Carioca: Anyone born in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Confess: to acknowledge one's belief or faith in; declare adherence to, to reveal by circumstances.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
On Sin & Blessability, etc.
Christ the (Only?) Way
The exclusivist claims of Christianity are a subject of ongoing debate both within the Church and outside it. When President Ford was buried from the National Cathedral a while back and the traditional funeral gospel reading from John 14 omitted the concluding phrase, "No one comes to the Father but by me," that omission did not go unnoticed either by those who were inclined to applaud it or by those who were scandalized by it. The recent deposition of an Episcopal priest who also professed Islam, and the bishop-elect who also walks the way of Zen Buddhism, have kept the issue on center stage.
With Good Shepherd Sunday coming up, I ran across this from the late Anglican New Testament scholar Reginald Fuller in his homiletical notes on John 10:11-18 for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (from Preaching the Lectionary, 1984). It speaks to the question cogently:
(Referring to Article XXVII of the Church of England, Of Obtaining Salvation Only by the Name of Christ) In modern words, this article condemns the view that it is good to have a religion but it doesn't matter which one. The biblical exclusiveness that underlies the mission of the Church can be linked with ... the parable of the sheep and the shepherd: "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd." Perhaps, too, the "wolves" against which the good shepherd defends his flock are those broad-minded Christians today who hold that salvation is through any religion, not through Christ alone. This is exclusive claim is made because only Christ has been raised from the dead. Only he has passed through death to our final destiny, and therefore we can attain our final salvation only through him.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I know, but...
Friday, April 24, 2009
A Resolution on the Anglican Covenant
Resolved, the House of _____________ concurring, that this 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church make a provisional commitment to abide by the terms of the Anglican Covenant proposed in the most recent text of the Covenant Design Group (the “Cambridge-Ridley” draft); and be it further
Resolved, that the text of the proposed covenant be commended to the various dioceses of this church for study and comment during the coming triennium; and be it further
Resolved, that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies appoint a Special Task Force to determine what constitutional and/or canonical measures may be necessary in order to make a permanent commitment to the Covenant; and be it further
Resolved, that this Special Task Force prepare a report to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that includes draft legislation that could be considered should the convention decide to make a permanent commitment to the Covenant.
The 75th General Convention passed resolution A166, which supports the participation of the Episcopal Church in the development of an Anglican Covenant. Since then, the Covenant Design Group has produced several drafts, culminating in what the members of the CDG believe is the final product of their work, the Cambridge-Ridley Draft.
The 75th General Convention also passed resolution A159, which affirms not only our commitment to interdependence in the Anglican Communion, but a desire to live in “the highest degree of communion possible.” The same convention also passed resolution A160, which offers an apology that “our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our
church and other parts of the Communion” has “strained the bonds of affection” between the provinces of the Communion.
Since 2006, these strains have only grown more severe. Given our share in their creation, and in keeping with our long-held ecumenical position that for the greater good of the larger Church’s unity, “this Church is ready in the spirit of love and humility to forego all preferences of her own,” and as a sign of good faith toward our sisters and brothers across the Communion, it seems appropriate that we voluntarily and temporarily agree to order our life according to the terms of the Cambridge-Ridley Draft until such time as we can ascertain the level of its acceptance by other churches, and consider more fully the nature of our identity as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion of churches.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Calling All Software Engineers
- A calendar with a "look and feel" that is comparable to Outlook's, with an ability to color-code events in several different ways. (I like to show Sundays and feast days in their proper liturgical colors, quickly see occasions that take me out of town, and appointments that are purely personal.)
- Task management tools that are more than just a re-arrangeable To-Do list. Like in Outlook, I need to be able to assign both start dates and due dates. I'm not married to Franklin Covey's precise prioritizing features, but there needs to be someting comparable that allows me to break big tasks down into smaller ones, rank them precisely by relative importance, and then move them around using "drag & drop" to various start dates on a calendar. And while I'm at it, the ability to link a task to a particular document file would be very cool.
- An integrated email client would be nice, but I have to say that gmail's interface is growing on me. I especially like the way it groups messages into "conversations," and I love its search abilities. So these features would need to be built in to any email client.
