope and peace as we move forward as part of the Anglican Communion. Pray for this world-wide body, of which we remain a part, as we strive to walk together in the face of our differences

Primates are the senior archbishops and presiding bishops who are elected or appointed to lead each of the 38 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion. They are invited to the Primates Meetings by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consult on theological, social and international issues.

The Anglican Communion Primates Meeting is one of the three instruments of communion, the other two being the Lambeth Conference of bishops and the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policy-making body. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as primus inter pares, or “first among equals,” is recognized as the focus of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Each province relates to other provinces within the Anglican Communion by being in full communion with the See of Canterbury.

Welby apologizes for persecution on the grounds of sexuality

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 2:03pm

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby makes a point Jan. 15 during a press conference held after the five-day Anglican Primates Meeting at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Photo: Matthew Davies/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Canterbury, England] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologized Jan. 15 to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for the hurt and pain they have experienced by the Anglican Communion over the years.

Speaking at a press conference following a five-day meeting of Anglican primates in Canterbury, Welby referred to a group of some 40 gay and lesbian Africans who had gathered outside Canterbury Cathedral to protest the actions of the primates in calling for the exclusion of the Episcopal Church from Anglican dialogues and committees.

The protestors, many of whom spoke with the media about the persecution they have faced, challenged the so-called “consequences” asked for by the primates as homophobic because they were a direct response to the decision by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention last June to change canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (Resolution A036). That convention also authorized two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution A054).

“The group outside … reminds us of the pain and suffering of many LGBTI people around the world and the extreme suffering in some countries where they are criminalized,” Welby told the media. “It is for me a constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality … I want to take this opportunity personally to say how sorry I am for the hurt and pain in the past and present that the church has caused.”

Welby’s words may provide some comfort to those who are marginalized because of their sexuality. Meanwhile, some African provinces continue to support the criminalization of homosexuals in countries such as Nigeria and Uganda.

On two occasions, in response to media questions, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, talked of the frustration in some African provinces of Western cultural understandings of sexuality being “imposed” on their communities.

“There are gays and lesbians in Africa, of course there are and we have always had them,” said Idowu-Fearon. “But generally on the continent of Africa our culture does not support the promotion of this type of lifestyle … If the Western world would just leave Africans within our various cultures, we know how to live together with our various differences … The primates have made it very clear that we have always made room for pastoral care and concern for those who have different sexual orientation. When we begin to make everybody, irrespective of their sexual orientation, feel a part of the family we will have some respite.”

In their communiqué, titled “Walking Together in the Service of God in the World,” the primates said they condemn “homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ.

“The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”

They also said that the Christian church and the Anglican Communion have “caused deep hurt” by the way they have treated people based on their sexual orientation. The primates said they “express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression”

The primates said in their communiqué that their first item of business during their Jan. 11-15 gathering was to discuss “the differences among us in regard to our teaching on matters of human sexuality.”

A group of some 40 gay and lesbian Africans gathers outside Canterbury Cathedral Jan. 15 to protest the actions of the Anglican Communion primates in calling for the exclusion of the Episcopal Church from Anglican dialogues and committees. Photo: Matthew Davies/Episcopal News Service

They said they had to look at what it meant “in practical terms” to live out their desire ‘to walk together, however painful this is, and despite our differences, as a deep expression of our unity in the body of Christ.” The communiqué said a working group of primates developed the series of actions imposed on the Episcopal Church as a consequence of its actions at General Convention.

On Jan. 14, a majority of the primates said that the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, should “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.”

While some participants and some observers are referring to the primates’ request as “sanctions,” the communiqué calls them “consequences” for the actions of the Episcopal Church. At the post-meeting news conference Welby insisted on the consequences terminology.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said Jan. 15 in a video statement recorded outside Canterbury Cathedral that “this has been a disappointing time for many, and there will be heartache and pain for many, but it’s important to remember that we are still part of the Anglican Communion.

“We are the Episcopal Church, and we are part of the Jesus Movement, and that movement goes on, and our work goes on. And the truth is, it may be part of our vocation to help the Communion and to help many others to grow in a direction where we can realize and live the love that God has for all of us, and we can one day be a church and a Communion where all of God’s children are fully welcomed, where this is truly a house of prayer for all people.”

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, sent a letter Jan. 15 to deputies and alternate deputies concerning the actions taken by the Primates Meeting to impose consequences on the church for its actions on same-sex marriage.

Many of the Episcopal Church’s bishops have written to their dioceses about the primates’ action. Episcopal News Service has collected those statements, as they are made available, here.

The primates also asked Welby 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, recognizing the extent of our commonality, and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.”

In their communiqué, they said they will “develop this process so that it can also be applied when any unilateral decisions on matters of doctrine and polity are taken that threaten our unity.”

Archbishop Foley Beach, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), met with the primates throughout the week. Beach was invited by Welby in an effort to avert a boycott from conservative African archbishops such as the one that occurred at the last Primates Meeting in 2011. ACNA is composed largely of former Episcopalians who chose to break away from the Episcopal Church. Some African primates have declared their affiliation to ACNA.

Foley told ACNA members that the consequences imposed on the Episcopal Church “are strong, but they are not strong enough.” He said he was “deeply disappointed” that the Anglican Church of Canada had not had the same consequences imposed on it as those set the Episcopal Church. The Anglican Church of Canada allows its clergy to bless same-sex couples and is considering changes to its canons that would allow for same-sex marriage.

