Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Response From Bp. Kirk Smith

Nick Knisely brings us a letter from Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona regarding the House of Bishop's statement:

...I am well aware that for some, we went too far. As I have stated before, I am acutely aware of the pain the House's actions have caused our gay and lesbian members, who may view our response as again placing unity above justice. Yesterday's communiqué (the entire three page text is attached below) is a confirmation of the actions of the 2006 General Convention. Our polity is such that the House of Bishops could not have changed that position, even had we wanted to. Even many of the most liberal bishops among us supported today's response to the Primates...

...That being said, the bottom line is that what we did this week is a compromise, and like all compromises runs the risk of pleasing no one. Each side had to give up something in getting to this point. But there is some good news in this. I feel that we are in a much better position to move ahead, both in our own American Church and with the larger Communion. There was a greater spirit of cooperation and consensus among liberal and conservative bishops in the House than I have ever seen. We have also strengthened the bonds of common mission between ourselves and most (not all) of our brothers and sisters in Africa. The clearer language about same gender blessings allows me to revisit this topic, which I plan to do with the clergy at our annual retreat in January.

To those for whom this has opened old wounds, I again counsel patience, even though I understand that might ring hollow. I do believe we are moving in the right direction, even though slower than many would like. Still, the goal of full inclusion is closer than it was before and we now have a better chance of being one people united in Christ when we get there.

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