Monday, March 5, 2007

ENS | WEST TEXAS: Council hears bishop call for true listening

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Monday, March 05, 2007

Bishop Gary Lillibridge outlined the diocese's growth and signs of vitality during his address. Then he turned to what he called the "wintry season" of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

He re-iterated his stance as a "Windsor compliant bishop," meaning, he said, that he would refrain from giving his consent to the election as bishop of any person living in a same-gender relationship, would not authorize a public rite for blessing same-gender relationships, and that he agrees with the Windsor Report's call for bishops to stop intervening in dioceses beyond their own.

"I have also said that we are not going to pick and choose the parts of the Windsor
Report that we like and disregard those that we don't like," he told the Council. "There is little 'Communion' future there."

Endorsing the call of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 to seriously engage a "listening process," Lillibridge called on members of the diocese to prepare for a conversation recognizing that "the gospel truth seems clear to me: we conservatives, we liberals, we moderates are each other's family; we are each other's brothers and sisters -- because God is our parent and Jesus is our brother."

"We may not like some of our siblings, but we cannot change what God has done in bringing us together at the Eucharistic table as God's family," he said. "As St. Paul reminds us in Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Lillibridge told the Council "we cannot simply talk "about" gays and lesbians."

"We must talk ‘with' them. These are fellow Episcopalians and Anglicans, not Philistines," he said. "They make pledges to their congregations, they serve on Altar Guilds, they are ushers and lay readers; they serve on vestries and bishop's committees; maybe even as diocesan council delegates. They, like all of us, have an experience of the Holy Spirit in their lives and we need to hear about it. They did not wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, let's destroy this Church that we love.'"

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