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Vol I No. 1
Anglicans Worldwide

Two Statements Issued before and after the TEC General Convention: from Communion Partners and Province IX Bishops

by sinetortus

The first of the two statements made in regard to provisions for same-sex partnerships and the relation of these to the Anglican Communion was issued by the Communion Partners of the Episcopal Church following the 79th General Convention, meeting in Austin, TX,  The second Statement below was issued earlier by the Province IX Bishops and in it they draw attention to their resolve to walk apart if need be in order to uphold their fidelity Scripture.

(At the very end below will also be found the Statement issued by the Communion Partner Bishops after the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City as well as their statement made just before this years General Convention in June 2018, )

 

The photograph above is part of the report

Austin Statement (July 13, 2018)

 

13 July 2018

(Communion Partners have asked that the complete text not be reproduced but it may be read on their web site)

For the full text on the original site…

1 During the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, we prayed the Collect for Proper 9:

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This prayer captures both the hope and the challenge we have experienced at this General Convention.

2 We give thanks to God for the way that members of our church who share the same baptismal identity have reached out to one another at this convention ….

We too seek to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Yet, in the midst of disagreement, the challenges to our communion in Christ are profound.

3 We are grateful that the convention has commissioned a Task Force on Communion across Difference (Resolution A227). This Task Force follows upon the “Communion across Difference” statement of the House of Bishops in 2015, which recognized the “indispensable” place that the Communion Partners have in our church’s common life, as a witness our church needs.

4 The work before the new Task force is to “seek a lasting path forward for mutual flourishing consistent with this Church’s polity.” ….

The goal is to discover ways, in consultation with the wider Anglican Communion and others, to walk together with integrity as brothers and sisters in Christ within the structures of the Episcopal Church. This is a hopeful development.

5 The witness at this General Convention of our brothers and sisters in Province IX powerfully challenged the Episcopal Church to preserve a place for traditional theological witness. In the absence of such place, several dioceses of Province IX have made it clear that they will need to walk apart. There can be no clearer reminder of the importance of our efforts now to maintain the communion in Christ that we possess, and to walk together as closely as possible.

6 As Communion Partner Bishops, we seek to maintain the communion of our dioceses within the Episcopal Church, a “Fellowship of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer” (Preamble of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church). The larger Church is a catholic whole that includes our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion, and indeed Christians all over the world. In the face of crucial differences with our fellow Episcopalians over marriage, we seek the highest degree of communion possible consistent with these commitments.

7 We are grateful to God that the 79th General Convention has preserved the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, guaranteeing its continued use. While giving space for those who seek to develop new rites and new language under the guidance of their bishop, the Convention “memorialize[d] the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as a Prayer Book of the church preserving the psalter, liturgies, The Lambeth Quadrilateral, Historic Documents, and Trinitarian formularies ensuring its continued use” (Resolution A068). In adopting this resolution, the General Convention ensured that we may continue to pattern our communities after the historic Faith and Order of the Book of Common Prayer as authorized in the Episcopal Church, and that clergy and bishops will be able to vow obedience to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this church as set forth in its historic prayer book.

8 As bishops, we claim our apostolic ministry as teachers of the Faith, and our role as chief pastors within our dioceses, clearly articulated in the Book of Common Prayer. As Communion Partner bishops, we affirm without reservation the traditional teaching that “Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which the woman and the man enter into a life-long union” that is “intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another…; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord” (BCP, pp. 861, 423). This is the teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Anglican Communion, articulated in resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998. At the same time, we recognize that other Christians of good will and commitment hold contrasting convictions about marriage…..

9 The General Convention has, through Resolution B012, made liturgies for same-sex marriage available for all congregations that wish to use them, as authorized by their rectors or priests-in-charge (§7). How this will be dealt with in each diocese may differ. B012 has also provided (at §8) a structure that, in the face of our profound differences in teaching over marriage, preserves the role of bishops as chief teachers, pastors, and liturgical officers by allowing us to call upon the ministry of other bishops of the Episcopal Church, in exercising supplemental episcopal pastoral care in those congregations of our dioceses that desire to use these liturgies and seek this form of oversight. This creates a helpful space of differentiation,…..

