Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Statement from Anaheim after CO56

I believe we have all had a couple of tough days in the House of Bishops.

We’ve been debating and passed D025, "Commitment and Witness to Anglican Communion," in the House of Bishops, and yesterday C056, "Liturgy For Blessings", in a substitute amendment was passed.

I want to say a couple of things about the process.

As a deputation we have worked hard to talk honestly about our responses and feelings to the events surrounding the Convention. We have met regularly for a caucus and for fellowship and for prayer. I believe this has been essential to our life lived together in this place. The deputation is so very diverse that I hope we are modeling how our life can be when we return.

The legislative process has been wholly unsatisfactory for me and a number of other bishops. I spoke to the "discharge" motion yesterday because I believe the House of Bishops has in its power to make decisions and take actions through pastoral letters to the church without the House of Deputies. And, on issues as divisive as sexuality it is imperative that the Bishops be willing to speak to the whole church, the whole flock, across political lines. Win or loose resolutions do not accomplish the unity that Jesus prayed to God to grant his disciples.

On Tuesday, I felt as though there was no place for me that might hear my voice because of the legislative process, I found myself very frustrated. I did not feel that there was room for a moderate voice. I was not the only one and the Presiding Bishop announced that a group of bishops were going to gather that night. I joined in.

It was a diverse group of 26 bishops. We each took turns telling our story and speaking about the unique missionary context in which we do ministry, the repurcusions of our actions, and how we felt about the work before us.

This was an important time for me because it gave me the opportunity to be very clear about who we are in the Diocese of Texas. I shared with them my very clear commitment to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Windsor Process, and the Covenant Process. I also shared with them that we are a diverse diocese in our opinions on sexuality issues, though a clear majority of our members continue to reaffirm a traditional understanding of marriage and a commitment to the processes I outlined above.

The substitute resolution that was written after the group met was not materially different than the original. The words that I felt should be removed in order to continue to honor our commitment to the Anglican Communion were not removed. So, I did not vote in favor.

The process though was helpful and it was a process where by I felt as though people of the broader Episcopal Church were able to hear your voices from within the Diocese of Texas.

I voted against passage of both DO25 and CO56, Dena voted against both, and Rayford voted against DO25 and for CO56.

Both resolutions (DO25 and CO56) will, I am most certain, place strain on the Anglican Communion. Reactions I've received support this belief. However, we need to give the communion time to respond, and we need to listen to our Archbishop as he speaks to us about his thoughts and reflections on the events of General Convention.

My [no] votes represent where I believe the majority of our diocese is right now; though I know it does not reflect the totality of who we are as a community. Press releases, news stories, and magazine articles can never carry the fullness of that reality, nor can they capture my desire to be shepherd to all my sheep in the diocese.

We remain part of the Episcopal Church. That’s my stance. I also intend to maintain the same balance as Don Wimberly, that we also remain active, constituent, members of the Anglican Communion.

I am committed to the Windsor Report recommendations and process which include a moratoria on blessings and elections of partnered gay clergy to the office of bishop.

I am committed to the Covenant and a process.

I do this out of a vocation of my heart.

I support a group of bishops who I believe will make a similar statement. I am writing to you directly.

As the bishop of the Diocese of Texas I am letting you know about my votes and the reasons for my votes. And, I am writing to you that you may know my commitment to our life together as one church. And, that you will know of my very clear intention to continue on the Windsor Path and to engage as a Bishop Diocesan in the Covenant process all as a full and active member in the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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