- The ability to import my Outlook database would be critically important.
- I am not in principle opposed to a web-based application (Franklin Covey has one, but its interface is too drab and hard to read to excite me), but there would need to be some way to work offline in some limited way during those inevitable times when the internet connection fails or is too slow.
- I haven't yet thought through the handheld piece of this puzzle. I'm not currently paying for a data plan on my phone, so I rely on the ability to sync between laptop and PDA. But once I figure out which wireless company has a decent signal in my house (Verizon doesn't), I'll probably be ready to spring for a data plan.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Notes Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Church Music
One of these days—not in my lifetime, perhaps, but eventually—sex and gender will cease to be the chief presenting issues in ecclesiastical wrangling. But there will always be music to argue about. Even today, a few fortunate congregations are untouched by the sexuality wars that rage above them. But virtually none can escape some degree of tension and ferment over what music should be used in the practice of corporate worship, who should perform it, and how it should be performed.
Music has been integrally associated with Christian worship from earliest times. And it has always generated tension. St Augustine experienced this tension within his own soul:
Thus I float between the peril of pleasure and an approved profitable custom: inclined to more (though herein I pronounce no irrevocable opinion) to allow of the old usage of singing in the Church; that so by the delight taken in at the ear, the weaker minds be roused up into some feeling of devotion. And yet again, so oft as it befalls me to be more moved with the voice than with the ditty, I confess myself to have grievously offended; at which time I wish rather not to have heard the music. (From Confessions)
One dimension of this tension concerns the delicate dance between liturgy qua liturgy, and music qua music. Liturgy is dependent on music (even though many western Christians regularly participate in “low Mass”—a celebration of the Eucharist sans music—this is a generic anomaly, and would wither without a connection to its normative template, the Sung Mass). But music is a veritable “force of nature,” and will always seek to take the lead position in the dance if it is allowed to.
Consequently, we see a cyclic pattern in history: Liturgical music, which begins as simple chant or song, very much “owned” by the assembly and its presider, grows little by little more complex, to the point where it becomes a high art form with a life of its own, reserved for skilled specialists, who perform while the main body of the assembly is mute. The music might also become so lengthy that it eclipses the texts and actions of the liturgy, and requires such logistical infrastructure (e.g. an orchestra) that it comes to dominate the liturgical space.
When this happens, the liturgy eventually strikes back, and there is draconian reform. In the late 16th century, Pope Marcellus floated the idea of banning polyphony (singing in harmony) in church, reverting to pure chant. The composer Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina responded with his Missa Papae Marcelli (now considered a choral classic), intended to demonstrate that polyphony need not outshine the liturgical action. In that same era, at the back end of the Reformation, the emerging Protestant liturgical traditions all featured a musical idiom that was simpler and more participatory than anything in the Roman church. In England, we can see this in John Merbecke’s setting of the Prayer Book texts for Holy Communion (a setting still in widespread use), according to the principle of one syllable per note, and for every note a syllable. We can even see the tension expressed in the works of a single composer: William Byrd’s settings of Latin texts are fully contrapuntal (independent voice lines not always singing the same syllable at the same time) while his settings of the Prayer Book service are largely homophonic (hymn-like, a succession of chords in which all the voice parts sing the same words at the same time). Much later, in1903, Pope Pius X once again attempted to reform and simplify the music of the Latin Rite in his Motu Proprio on Sacred Music, this time in reaction to the mammoth choral and orchestral Masses and Requiems of composers like Verdi and Berlioz.
In the early 21st century, this ongoing dynamic of gradually increasing musical complication leading to reactive simplifying reform still looms over our various liturgical landscapes. But we are usually too close to the ground to put our experience into this larger context. Rather, at the moment, we tend to draw battle lines in the “worship wars” pitting various classical traditions (represented by organs, hymnals, and SATB choirs singing from anthem folios) against the “contemporary” stream (represented by texts projected on screens and “Praise Bands” singing from lead sheets). It may be tempting, but is too facile, to equate the “classical” strain with the tendency toward complication and “professionalization” of church music, and the “contemporary” strain with the reformist impulse. Reality is not so simple. There are multiple examples of liturgical music in the classical tradition that is accessible, sturdy, and meant to be sung by a congregation without formal musical training. There are also plenty of instances of “praise and worship” music that is clearly more at home on the lips of the rehearsed “Praise Team” members than on those of the general congregation.