He told ACNA that he “participated fully in the meeting.” There have been reports that Foley was given both voice and vote in the meeting, and declined to vote on imposing consequences on the Episcopal Church.

The primates said in their communiqué that they cannot recognize ACNA as a member of the communion because that decision properly belonging to the Anglican Consultative Council. The primates said they “recognize that such an application, were it to come forward, would raise significant questions of polity and jurisdiction.”

The ACC has detailed the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces. In 1996, it set its most extensive description of the process in Resolution 12 passed at its meeting in Panama City, Panama.

The ACC is already scheduled to meet April 8-20 in Lusaka, Zambia.

The primates of the Anglican Communion pose Jan. 14 in Canterbury Cathedral in England.

Also in the communiqué, the primates said:

* supported Welby’s proposal to call a Lambeth Conference gathering of all of the communion’s bishops, in 2020. The last meeting was in 2008 and the conference has traditionally happened every 10 years. However, Welby had already said the bishops would not meet in 2018.

* agreed to meet again in 2017 and 2019.

* heard about a petition of almost two million signatures co-coordinated by the Anglican Environment Network, reports about moves to divest from fossil fuels, the expansion of deserts in Africa and “the struggle for survival of the peoples of the Pacific as island life is threatened in many places by the rise of sea levels.”

* they “discussed the reality of religiously motivated violence and its impact on people and communities throughout the world. Primates living in places where such violence is a daily reality spoke movingly and passionately about their circumstances and the effect on their members.”

* “repudiated any religiously motivated violence and expressed solidarity with all who suffer from this evil in the world today.”

*said they look forward to a proposal coming to the ACC for “comprehensive child protection measures to be available throughout all the churches of the Communion.”

* were “energized by the opportunity to share experiences of evangelism and motivated to evangelize with their people,” and said they “joyfully commit themselves and the Anglican Church, to proclaim throughout the world the person and work of Jesus Christ, unceasingly and authentically, inviting all to embrace the beauty and joy of the Gospel.”

* discussed what they called “tribalism, ethnicity, nationalism and patronage networks, and the deep evil of corruption” and “reflected that these issues become inextricably connected to war and violence, and derive from poverty.” They agreed to ask the secretary general of the Anglican Communion to commission a study for the next Primates Meeting.

Who are the primates?
Primates are the senior archbishops and presiding bishops elected or appointed to lead each of the 38 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion. They are invited to the Primates Meetings by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consult on theological, social and international issues.

The Anglican Communion Primates Meeting is one of the three instruments of communion, the other two being the Lambeth Conference of bishops and the Anglican Consultative Council, the Communion’s main policy-making body. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as primus inter pares, or “first among equals,” is recognized as the focus of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Each province relates to other provinces within the Anglican Communion by being in full communion with the See of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury calls the Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates and is president of the ACC.

In some Anglican provinces the primate is called archbishop and/or metropolitan, while in others the term presiding bishop – or as in Scotland, primus – is used.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also invites to the primates’ meetings the moderators who lead the united ecumenical churches of North India, South India and Pakistan.

In 1978 Archbishop Donald Coggan, the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury, established the Primates Meeting as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation.”

The primates have met in Ely, England, in 1979; Washington, D.C., in 1981; Limuru, Kenya, in 1983; Toronto, Canada, in 1986; Cyprus in 1989; Newcastle, Northern Ireland, in 1991; Cape Town, South Africa, in 1993; Windsor, England, in 1995; Jerusalem in 1997; Oporto, Portugal, in 2000; Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 2001; Canterbury, England, in 2002; Gramodo, Brazil, in May 2003; London, England, in October 2003; Newry, Northern Ireland, in February 2005; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007; Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009; and Dublin, Ireland, in January 2011.

The provinces and primates of the Anglican Communion are listed here.

— Matthew Davies and the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg are editor/reporters of the Episcopal News Service.

South Carolina bishop’s message on the Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:48pm

[Episcopal Church of South Carolina] There have been reports from the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, England, that have disturbed Episcopalians. These reports speak of actions such as “suspension” or “discipline” or other punitive measures, directed toward The Episcopal Church. I want to communicate in response to some of the concerns which have come to my attention.

The reality of the Anglican Communion is that member churches exist – and attempt to be faithful to Jesus – in a great variety of contexts and circumstances. Thus, the Primates – or Archbishops or Presiding Bishops – come from churches that serve in countries whose societal norms and, even, laws vary a great deal indeed. Some African Primates, for example, will return home to laws that make homosexual practice illegal and punishable, to a degree almost unimaginable to citizens of the United States. Upon returning home, those Primates need to have something to say to their people that will justify continued participation in the life of the Communion. Words of disfavor toward The Episcopal Church provide some of that material, unfortunately.

Whenever the Communion gathers, then, significant challenges accompany such meetings – meetings like that of the Primates. One way to understand our differences is to consider St. Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians – which include some current Sunday readings in this season of Epiphany. That is, different parts of the body – like the Body of Christ, the Church – have different functions. Further, each part is called to work together with other parts, for the good of the whole Body. No one part has the right to say to another one, “I have no need of you”, for that attitude would diminish the whole Body.

In our day, then, the call to The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion is to practice humility and perseverance, for the sake of the Body. That is, we keep showing up. We recognize that clergy around the world work and serve in very different circumstances. We resist temptations to fight or to justify, even as we attempt to explain, over and over again. We acknowledge that our actions in this country may have made life more difficult for Anglicans in other countries, never losing sight of the pain and difficulty experienced by our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters here and around the world. We continue to say our prayers and to attempt to follow Jesus faithfully in the world that we know and in which we are called to serve. And, again, we keep showing up.

This meeting was probably not the most fun that Michael Curry has had since he was installed as Presiding Bishop! I commend him to your continued prayers, as I also commend The Episcopal Church and all of the Anglican Communion. In God’s time, we may come to appreciate each other more fully, even though in this time we struggle with our differences. However, in all times, may we remember that we are bound to each other, for we all are members of the Body of Christ. Thanks be to God!

The Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg
Episcopal Church of South Carolina 

Fort Worth provisional bishop/Northwest Texas bishop’s message on Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:43pm

has issued a statement related to the actions of the recent Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting:

As you probably have heard, a majority of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in Canterbury, England, asked that The Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, “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.”

What does this mean?

As things stand now, it appears to mean that two people who represent The Episcopal Church on ecumenical and interfaith bodies will attend but not take part in “decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity” for a period of three years.

According to the Episcopal News Service, those two people are the Rev. Katherine Grieb, who is a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO), and the Rev. Amy E. Richter, who is listed as serving on the recently reconstituted Anglican-Reformed Dialogue. How the decision of the primates will affect their membership on these two committees remains unclear.

What is clear is that our membership in the Anglican Communion remains intact, and The Episcopal Church remains the Anglican presence in our part of North America. Moreover, this action will not affect the ongoing relational work of dioceses and congregations carrying out Gospel imperatives with our communion partners.

What is clear is that our membership in the Anglican Communion remains intact, and The Episcopal Church remains the Anglican presence in our part of North America. Moreover, this action will not affect the ongoing relational work of dioceses and congregations carrying out Gospel imperatives with our communion partners.

We certainly take seriously these consequences to the action of The Episcopal Church related to including all the baptized in all the sacraments. We can’t be surprised when actions we perceive as prophetic have costs. We remain convinced that it is possible to do the work of love as we see it while living in communion with those who disagree with our actions. Unity does not mean uniformity.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is absolutely right – “We are part of the Jesus Movement, and the cause of God’s love in this world can never stop and will never be defeated.”

The Holy Spirit is, as ever, on the move. For more than 40 years on issues of human sexuality, The Episcopal Church has worked to respond faithfully to the work of the Spirit in the context of where we live and move and have our being. We will continue to do so.

All will be well.

The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer
Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth and Bishop of Northwest Texas

Bishop of Vermont’s response to primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:39pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Vermont] My context as bishop of Vermont and my relationship with the people of Vermont have significantly shaped my understanding with regard to our marriage canons and marriage liturgies. Having served on the Marriage Task Force and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church, I have spent considerable time and energy engaged in the work that led to the adoption of the two General Convention resolutions that expand our theological understanding of marriage and provide liturgical expression for full marriage equality in the Episcopal Church. This work has been most rewarding. I believe equality is a gospel value, a justice value, a missional value, and a pastoral value. Securing the right to marriage for all people is a practice consistent with the long-held values of civil equality held by the Episcopal Church.

Understanding the Anglican Communion and the complex realities of relationships, authority and decision making within the life of the Anglican Communion is an important part of the current digestion of the meeting and statement from the Primates who gathered in Canterbury this week. Andrew McGowan, Dean of Berkeley Divinity School and Editor of the Journal of Anglican Studies has written this thoughtful and helpful analysis of the meeting and the Anglican Communion. I commend it to you.

For me, sadness and disappointment are the overwhelming feelings in my heart as I read and ponder the statement from this week’s gathering in Canterbury. I find it especially disappointing to read that the principle offering from a meeting called by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the spirit of reconciliation includes what comes across to me as a rebuke of one member of the Anglican family, the Episcopal Church. It is even more poignant to read this response as we prepare for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity next week – the week between the great Feast Days of the Confession of Saint Peter and the Conversion of Saint Paul. I was hoping for something better, while at the same time fearing something worse.

Despite my disappointment, it is important to note that the Primates, one of the Anglican Communion Instruments of Communion, remain in relationship. There is agreement here to continue in conversation, with reconciliation, not unanimous agreement on all things, as the goal. I hope that this continuing conversation will look closely at the theological, ecclesiological and missiological work the Episcopal Church has done with respect to human sexuality and the sacramental rite of marriage.

This is one more hard place along the church’s journey toward full inclusion, the welcoming of all into the full sacramental fellowship of our common life in Christ. Looking at it this way, the rebuke of those who disagree with the direction the Episcopal Church and other communion partners are taking with respect to matters of human sexuality is an unwelcome, but not unexpected, burden we must endure. I do so in the confidence that we are responding to the Spirit’s urging and the ultimate desire for God’s justice in all things. Time is a matter of perspective and our love and affection for those most impacted by God’s justice and full dignity delayed must be exceptionally strong.

In some ways, this agreement is nothing short of miraculous, given the prior predictions of schism and discord. In part, this lens is informed by the efforts of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who sought to frame the gathering not as a contest between truth and unity, but as an expression of the fact that truth and unity are “bound together” and that “the binding is love.” I don’t foresee the Episcopal Church changing the course of its commitment to the full inclusion of all in the Body of Christ. Other parts of the Anglican Communion are also moving steadily in this direction. Likewise, it is hard to see how those who disagree most adamantly with this commitment will soon embrace our decisions and direction. And so the prayer I think we are called to pray is for love to find a way.

