I have read with sadness the report from the gathering of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. I had hoped that the gathering would move away from legalism and lines in the sand towards relationship and mutual respect. That does not seem to be the case.
As all of you in the Diocese of Western New York know, I am an admirer of Bishop Charles Henry Brent and I am proud to be his successor. You have all heard me speak of the value that Bishop Brent placed and that I continue to place on ecumenism and cooperation between and among Christians. It is the history of the Diocese of Western New York to be a strong supporter of Christians seeking to work together and to build stronger relationships one with another and I am proud to stand in the line of Bishops who have worked for that goal.
However, Bishop Brent, and I, and that line of bishops would say that the purpose of Christians seeking to work together and build stronger relationships is so that we can have a stronger voice to take a stand for human rights and to work for justice. The goal of any Christian Communion, including the Anglican Communion, must be to strive for justice and peace among all people. In the absence of that work, our talk about relationship and communion is a clanging cymbal. The statement from the Primates meeting singularly fails to address the issues of human rights and justice.
I am proud that the Diocese of Western New York was one of the first Dioceses in the Episcopal Church to recognize the equality of all marriages. I believe that this moves our church closer to the kingdom of God. I believe that the action of the Episcopal Church to recognize marriage equality is another step in that direction. I believe that in taking these steps we follow the path laid out for us by Bishop Brent and others who came together for the purpose of working for justice and human dignity.
I will never stop praying for the strengthening of the Anglican Communion. I will never stop working and praying for the building up of ties between Episcopalians and Christians of other denominations. But unity and communion cannot be purchased at the expense of the human rights and dignity of other people. To do so is to betray Christ’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I ask the people of Western New York to join me in praying for our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as he continues to engage with the other Primates of the Anglican Communion.
Episcopal Digital Network Coverage with comments from Presiding Bishop Curry can be found here: