Monday, March 12, 2007

A Letter To The Presiding Bishop

The letter below is posted with permision. St. John's Episcopal Church is in Dickinson, North Dakota.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

The First Sunday in Lent
February 25, 2007

Dear Bishop Jefferts Schori,

Welcome back to the United States from the Primates' Meeting in Dar es Salaam. This letter is from St. John's Wardens and priest, and most of the members of this very small congregation. The worshippers gathered on the First Sunday of Lent agreed to write to support you in continuing your liberating approach to full inclusion of all God's children in the Episcopal Church, including lesbian and gay persons, and in all orders of ministry. While we recognize how difficult it must be to "hold things together," we do not think holding together an institutional arrangement justifies further oppression and exclusion. Upon your return to the United States, you spoke of a fast from several things, among them same sex blessings and consent to the election of bishops in same sex partnerings, and you hoped for a fast from interference in TEC by extra-territorial bishops.

It seems to us, mostly a "straight" congregation, that we have already observed a long fast when it comes to full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons.

After the Primates' Communique was issued, one of our new members sent our priest the email copied (with her permission) below. She has been eager for breathing space where she can BE who she is in Christian community, and new-life-in-Christ-space in the Episcopal Church, having been received from the Roman Catholic Church. She is so eager a participant that she reads every word of Episcopal Life, and of documents such as the communiqué. She looks to you and other leaders for hope for the freedom to be the good God's person she is. The Communique very nearly dashed that hope.

All the information is not yet in and I hope and pray that we move forward on the total inclusion of all of God's children. I came to the Episcopal Church in light of recent moves by the church to elect an openly gay man as Bishop, its stance on offering communion to all and its inclusive language and moves on the MDG. What a banner day it was for all the World to see a Woman elected as Presiding Bishop. What horrifying steps the Anglican Communion now takes to further promote discrimination of one sector of its people while losing sight of those world goals that demand our utmost attention and action.

I stay in our church based on your work Bruce and the congregation here. I won't deny the yearning I have that one day my family and our commitment to one another may someday be recognized officially but it gives me great hope that you recognize it on a local level. We all thank you for that.

Signed by the sender.

We are, by the way, also a congregation working very hard at our little level to implement the Millenium Development Goals.

We continue to pray for you . We are blessed that you are Presiding Bishop.

In Christ's love,

(The Rev. Dr.) Bruce L. MacDuffie, Priest-in charge and Ministry Developer
Mary Massad, Senior Warden
Fern Pokorny, Junior Warden
And signed by virtually every member of the congregation, about 45 of us

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