10 Our church is called episcopal in order to indicate the primacy of bishops and dioceses within our polity, an ancient catholic principle. The diocese, not the congregation, forms the basic unit of the Church. We believe that the provisions of B012 for supplemental episcopal pastoral care enable the local adaptation of the historic episcopate, as provided in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, as a means toward unity within our church and with the wider Anglican Communion.

11 The convention has also acted to protect clergy and congregations who cannot, for reasons of theological and pastoral conviction, affirm such rites. Resolution B012 clearly underlines the canonical pastoral responsibilities of rectors and priests in charge (§7). Congregations that maintain the traditional teaching on marriage, no matter what their diocese, have an equal claim upon the pastoral care of the church. We offer our own ministry of pastoral care in such congregations as bishops in furtherance of that goal.

12 We believe that much remains to be done as we work out the details of the mutual flourishing to which the Episcopal Church has committed itself (Resolution A227 §3). The General Convention has resolved on ways that will allow us to walk together as closely as possible for the immediate future. The meaning of B012 for our church remains to be discovered,…..

13 Our Presiding Bishop, consistently and with great joy, bids us to turn our hearts to Jesus. We accept that challenge without reservation. We commit ourselves anew to transparency, to mutual affection across difference, and to reaching out and ministering to the LGBT community, who are also our brothers and sisters in Christ. By God’s grace we faithfully take up our cross as we follow our Lord and Savior (Matt. 16:24).

 

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Emmanuel Allen
Obispo Diocesano de Honduras

The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt
Bishop of Tennessee

The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer
Bishop of Central Florida

The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard
Bishop of Florida

The Rt. Rev. William H. Love
Bishop of Albany

The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins
Bishop of Springfield

The Rt. Rev. Moisés Quezada Mota
Obispo Iglesia Episcopal Dominicana

The Rt. Rev. David M. Reed
Bishop of West Texas

The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith
Bishop of North Dakota

The Rt. Rev. George R. Sumner
Bishop of Dallas

The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II
Bishop of Northern Indiana, Resigned

 

The following Statement was issued by the Communion Partner Bishops before the General Convention on 28th June, 2018:

 

The full text may be read on the Communion Partners Website

The Vocation of Anglican Communion

A statement by the Communion Partners of the Episcopal Church
June 28, 2018

As Communion Partner bishops in the Episcopal Church, we seek to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” with our brothers and sisters here at home and throughout the Anglican Communion (Eph. 4:3). …..

We write to offer a word of guidance and encouragement on various matters before General Convention, particularly the proposals about prayer book revision and the extension of trial use rites for same-sex marriage to all dioceses where civil law permits.  We wish to begin by offering a brief explanation of our self-understanding as Communion Partners.

Walking together as closely as possible with all of our Anglican brothers and sisters has at times been difficult, but since our inception ten years ago we have sought to do so by maintaining “a visible link to the whole Anglican Communion on the way to resolving important questions of faith and order.”[1]  In step with the preamble to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church, we understand ourselves as members of a “Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.”  When we were ordained, we vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God” (BCP, p. 518).  As we understand the Episcopal Church to be part of this larger catholic whole, through our fellowship with Canterbury and the wider Anglican Communion, we have sought to walk as “communion partner” Episcopalians.[2]  As such, since the 2004 Windsor Report issued its request for three moratoria across the Communion, and as these were reaffirmed by the several Instruments of Communion, we have upheld and maintained them as normative in our dioceses.[3]

In 2015, the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church made a decision to extend the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples, by amending its marriage canon and authorizing new trial use marriage liturgies.  While recognizing the clear decision that General Convention made, we respectfully dissented in our “Salt Lake City Statement.”[4]  There, we affirmed our commitment to marriage as a covenant between a man and woman, under the authority of Holy Scripture as guided by catholic tradition and the Anglican Communion.  We renew that affirmation today.

As we see it, the decision of the 78th General Convention should be set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God.  That means that dioceses and congregations within the Episcopal Church that conscientiously teach and practice marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman

…..should be given a place to flourish within the structures of the Episcopal Church, without limit of time.

Because of this, we rejoiced in 2015 at the “Communion across Difference” statement of the House of Bishops, which recognized the “indispensable” place that Communion Partners have in our church’s common life, as a witness our church needs.[5]  We were grateful that the authorization of the 2015 trial use marriage rites provided, in this generous spirit, that we may as Communion Partner bishops keep the Windsor moratoria in our dioceses.  We have done so.

Now in 2018, we recognize that some in our dioceses have expressed deep dissatisfaction with this situation….

….We welcome and support their proposal for a “Communion across Difference” task force, so that over the next triennium and in consultation with our Anglican Communion partners, we might together seek a way forward for the mutual flourishing of all within the bounds of our historic episcopal polity.

Their proposal also provides that beginning in Advent of this year, the trial use rites for marriage authorized in 2015 will be available in all dioceses, where civil law permits.[6]   Congregations in our dioceses that have conscientiously discerned, alongside those priests who bear authority and responsibility for worship in their communities (Canon III.9.6), to extend the practice of marriage to same-sex couples (civil law permitting) would be given the right to do so by requesting delegated episcopal pastoral oversight (DEPO).

There is much to commend in this proposal.  Since it does not propose revision of the marriage rite in the Book of Common Prayer, we and those similarly-minded ones who come after us (clergy and lay alike) would be able to pattern our communities after the historic Faith and Order of the Book of Common Prayer as authorized in the Episcopal Church.  Clergy and bishops would be able to vow obedience to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this church as set forth in its historic prayer book.  While for the foreseeable future there would continue to be other authorized marriage liturgies welcomed by the majority of congregations and dioceses, we view the 1979 BCP as an important aspect of what we need to have a lasting place to flourish within the structures of the Episcopal Church.

We also appreciate the proposal’s attempt to make room for us to flourish as bishops of dioceses in communion with Canterbury and the one Church of God.  As Archbishop Williams noted in 2007, historic catholic ecclesiology teaches that the diocese and not the congregation form the basic unit of the Church, as the whole people of God in one place is gathered around the bishop as representative of the Church through space and time.[7]  As bishops, we have vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God” in our dioceses, ensuring that the congregations under our spiritual authority teach and practice the catholic faith as we have received it in this place.

We cannot, then, permit congregations under our spiritual care to teach and practice a form of marriage that is not authorized by Holy Scripture, by Anglican teaching, and by the great tradition of the whole Church of God.  Recognizing this fact, the proposal from our friends across the aisle recognizes that mandating access to same-sex marriage for congregations in our dioceses must mean that those congregations are in a real way no longer under our spiritual care.

This is why we recognize and appreciate the merits of the proposal.  By requiring delegated episcopal pastoral oversight of such congregations, the proposal allows Communion Partner bishops to preserve the historic teaching and practice of marriage for all those gathered in one place under his or her spiritual care.  At the same time, the proposal does not compel congregations in our dioceses to follow our solemn pastoral guidance in this matter if they understand themselves called by God otherwise, alongside the majority of the Episcopal Church.

Our guidance remains that God has created us male and female to be fruitful and multiply, so that what God has joined together no man should put asunder, and that this nuptial image seen throughout Scripture is a sacramental image of Christ the bridegroom and the Church his bride (see Gen. 1:28, 5:2; Mark 10:6-9; Eph. 5:31-32).  We hope even now that the beauty of this image, and the power of God’s own Word, would draw people to the fullness of the gospel’s teaching.  Yet, should the proposal before us pass, we would entrust in charity congregations that do not read Holy Scripture in this way to the care of other bishops in the Episcopal Church with whom we remain united in baptism.

While we cannot endorse every aspect of this proposal, we will be grateful should it help us all to continue contending with one another for the truth in love within one body.  It preserves the Book of Common Prayer as established by our church, and it preserves our dioceses for the exercising of the “historic episcopate, locally adapted” (Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral). …..

The inclusion of a Task Force on Communion across Difference is of utmost importance.  Parity requires that if congregations in our dioceses must be granted delegated episcopal pastoral oversight at their request, this should be reciprocated throughout the church for Communion Partner congregations.  For them, it is not simply a matter of whether or not a conflictual relationship exists with their bishop, but instead whether the bishop whose spiritual care guides their common life is one that they understand as in full communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer……

We wholeheartedly support a conversation with all stakeholders in the Episcopal Church, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and with the wider Anglican Communion in order to find such a truce of God, while preserving the current right of bishops to uphold and maintain the Windsor moratoria in their dioceses. ….

