There were no documents released today, but the Episcopal News Service describes the arduous process for what was done today at the House of Bishops in New Orleans.
After a day of mostly closed-door and overtime sessions, Episcopal bishops on September 24 said they’d made “enormous progress” toward a productive response to the concerns of Anglican Primates.
“This is a continuing process of discernment and clarification of the relationship of the Episcopal Church with the whole Anglican Communion” as regards church polity, the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and other issues arising from that decision, Bishop David Alvarez of Puerto Rico told reporters at an evening news conference.
“Through this process we have proven the quality of life of this church in which we can talk openly with each other and in which we can differ but also pray together,” he added.
He was joined by Bishop J. Neil Alexander of Atlanta and Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, who called earlier reports about a draft document inaccurate. “There is no draft at this point,” Alexander said emphatically. “We’ve made enormous progress today in building a very strong and broad consensus in the House of Bishops but we still have work to do.”
Despite repeated efforts to focus the news conference on issues of human sexuality and possible schism, the bishops emphasized that the tone of their conversations are respectful, and their goal is to develop a clear, concise response for the Primates without reversing support for gay and lesbian people.
“Are we going to withdraw our support of gay and lesbian people in the church — no,” Bruno said. “They are fully enfranchised members of our body.” But he added: “Are we going to do anything to exacerbate this situation? No, we won’t, and we’re waiting to see how our response will be received.”
Alvarez agreed, adding that is an “issue of justice, love and the Gospel. That’s not something you turn back.”