The long awaited meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion has just taken place in Dar Es Salaam. This gathering brings together Primates from communities all around the world. As a consequence this meeting brings together all the complexities that mark our world and our Communion. Not surprisingly their deliberations resulted in a rather large body of material that needs to be assimilated and addressed by a number of different bodies over the coming months. These issues and concerns require and deserve the very closest attention.
Having said that, even a cursory reading of these documents makes it abundantly clear that the Primates of our Communion are not happy with the Episcopal Church. Further, they are less than satisfied with our responses to the formal requests that we have received at their hand. It is my expectation that our House of Bishops meetings, both in March and in September, will consider what further assurance we can give, while duly respecting the structure and governance of our Church. Bear in mind, the General Convention has legislative authority in our church and the House of Bishops can only speak for itself. I look forward to working with others to discover if there are ways in which we might give the assurance which our brothers and sisters around the world have requested. It is my hope that through that process, our relationship across the Communion will broaden and deepen.
However, I feel that I need to add an important caveat. Over the years I have been prepared to make certain accommodations to meet the concerns of those whose view of the Gospel promise differs somewhat from my own. I am fully aware that those accommodations have not been uncontroversial. Now, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not in the least prepared to make any concession that strikes at the heart of my conviction that gay and lesbian people are God’s beloved children. They are we. Our witness to the Gospel would be unthinkably deformed if by some tragic misjudgment we willingly submitted ourselves to vivisection. We are one body in Christ. Each and all of us rely upon the love of God, as revealed in Jesus, to attain to the life that is ours in Him. We have all been called by God to offer ourselves for the transfiguration of our lives in order that we “may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory.” This vision of a God who embraces all in the arms of Divine self-offering love is the vision that is at the heart of the Gospel as I know it.
The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk