Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bp. Katharine: "Reconciliation is the Episcopal Mission"

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is the "Guest Voice" on the Washington Post/Newsweek blog On Faith. Here's her message:

Reconciliation Is the Episcopal Mission

The Episcopal Church continues to focus on its mission of reconciling the world, particularly as it cares for the least, the lost, and the left out.

While the Episcopal Church laments the recent votes by some persons in Virginia congregations to leave this Church, we are clear that individuals may depart, but congregations do not. Congregations are created and recognized by the diocese in which they exist, and can only be closed by action of the bishop and diocesan governing bodies. Even if a large percentage of a congregation departs, the remaining people will be assisted by the diocese and the larger Church to reconstitute their congregation and continue in mission and ministry in that place.

These recent departures have received a significant amount of publicity, but they represent a tiny percentage of the total number of Episcopalians in the Church. We regret and grieve their departure, and pray that they may continue their journey as Christians in another home.
In the hope that some may decide to return, we intend to keep the door open and the light on.

Those Episcopalians who remain will be offered every pastoral assistance we can provide, in the hope and expectation that mission and ministry continue in their communities. Our Anglican tradition is a broad and comprehensive one, with space for people of widely varying theological opinions. We will continue to model an expansive welcome for all people.

Our mission as a Church is the reconciliation of the world. We will continue to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate children, heal the sick, minister to those in prison, and speak good news to those who have only heard the world's bad news. That is the work to which Jesus calls us, and that is the work we shall continue - with a priority of peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals. May God bless that which seeks to unite and build up and heal this broken world.
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