by Duke HelfandThe presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church declared Thursday that church members who joined a newly formed conservative denomination "are no longer Episcopalians," even as she predicted that the exodus had largely run its course and would not trigger further large-scale defections.
In her first public comments since a coalition of 700 parishes announced the formation of a new North American church Wednesday, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori also reiterated that church property must remain in Episcopal hands, a position disputed by breakaway leaders.
"They are no longer Episcopalians," Jefferts Schori said of those who left. "They have made that very clear in their departures.
She emphasized that all Episcopalians were welcome "if they want to be part of a diverse church. . . . But the expectation has to be that we are not a single-issue church. We're not a church that says you have to believe this one thing in this one way and there is no room for difference of opinion."
Read the rest here ... and let's give thanks that what our Presiding Bishop makes clear is that after a decade of being blackmailed by the vocal minority who have insisted that they would leave if the LGBT baptized were fully included in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church, we are now free to get on with the work of incarnating God's justice and living God's love.
We will be looking for more and more diocesan conventions to pass resolutions affirming the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments of the church as we move toward our General Convention next summer in Anaheim. And once in Anaheim we will be looking for the Nat'l Episcopal Church to take some further steps forward on LGBT inclusion.