Here is the latest letter

Here is the latest letter by the Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church USA, to the other primates of the Anglican Communion, deal with the homosexual issue coming up at General Convention. It is a good letter!
"July 22, 2003
For the Primates of the Anglican Communion
My dear brothers in Christ:
I write you on the eve of the General Convention of the
Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to let you know some
of what is on my mind and heart during these days of prayer and
I am aware that earlier this month a letter was sent to
"concerned primates" from a number of bishops of the Episcopal
Church, USA outlining what they called a "deteriorating
situation within the Episcopal Church and elsewhere." They
particularly pointed to two matters that will be before our
General Convention: one pertaining to the confirmation of the
bishop-elect of the Diocese of New Hampshire and the other
dealing with the authorization of the development of rites for
the blessing of same sex unions which would then be brought to
the General Convention of 2006 for debate.
The polity of our church places the election of a bishop and the
nomination process which precedes it entirely in the hands of
the electing diocese. The election then must be confirmed by a
majority of the diocesan standing committees (made up of clergy
and laity) and by bishops with jurisdiction, each voting
separately. When an election occurs within 120 days of a
General Convention, the General Convention becomes the
consenting body. Each bishop-elect must first gain the consent
of a majority of the dioceses in the House of Deputies, which is
comprised of elected clergy and lay members from each diocese.
Next, ballots will be received from bishops with jurisdiction
and the bishop-elect must receive a majority of those votes, as
At this General Convention ten dioceses will present
bishops-elect for consent. The Diocese of New Hampshire and
their bishop-elect are the focus of attention, not because of
the competency and gifts of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson, or
because he was elected overwhelmingly by the clergy and laity of
a diocese in which he has served for 28 years, but because he
shares his life with a partner of the same sex. As Presiding
Bishop and chief pastor, my concern, as I said in a letter to
our bishops, is "how we move with grace through this time." I
am including a copy of this letter for your information.
This election, though profoundly disturbing to a number of
Episcopalians, is not surprising given that increasingly in our
part of the world there is an acknowledgment that some men and
women find that their deepest affections are ordered to members
of the same sex. Our church has a number of lay persons and
clergy for whom this is true. Some have chosen the path of
celibacy and others live within the context of a sustained
relationship. In this latter case we are not talking primarily
about sexual behavior which in both its heterosexual and
homosexual manifestations can be profoundly sinful and little
more than the compulsive pattern of lust so soundly condemned by
St. Paul. What we are talking about is the core of the personal
identity of men and women who share with us in the risen life of
I, perhaps more than anyone else, realize how very problematic
this election is for some of you, as well as for some members of
my own church, including the bishops who wrote to you. I am
also aware of the efforts that have been made to draw you into
this impending debate. Because we are members one of another in
the body of Christ through baptism and are called to share each
other's burdens, your concern is appropriate and welcome. And
may I say that I am always grateful when one of you contacts me
directly to express your concerns.
Over these last five years I have continually reminded our
church that we are part of a larger reality called the Anglican
Communion, and that what we do locally has ramifications both
positive and negative in other parts of the world. At the same
time I am mindful that each of us has to interpret the gospel in
our own context and within the particular reality of our own
Province; there is no such thing as a neutral reading of
Scripture. While we all accept the authority of Scripture, we
interpret various passages in different ways.
I believe that the report of the House of Bishops Theology
Committee, which was shared with you, can be helpful here. In a
section entitled Living In Disagreement it states: "Our present
conclusion is that equally sincere Christians, equally committed
to an orthodox understanding of the Faith we share, equally
looking to Scripture for guidance on this issue, are deeply
divided regarding questions with respect to homosexuality. It
will be crucial for all parties in this debate to ask God's
blessing on their ever-deepening conversion in Christ, and to
pray for God's love and forgiveness to be granted to all.
Faithfulness and the courage to offer love and acceptance to
those with whom we disagree is the great need of the moment."
As Professor David Ford told us several years ago during one of
our primates meetings, we are in the process of becoming a
communion. I have reflected often upon his words and come to
see more and more that communion is not a human construction but
a gift from God. Communion involves not only our relationships
to one another on earth but our being drawn by the Holy Spirit
into the eternal life of communion which belongs to the Holy
Trinity. Communion on this earth is always in some way
impaired, both because of our limited understanding of God's
ways and our own human sinfulness. Because we have been
baptized into one body through the death and resurrection of
Christ, we cannot say to one another "I have no need of you."(1
Corinthians 12:21) This means that maintaining communion is a
sacred obligation. It is not easy and involves patience with
one another, ongoing conversion, and a genuine desire to
understand the different ways in which we seek to be faithful to
the gospel. Declarations of being "in" or "out" of communion
with one another may assuage our anger or our fear, but they can
do little to show our broken and divided world that at the heart
of the gospel is to be found a reconciling love that can embrace
our passionately held opinions and transcend them all.
Please know how deeply I value each one of you as fellow
pilgrims on a continuing journey into the ever unfolding truth
of Christ. Grounded in Scripture, the historic creeds, the
councils of the church and the sacraments of the new covenant,
it is my prayer and deepest hope that our General Convention
will reflect the mind of Christ such that our church can be an
authentic sign of God's reconciling love.
Yours sincerely in Christ's love,
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA"

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