As a bishop in the Episcopal Church who has worked hard to provide full access to marriage for all, while at the same time doing all I can to maintain good collegial relations with those bishops, and others, who disagree with the recent decisions of our General Convention regarding marriage, I find myself puzzled by the inability or unwillingness of the majority of Primates to find a better way to be in relationship. Then again, I have to acknowledge that for them this may well be the best (or perhaps only) way for now. No matter how this plays out, my pledge is that it will not be at the expense of our work in the service of God’s mission here in Vermont, or in our many global partnerships. For me, the words of the hymn, “No turning back, no turning back,” offer inspiration, hope and resolve.

Today, my heart goes out to those here at home and around the world who will hear this statement as a denial of their full dignity as human beings or as a reproach of the kind of welcoming, inclusive church I am proud to say we have become in this diocese, as in others. Please know that while I am in many ways discouraged by this latest development, I have hope that God is indeed working God’s purpose out. I will continue to embrace that hope and witness to the power of God’s love to heal our hearts, as well as our world.

I am very grateful for the faithful witness of Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Curry is a friend and colleague with whom I have shared 15 years of episcopal ministry. His voice, so honestly and eloquently offered in response to this outcome at his first Primate’s meeting, both speaks to and echoes my heart. And so I close with, and commend to you, his words, quoted in yesterday’s Episcopal News Service report from Canterbury:

“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome. Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain. For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.

I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain. The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family.”

Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, Bishop of Vermont

Una mayoría de los primados pide la imposición de sanciones temporales a la Iglesia Episcopal

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:34pm

Los primados de la Comunión Anglicana rezan durante el oficio de vísperas en la catedral de Cantórbery el 11 de enero, el primer día de los cinco que dura su reunión. Foto de la catedral de Cantórbery.

[Episcopal News Service — Cantórbery, Inglaterra] Una mayoría de los primados anglicanos pidió el 14 de enero que la Iglesia Episcopal, durante un período de tres años, “no nos represente en organismos ecuménicos e interreligiosos, ni debe ser nombrada o electa a un comité permanente interno y que, si bien participe en los organismos internos de la Comunión Anglicana, no tome parte en el proceso de la toma de decisiones sobre ningún asunto perteneciente a la doctrina o al sistema de gobierno”.

Al expresar su deseo unánime de trabajar juntos, los primados dijeron que su llamado se produce en respuesta a la decisión de la Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal en junio pasado de cambiar el lenguaje canónico que define el matrimonio como [la relación contraída] entre un hombre y una mujer (Resolución A036) y autorizar dos nuevos ritos matrimoniales con un lenguaje que permite [indistintamente] ser usados por parejas del mismo sexo o de sexos opuestos (Resolución A054).

Un anuncio publicado en la página web de los Primados 2016 dice que “los Primados acordaron el modo en que andarían juntos en la gracia y el amor de Cristo”.

“Este acuerdo reconoce la significativa distancia que se mantiene, pero confirma su unánime compromiso de andar juntos”, dice el anuncio, que incluye el texto completo del llamado de los primados. El anuncio dice también que el acuerdo “demuestra el compromiso de todos los Primados de continuar la vida de la Comunión sin vencedores ni vencidos”.

Antes de la votación del 14 de enero, el obispo primado de la Iglesia Episcopal, Michael B. Curry dijo a los primados reunidos en Cantórbery, Inglaterra, del 11 al 15 de enero, que la declaración sería recibida con pesar por muchos en la Iglesia Episcopal.

“Muchos de nosotros nos hemos comprometido y nuestra Iglesia [se ha comprometido] a ser ‘una casa de oración para todo el pueblo’, como dice la Biblia, donde todos son realmente acogidos”, dijo Curry en comentarios que posteriormente compartió con Episcopal News Service.

“Nuestro compromiso de ser una Iglesia inclusiva no se basa en una teoría social o en una capitulación ante las maneras de la cultura, sino en nuestra creencia de que los brazos extendidos de Jesús en la cruz son un signo del verdadero amor de Dios que nos alcanza a todos nosotros. Si bien entiendo que muchos discrepen con nosotros, nuestra decisión respecto al matrimonio se basa en la creencia de que las palabras del apóstol Pablo a los Gálatas son válidas para la Iglesia actual: ‘todos los que han sido bautizados en Cristo, están revestidos de Cristo. Ya no hay judío ni gentil, [no hay] esclavo ni libre, [no hay] varón ni mujer, porque todos somos uno en Cristo’”.

“Para muchos, pues, que están comprometidos a seguir a Jesús en el camino del amor y ser una Iglesia que vive ese amor, esta decisión les dará un auténtico pesar”, afirmó. “Para los hermanos discípulos de Jesús en nuestra Iglesia que son homosexuales, el pesar será mayor. Para muchos que se han sentido y que han sido rechazados por familias y comunidades, nuestra Iglesia abriéndose en amor fue un signo de esperanza. Y esto le añadirá pesar al pesar”.

Curry le dijo a los primados que él no estaba en modo alguno comparando su propio pesar al de ellos, pero “estoy aquí ante ustedes como vuestro hermano. Estoy ante ustedes como un descendiente de esclavos africanos, a quienes robaron de su tierra nativa, esclavizaron en amarga servidumbre y luego, incluso después de la emancipación, segregaron y excluyeron en la Iglesia y en la sociedad. Y esto hace evocar de nuevo ese sufrimiento, y produce pesar.

“El  dolor de muchos será real. Pero Dios es más grande que nada. Amo a Jesús y amo a la Iglesia. Soy un cristiano en la vía anglicana. Y al igual que ustedes, como hemos dicho en esta reunión, estoy comprometido a ‘andar juntos’ con ustedes como hermanos primados de la familia anglicana”.

La declaración de los primados también le pide al arzobispo de Cantórbery Justin Welby que nombre un equipo de trabajo “para mantener conversaciones entre nosotros con la intención de restaurar la relación, de rehacer la confianza mutua, de sanar el legado del dolor, reconociendo el alcance de lo que tenemos en común, y explorando nuestras profundas diferencias, garantizando que las mismas se mantengan  entre nosotros en el amor y la gracia de Cristo”.

El anuncio respecto a las sanciones decía que se harían ulteriores comentarios y se responderían a preguntas en una conferencia de prensa que tendría lugar a las 3:00 PM, hora local, del 15 de enero.

Los primeros dos días de la reunión se dedicaron solamente a establecer la agenda de la semana y la discusión se centró en si los primados debían llegar a un acuerdo sobre cómo seguir adelante a pesar de las diferencias de opinión respecto a problemas de interpretación teológica y a la sexualidad humana.

El éxodo bastante esperado de algunos arzobispos africanos conservadores no se llegó a producir y todos los primados se mantuvieron en la mesa durante la reunión del 11 al 15, comprometidos a proseguir el diálogo y a discernir sobre varias opciones hacia la reconciliación. El arzobispo Stanley Ntagali, de la Iglesia Anglicana de Uganda, abandonó discretamente la reunión el 12 de enero. Él había dicho en una declaración previa a la reunión que él se retiraría a menos que “la disciplina y el orden devoto” se restauraran en la Comunión Anglicana. En una carta dirigida a su Iglesia el 13 de enero, Ntagali dijo que él se había retirado porque la asamblea provincial ugandesa había resuelto no participar en ninguna reunión oficial de la Comunión hasta que se restaurara el orden.

ENS supo por uno de los arzobispos que en la mañana del miércoles se había sometido a la votación de los primados [una resolución] en que se le pedía a la Iglesia Episcopal que se retirara voluntariamente de la Comunión Anglicana por un período de tres años. [Esta propuesta] fue rechazada por 20 votos en contra y 15 a favor, aunque ese retiro no es acorde con los procesos de la membresía provincial tal como se definen en la constitución del Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, el principal organismo normativo de la Comunión. El CCA debe reunirse del 8 al 20 de abril en Lusaka, Zambia.

El arzobispo Foley Beach, líder de la Iglesia Anglicana en América del Norte (ACNA, por su sigla en inglés), ha estado sosteniendo conversaciones con los primados a lo largo de la semana, pero no ha participado en ninguna de las votaciones. Welby invitó a Beach en un esfuerzo por evitar un boicot de los arzobispos africanos conservadores semejante al que tuvo lugar en la última Reunión de los Primados en 2011. La ACNA está compuesta en gran medida de ex episcopales que decidieron retirarse de la Iglesia Episcopal. Algunos primados africanos han declarado su afiliación a la ACNA.

El miércoles por la tarde, la agenda había pasado a otros apremiantes asuntos que afectan la Comunión Anglicana, tales como la labor de ayuda y desarrollo, y su respuesta a la guerra y a los conflictos.

Curry, que fue instalado como obispo presidente y primado de la Iglesia Episcopal en noviembre pasado, asiste a su primera Reunión de los Primados.

Luego de su elección en junio de 2015, Curry dijo que la Comunión Anglicana es tanto acerca de relaciones y asociaciones como acerca de estructura y organización. “Hemos conseguido tareas que hacer; tenemos alguna tarea de Jesús que hacer”, afirmó. “Este mundo clama por nosotros  y nos necesita, y la Comunión Anglicana es una manera en que Dios nos usa unidos para hacer realmente de este mundo un mundo mejor”.

Los primados son los principales arzobispos y obispos presidentes electos o nombrados para dirigir cada una de las 38 provincias autónomas de la Comunión Anglicana. El arzobispo de Cantórbery los invita a la Reunión de los Primados para consultas sobre asuntos teológicos, sociales e internacionales.

La Reunión de los Primados de la Comunión Anglicana es uno de los tres instrumentos de la Comunión, siendo los otros dos la Conferencia de Lambeth [que reúne a todos los obispos de la Comunión] y el Consejo Consultivo Anglicano, el principal organismo normativo de la Comunión. Al arzobispo de Cantórbery, como primus inter pares, o “primero entre iguales” se le reconoce como el centro de la unidad de la Comunión Anglicana.

Cada provincia se relaciona con las otras provincias dentro de la Comunión Anglicana por estar en plena comunión con la Sede de Cantórbery. El arzobispo de Cantórbery convoca la Conferencia de Lambeth, preside la Reunión de los Primados y es el presidente del CCA.

En algunas provincias anglicanas al primado se le llama arzobispo o metropolitano, o ambas cosas, mientras en otras se usa el término de obispo presidente, o de primus [otra manera de decir primado] como en Escocia.

El arzobispo de Cantórbery también invita a las reuniones de primados a los moderadores que presiden las iglesias ecuménicas unidas del Norte de la India, el Sur de la India y Pakistán.

En 1978, el arzobispo Donald Coggan, el 101er. arzobispo de Cantórbery, estableció la Reunión de los Primados como una oportunidad de “meditación pausada, oración y  consulta a profundidad”.

