Thinking Anglicans

US Presiding Bishop writes to her fellow primates regarding bishop-elect Glasspool

Updated Saturday to restore a missing paragraph to the letter

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to her fellow Anglican primates regarding the forthcoming consecration of bishop-elect Mary Glasspool. The letter is posted at the Diocese of East Tennessee website, and reprinted here below the fold.

March 2010

My dear brothers in Christ:

I write you because of developments in The Episcopal Church, about which you will soon hear and read. As you all know, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected two suffragan bishops in December, and the consent process for those bishops has been ongoing since then. One of those bishops-elect is a woman in a partnered same-sex relationship.

At this point, she has received consent from a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction, and a majority of the standing committees of this Church. According to our canons, I must now take order for her consecration. I will do so, and anticipate that both bishops-elect will be consecrated at the same service on 15 May. It has been my practice, since I took office, to preside at the consecration of new bishops, and I intend to do so in this case as well.

I realize that this development will cause hurt and pain to some of you. I am deeply aware of the range of opinion and position about this. I would note that our Communion also has a very broad range of opinion and position about the suitable characteristics of bishops in general – some provinces do not believe women can or should be consecrated as bishops; some do not believe divorced and remarried persons can or should be consecrated; some provinces do not believe persons without advanced theological degrees should be consecrated. I know that many of you do not see these as equivalent issues, yet our diversity remains.

It may help you to know that our House of Bishops will continue to discuss these issues at our meeting later this month. The papers we discuss will be available publicly following that meeting, and we will endeavor to see that you receive copies. I would encourage you to engage in conversation any bishops whom you know in this Church, particularly those you came to know at Lambeth, whether in Bible study or Indaba groups.

Know that this is not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church. It represents a prayerful and thoughtful decision, made in good faith that this Church is ‘working out its salvation in fear and trembling, believing that God is at work in us’ (Philippians 2:12-13).

I ask your prayers for this Church, for the Diocese of Los Angeles, and for the members of the Anglican Communion. This part of the Body of Christ has abundant work to do, and God’s mission needs us all.

If you have questions about this decision or process, I would encourage you to contact me. I would be glad to talk with you.

I pray that your ministry may continue to be a transformative blessing to many. I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

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Fr. Orear
Fr. Orear
11 years ago

This, ladies and gents, is called backbone. Observe it well, as it is in short supply these days.

Una Kroll
11 years ago

At last an elected Archbishop has shown integrity by standing behind a decision that is bound to have unpleasant consequences. Thank God for her. Una

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
11 years ago

He is not here, he is risen. Thanks be to God.

evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)
evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)
11 years ago

Small correction Una, Jefferts Schori is a Presiding Bishop, a leader among equals, but seems like an Archbishop. But your support of her is definitely appreciated!

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
11 years ago

Excellent.

Paul Henry
Paul Henry
11 years ago

It seems odd to me that TEC – which in some ways was resposible for the creation of the Anglican Communion as a Communion – is now resposible for the dissolution of the Communion it helped create.

murdochm
murdochm
11 years ago

Perhaps its courage, perhaps it’s as she said, “According to our canons, I MUST now take order for her consecration.” I wish she hadn’t sounded reluctant, but her attitude toward LGBT folk has been “them” as opposed to “us.”

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

Walking and leaping and praising God!

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

Bishop Jefferts is a remarkable leader and a courageous and insightful woman. I have said it before and will continue to say it again and again, “If only we had a woman of this caliber leading the Roman Catholic Church out of the time tunnel of Trent and into this century, we would experience and see the fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” Anglicans can be proud of this bishop’s pastoral and spiritual leadership. It is sad that your Archbishop of Canterbury does not follow her lead.

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

I agree that Presiding Bishop Schori is showing integrity and backbone. But, considering that this is simply one diocese in one province following its usual procedures in choosing suffragan bishops, true Anglican Communion integrity will come when the choosing of two bishops in the American province causes no more comment than two bishops chosen anywhere else in the Communion. I can’t think of anywhere else in the Communion where the choosing of two bishops by normal provincial processes causes any need for the province’s primate to inform the other provinces of that fact. Presiding Bishop Schori is indeed not an… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
11 years ago

Yeah! Been anticipating this would come to pass with contentment. Hope it comes off. If not this time, then soon. Rightousness and fairness applies throughout Creation, no priest or prophet is exempt from justice. What matters are the principles, principles transcend personalities. If individuals do not support the underlying principles, or seek to selectively apply them to their own ends, then they are irrelevant. Schori and her team are not irrelevant, they seek to apply the principles fairly and consistently to both themselves and their followers. That creates a hope and expectation that they will do in kind for others.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
11 years ago

A great letter following upon a great decision, not just for TEC but for Anglicans outside The States as well. One poster refers to this as backbone that is otherwise in short supply. Despite the courage of several dioceses here, The Canadian Church at the national level is in “ongoing discernment” mode which is political baffle gab for trying to sit on the fence no matter how unbearable the pain. Hopefully the TEC decision gives hope to those who believe that “ongoing discernment” is not eternal vacillation.

