Much has been written and many questions have been asked in the aftermath of the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Tanzania.
No one at this point can state categorically what all this means. I acknowledge a feeling of having been buffeted one more time by bishops who don't understand the call or polity of The Episcopal Church.
Allow me a few comments.
• What is asked of The Episcopal Church in the Communiqué is
something the bishops of the church cannot deliver. We are governed as a church not just by bishops, but by bishops in concert with laity and clergy in our General Convention. We are much more democratic in polity than many understand. We are different than other parts of the Communion.
• Some of what is asked of us would violate our canons. Our
canons do not restrict who will be ordained as it relates to human sexuality. As a matter of fact, many of us are pleased and have worked hard to be a broad church. I will continue to work to maintain that.
• Our Standing Committee has, along with me, affirmed that we
desire to be governed by our national canons.
• I continue to be impressed and encouraged by the ministry of
our gay and lesbian members, and I will support them and their work. Their ministry enriches us all. I will not abandon them.
• My experience indicates that our gay and lesbian clergy and
lay people are encouraged and emboldened by their caring partners in relationship. Their quality of life and commitment stands up well beside that of heterosexual couples in a marriage relationship. I will work to help other people appreciate the gifts of our gay and lesbian clergy and lay members and their ministries.
• We must continue to do all in our power to help others
appreciate the theological work we have done in regard to our understanding of marriage and human sexuality. There are aspects of our church's teachings and polity which we cannot compromise.
Finally, I heard a wonderful quote by Leonard Cohen, a respected songwriter, at our Ash Wednesday Service at Diocesan House. It speaks well to our situation when it states "All of us are cracked people, and yet it is through the cracks that light shines."
Let us all hold on to our faith commitments, and hold on to one another.
The Rt. Rev. Jack M. McKelvey
VII Bishop of Rochester
(Use this as you find helpful)