Office of the Presiding Bishop
The Most Rev’d Timothy A. Edwards, D.D.
P.O. Box 164472 Columbus, OH 43216
Electronic Mail: email@example.com
February 25th, 2007
The First Sunday in Lent
Dear Friends in Christ,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am sure that many of you have been following the events surrounding the Anglican Primate’s meeting in Tanzania. I know that for the GLBT community, the actions and decisions coming from the meeting were nothing short of disheartening. The suggestion that the Episcopal Church, or any other ecclesial community retreat for a period of time from engaging in social justice through the blessing of same sex unions, ordaining qualified GLBT candidates for ministry, and generally welcoming all people as full and complete members in the life of the church, is an abhorrent contradiction of the duty and responsibility of the Church. The Church is to minister and offer the grace of God to any and all people – unconditionally at all times and in all places. How can any church retreat from ministering the sacraments and rites to any of its members? The grace of God is freely given to all people, and when a group of African Primates attempts to marginalize others, they make a mockery of the salvific work of the crucified and risen Christ. These African Primates are nothing more than terrorists and their goal is to hold the Anglican Church and the Anglican Communion hostage to their ignorance and closed mindedness by insisting that everyone conform to their beliefs and anyone who holds a differing view or differing theological opinion is incapable of working and serving God, who created all people, proclaimed them good, and invites everyone to sit at the table of Christ.
The beauty of the Anglican tradition is that many views, varied interpretations, and diverse articulations of Scripture, Tradition and Reason are valued. This is what makes the beauty of the multi-faceted gem of Anglicanism. Any erosion of that diversity compromises the historical tradition that has always allowed for differing voices. However these voices cannot ever be louder than the cry of the poor and marginalized – because this is always the cry of Lord. It is becoming fact that these African Primates believe their voice is more important than the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding and sustaining the Church.
I commend Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her efforts to be pastoral as she listened to the African Primates. However, they have made it quite clear that they are unwilling to listen to her and the Episcopal Church, and unwilling to study and learn. Without listening, studying and learning, they will continue in their closed minded ignorance. I believe that the Church has been more than patient and has exhausted too much energy trying to engage those in dialogue who are interested only in their own agenda. The Anglican Communion is a venerable and historic part of the tradition, but it is not an end in itself. The Anglican Communion is being held hostage and by doing so is impeaching social justice. If this is allowed to continue, either through acquiescing to the African Primates directly or submitting to their proposed covenant, the Church will find itself committing a sin as great as the African Primates.
It is our prayer that Presiding Bishop Katharine, the Episcopal House of Bishops, and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church will find the strength they need to make decisions ask of them in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, our prayers continue for the GLBT members and their supporters in the Episcopal Church. To you we offer our heartfelt support and best wishes.
I remain your servant in Christ Jesus our Risen Lord,
The Most Rev’d Timothy A. Edwards, Presiding Bishop
The Reformed Anglican Catholic Church