We live in a complex world with great divisions. Religion, race, culture and disparity in wealth are sources of fear, contention, and violence. Within this context primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion gather this week. It is a blessing that these leaders have affirmed relationship, that they “would walk together in the grace and love of Christ. [The statement] acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together.”
The statement then focuses on the Episcopal Church and our recent decisions pertaining to same-sex marriage. The Primates ask that “the Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.” I struggle to understand how this helps us to “walk together.”
In this Sunday’s epistle, the apostle Paul writes, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” I firmly believe that all parts of the communion have much to teach each other. The Episcopal Church is making an important and painful witness to the Anglican Communion about human sexuality.
I pray that in the end walking together will prevail over the forces of division. In that spirit, we will strive to stay in relationship. We will also authentically follow Jesus in fearless love that transcends boundaries and borders.
Bishop Jim Mathes
Diocese of San Diego