Thursday, June 14, 2007

Presiding Bishop Suggests Taking the Long, Calm View"

The Lead points us to a report of Bishop Katharine's visit to Vancouver for the annual meeting of the Anglican Indigenous Network. There's some statements made in this report that are worth repeating, if for no other reason than to help us keep things in perspective:

...In an interview in Vancouver, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America unflinchingly predicts the high decibel back-and-forth currently pre occupying the top level of international church may well go on for another decade or more.

“I think the best outcome would be to ratchet down the level of conflict several notches,” Jefferts Schori said. “We have some very anxious people who need to have this resolved structurally right now.”

Those anxious people, personified by the 38 Anglican primates, have given ECUSA a September 30 deadline to cease-and-desist from same-sex blessings and the consecration of gay bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will arrive just days before that for the regular fall meeting of ECUSA’s bishops.

“I hope that he can hear and believe the church is far less divided than he believes it is,” said Jefferts Schori...

...The bishop acknowledged the conservatives in her church - those people jarred by 35 years of constant change from the ordination of women through the inclusion of children to revisions in the prayer book - are fuelling the outrage of some outspoken African bishops over the open acceptance of gays and lesbians.

However, Jefferts Schori, who calculates the disgruntled at one half of one per cent of her 2.4 million-member church, calculates the international disgruntlement at a similar level.

“It’s not the whole communion,” she said. “It’s a few people.” At the February primates’ meeting in Dar-Es-Salaam, “there was a handful of primates who were really upset about sexuality issues,” she said, while the bulk of the archbishops were annoyed at seeing their pressing concerns of poverty pushed aside.

And even in places such as Nigeria, where one voice, that of the very vocal Archbishop Peter Akinola, speaks for the church, “there is a diversity of understanding,” Jefferts Schori said...

...For indigenous people, who feel themselves to be a powerless minority often quarreling among themselves, Jefferts Schori recalled members of the Latino community in California letting down their barriers to each other and uniting for the first time, only to discover they were then a large force in the church.

“Together, all the marginalized can change things,” she said. “The secret is those in power are relatively few.”

And to the plea for native priests ordained in and for their own communities, she said, simply: “Continue to challenge your church.”

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