We hope and pray that the 79th General Convention will do all it can to promote our common growth into Christ, from whom the whole body is built up in love: Christ, who “loved us and gave himself for us” (Eph. 5:2; see 4:15-16).  We ask for the prayers of all our Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may do so as well, by the grace of God.

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd E. Allen
Bishop of Honduras
The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt
Bishop of Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer
Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins
Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith
Bishop of North Dakota
The Rt. Rev. George R. Sumner
Bishop of Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Moisés Quezada Mota
Bishop of the Dominican Republic

[1] See the mission statement of the Communion Partners at http://communionpartners.org/about-communion-partners/.

[2] A more fulsome theological account of and proposal for the vocation of “Communion Partner” Anglicanism, not only in North America but around the globe, can be found in the May 2017 paper “The Way of Anglican Communion” by the Rt. Rev. Dr. John Bauerschmidt, the Rev Dr. Zachary Guiliano, the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, the Rt. Rev. Dr. George Sumner, and Dr. Christopher Wells.  Our vision calls for intensified communion and synodical “walking together” as far as possible, within a wider recognized diversity within the Anglican family. Available online at http://communionpartners.org/the-way-of-anglican-communion-walking-together-before-god/.

[3] See The Windsor Report §§124-155.  All four Instruments of Communion affirmed and re-articulated these moratoria numerous times, usually with reference to Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.  See the Primates’ Meetings of 2005, 2007, and 2009; Resolution 10 of ACC-13 (2005); Lambeth Conference 2008 (§145); Archbishop Rowan Williams, “Communion, Covenant, and our Anglican Future” (27 July 2009); Archbishop Justin Welby, “Invitation to Primates’ Meeting” (16 Sept. 2015). Cf. Report of the Windsor Continuation Group 2009, section C (ii).

[4] <http://www.communionpartners.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Communion-Partner-Salt-Lake-City-Statement6.pdf>.

[5] <https://www.episcopalcafe.com/communion-across-difference-a-response-to-the-salt-lake-city-statement/>.

 

[6] Resolution B012, “Marriage Rites for the Whole Church,” submitted by Bishop Lawrence Provenzano (Long Island), endorsed by Bishop Nicholas Knisely (Rhode Island) and Bishop Dorsey McConnell (Pittsburgh).  Full text available here: <https://www.vbinder.net/resolutions/B012?house=hd&lang=en>.

[7] Letter of Archbishop Rowan Williams to Bishop John Howe, 14 October 2007.  In this letter, Williams writes: “Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in the Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.”

<http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/blog/comments/archbishop_rowan_williams_letter_to_bishop_john_howe>.

 

 

 


 

Statement of the Bishops of Province IX

(The Original and authoritative  text was in Spanish and is appended).

Statement of the Bishops of the IX Province

We the undersigned, Bishops of the Province, in full exercise of our civil rights make the following statement:

Over the past four decades, from 1972 to the present, we have witnessed with sadness and distress the rapid decrease/loss of membership of our Episcopal Church, as well as a disregard of the call to embrace and affirm what is established in the Holy Scriptures; practices that now threaten to tear apart and further dividing the Church, and distract it from the true mission of proclaiming our faith and making disciples for the enhancement of the Kingdom of God, thus transforming the society in which we live.

We are deeply saddened that the Holy Scriptures, our leading authority in the faith and practice of Christian life, and our Book of Common Prayer will soon be subjected to rigorous revision or to a liturgical surgery by the [Standing] Commission on Liturgy and Music as it was mandated by the last General Convention. If such revision is carried out, the leadership of clerics and lay people of our Church will be forced to accept social and cultural practices that have no Biblical basis or acceptance in Christian worship.

As leaders of the Episcopal Church in the IX Province, we are making a resounding call to all Episcopalians, clergy and laity as well, for an undivided commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the leading authority on faith and practice in the church. We call on all members to adopt practices consistent with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures and to submit ourselves to the teachings of the Scriptures, because God designed marriage between man and woman, for the procreation of humanity, which is a blessing of God (Gen. 2:24-25; Psalm 127:3-5). The Scriptures also teach that the covenant of Christian marriage is holy, sacred and consecrated by God and is expressed in the shared faithfulness between one man and one woman throughout their entire lives.