Peter Carrell
Peter Carrell
11 years ago

You have not actually reprinted the letter as posted at the East Tennessee site. That letter includes this paragraph: “I realize that this development will cause hurt and pain to some of you. I am deeply aware of the range of opinion and position about this. I would note that our Communion also has a very broad range of opinion and position about the suitable characteristics of bishops in general – some provinces do not believe women can or should be consecrated as bishops; some do not believe divorced and remarried persons can or should be consecrated; some provinces do… Read more »

Tom Downs
Tom Downs
11 years ago

Paul Henry,
I’m glad you recognize the contributions TEC has made (among others) to gathering the children of God descended from the CofE into one Communion. But I refuse to assume the blame if the Archbishop of Uganda will not sit at the same table with our Primate, much less receive communion from the Lord’s Table in the same room with her. It is his choice to walk away from the Lord’s Communion. If there is dissolution, it will be on the shoulders of those who refused to be one.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Murdoch
I seem to remember you making the same comment on another blog and I quite liked the reply that this was quite possibly deliberately phrased in anticipation of overseas criticism of people refusing to understand the polity of TEC and claiming she could have acted differently.

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“Know that this is not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church. It represents a prayerful and thoughtful decision, made in good faith that this Church is ‘working out its salvation in fear and trembling, believing that God is at work in us’” (Philippians 2:12-13). – Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori, TEC Primate – Thank God… Read more »

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

“It seems odd to me that TEC – which in some ways was resposible for the creation of the Anglican Communion as a Communion – is now resposible for the dissolution of the Communion it helped create.” – Posted by Paul Henry

If you want to see someone “resposible” (rhymes w/ disposable?) “for the dissolution of the [Anglican] Communion”, Paul H, may I refer you to Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, whose declaration of COUP is found immediately below this header?

Lynn
Lynn
11 years ago

“It seems odd to me that TEC – which in some ways was resposible for the creation of the Anglican Communion as a Communion – is now resposible for the dissolution of the Communion it helped create.”

I might as well call the question – are we also responsible for the fall of the British Empire?

Jeremy
Jeremy
11 years ago

Preach it, sister ++Katharine!

David | Dah•veed |
David | Dah•veed |
11 years ago

“but for purposes of wider Anglican Communion functions, she is considered by the Communion to be a primate.”
peterpi

Peter, +TEC is a primate because the Canons of TEC designate that she, as the Presiding Bishop, is the primate of TEC. She is not just considered a primate, she is a primate by provincial canon law.

MarkBrunson
11 years ago

“It seems odd to me that TEC – which in some ways was resposible for the creation of the Anglican Communion as a Communion – is now resposible for the dissolution of the Communion it helped create.” That’s why I really can’t complain about the pain we’re suffering in that dissolution: we were one of the chief instigators of this ridiculous vanity piece to make bishops feel more important than they ever should’ve been and now we’re paying for it. Cut off the AC’s head and bury it at the crossroads with garlic in it’s mouth, but don’t forget we… Read more »

Murdoch
Murdoch
11 years ago

Erika Baker,

I agree that the wording of the Presiding Bishop’s letter is politically expedient, but I suspect that the sense that she’s having her hand forced isn’t wrong. Her first act after being elected, to great acclaim and with high hope, was to ram through General Convention an anti-GLBT measure, and she’s consistently treated gay issues as an embarrassment. The church is moving on, perhaps she’s being dragged with it. But she has treated gays as Other, and graciously sacrificed their interests to International politics. That’s why I repeat the message here.

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

David | Dah•veed, — I like your “handle” — thank you for your clarification of Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori’s status as Primate. I didn’t know it had a basis in TEC canons.

evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)
evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)
11 years ago

Murdoch, As Jefferts-Schori being a scientist, I’d really be surprised if she was infected by the anti-LGBT bug, but perhaps you’re right. My guess is that she’s trying to appease the haters in at least appearing to give them a fair hearing.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
11 years ago

I’m intrigued by the wheels within wheels analysis of Schori’s letter. The phrase “According to our canons, I must now take order for her consecration” is parsed out. The first several times I read this, I took it to mean that the role of the bishops of TEC is contextualized by TEC’s Canonical process.It’s not contextualized, for instance,by appeals from “prelates offshore” to use that turn of phrase. The PB seemed to me to be wanting to explain to others outside of TEC that there is a particular canonical context in TEC that must be honored. Likewise the office and… Read more »

Chris H.
Chris H.
11 years ago

Peter, thanks for finding a more complete copy of the letter. I read the one on Episcopal Cafe and said, “I can’t believe she wrote something so antagonistic towards conservatives without a sop of, “Sorry if this offends you”.” The letter came across as anyone who doesn’t like it isn’t in line with our church and can sod off–in America or abroad. I’m glad it wasn’t actually written that way, even if some feel that way.

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

“… is now resposible for the dissolution of the Communion it helped create”

Surely, it is those that are destroying it that are responsible?

