Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, GA
Obvious to most of us, The Episcopal Church in 2003 made some clear decisions. They were made after decades of previous debate and discussion. Most of us knew that others in the Anglican Communion were not in the same place as us; some of our friends in the same pew were not in the same place as us. We had made the same sort of decision when we allowed women to enter the ordination process. We were making decisions and statements "as local circumstances required."
Now, one easy way to describe present discussions within the wider Anglican Communion is that we continue to debate what is "essential" to the faith and what is "changeable." This type of discussion does not need to be characterized as momentous conflict. It will continue for a long time, no matter what dates or deadlines or requests are set before us. We have never been a worldwide, universal, and hierarchical church like our faithful friends in Roman Catholicism. We are truly a communion of churches, and we believe God works through that communion.
Meanwhile, I seriously doubt that the Episcopal Church will overturn previous statements on issues of sexuality. In fact, as most of you know, I hope we do not turn back at all. We still have a long way to go in appreciating the gifts and talents of every member of Christ’s body; and we still have a long way to go in blessing wholesome and holy relationships. I have no problem with The Episcopal Church, within Christendom, being in a minority on some issues. In fact, when one includes Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox, it is very much a minority position in Christendom even to ordain women.
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