Los primados se han reunido en Ely, Inglaterra, en 1979; Washington, D.C., en 1971; Limurú, Kenia, en 1983; Toronto, Canadá, en 1986; Chipre en 1989; Newcastle, Irlanda del Norte, en 1991; Ciudad del Cabo, Sudáfrica, en 1993; Windsor, Inglaterra, en 1995; Jerusalén en 1997; Oporto, Portugal, en 2000; Centro de Conferencias de Kanuga, Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte, en 2001; Cantórbery, Inglaterra, en 2002; Gramodo, Brasil, en mayo de 2003; Londres, Inglaterra, en octubre de 2003; Newry, Irlanda del Norte, en febrero de 2005; Dar es-Salam, Tanzania, en febrero de 2007; Alejandría, Egipto, en febrero de 2009 y Dublín, Irlanda, en enero de 2011.

Las provincias y primados de la Comunión Anglicana aparecen listados aquí.

Visite la página web oficial de los Primados 2016

Siga a @Primates2016 en Twitter

Matthew Davies es redactor y reportero de Episcopal News Service. Traducido por Vicente Echerri.

Maryland assistant bishop’s message to the diocese on primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:30pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Maryland] The sky is not falling! You may have heard news reports the Episcopal Church has been sanctioned by the Anglican Communion. In truth it was the primates and presiding bishops from the 38 autonomous churches meeting in Canterbury that voted to suspend us from serving on committees within the organizational life of the Communion.

The Anglican Consultative Council is the body that can take such actions, not the primates. This is not the first time that we have been asked to refrain from participating in the governance of the Anglican Communion.

Please read or watch our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s message on the meeting. He reminds us, “…the Anglican Communion is a network of relationships built on mission partnerships.”

That means St. John’s-Mt. Washington’s relationship continues with a ministry in Uganda as will other parishes who have similar mission partnerships within the Anglican Communion. And it means our efforts will continue with the Diocese of Nakuru, Kenya, to support a joint ministry at St. Andrew’s International Community Church/Anglican-Episcopal in Baltimore.

We will always seek to build and strengthen our mission partnerships throughout the Anglican Communion. Differences in conviction have no power to threaten the unity given us within the Body of Christ.

Let us focus on Bishop Curry’s conclusion in today’s statement: “We are part of the Jesus Movement, and the cause of God’s love in this world can never stop and will never be defeated.”

Faithfully,

+Chilton R. Knudsen
Assistant Bishop of Maryland

New York bishop’s letter to the diocese on primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:26pm
[Episcopal Diocese of New York]Following this message you will find today’s communication from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, commenting on the decisions made yesterday by the Primates gathered in conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury to sanction the Episcopal Church.  Bishop Curry’s reflection is excellent, and puts our life in the Anglican Communion in the context of an organic, living, continually evolving network of relationships.  I find his words helpful in accepting the disappointment of a discouraging meeting and decision without interpreting that as a failure or ultimate breakdown of relationships which have inspired us, enriched us, enflamed our missional desires, and made us proud by our common witness to the gospel across the globe.

Our communion is intact.  In no way will this vote impair or diminish the commitment of the Diocese of New York to continue our own mission relationships and the work we are doing through our Global Mission Commission and through the many parishes of New York among the people and churches of Haiti, India, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and across the world.  We have countless friends in myriad places, and I am confident that the depth and richness of those relationships across world and communion will continue to make us glad and rekindle every day our love of the historic communion we are happy to still claim.

I particularly want to speak to those of our diocese in the LGBT community.  Please do not fear that the divisions in our communion expressed yesterday, or the consequences of those divisions for the Episcopal Church, will ever cause for this bishop or diocese a scrap of regret for the decisions made here to provide for all people, particularly for gay and lesbian people, the fullest possible inclusion in our common life and full access to the sacramental life of the church, notably the sacraments of marriage and ordination.  We have seen God bless the whole church as the church has sought to bless those who had long been marginalized.  We give thanks for the good learnings and gifts which have come to us as we have striven to love more expansively, to love as Christ loves.  We will continue firm in our convictions and in our continuing embrace of the full and diverse community of brothers and sisters which is our life in New York, even as we continue to reach out to our sister provinces across the communion in continued fellowship.  “I came among you,” Jesus said, “that all may be one.”

I am grateful for the leadership of Bishop Curry, and grateful that he sat for us in the Primates Meeting and remained brave and strong and faithful for the work and witness of that hour.  I continue to be proud and grateful for all of you in the local witness and mission you make in the churches and communities where God has placed you.  May God continue to shower his graces and blessings upon us, upon those who wish us well and upon those who do not.  And as always, I remain

Yours, The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche Bishop of New York

Chicago bishop’s letter to the diocese on primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 12:38pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Chicago] Some of you will have seen the news that the meeting of Anglican primates concluding today at Canterbury Cathedral in England has voted to issue what they call “consequences” to the Episcopal Church for our adoption of equal marriage at this past summer’s General Convention. For more context, I commend to you Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s video statement, filmed outside the gates of Canterbury Cathedral and released this morning.

First, I want to assure you that the Anglican Communion is a way of describing the web of living relations between our churches. It is not a governing body with authority in the internal workings of its member churches, and this announcement will not change in any way the Diocese of Chicago’s commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s people in our life and ministry. As your bishop and as a Christian, I believe that the faithful, loving, and lifelong union of two persons–of the same sex or of opposite sexes–is capable of signifying the never failing love of God in Christ for the church and the world, and nothing that happens in a meeting or anywhere else will ever change that.

I will leave to others to explain exactly which Anglican Communion committees will not welcome the full participation of Episcopalians for the next three years. But please know that none of these developments will change our life-giving mission relationships with the people of South Sudan and the people of Southeast Mexico. Our commitment to partnerships with African Anglicans who are working to curb anti-gay and anti-transgender violence and with African scholars whose biblical interpretations affirm the dignity of LGBTI people will also continue without interruption. You can read more about this work, which I have been privileged to undertake at three African consultations in the last five years, on the website of the Chicago Consultation.

I believe deeply, and never more than today, that communion with our fellow Christians is a gift from God. That true communion, which is based on our membership in the body of Christ and our love for one another, cannot be ended by temporal concerns, and will perhaps be made even stronger by this challenge.

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee
Bishop of Chicago

Bishop of Pennsylvania’s letter to the diocese on primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 12:36pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania] I have read with distress and sadness of the decision of the Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered in Canterbury, England, that The Episcopal Church be excluded from participation in the structures of the Anglican Communion for a period of three years. This decision is painful to many of us in The Episcopal Church, especially faithful gay/lesbian communicants of this church who once again feel the harshness of exclusion.

We must be clear, however, about several things about the expressed decision of the Primates:

  1. The Episcopal Church retains the recognition of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, which understands that authority in the life of the Communion is a shared practice rather than a monolithic structure.
  2. The Anglican Communion is a family of independent, national and self-governing churches, of which The Episcopal Church is one. No one church, prelate or body has jurisdiction over any other member of the Anglican Communion.
  3. There is no “one size fits all” model of Gospel proclamation or mission. Since the Anglican Communion is a family of churches ministering in widely different settings, disagreements are bound to arise. One of the strengths of Anglicanism is our ability to disagree openly and strongly and publically while we continue to walk together in fellowship as a worldwide body.
  4. Sometimes in family life, members grow and mature at different paces. I believe this moment in our life is one such instance. As I read the Book of Acts and the letters of Paul, I read the story of a church growing in its understanding of the breadth and depth of Jesus’ invitation to all people; and the ensuing struggles as the Church struggled to grow in its understanding that the Gospel invitation is both clear and wide: all people are invited to be included in the life of the church. As St. Paul states so clearly, “All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”
  5. At another level we must also understand the sad history of the church down to this present day in its willingness to exclude and marginalize people. I am thankful and proud that The Episcopal Church is leading the way in expanding our Biblical understanding of the wideness of God’s invitation and honoring our Baptismal vows to resist evil, work for justice and peace, to serve Christ in our neighbor and to honor the dignity of every human being. (BCP p. 304-305)
  6. The Primates have also declared their desire that “we continue to walk together as a Communion.” I am committed to continue to walk together as a constituent part of the Anglican Communion, as a follower of Jesus, a member of The Episcopal Church and a bishop of the Church even in light of this painful and sad decision. The Primates (currently and sadly, all male) are and remain, after all, our brothers in Christ through our Baptism.
  7. I pledge to continue to encourage, invite and lead this diocese and its members to continue to honor our membership in the Anglican Communion and to continue to work, pray and give for the support of the mission, life and ministry of the Anglican Communion throughout the world in our determination and resolve to continue to walk together with our brothers and sisters in Christ even in the midst of present disagreement.
  8. Finally, I urge every member of this diocese to pray for guidance in this difficult moment; to pray for the generosity of spirit to forgive and to accept forgiveness; to pray for those of our members who are in pain at this moment and for the strength to share their pain.

I give thanks for the bravery and witness of our Presiding Bishop Curry, who witnessed to the commitment The Episcopal Church has made to justice, equality and inclusion. As Bishop Curry stated so clearly: “Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”

Amen!

I remain, Faithfully,

Your Bishop,
Clifton Daniel

Oklahoma bishop’s letter to the diocese on primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 12:31pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma] Last September, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called for a meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion to occur at Canterbury this week. The Primates of 38 Anglican provinces, including our own Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry, were invited to attend.

This meeting was intended to bring leaders of the Anglican Communion to discuss numerous issues, including those currently causing strain within the Anglican Communion, most predominantly human sexuality and same gender marriage. The actions taken by The Episcopal Church this past summer at General Convention was an area of particular concern during these discussions. Specifically, changing the Canon language on marriage from “union of a man and a woman” to “both parties” and authorizing new marriage rites with gender neutral language to allow for the use in either same gender or opposite gender marriages.

I previously shared with you my concerns regarding these actions taken at General Convention, and why I voted against both changing the Canon language and adding gender neutral marriage rites. One of my concerns was how these changes might affect the polity of the larger Church and our relationships within the Anglican Communion.

After several days of prayerful discussion, a statement was released detailing an agreement of how the Primates of the Anglican Communion would choose to, “walk together in the grace and love of Christ.” This agreement, “acknowledges the significant distance that remains [between the Anglican Communion] but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together.”

In this statement, The Episcopal Church is identified as having “a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage.” Further, the statement continues to say that due to the seriousness of these issues, for a period of three years, The Episcopal Church will not represent the Anglican Communion, nor will The Episcopal Church be allowed to take part in making any decisions regarding doctrine or polity within the Anglican Communion.

Despite these actions, the Primates of the Anglican Communion clearly state that, “It is our unanimous desire to walk together.” Reaffirming their intention to strive to walk together in journey to preach, teach and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The statement continues and asks 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, recognizing (sic) the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.”

