The most poignant part of Bishop Peter Lee’s letter to his diocese (posted in full in the item just below this one) gives readers a sense of the lengths he went to, and the personal cost he paid, to try to keep his diocese together.
“For years diocesan leadership has worked to accommodate the views of the leadership of these churches. We have resisted attempts to deny them seat, voice and vote at the Annual Council when they stopped funding the budget of the Diocese. They have enjoyed access to our diocesan-managed medical and dental benefits. They have enjoyed other diocesan resources like grant funding for church planting, mission work and congregational development, Shrine Mont and Roslyn. I have met dozens of times with the leadership of these churches and with their counsel in an effort to find common ground on matters of theology. Three times I invited the retired Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey to conduct confirmations and receptions when my episcopal presence was either specifically refused or would have been a source of tension for the membership. I endured being told that the parents of confirmands would not want me to lay hands on their children at confirmation and I have received other personal attacks including death wishes in letters, reports and public statements.
I have tried to find a way forward in our dispute over property that would keep us from having to resort to civil courts. No longer am I convinced that such an outcome is possible, nor do I believe that such a move at this time is dishonorable. Rather, I believe as does the leadership of our Diocese and of our Church, that the actions taken to secure our property are consistent with our mission and with our fiduciary and moral obligations to the Church of our ancestors, to the church we serve today, and to the church of those who will follow us. ”
Bishop Lee is both a sensitive pastor and a skillful diplomat. He deserved better than this.