BY JUDITH PATTON
Of The Patriot-News
The Episcopal Church continues to focus on doing what it considers to be the Lord's work, regardless of demands from its Anglican partners about some decisions, its bishop said.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said yesterday in Harrisburg that even though the church is being questioned by the Anglican Communion regarding same-sex relationships, the church "is alive, healthy, well and vitally engaged in mission and ministry," she said.
"Episcopalians feel deeply in their heart that God is leading our church to a greater inclusivity, but they are also grieving that in some ways their relationship with this worldwide fellowship might be diminished," Bishop Nathan D. Baxter of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania said.
Jefferts Schori, who has been the spiritual leader of the U.S. church with 2.4 million members since November, was in Harrisburg yesterday to preside at the renewal of ordination vows of the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania in St. Stephen's Episcopal Cathedral.
She recognizes that some church members are unhappy about the acceptance of homosexuality but endorses the honesty of the New Hampshire bishop.
"There have been gay priests and bishops in the church forever, but this the first time that someone has been willing to stand up and say, 'This is who I am,'" Jefferts Schori said.
"Our road would have been simpler if we would have gotten blessing of relationships before he would have been elected," she said. "But that's not what God gave us. So we're responding to what we have been given."
"Those who choose to love the Lord and to live and offer their relationships lovingly to God, we have to find a way as a church to honor what we've known for so long about the lives of these Christian persons," [Baxter] said.
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