In reaction to this statement, our Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry stated:

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all.  While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”

He continued:

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain…For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain… The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family.”

Presiding Bishop Curry continues by saying, “We are part of the Jesus Movement, and the cause of God’s love in this world can never stop and will never be defeated.” You can read the Presiding Bishop’s full statement here.

I wholeheartedly support our Presiding Bishop in this matter, and I ask each of you to keep him, our church and our world in your prayers.

As we move forward, The Episcopal Church will be involved in discussions regarding exactly what these changes mean, and how they will affect our relationships in the Anglican Communion. Additionally, this will be a significant topic of discussion at the spring meeting of the House of Bishops. However, while these actions by the Primates of the Anglican Communion may affect relationships between The Episcopal Church and parts of the Anglican Communion, they do not affect the mission, ministry or service of our Church or our diocese. We will continue working, worshipping and serving together to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Faithfully,
+Bishop Edward J. Konieczny

East Tennessee bishop’s response to primates’ statement

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 12:25pm

[Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said:

“Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”

It is unfortunate that a majority of the Primates of the Anglican Communion have told The Episcopal Church to go “sit in the corner.” Regardless, we are still sisters and brothers in Christ with all people in the Anglican Communion, and more importantly sisters and brothers in Jesus. That will never change. Never.

We hope, pray, and trust that the leadership of the Anglican Communion, as well as the leadership of all of God’s people will now devote their resources, energy, and action to combat the true evils of injustice, poverty, suffering, degradation of creation, violence, and discrimination in our broken world.

Under the guidance and leadership of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, we will – in in our corner – continue to be part of the Jesus Movement in the wider church and world, in our parishes, and in our communities. And all shall be well.

“What does it mean to Episcopalians to be ‘sanctioned’ by a majority of the Primates of the Anglican Communion for refusing to treat our LGBT members as second class Christians? It means we’re willing to pay ‘the cost of discipleship’ as we follow the Jesus who welcomed, blessed, included, empowered and loved absolutely everybody. It means we take seriously our call to be part of the Jesus Movement – proclaiming the Good News of God’s inclusive love to the world. It means we choose inclusion over exclusion, compassion over condemnation, and justice over judgment.”     – The Rev. Susan Russell

The Right Reverend George D. Young, III
Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee

Bishop of California makes statement on Primates Meeting

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 11:18am

[Episcopal Diocese of California] On the evening of Thursday, January 14, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California, issued a statement concerning the actions of the 2016 Anglican Communion Primates meeting on his blog. The full text of the statement follows.

I’m one bishop, one Christian, one person, and I don’t presume to speak for The Episcopal Church I love and serve. I know our Presiding Bishop will make a statement soon about the Primates Meeting in the U.K., and I look forward with eagerness to what I know will be his courageous, wise, and loving words. At the same time, I serve a remarkable diocese that is eternally avant garde, and I feel the responsibility to represent the people I serve.

I received the news of the vote by a majority of the Primates of the Anglican Communion (Archbishops and Presiding Bishops who represent provinces, or regions of a global body of Christians who share a common origin in the Church of England) to sanction The Episcopal Church on the verge of the weekend marking the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King began with a firm commitment to racial justice, which expanded to embrace an interconnected system of justice commitments, like opposition to the Vietnam War and efforts against global poverty. A profound Christian who sacrificed his life because he followed Jesus Christ so closely, I believe Dr. King would have recognized the actions of the primates as antithetical to the way of Christ. Here are some reasons I believe the primates did not express the mind and heart of Christ:

The primates made peace among themselves by scapegoating The Episcopal Church, and even more fundamentally by further marginalizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The political powers who plotted the betrayal and execution of Jesus believed that it was expedient to sacrifice one person for the good of order and “peace.” The followers of Christ have held to the moral core of Jesus’ teaching that gives all for the minority, the marginalized, the vulnerable. The sheep in the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15.1-7) is not a morally misguided sheep, but a sheep alone and in danger.

The primates acted covertly — not honestly and openly. When the primates meetings were initiated by Archbishop Coggan in the late 1970s they were for “leisurely thought, prayer, and deep consultation.” It is understandable that if intimacy is the goal of the meeting, the meeting should have a degree of privacy. We now see that the privacy allowed their deeds – a vote, a far cry from a prayerful, Spirit led gathering – to be done in the shadows. A hallmark of what came to be known as orthodox Christian believing since the 4th Century has been our commitment to acting in the light rather than in the shadows, which Jesus speaks of in John 3.

The primates acted deviously. How could the faithful of the world have prepared for such an outcome based on the public statements of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who spoke about the possibilities of schism, but did not mention a vote to suspend a member of the Communion?

It is nothing new that Christian leaders are followers of Christ in name but not in deed. I am grateful that our own Presiding Bishop was unequivocal in voicing our constant commitment to solidarity in Christ with LGBT people, and with all who suffer from injustice. On a sad day I will nevertheless be glad to stand at Grace Cathedral on this Sunday at 3 p.m. for aninterfaith Evensong and in the midst of civil society gathered in San Francisco on Monday to honor the memory of Dr. King by marching. Faltering as we may be, slowed by our commitment to the continual evolution of being a democratically ordered Church in a democratic society, still I give thanks to God for The Episcopal Church, and for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” an idea built on his belief, which I share, that we are all deeply interconnected. The Episcopal Church’s commitment to justice will inexorably change a system that has veered far into the shadows and away from the light of Christ. We shall overcome – you know what Dr. King said about the arc of history.

+Marc Handley Andrus