Leonardo Ricardo
11 years ago

¨I agree that the wording of the Presiding Bishop’s letter is politically expedient, but I suspect that the sense that she’s having her hand forced isn’t wrong. Her first act after being elected, to great acclaim and with high hope, was to ram through General Convention an anti-GLBT measure, and she’s consistently treated gay issues as an embarrassment. The church is moving on, perhaps she’s being dragged with it. But she has treated gays as Other, and graciously sacrificed their interests to International politics. That’s why I repeat the message here.¨ Murdoch Exactly, Jefferts-Schori is clearly of the school that… Read more »

David | Dah•veed |
David | Dah•veed |
11 years ago

It is interesting to me that Statesonian Episcopalians are unhappy with their Presiding Bishop, especially GLBT Statesonian Episcopalians, and yet many of us in other provinces are proud of her and view her as a refreshing difference and the much needed light on a hill. She walks a very difficult road. She is the only female primate and just by that fact she is shunned by many to whom she has just written who are afraid of getting girl cooties. I take exception to falsehoods that she has done anything anti-GLBT. She may have asked folks to wait but it… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

Despite the pessimistic comments about the TEC P.B. on this thread (mostly, I guess, from others in her Province), I would want you to know that; to those of us who are mindful of the need to embrace the policy of inclusiveness within the Communion – of which we are all a part – we look to Katherine as God’s missioner to the Church and the world, in the way she has carefully, and I’m sure prayerfully, accepted her role as TEC Primate into the situation where both Women and Gays are accepted as worthy to receive a call from… Read more »

murdoch
murdoch
11 years ago

I meant to give credit where credit was due, not to divert discussion to the merits of TEC’s presiding bishop. Jefferts Schori’s letter is strong and clear, despite its reluctant tone. She has ably defended the autonomy and property of the church against predators. I wish she were more active in her defense; her style is more to stand than assert. Nevertheless, there are problems with her tenure. Her treating the recognition of LGBT relationships as infinitely deferrable hurts. Her chosen office manager fired the established cleaning company at Christmas time, and replaced it with a non-union firm. I know… Read more »

Nom de Plume
Nom de Plume
11 years ago

@Fether Ron Smith: That would be “+Katharine”, I believe.

And good on her!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
11 years ago

Interesting comment from David, “It is interesting to me that Statesonian Episcopalians are unhappy with their Presiding Bishop, especially GLBT Statesonian Episcopalians, and yet many of us in other provinces are proud of her….” I think this is an accurate comment as far as it goes, i.e. some displeasure inside TEC but some sense of pride elsewhere. I don’t know enough about TEC politics to venture a specific opinion. However, interestingly, as an Anglican in Canada, I have great admiration for what TEC has done. Ironically, Canada has been on the do not invite list as well, and yet I… Read more »

simon dawson
11 years ago

And they were offended in her. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in her own country, and in her own house.

Simon Dawson

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

Murdoch’s posts notwithstanding, Dahveed, I believe that the number of *anti-KJS LGBT Episcopalians* is really quite small (esp. since GC 2009).

David | Dah•veed |
David | Dah•veed |
11 years ago

JCF, Thanks be to God!

Having read many of his posts at the Lead, I am not all that sure that Murdock is a Christian/Episcopalian. His hubby is/was. Murdock just seems to like to gripe on Anglican blogs.

MarkBrunson
11 years ago

Even I have come to admire KJS and trust her – as far as you can trust anyone within a self-perpetuating hierarchy.

Nick Lincoln
Nick Lincoln
11 years ago

I read no such reluctance in the letter of KJS. I can’t believe, in fact, that people are accusing her of being anti-LGBT. Some people are never satisfied, it seems.

I rather like her closing paragraph – “It represents a prayerful and thoughtful decision, made in good faith that this Church is ‘working out its salvation in fear and trembling, believing that God is at work in us’ (Philippians 2:12-13).”

Are these the words of someone who is anti-LGBT? Get over it.

Gary Paul Gilbert
Gary Paul Gilbert
11 years ago

It is typical of Anglican/Episcopal discussions of church polity that the focus is on the clergy, particularly bishops, as if only ordained ministers were the church. The discussion then gets polarized into for or against a particular cleric, perhaps because lay people have less power than they ought. Regarding the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the fact remains that she, along with Frank Griswold, then outgoing PB, helped ram through resolution B033 at the General Convention of 2006, which called for a freeze on consenting to the election of more LGBT bishops and the development of rites to… Read more »

Gary Paul Gilbert
Gary Paul Gilbert
11 years ago

Part two The denomination still at most will tolerate same-sex couples and has offered lukewarm support for the move to allow same-sex couples such as Murdoch and me to access both civil and religious marriage. When Murdoch and I came back to New York after marrying civilly in Montreal four years ago, one of the few places we got an ambivalent reception was in the Episcopal Church. Social justice is not part of the paradigm for Anglicanism, it seems, perhaps because of its history being closely tied to the state, either formally as in England or unconsciously as in the… Read more »

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