The Bishop of California
It is something that is too rare when we are at sea, as our Church and communion so often now seem to be.
The Bishop of California needs no introduction. His statement is excellent and stands strongly for the Gospel and our Church.
Thank you to the Rev. Susan Russell of Integrity, for pointing it out.
I am writing in response to the Communique coming out of the primates meeting in Tanzania. While many are reacting to the words of the Communique, I would like to respond from an awareness of the foundation of the day-to-day ongoing commitment of Christians to the gospel of Jesus. As bishop to the Diocese of California, I make the following affirmations:
- The inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the full life of the Church is a matter of justice: as we are all part of the world, and the kindom of God is like a net laid over that same world. All on the earth are connected by this net, whether perceived or not. Actions of justice and injustice reverberate throughout the whole, promoting either integrity, remembering, and shalom, or diabolic isolation.
- Understood as expressed above, our task in the Church is not actually to include or exclude anyone, but to show forth an intrinsic co-inherence that simply is, created and sustained by God.
- Gay and lesbian people who come to the Church seeking the blessing of the Church for their unions are people seeking to lead holy lives, exactly like heterosexual couples. The Church must respond to gay and lesbian people seeking the blessing of counseling, community support, prayer, and sacrament in the same way it does to heterosexual couples.
- The Diocese of California is a place within the Church -- not alone, but prominently -- where gay and lesbian people have been freer to offer their gifts: Both professional gifts and those of lay and ordained ministry. As a result, the Diocese of California has been immeasurably enriched. As bishop of this diocese, I know very well that the Christian rights of gay and lesbian people are intrinsic and must be supported, and that without these gifts, this diocese would be as immeasurably impoverished as it is now enriched. Immeasurably as the spiritual gifts of all God's people know no measure.
- The polity of The Episcopal Church requires the deliberation and consent of two bodies, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, to properly respond to the requests made by the primates in their Communique.
- The Episcopal Church should make every effort, including an extraordinary meeting of the two houses, and redoubled efforts to help the other provinces of the Communion understand both our theology relating to marriage and human sexuality and our polity. We should make these efforts, and at the same time not compromise the essentials of theology or our polity.
- I will call on the Diocese of California to come together at Grace Cathedral during the Easter Season (at a time and on a date to be determined) when we affirm the triumph of Christ over all that destroys the creatures of God, filling that great house of prayer for all people with the full diversity of the people of God: people who differ in mind but not heart; gay and straight people; men and women; the young with the old; the poor and the rich; people of every ethnicity, all together to show our understanding of Christ’s gift of new life in the Church.
+Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California
Shrove Tuesday, 2007