Friday, September 21, 2007

A New Chapter in the Episcopal Mess

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is there. Quite a few bishops from the larger Anglican Communion are there. Also present is the largest number of bishops of the Episcopal Church to attend a House of Bishops Fall Conference in a good many years. They have gathered in New Orleans (Sept. 20-25), not just to visit a place in the US that continues to be in pain, but to talk together honestly and with charity about the Perfect Storm unfolding in the Anglican Communion at this moment. It is definitely not business as usual.
The crisis was precipitated by the General Convention confirmation of a partnered gay man as a Bishop in the Episcopal Church and by the apparent permission given by the same convention to dioceses to exercise a local option for the blessing of same-sex unions. BUT, and this is really important to understand, this is not a fight about sexuality. As Mouneer Adis says, “It is not just about sexuality, but about your views of Christ, the Gospel, and the authority of the Bible. Please forgive me when I relay that some say you are a different church, others even think that you are a different religion.” (Please read the rest of his address below).
So, our bishops have some big decisions to make. Will we be a part of the Anglican Communion or not? Is the Episcopal Church willing to live in genuine interdependence with the rest of our church or are we so convinced of the rightness of our cause that we are willing to fracture the third largest denomination in the world?
There will be a number of resolutions before the bishops. May Jesus Christ, who is our peace, be in their midst as they chart our course.

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