Dear Anglican Friends in San Joaquin,
As you might imagine, I was quite disappointed with the vote of your convention to withdraw from the Episcopal Church. The overwhelming margin by which the constitutional change carried indicates a level of alienation from the elected leadership of our church that can only be described as alarming. I realize that the chain of events leading up to this moment is long and complex, but it's not necessary to rehearse that story now. This is simply a moment for acknowledging the sadness of this turn of events. The very heart of our Lord Jesus himself must be broken over our failure.
There is, of course, an honest division of opinion among us over the appropriate place of lesbian and gay Christians in the Church's life and work. You know my own views, and, so it seems, the prevailing view in the Episcopal Church, as indicated by the decisions of General Convention. Yet, I realize that, while your understanding represents a minority position within our Church, it remains a majority viewpoint within the larger Anglican Communion. While differing from those who hold this view, and even while I hope to contribute to its evolution in a more inclusive direction, I nonetheless honor it as normative at this time for all parts of the Anglican family of churches.
I wish you did not feel compelled to take the action you took today. It grieves me that you did. For my own share of responsibility in the breakdown of our relationship, I apologize. I should have been able to do more to dissuade you from reaching the conclusion that you had no other option. It is apparent to me that I and others have not made a sufficient effort to understand your concerns and to concretely demonstrate that understanding.
The history of Christianity teaches us that, while it is quite easy to rend the fabric of unity within the body of Christ, it is maddeningly difficult to repair such a breach. In the hope of repairing the breach that occurred at your convention, I am letting you know now of my resolve to keep the lines of amicable communication open between us. Accordingly, I am directing my chancellor to indefinitely desist from pursuing litigation against anyone in your diocese, or against any of its congregations or institutions. I will, for the foreseeable future, initiate no canonical action against Bishop Schofield, or any of the clergy of the diocese.
This is to say that, with the exception of providing pastoral care and episcopal oversight of a provisional nature to those congregations and members who wish to remain affiliated with the Episcopal Church (in the interests of which we trust that Bishop Schofield will work with us congenially), we will simply not recognize your action for the time being. As far as I am concerned, we would love to seat the deputies you elected today when we gather in Anaheim in 2009, and Bishop Schofield will remain on the roll of the House of Bishops.
In the meantime, please know that I would receive very positively any invitation to visit your diocese with no agenda other than to listen. The Episcopal Church has obviously failed you, and I want to do everything within my power to put things right. I believe that the heart of God is passionate about the restoration of our relationship.
Faithfully in Christ Jesus,
s / Katharine