Brother [and Sister] Bishops, let us remember that, as pastors, we received the Holy Scriptures in order to shepherd Christ’s flock, which is entrusted to our care, a covenant that, in the [exercise of our] ministry, commits us to avoid that our faithful adopt practices that are incompatible with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

Finally, we urge all delegations of our province to vote “No” to liturgical changes in everything regarding the canons about marriage. This No is not adressed to anyone in particular; we are simply exercising our right to the expression of our

spiritual as well as cultural understanding of marriage, in the context of the life of our community in accordance with the word of God —in spite that many will see in the proposal of changes to the canons of marriage the option to let anyone to be free to do whatever he/she pleases with the Rite of the Holy Matrimony. If the Church approves these changes, they are greatly deepening the breach, the division, and the Ninth Province will have to learn how to walk alone.

In witness whereof, we sign this Statement on the fourth day of the month of November of the year two thousand seventeen of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bp. Alfredo Morante

Bishop of Litoral Ecuador

Bp. Victor Scantlebury

Bishop of Central Ecuador

Bp. Julio Holguin

Bishop of the Dominican Republic (retired)

Bp. Moises Quesada

Bishop of the Dominican Republic

Bp. Orlando Guerrero

Bishop of Venezuela

Bp. Lloyd Allen

Bishop of Honduras

 

Declaración de los Obispos de la IX Provincia

Nosotros los abajo firmantes, Obispos de la Provincia en pleno ejercicio de nuestros derechos civiles hacemos la siguiente Declaración:

Durante las últimas cuatro décadas, desde 1972 hasta el presente, hemos presenciado con tristeza y consternación la rápida disminución/perdida de membresía de nuestra Iglesia Episcopal y el llamado a abrazar como también a afirmar lo establecido en las Sagradas Escrituras, prácticas que ahora amenazan con rasgar y continuar dividiendo más a la iglesia y distraerla de la verdadera misión de proclamar nuestra fe y hacer discípulos para el engrandecimiento del Reino de Dios transformando así la sociedad en la que vivimos.

Estamos profundamente tristes que la Sagradas Escrituras, nuestra principal autoridad en la fe y la práctica de la vida cristiana y nuestro libro de Oración Común próximamente serán sometidos a rigurosa revisión o a una cirugía litúrgica por la Comisión de Liturgia y Música como mandato de la Convención General pasada. De realizarse dicha revisión, obligaran al liderazgo de clérigos y laicos de nuestra iglesia a la aceptación de prácticas sociales y culturales que no tienen base bíblica ni aceptación en la adoración cristiana.

Como líderes de la iglesia de la Iglesia Episcopal en la IX Provincia, hacemos un llamado contundente a todos los Episcopales, clero y laicos a un compromiso sin reservas con la Sagradas Escrituras como la autoridad principal de fe

y práctica en la iglesia. Hacemos un llamado a todos los miembros, a la adopción de prácticas coherentes con las enseñanzas de las Sagradas Escrituras y someternos a las enseñanzas de las escrituras porque Dios diseñó el matrimonio entre hombre y mujer, para la procreación de la humanidad, lo cual es una bendición de Dios (Gén. 2:24-25; Salmo 127:3-5). Las escrituras también enseñan que el pacto del matrimonio cristiano es santo, sagrado y consagrado por Dios y se expresa en la fidelidad compartida entre un hombre y una mujer para toda la vida.

Hermanos Obispos recordemos que como pastores recibimos las Sagradas Escrituras para apacentar al rebaño de Cristo que son encomendados a nuestro cuidado, pacto que en el ministerio nos comprometemos a que nuestros

miembros no adopten prácticas que sean incompatibles con las enseñanzas de las Sagradas Escrituras.

Para finalizar, animamos a todas las delegaciones de nuestra provincia a votar “No” contra los cambios litúrgicos en todo lo que se refiera a los cánones del matrimonio. Este no, no tiene dedicatoria para nadie en particular, simplemente hacemos uso del derecho que nos asiste en la expresión de nuestro entendimiento tanto espiritual como cultural del matrimonio, en el contexto de nuestra vida comunitaria de acuerdo con la palabra de Dios. Muy a pesar que muchos, verán la opción en la propuesta de los cambios a los cánones del matrimonio el permitir que cada quien sea libre de hacer lo que se le antoje con el Sacro Rito Matrimonial. Si la Iglesia aprueba estos cambios estarán ahondando mucho más la brecha, la división y la Novena Provincia tendrá que aprender a caminar sola.

En fe de lo cual, firmamos la presente Declaración a los cuatro días del mes de Noviembre del año dos mil diecisiete de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 


 

By way of further background it may be helpful to see the Communion Partners Statement issued after the 2015 General Convention also which read as follows;

 

Communion Partners Salt Lake City Statement (2015)

The 78thGeneral Convention of The Episcopal Church, in passing Resolutions A036 and A054, has made a significant change in the Church’s understanding of Christian marriage.

As bishops of the Church, we must dissent from these actions. We affirm Minority Report #1, which was appended to the text of Resolution A036: The nature, purpose, and meaning of marriage, as traditionally understood by Christians, are summed up in the words of the Book of Common Prayer:

“The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored by all people. The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord” (BCP, p. 423)

The nature, purpose, and meaning of marriage are linked to the relationship of man and woman. The promises and vows of marriage presuppose husband and wife as the partners who are made one flesh in marriage. This understanding is a reasonable one, as well as in accord with Holy Scripture and Christian tradition in their teaching about marriage. When we were ordained as bishops in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, we vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God” (BCP, p. 518). We renew that promise; and in light of the actions of General Convention, and of our own deep pastoral and theological convictions, we pledge ourselves to

  • “Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). The bonds created in baptism are indissoluble, and we share one bread and one cup in the Eucharist. We are committed to the Church and its people, even in the midst of painful disagreement.
  • “Speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). When we disagree with the Church’s actions, we will do so openly and transparently and with the Spirit’s help –charitably. We are grateful that Resolution A054 includes provision for bishops and priests to exercise their conscience; but we realize at the same time that we have entered a season in which the tensions over these difficult matters may grow. We pray for the grace to be clear about our convictions and, at the same time, to love brothers and sisters with whom we disagree.
  • “Welcome one another . . . just as Christ has welcomed [us]” (Rom. 15:7). Our commitment to the Church includes a commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. We will walk with them, pray with and for them, and seek ways to engage in pastoral conversation. We rejoice that Jesus’ embrace includes all of us.

We are mindful that the decisions of the 78thGeneral Convention do not take place in isolation. The Episcopal Church is part of a larger whole, the Anglican Communion. We remain committed to that Communion and to the historic See of Canterbury, and we will continue to honor the three moratoria requested in the Windsor Report and affirmed by the Instruments of Communion.

We invite bishops and any Episcopalians who share these commitments to join us in this statement, and to affirm with us our love for our Lord Jesus Christ, our commitment to The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion, and our dissent from these actions.

Communion Partner signatories:

The Rt. Rev’d John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee

The Rt. Rev’d Gregory O. Brewer, Bishop of Central Florida,

The Rt. Rev’d Daniel W. Herzog, Bishop of Albany, resigned

The Rt. Rev’d Paul E. Lambert, Bishop Pro-Tem of Dallas

The Rt. Rev’d Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana

The Rt. Rev’d William H. Love, Bishop of Albany

The Rt. Rev’d Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield

The Rt. Rev’d Edward L. Salmon, Bishop of South Carolina, resigned

The Rt. Rev’d William J. Skilton, Assistant Bishop of Dominican Republic, resigned

The Rt. Rev’d Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota

The Rt. Rev’d Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas, resigned

 

Other signatories:

The Rt. Rev’d. E. Ambrose Gumbs, Bishop of Virgin Islands

The Rt. Rev’d.  Julio Holguin, Bishop of Dominican Republic

The Rt. Rev’d.  Alfredo Morante, Bishop of Ecuador Litoral

The Rt. Rev’d.  Jean Zache Duracin, Bishop of Haiti

The Rt. Rev’d Francisco José Duque Gómez, Bishop of Colombia

The Rt. Rev’d Orlando Guerrero, Venezuela

The Rt. Rev’d Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras