The Episcopal Church pushes back

Over the weekend Dr. Chuck Robertson, the Presiding Bishop’s Canon, had an op-ed piece published in a Fort Worth newspaper. That, in of itself, isn’t particularly remarkable. But the tone of his piece is.

Canon Robertson writes about the recent groundbreaking ordination of a woman to the priesthood in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Check it out:

“This ordination stands in contrast to recent actions taken by the Vatican, which remains opposed to women in ordained roles. While we continue in good faith with our ecumenical relations work, we also celebrate the understanding that God is at work in all of us — man or woman, lay or ordained.

We are a Church steeped in history and tradition, but part of our Church’s DNA from the very beginning has been our willingness to wrestle with the needs of the world around us and not be afraid to move forward in faith and action to help meet those needs.

As followers of Jesus Christ and members of the Church catholic — the Church universal — we will continue to share with all we meet the good news of God in Christ. We will continue to affirm that all who follow Jesus Christ are welcome in the Episcopal Church. We do so as inheritors of the bold spirit of Anglican reformers who affirmed the use of reason in bringing the Gospel to bear on the needs of the world.”

Read the whole column here.

This, along with the advertisement in USA Today over the weekend, seems to represent a clear pushing back on so many of the common charges leveled by critics of the Episcopal Church. By emphasizing right up front that the Episcopal Church is following Jesus, that it is a part of the Anglican Communion, these pieces (and others) seem to be indicating unwillingness to let ourselves be painted as “no longer Christian” or “about to be removed from the Anglican Communion”.

You can hear that voice very clearly in a letter to the New York Times Magazine written by Bishop Clifton Daniel where he begins:

I take issue with some of the statements made in Deborah Solomon’s interview with Robert Duncan. First, the name of Duncan’s organization, the Anglican Church in North America, may confuse some readers. The organization is not a part of the Anglican Communion. Duncan left the Episcopal Church, which is a constituent part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the sole Anglican presence in the United States recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

You can read the rest of his letter here.

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