Today’s statement from the Primates’ meeting, while not entirely unexpected, is deeply disappointing to me, as I suspect it may be to many of you. In the same breath that it professes a “unanimous desire to walk together,” it announced a decision “requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent [the Anglican Communion] on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating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.”
As painful as this action is to many of us, it is, of course, nothing new to people of color, to the LGBT community, to countless ethnic and religious minorities, to those trapped in poverty, and to many others. To the privileged of our church, it may provide an introduction to the marginalization that is all too familiar to so many.
My heart aches for those in our church who have found with us a welcome place after suffering exclusion and isolation elsewhere, only to hear now from those we call our Anglican “family,” our sisters and brothers in Christ, all too familiar words of dismissal.
Even more does my heart ache for gay and lesbian Christians in those Anglican Provinces where they are daily disparaged, degraded, and oppressed by a church that in some cases actively persecutes them in the name of the Jesus we know to love all, without exception. They, I suspect, understand better than any why our church has struggled so with issues of human sexuality and marriage equality, and perhaps today find in us companionship and hope.
It is heartening to be part of a diocese that, in spite of differences as substantive and firmly held as those challenging our wider Communion, strives to make as much room for one another as we claim there is in the heart of God. I have every confidence that you will continue to pray for every leader in the Anglican Communion, and every communicant in each of their Provinces; that you will open your heart again and again to those whose convictions differ from your own; and that you will continue working to build a Communion that is not defined by lines of division, but by lines that encircle all of God’s beloved.
I encourage each of you to read the remarks of our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, to his fellow Primates, reported in the article linked here.
Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio