Primates' Communiqué Draws Mixed Reactions From Bishops


A number of bishops of The Episcopal Church have reacted publicly to the publication of the communiqué from the meeting of Anglican primates in Tanzania which concluded this week.

Excerpts are presented here:

The Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly, Bishop of Texas – “I do not believe that the events of this most recent meeting of the primates heighten the divisions our denomination faces, but rather communicate well the reality of where we are as a global denomination and begin to reveal the path forward. The next step will be the discernment of the house of Bishops regarding a response to the communique’s explicit request.”

The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, president of Episcopal Divinity School – “There is absolutely no reason that gay and lesbian people should be denied the right of a blessing. There is absolutely no reason that a gay or lesbian person cannot be a respected member of the clergy of this church. There is absolutely no reason that we should abandon either of these positions for the sake of political accommodations.”

The Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem – “We will not even entertain the idea of a fast from observing the baptismal covenant’s promises about respecting the worth of all persons. We will not fast from actively seeking peace and justice for all. This baptismal promise is about action, not sentiment.”

The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth – [The communiqué] “ … points the way forward in these troubled days in the life of our Church. I commend it to you for careful reading and study … There are many questions that remain unanswered, and there are some serious difficulties that have to be addressed.”

The Rt. Rev. James L. Jelinek, Bishop of Minnesota – “I am deeply saddened by the recommendations of the Primates of the Anglican Communion … some of which would require The Episcopal Church to, in effect, turn back the clock on decades of hard work to provide full inclusion in the Church for all persons.”

The Rt. Rev. Larry R. Benfield, Bishop of Arkansas – “One of my disappointments with the communiqué is that the primates gave little attention to issues of hunger and war and poverty, and how the church is called to respond through the eyes of resurrection to a world that suffers from those afflictions.”

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles – “The contents of the communiqué are creating a great deal of angst and speculation about the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Be assured your bishops and this diocese remain fully committed to our ministry of Mission, Mercy and Justice.”

The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana – “I believe it to be the beginning of a process, a mechanism that will enable us to work toward healing and reconciliation.”

The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington – “I am deeply distressed that the primates spent so much time debating the internal life of The Episcopal Church and devoted so little attention to the woeful state of our global community.”

The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, Bishop of Northern California –“Having endured the blitz of speculation and punditry that has come in the last 48 hours, it is once again very clear to me that real understanding will take time and patience. Once again, we must seek to find that balance of engagement and detachment that will make it possible for us to pay attention to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York – “… even a cursory reading of these documents makes it abundantly clear that the primates of our Communion are not happy with The Episcopal Church … I am not in the least prepared to make any concession that strikes at the heart of my conviction that gay and lesbian people are God’s beloved children.”

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of California – The Episcopal Church should make every effort, including an extraordinary meeting of the two houses, and rebounded efforts to help the other provinces of the Communion understand both our theology relating to marriage and human sexuality and our polity.”

The Rt. Rev. Kirk Stevan Smith, Bishop of Arizona – “I know that many who have worked so hard for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church will see this as another step backward. It is, and my heart breaks because of it. However, I believe that we are at a moment in our history when we must remain together, doing our best to place the needs of the other before our own.”

More on the Primates' Meeting
House of Bishops Will Begin Response to Communiqué in March
Overtime Required for Primates to Agree on Communiqué
Divisions Remain as Deadline for Communiqué Approaches
Inside the 'Ring of Steel,' Primates Under Intense Pressure to Reach Agreement