Majority of primates call for temporary Episcopal Church sanctions

By Matthew Davies
Posted Jan 14, 2016
The primates of the Anglican Communion pray during Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral on Jan. 11, the first day of their five day meeting. Photo: Canterbury Cathedral

The primates of the Anglican Communion pray during Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral on Jan. 11, the first day of their five-day meeting. Photo: Canterbury Cathedral

[Episcopal News Service — Canterbury, England] A majority of Anglican primates Jan. 14 asked that the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

Expressing their unanimous desire to walk together, the primates said that their call comes in response to the decision by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention last July to change canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and authorize two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution A054).

An announcement posted on the Primates 2016 meeting website said that “the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ.”

“This agreement acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together,” the announcement, which includes the full text of the primates’ call, said. The announcement also said the agreement “demonstrates the commitment of all the Primates to continue the life of the Communion with neither victor nor vanquished.”

Before the Jan. 14 vote, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry told the primates gathering Jan. 11-15 in Canterbury, England, that the statement calling for the sanctions would be painful for many in the Episcopal Church to receive.

“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome,” Curry said in remarks he later made available to Episcopal News Service. “Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.

“For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain,” he added. “For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Curry told the primates that he was in no sense comparing his own pain to theirs, but “I stand before you as your brother. I stand before you as a descendant of African slaves, stolen from their native land, enslaved in a bitter bondage, and then even after emancipation, segregated and excluded in church and society. And this conjures that up again, and brings pain.

“The pain for many will be real. But God is greater than anything. I love Jesus and I love the church. I am a Christian in the Anglican way. And like you, as we have said in this meeting, I am committed to ‘walking together’ with you as fellow primates in the Anglican family.”

The primates’ statement also asks Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to appoint a task group “to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognizing the extent of our commonality, and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.”

The announcement about the sanctions said that further comments would be made and questions answered at a 3 p.m. local time news conference Jan. 15.

The first two days of the gathering were given solely to setting the agenda for the week and focusing on whether the primates could reach an agreement on how to move forward despite their differences of opinion concerning theological interpretation and human sexuality issues.

A widely anticipated exodus of some conservative African archbishops has not come to pass and all but one primate remain at the table during the Jan. 11-15 meeting, committed to ongoing dialogue and discerning various options towards reconciliation. Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of the Anglican Church of Uganda quietly left the meeting on Jan. 12. He had said in a statement prior to the gathering that he would leave unless “discipline and godly order” were restored in the Anglican Communion. In a Jan. 13 letter to his church, Ntagali said he left because the Ugandan provincial assembly had resolved not to participate in any official communion meetings until that order was restored.

ENS learned from one archbishop that on Wednesday morning the primates took a vote that would have asked the Episcopal Church to withdraw voluntarily from the Anglican Communion for a period of three years. The vote failed by 15 to 20, although such a withdrawal is not in keeping with the processes of provincial membership as outlined in the constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Communion’s main policy-making body. The ACC is already scheduled to meet April 8-20 in Lusaka, Zambia.

Archbishop Foley Beach, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), has been gathering with the primates for conversation throughout the week but not participating in any of the votes. Beach was invited by Welby in an effort to avert a boycott from conservative African archbishops such as the one that occurred at the last Primates Meeting in 2011. ACNA is composed largely of former Episcopalians who chose to break away from the Episcopal Church. Some African primates have declared their affiliation to ACNA.

By Wednesday afternoon, the agenda had moved onto other pressing issues affecting the Anglican Communion, such as relief and development work, and its response to war and conflict.

Curry, who was installed as the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and primate last November, is attending his first gathering of primates.

Following his election in June 2015, Curry said the Anglican Communion is as much about relationships and partnerships as it is about structure and organization. “We’ve got some work to do; we’ve got some Jesus work to do,” he said. “This world is crying out for us and it needs us, and the Anglican Communion is one way that God uses us together to really make this a better world.”

Primates are the senior archbishops and presiding bishops elected or appointed to lead each of the 38 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion. They are invited to the Primates Meetings by the Archbishop of Canterbury to consult on theological, social and international issues.

The Anglican Communion Primates Meeting is one of the three instruments of communion, the other two being the Lambeth Conference of bishops and the Anglican Consultative Council, the Communion’s main policy-making body. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as primus inter pares, or “first among equals,” is recognized as the focus of unity for the Anglican Communion.

Each province relates to other provinces within the Anglican Communion by being in full communion with the See of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury calls the Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates and is president of the ACC.

In some Anglican provinces the primate is called archbishop and/or metropolitan, while in others the term presiding bishop – or as in Scotland, primus – is used.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also invites to the primates meetings the moderators who lead the united ecumenical churches of North India, South India and Pakistan.

In 1978 Archbishop Donald Coggan, the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury, established the Primates Meeting as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation.”

The primates have met in Ely, England, in 1979; Washington, D.C., in 1981; Limuru, Kenya, in 1983; Toronto, Canada, in 1986; Cyprus in 1989; Newcastle, Northern Ireland, in 1991; Cape Town, South Africa, in 1993; Windsor, England, in 1995; Jerusalem in 1997; Oporto, Portugal, in 2000; Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 2001; Canterbury, England, in 2002; Gramodo, Brazil, in May 2003; London, England, in October 2003; Newry, Northern Ireland, in February 2005; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007; Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009; and Dublin, Ireland, in January 2011.

The provinces and primates of the Anglican Communion are listed here.

Visit the official Primates 2016 website

Follow @Primates2016 on Twitter

— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.


Comments (231)

  1. Apparently, the Episcopal Church is being scolded “sanctioned” by the Anglican Communion for our Church’s decision to affirm marriage equality and the Episcopal Church’s decision to authorize two new marriage rites that can be utilized in same-sex marriages. The Primates of the Anglican Communion are hoping to “suspend” the Episcopal Church from the Communion for three years–the equivalent of being put into “Anglican Communion Timeout.”

    I am deeply disappointed and disheartened by the Primates’ actions. Their decision is a sad contradiction to our Baptismal covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” It pains me to say; but, it might be time for the Episcopal Church to withdraw from the Anglican Communion. Our other option is to “wait out” the suspension and hope we are returned to full communion in three years.. However, if the Communion can not embrace diversity and difference of opinions in the Communion and they want to deny their fellow brothers and sisters a spot at the table, then I don’t want to be a part of the Anglican Communion. If we can’t be united in Christ and united in love and mutual respect, then we are not “in communion.”

    The Reverend Ryan D. Newman
    Rector and Head of School
    All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Preschool (Kapaa, Hawaii)

  2. Austin Turney says:

    Congratulations to Bishop Curry for a very clear statement of our belief in inclusion in the household of faith.
    So we are to be observers without voice or vote for three years. Then when they see that we will not ‘repent’ we will see if the majority will create a schism and will welcome ACNA. By all means let us continue our humanitarian work but there is no reason to contribute to ACC or any body from which we are excluded. Let us openly contribute the money that would have gone to those bodies to humanitarian work, even in Uganda if it is physically safe there.


    I’m so upset with all of this. I was married in are church which is a Episcopal Church on November 12 2011 were I have been a member all my life its are family church (ZION EPISCOPAL IN ROME NEW YORK).Just about every member of that church and many other minister of the Episcopal faith from other churches were at are wedding. I was always tought to me that the Episcopal faith loves everyone know matter what and that what makes are faith great. Then we get this. My question is are we really married or was it just a joke or something like that? I could say more but what I’m thinking it’s not good so I being the CHRISTIAN I’m I will leave it there. All I can say is GOD BLESS THE PRIMATES OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND MAY THEY DO WHAT GOD WANTS THEM TO DO.

  4. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    My father was a highly decorated combat veteran of WWII. And he supported me and accepted my partner into the family with grace and love. If he’d lived long enough to see it, he would have supported us in our marriage in our Episcopal parish in Denver last year. Please don’t use “patriotism” as a platform for exclusion. There are plenty of uniformed personnel who understand that they fight for ALL the American people, and some of them are gay.

    It must be disconcerting to become the minority voice after being the status quo for so long. But I refer you to what +Michael said about inclusion, it is the imperative of the Gospel to welcome ALL of God’s Children.

    We agree on taking the high road and staying engaged. I’m not too concerned with ACNA. Young people are not onboard with any agenda that is tainted with homophobia. ACNA has no future, even if they do, their existence doesn’t disturb me.

  5. James Teets BSG says:

    I certainly agree with Bishop Chris Epting. Anyone needing a prime example of trying to hold back the dawn will find it right here: ‘A majority of Anglican primates Jan. 14 asked that the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.” Shameful, just shameful!

