Bishop Barry R. Howe’s statement on the recent House of Bishops meeting is here. In it, he writes:
“From the mid-nineteenth century, the Anglican Communion has always been understood as a group of autonomous churches who worship in the Anglican tradition, whose polity is built around the episcopate and local expressions of community, and who seek to work together in growing mission work throughout the world. It has been a mission-driven alliance under the spiritual leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the past decade, a new understanding of the Anglican Communion seems to be developing which seeks to be structural in the alliance of the churches. The structure appears to be one where authority is becoming centralized, and where creedal formulas and covenants are being proposed. This is a radical shift in the relationship of thirty-nine autonomous churches.”
Dean Terry White of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral touched on similar issues in his Easter sermon, saying:
“When this Church moves the ladder, it must always be because we are seeking to follow the Holy Spirit in furthering our mission. And while pressures are mounting from overseas prelates that we live differently, the Episcopal Church’s mission will not be curtailed by threats or a call to submit to a neo-fundamentalism that is seeking to redefine Anglicanism. No Episcopalian should have to choose between belonging to the Anglican Communion or being an Inclusive Church. All are welcome at this Table where Christ is host.
Throughout our history as Episcopalians we have moved the ladder to recognize the gifts of men and women, lay and ordained, baptized people of all ethnicities, and right now, the ladder is moving again to embrace both gay and straight servants of Christ in building up the Kingdom of God. And by doing so, we take another step toward becoming more fully the Body of Christ – the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
When move the ladder, it must be because we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to embrace all that God embraces. Moving the ladder means to reject the Status Quo. And it means to repent for past wrongs.”
(You will need to read the beginning of the sermon to understand the ladder metaphor. Hat tip Sara Copeland.)