Episcopal News Service February 28, 2007
Presiding Bishop engages in a live 'Conversation with the Church'
By Matthew Davies
[ENS] The recent Anglican Primates' Meeting and the Episcopal Church's mission in the world were the focus of a one-hour February 28 live webcast, in which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori engaged in "A Conversation with the Church," from the studio facilities at New York's Trinity Church, Wall Street.
The program, moderated by the Rev. Jan Nunley, deputy for communication, opened with the Presiding Bishop's introductory remarks (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_82917_ENG_HTM.htm) centering on the Primates' February 15-19 meeting near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Following her comments, she answered questions from a live studio audience as well as phone and e-mail inquiries.
Access to the program is available for on-demand viewing through both the Episcopal Church's website at http://www.episcopalchurch.org and the Trinity Wall Street parish website at http://www.trinitywallstreet.org.
In her introductory remarks, which lasted approximately 18 minutes, Jefferts Schori quoted the psalmist: "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."
"Let us rejoice and be glad in the good and creative ministry going on in so many parts of this church and around the world. That is indeed an enormous blessing in a broken and hurting world," she said, before offering a perspective on the current situation in the Church.
She acknowledged the fluidity of the conversation among the Primates about current issues and the Communion's common life, especially since the recent meeting in Dar es Salaam welcomed 14 new members -- more than one third of the membership -- and that several long-serving Primates will retire in the next few years.
The structure of the recent Primates' Meeting also represented a change, she said, noting that three Episcopal bishops (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_82501_ENG_HTM.htm) were invited to speak to the meeting to offer a broader context of the life of the Episcopal Church.
"[The Primates] heard the pain and anger of those in the minority in this church, who feel that their understanding of biblical morality is undermined by recent developments around human sexuality," she said. "The primates also heard that the bulk of our church, and our ecumenical partners, do not see these issues as centrally important to our understanding of salvation and the gospel. The majority of this church is willing to live with where we are in regard to human sexuality, or to continue to move ahead in recognizing the full and equal dignity of gay and lesbian Christians, and the appropriateness of serving in all orders of ministry in this church."
"That position, however, is a distinct minority within the Communion," she added.
Jefferts Schori noted that the Primates represent a broad diversity of opinion. "A number of the primates represent provinces, especially in westernized or developed nations, where homosexuality is recognized and discussed," she said. "Some of those provinces are, or are soon likely to be, faced with the issue of civil unions and the church's attitude toward them. Those primates may agree or disagree with our own church's recent actions, but they understand that those decisions are not sufficiently important to break communion."
The full story may be found at:
-- Matthew Davies is international correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
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