  6. ododo sylvester says:

    It is really a very painful thing. However, this pain can be turned to joy if all the inclusive Provinces are United. The Episcopal Church should call for a meeting of all inclusive Church and let a separate communion be formed. I only told the Church not to be exclusive to some people because of their sexuality, not to discriminate same sex people in the Theological College , the Anglican Communion Church of Nigeria thrown me out of the theological college and terminated my ministry here in Nigeria. I cried out, but nobody was out there to hear my voice. I even cry to join the Episcopal Church but all efforts to do so was proved to be abortive. Because I can not remain with the Church that is forcing me to preach a gospel of hate. Till today, I go to a place where I worship alone without member, since my effort to join the Episcopal Church or any other Inclusive Church failed. I worship alone every Sunday because the Anglican Church of Nigerian bishops gave me an expulsion letter not to worship in any Anglican Churches in Nigeria because of my firm belief that the Church should not discriminate same sex people, which I told them during my sermon in the theological school.

  7. George Cabot says:

    I would urge restraint to those calling for withholding of any funds from the wider Anglican Communion. Would not taking such a position undermine the mandatory assessment system and give parishes/dioceses that disagree with TEC on certain issues legitimate justification to withhold their funds as well? Taking such a stance can only further fracture TEC, which is certainly not the direction most Episcopalians believe is correct.

  8. The Rev. Catherine Cox says:

    Who actually cares what the Primates say anymore? Seriously? They have no business trying to dictate behavior to any church other than their own, just as we in the US have no business trying to dictate to them. It hardly matters. We should not have anyone, or any group, speaking for the whole communion anyway. A communion is NOT a business entity. It is simply a fellowship. All we should ever be sharing is love and mission and conversation. Primates are not dictators – or should not be allowed to be. This is silly. Grow up, gentlemen.

  9. J. Campbell says:

    Earlier today I read the transcript ofThe Archbishop of Canturbury’s speech to the assembly. He spoke of the church always having differences going back to biblical times but he emphasised that despite that we all are called by, and sent out by, God. We should be accepting of those differences and getting on with what God has called us to do.
    Instead we find too many people wanting to impose their view on the others (and that is true of both sides in this debate) instead of preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. To do that we need to accept each other as we are. If we are to be changed let God do that

  10. Vicki pledger says:

    I am glad to see this happen. Maybe now the Episcopal church will get back to what the Bible says about marriage instead of same sex marriage. This is one of the main reasons I left the U.S. Episcopal church. I also don’t think they should be a priest or even ant type of role model in the church if you are gay or lesbian.

    1. Gregory Orloff says:

      Yikes! Better read up on “what the Bible says about marriage,” Vicki. Some of it is edifying, but some of it includes the possibility of one husband having many wives (think Abraham, David and Solomon, for a few) — and women aren’t treated equally or very well in the equation.

    2. JC Fisher says:

      You were free to leave TEC, Vicki, as the the majority of ________ Primates are free to leave communion w/ us, too. But I have ZERO doubt that the Anglican tradition of Queen Elizabeth I (“no windows into men’s souls”) and Thomas Hooker (3-legged Stool “Scripture, Tradition and Reason), the Via Media, is faithfully—prayerfully, sacramentally—followed by, and grounded in, the Episcopal Church.

      Vaya con Dios . . . but the door’s still open when you, or they, wish to return. Blessings.

  11. Randall Day says:

    Mostly, this decision is un-Anglican and reveals foggy thinking and a failure of leadership from the Archbishop of Canterbury and many of the primates meeting. The Anglican Communion is and always has been a loose federation of AUTONOMOUS national churches. Our togetherness – when it takes form – can do good but not ill. There is no Constitution, Covenant, or other legal structure that makes this advertised vote enforceable or meaningful.
    The looseness of the federation and the lack of ANY structure that would make this vote meaningful is part of the brilliance of Anglicanism – that the church in Nigeria can speak with clarity about its ministry in Nigeria and the church in the US can speak with clarity about its ministry in the US (and related other international contexts).
    Also this meeting and it’s action reveals a 19th or 20th century mindset in which certain participants in a meeting or in certain institutional roles (like “primate”) want to garner or wield power in a broad international way – not recognizing that there are multiple realities in a global culture and local adaptation is a necessity for any organism – like the church – that intends to survive in the 21st century and going forward. This meeting and this vote is pandering after an identity like that of the Roman Catholic Church that is also crumbling.
    So, if nothing else, it says that the Anglican Communion and institution Christianity generally is committed to being less and less relevant as an international entity – less and less effective and more and more ignored. As others have pointed out, after all the expense and hubub around this meeting and vote and the crappy press coverage it means NOTHING to ministry in my parish and diocese – gone in a news cycle.
    NO ONE CARES about international and interfaith bodies anymore – their actions are meaningless and not being able to “represent” the Communion on them means nothing. We can continue to form and maintain international and interfaith relationships (REAL ones – not institutional body, bureaucratic ones) to our heart’s content because we have the ability to communicate person to person, community to community without having “officialdom” channeling all the power as in the bad old days.
    The money? It is not the first consideration – but we have less and less of it and it might be best to spend it building up the church in the US. As many have pointed out: we have work to do here. I agree we shouldn’t withhold funds in retribution but we shouldn’t pander after affection by offering money while we are being repudiated… you can’t buy love (obviously) – and we might be better stewards of our funds by ministering here where we are and not pretending we are helping out the “lowly” Africans or whoever we see as “needy” somewhere else by writing checks (and spending more money to fly around the world to hand them out) – just so we can feel liberal and better about ourselves – speaking in pious and sincere (and appropriately reserved, of course) tones about our virtue… when the generosity is not wanted and is seen as offensive.
    Overall? Let it go – let’s just say we are being who we are given to be in our context and God bless them for being who they are called to be in theirs – I certainly can’t second-guess how to be an Anglican in Nigeria.

  12. Sarah M. Fox says:

    It occurs to me that the action of the conservative GAFCON Bishops and others who agree with them to “punish” The Episcopal Church is not only because of same sex marriage, but also because of any and all changes made by The Episcopal Church that have “offended” their moral sensibilities, including the ordination of women as deacons, priests, and bishops. At the end of the imposed three years sentence, does this group expect The Episcopal Church to have reversed any and all actions by which they have been and continue to be offended so we can be readmitted? If we have not, what will happen then? Meanwhile, what changes will they have brought about within The Anglican Communion without the more progressive voices of The Episcopal Church having input? Had they not relied upon and come begging for more financial support from The Episcopal Church, many, if not most, of the GAFCON Bishops might well never have gotten themselves into position to do what they have just done to The Episcopal Church. Did not Jesus tell the twelve , “Wherever they do not welcome you, as you leave that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:5 NRSV

    1. Josephine DiCalogero says:

      Thank you for your comment. I would like to see the World Council of Churches keep the Episcopal Church off of their council? I do not think that many independent agencies will not allow the Episcopal Church to be voting members. Since the action of the Primates has no real power behind it the Primates who were signatories to this statement will find themselves out in the cold.

    2. Josephine DiCalogero says:

      Thank you for your comment. I would like to see the World Council of Churches keep the Episcopal Church off of their council? I do not think that many independent agencies will not allow the Episcopal Church to be voting members. Since the action of the Primates has no real power behind it the Primates who were signatories to this statement will find themselves out in the cold. ( I was just told that I had already said that. Is there censorship going on here?) I did say the same thing in another comment.

      1. Josephine DiCalogero says:

        My apologies. I had not realized that I had actually hit “post comment” I was a bit sensitive since my husband’s comment was not published without explanation. Again, my sincere apologies to ENS and to the moderators.

  13. Dr. Timothy J. Williams says:

    Thank you, Lord, for giving my father the wisdom to leave the Episcopal Church some 60 years ago, so that his children could be raised as Catholics, and have no part of this Godless train wreck of a “communion.”

    1. JC Fisher says:

      So why are you looking backwards then? Be careful: that’s how one gets turned into a pillar of salt! ;-p

  14. Cy Birr says:

    While withholding funds to the Communion and denying entry into the US for African seminary students appeals, it is ultimately self-defeating. Continuing the presence of Episcopal leadership within the Communion and the engagement of seminarians within the US is far more likely to affect change.

    No way forward will not be straight and swift.

  15. Jeremy Bates says:

    Susan, we are certainly having disagreements with other Anglicans worldwide — but the reason we are having those disagreements is that The Episcopal Church is the first in the Anglican Communion to move to amend its prayer book to permit same-sex marriage.

    This has provoked many responses from others in the Anglican family. But regardless, The Episcopal Church welcomes you.