Actually, before we can begin to fruitfully sort out the issues relative to musical style, we need to tame the beast that is Music itself—i.e. the medium that will never stop trying to become the message. We need to face the dilemma articulated by Bishop Augustine so long ago. And in order to do so, we (meaning all who are entrusted with liturgical leadership) need to screw up our collective courage and embrace a sort of Prime Directive (in the Star Trek sense of that term), which might be something like: Let the Liturgy be the Liturgy. This is to say, music (like tradition), is a wonderful servant but a horrible master.
The Eucharistic liturgy of the Church, both East and West, has a discernible shape, rhythm, and flow. Dom Gregory Dix may be in a sort of scholarly Purgatory at the moment, but we nonetheless all owe him a debt of gratitude for helping us see this shape, rhythm, and flow more clearly. This is the infrastructure through which the liturgy accomplishes its work—doxologically, catechetically, homiletically, sacramentally, and eschatologically. Anything we bring to the liturgy by way of adornment, enhancement, contextualization, vestments, ceremonial, music—whatever—anything we bring to the liturgy must serve the liturgy’s own ends and not introduce some other agenda. The duty of liturgical music, in particular, is to serve these ends by revealing, clarifying, and highlighting the liturgy’s inherent shape, rhythm, and flow.
As soon as music calls attention to itself, to the extent that liturgical song—be it “folk art” or “refined art”—says, “Hey, look at me!” it immediately becomes an alien and an interloper. When that happens, the liturgy has been hijacked and turned into a flatbed truck. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s of the last century, the Eucharist was often hijacked to carry the freight of social protest, with spontaneous Masses being celebrated in front of government buildings and defense plants. But musicians of all stripes are probably the worst offenders here. I can recall a conversation with another church musician more than thirty years ago where we looked at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass as little more than a vehicle on which we could load as many jewels of the Anglican choral tradition (which, just for the record, I believe is magnificent) as possible. More recently, I have had similar conversations with “contemporary” musicians who simply want to load different freight on the same truck. Both sorts of musician ask all kinds of important questions, like “What would most please the congregation (or celebrant, or bishop, or visiting dignitary)?”, “What will keep the choir/praise band happy?”, and “What can we do well with the resources at our disposal?” These are all good questions—even necessary. They’re just not the “one thing needful.” Unfortunately, the most important question in planning liturgical music is the one that too often never gets asked: “What music will best serve the needs of this particular celebration on this particular day with this particular congregation at this particular point in the service?” The question pastoral musicians (one bit of contemporary Roman Catholic parlance that I find quite helpful) need to be asking of the liturgy is not, “How can you help me accomplish my pastoral goals?” but “How can I best serve you today?”
But even after we’ve parked the flatbed truck for a long rest in the liturgical garage, there’s still another substantial issue to deal with before we can presume to calm the worship wars, and this is equally true for those on both sides of the battlefield. I’m talking about the fact that we invariably ask people to sing in church (except at those anomalous Low Masses), but church is increasingly the only place where that request is made. I think it is arguable that there is presently no vibrant (or even living) American folk music (in the sense of a genre and repertoire in which most people can readily participate) tradition. We are culturally bereft. Think about it: In movies from fifty and sixty years ago—I’m not talking about musicals, but straight dramas and comedies—it was not implausible for there to be a scene of spontaneous singing (often with someone playing the piano, also a dying skill). Aside from stylistic conventions, such a scene would be literally incredible in a film set in today’s culture.
It's not that music isn’t important to people—quite the contrary; witness the explosion of iPod sales in the last decade, and the growing dependence on having “my music” available 24/7. But “my music” is something I passively receive, and not something I’m likely to get together with friends and attempt to spontaneously replicate. And if I’m at all inclined to do so, it’s probably with the assistance of karaoke equipment. We may even be at the point where recorded music has become the norm and live performance the aberration—not only in bars but at weddings and funerals. (The culprits are probably legion; my candidate is the steady erosion of music education in the public schools.)
