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.
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