So, while in the relatively recent past, singing in church was a speciation of an activity in which people were likely to also participate in other contexts, it is now a thing-unto-itself, and an increasingly alien thing at that. This realization not only complicates the job of a pastoral musician; it is a potential game-changer in the worship wars because it suggests that both sides are fighting a losing battle. Those attached to the classical tradition (a company in which I can readily number myself) already know that. When I go to an orchestra concert, the proportion of gray heads to youth is about as alarming as it is in the typical Episcopal congregation on a Sunday morning. And when I bring up the rear of the procession into and out of a Sunday sung liturgy, the tendency to not even crack a hymnal—let along attempt to sing—is inversely proportional to advancement in years. But this doesn’t mean that those attached to the “contemporary” idiom (which my pastoral obligations have required me to make some peace with over the last twenty years) can claim victory. Just because someone won’t sing “Love divine, all loves excelling” doesn’t mean they’re going to respond full-throatedly to “Shout to the Lord.” In fact, my intuitive hunch is that singers are singers despite the genre (though most have their preferences one way or the other) and non-singers are non-singers despite the genre. And the problem is that the non-singers have overtaken the singers, in whatever style. So it seems to be in the best interests of the AGO and the AAM to declare a truce with CCLI and their guitar-toting devotees and work on getting people to sing…period. Then they can go back to fighting over what they sing.
Or maybe not. Here my thoughts are more tentative, more speculative. My suspicion is that there in fact needs to be another reform movement in liturgical music, a movement that is populist in that it effectively calls the plebs dei to “own” its participation in the liturgy—musically and in every other way. But it must not merely be a reform that panders to popular taste, because popular taste is presently wedded to passivity and artificiality, which is to say that it is poorly-equipped to generate music that serves the needs of the liturgy, that reveals its inherent shape, rhythm, and flow. Rather, the work before us is more fundamental, more seminal. With the exponentially-increasing de-christianization of western culture, perhaps the Church is called to cultivate (once again?) a musical idiom that is distinctly ecclesiastical (rather than an unreflective emulation of prevailing secular styles, whether “high art” classical or “folk art” popular), accessible (both technically and affectively) to those gathered for worship, and, most importantly, a style that takes a following role rather than a leading role in its dance with the liturgical action.
What will such music sound like? We can only imagine. Let the imagining begin.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Post-Modern Creed
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
GC Resolution Heads-Up
This is the season when we will be seeing more and more drafts of resolutions that will be presented to this summer's triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The text that follows has been made available to me by a member of convention who wishes to remain anonymous at this time.
The Episcopal Church and Single-Ply Compliance
Resolved, the House of _________ concurring, That this 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church urge every parish and Church institution to commit itself to the use of single-ply toilet paper in all restrooms and outhouses; and be it further
Resolved, That every diocese of this Church appoint a Toilet Paper Compliance Officer to monitor adherence to this single-ply policy throughout the diocese; and be it further
Resolved, That the Parochial Report submitted by every congregation of this Church include a check-box to indicate single-ply compliance; and be it further
Resolved, That training in Anti-Two-Ply be required of all persons in ordained and lay leadership in this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music be directed to draft an Earth Day liturgy, to be submitted to the 77th General Convention, which will include prayer for faithfulness to our commitment to single-ply compliance.
The New York Times reported on February 26, 2009, that two-ply toilet paper is environmentally hazardous. The Times states:
The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted United Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra – which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm. But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in
The Episcopal Church has made the Millennium Development Goals its first mission priority. Among those Goals is an important focus on environmental sustainability. It would be tragic if our Church, committed as we are to peace and justice, were to fail in the matter of toilet paper. Our Baptismal Covenant implies a single-ply policy: since we “respect the dignity of every human being,” we must protect the environment in which those human beings live – and must see to it that human beings, in dealing with their most basic needs, do so in an environmentally appropriate way.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Bishop Little re Northern Michigan
Many of you have asked me about the election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of Northern Michigan, and in particular about whether I gave consent for his consecration. I did not; nor did the Standing Committee, which had its own in-depth conversation on this important matter.
Several issues have been raised concerning Fr. Thew Forrester in the months since his election. First, he has undergone “lay ordination” in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Is this simply an acknowledgement that he engages in meditation practices with Buddhist roots? Or does it indicate a more dangerous mingling of Christian and Buddhist teaching, a hazardous syncretism? I do not have a clear answer to that question, though his articulation of the Christian faith seems to blend spiritual categories in a disquieting way. Second, the election process in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, while not uncanonical, gives the appearance of a closed system. The nominating committee presented only one candidate to the electing convention, and thus the election seems like the ratification of a decision already made. Third, the website of Fr. Thew Forrester’s parish – St. Paul’s, Marquette – indicates that he has written his own Eucharistic prayers and even made significant modifications to the baptismal liturgy. The Book of Common Prayer, on the other hand, is part of the constitution of the Church; its use is not optional, and clergy are not free to modify its texts. The Prayer Book is our doctrinal anchor, rooted in Scripture and summarizing the essential teachings of the Christian faith. Fourth, Fr. Thew Forrester’s sermons – also posted on the parish website – indicate a disturbing weakness in his understanding (and embrace) of basic Christian doctrines: the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the atoning work of Christ on the cross. As I’ve pondered Fr. Thew Forrester’s election, this is the most troubling dimension of all, and in the end it is what led me to withhold consent.
In the Christian Church, bishops are not “private citizens”. They are called “to be one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel, and to testify to Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and King of kings . . . [and] to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church” (BCP, p. 517). These are solemn obligations, and inherent to the ministry of bishop in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. St. Paul himself lays this charge upon his successor, Timothy: “Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
A bishop’s teaching ministry must never be idiosyncratic. We have no message other than the one that has been given to us. The task of bishops is to pass on that message as faithfully as we can; to proclaim Jesus Christ – crucified, risen, coming again; clearly and winsomely to present his person and his work; and to offer the world a Gospel that challenges, heals, and restores us to a relationship with the Father. With the information I have at hand, I am not convinced that Fr. Thew Forrester would be able to discharge this essential obligation of episcopal office.
I cast my No vote without joy; indeed, with sorrow in my heart. If the Church denies consent for Fr. Thew Forrester to be consecrated as Bishop of Northern Michigan, it will be a tragic development for the diocese, and for Fr. Thew Forrester himself. He is, from all reports, a beloved and respected priest, passionate about ministry and committed to his people. Please join me in praying for him, and for the diocese, that in the midst of a most difficult time Jesus will be experienced more and more deeply, and ultimately his kingdom extended and his people with encouraged. With all blessings I am
Yours in Christ,
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
A Word to the 76th General Convention
- Evangelism is central to the life of the Church’s mission.
- Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to live lives leading to holiness, justice, and peace.
- The rite of Holy Baptism in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer contains no theology unique to the Episcopal Church.
- Baptism before Communion is the best way to be faithful to our Baptismal Covenant as we engage in evangelism, and reflects an ecumenical consensus we cannot ignore.
- The Episcopal Church’s full communion with the See of Canterbury and its full and active participation in the other Instruments of Communion, as well as in the life of the whole Anglican Communion, are essential elements of our identity.
- The actions already taken by General Convention that demonstrate the Episcopal Church’s good faith intention to remain in full communion with the Anglican Communion are to be affirmed.
- Schism undermines the Gospel; what divides the Church is not of Christ.
- Unilateral actions undermine justice, even when such actions are intended to establish it.
- The Anglican Covenant is the only viable path at present for maintaining communion and should be adopted by the Episcopal Church.
- General Convention should not speak with one voice on public policy or other issues when that voice is merely that of the majority, and not reflective of genuine consensus.
- General Convention needs to keep in mind that schism among Anglicans damages the witness of all involved, and thus should focus on building mutual respect leading to reconciliation.
- Youth and young adults are necessary to the growth of the church and should be a top priority over the next Triennium.
- Bishops and other leaders need to pursue constructive and charitable relationships with those who are currently estranged from the Episcopal Church, particularly since we must be mindful of the legacy we will pass on to the next generation.
- Making a commitment to remaining lovingly engaged in worship and service with all members of this church, even amid our conflicts, is an essential feature of what it means to love each other as Christ loves us.
Reconciliation in Communion:
A Word to the 76th General Convention
of the Episcopal Church
An initiative of Covenant
Holy Week 2009
We, the undersigned laity and clergy of the Episcopal Church, offer the following as a testament to our concern for the life and witness of our church and its membership in the Anglican Communion. The God-given bonds of affection that unite us to one another are based in the prior unity of love that is God’s own Trinitarian life; for this reason, our corporate life should continually strive to be an icon of this same love. At the present moment, we are particularly mindful that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (II Cor. 5:19), and that because of this we have been given a “ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18). It is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will give the Episcopal Church a renewed awareness that at the heart of our common mission lies the ministry of reconciliation, which endeavors “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (BCP Catechism, p. 855).
To that end, we
- Affirm that evangelism lies at the heart of the Church’s mission, understanding evangelism to subsist in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which calls all people to repent from sin, to be united in the Body of Christ through baptism, and to be continually discipled in the communion of the Church.
- Affirm that the vows and promises of Holy Baptism, articulated in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, are a call for all Christians to live lives that lead to holiness, justice, and peace for all.
- Affirm that the rite of Holy Baptism in our Prayer Book stands in continuity with the received faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church of the creeds, and articulates no theology that is unique to the Episcopal Church, but only makes explicit that which is common to all Christians for whom the catholic and apostolic faith as expressed in the creeds is normative.
- Affirm that in continuity with our Baptismal Covenant, all who desire to participate in the Lord’s Supper are called first to Baptism, which is the sacrament of new birth through which all are welcomed into the full sacramental life of the Church.
- Affirm that the self-understanding and mission of the Episcopal Church have become inextricably anchored to its relationship of full communion with the See of Canterbury, its active participation in the Instruments of Communion, and its formal and informal partnerships throughout the Anglican Communion. This is reflected in our liturgical patterns, and the continued allocation of funds for the Anglican Communion.
- Affirm those actions already taken by General Convention that demonstrate the Episcopal Church’s good faith intention to remain in full communion with all provinces of the Anglican Communion.
- Reject the way of schism as undermining the very Gospel it seeks to uphold. That which divides the Church cannot be said to be of Christ.
- Reject the way of unilateralism and self-sufficiency as undermining the very justice it seeks to establish.
- Support the emerging Anglican Covenant because it is, at present, the only available concrete means of maintaining the unity and witness of the Anglican Communion. We encourage its adoption by the Episcopal Church, and further encourage that this adoption be understood by all Anglicans to be an outward and visible sign of our commitment to maintain and deepen the bonds of affection that we already have with our fellow Anglicans.
- Encourage the Bishops and Deputies to engage in the work of reconciliation by not making pronouncements on public policy and other issues where there is no theological or moral consensus among Episcopalians, and to focus instead on those things that bring us together, rather than those that drive us apart.
- Remind the Bishops and Deputies that a growing number of Episcopalians now live in situations where schism among Anglicans has become an unavoidable daily reality that damages the witness of all involved. This makes the imperative of mutual respect, which is necessary for reconciliation, all the more urgent.
- Encourage the Bishops and Deputies to take with the utmost seriousness the recently released report by the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church. In particular, we request that “youth and young adults” be returned to our list of top priorities for the next Triennium. We fear that a church that places little emphasis on the young is a church that risks placing little emphasis upon its own future.
- Encourage the leadership of the church, particularly the Bishops, to pursue constructive and charitable relationships with those that are currently estranged from the Episcopal Church, remembering that our quarrels and divisions will become burdens borne principally by future generations.
- Affirm our commitment to remaining lovingly engaged, in worship and service, with all members of this church, even amid our conflicts.
In closing, we humbly and earnestly ask those within and beyond the provincial borders of the Episcopal Church to seek the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, as we seek to embody the unity we have been given by virtue of our baptism into the Body of Christ.