  16. ododo sylvester says:

    Nigerian theological student
    expelled for ‘homosexuality’
    Ododo Sylvester claims a Nigerian
    theological school expelled him last
    October after it’s dean accused him
    of being gay. He also claims he was
    attacked earlier this year. (Photo
    courtesy of Sylvester Ododo)
    A Nigerian man claims a theological
    school expelled him last fall after
    administrators accused him of being
    Ododo Sylvester sent the
    Washington Blade a copy of an Oct.
    28, 2014, letter from the Ezekiel
    College of Theology that claims he
    confessed to Rt. Rev. Williams O.
    Aladekugbe, who was the dean of
    the school, inside his apartment
    with his wife present that he “had
    practiced homosexuality before while
    you were in the secondary school”
    and that he still has “sexual urge for
    both male and female sexes.” The
    letter claims that Sylvester
    masturbates whenever he has a
    “feeling for sexual urge” and that he
    is a “TB” (top and bottom) person.
    Sylvester, who is also known by the
    nickname Saintodosly, told the Blade
    during a recent telephone interview
    from Lagos that Aladekugbe used his
    brother and six students to set him
    “They had suspected before based
    on the firm belief that people of
    same-sex orientation should not be
    discriminated by the church,” said
    Sylvester. “That is what I always said
    to this school and it was at this
    school that people should not be
    discriminated. When they asked me,
    I said they should not be
    Sylvester, 30, had nearly completed
    his studies to become a minister
    within Nigeria’s Anglican Church
    when the Ezekiel College of Theology
    expelled him.
    He told the Blade that his half-sister
    and her husband, who is a
    venerable within the church,
    subsequently threatened to kill him.
    Sylvester said another half-sister met
    with his mother “in order to
    convince her to disown me.”
    A priest later told him in a hand-
    written note that he had “been
    instructed that you should not
    partake in the communion.”
    Sylvester told the Blade he returned
    to his home village in Delta State in
    order to obtain money to get a visa
    that would allow him to leave the
    Sylvester said he petitioned the
    church to reconsider the decision to
    expel him.
    A Dec. 5, 2014, letter to Sylvester
    from Rev. Canon Ifeanyi Akunna,
    secretary to the Primate of the
    Nigerian Anglican Church, indicates
    that officials had received his
    request. Akunna wrote Sylvester for a
    second time a few weeks later.
    “I wish to inform you that your
    petition is receiving a due
    attention,” said Akunna. “I will get
    back to you as soon as it is
    Sylvester told the Blade that
    Aladekugbe threatened him on the
    telephone. He said the bishop’s
    lawyer also said he would sue him if
    he continued to pursue the issue.
    “If I continued to worry the primate
    about this matter and I did not keep
    quiet that my life is going to be
    disposed,” said Sylvester.
    Sylvester said a group of men
    attacked him earlier this year after
    he had challenged his expulsion.
    Sylvester provided the Blade with
    pictures of the injuries he said he
    suffered during the incident.
    “I was so scared that those people
    were armed robbers,” he said.
    Sylvester fled from his hometown to
    Lagos, where he said a Nigerian
    human rights group took him to
    what he described as a safe house in
    the nearby city of Ibadan. He told
    the Blade the advocates left him
    alone for a month and he nearly
    died — in part — because he was
    unable to obtain antiretroviral drugs
    to treat his HIV.
    Sylvester said he was forced to travel
    to Benin, a country that borders
    Nigeria, to receive his medications.
    “They said they cannot provide me a
    job and I should go and look for
    something I can do by myself,” said
    Sylvester. “They cannot give me any
    assets to collect my drugs.”
    Sylvester told the Blade he has not
    worked in three months, and
    remains afraid for his safety. He said
    he is also unable to complete his
    studies to become a minister
    because all of the country’s
    theological schools are copied on his
    expulsion letter.
    “God called me to become a
    minister,” said Sylvester, who said he
    would like to leave Nigeria.
    “Here in Lagos I’m just attaching
    myself with these friends who I’ve
    known before in the past,” he told
    the Blade. “It’s adding more to my
    problem that I’m facing. If it is
    possible for me to vanish, I shall
    vanish from the country.”
    Neither the Ezekiel School of
    Theology, nor the Nigerian Anglican
    Church returned the Blade’s
    requests for comment.
    Nigeria’s LGBT rights record came
    under increased scrutiny in January
    2014 when then-President Goodluck
    Jonathan signed a law that, among
    other things, punishes those who
    enter into a same-sex marriage with
    up to 14 years in prison.
    Nigerian Archbishop Josiah Idowu-
    Fearon last month became secretary
    general of the Anglican Communion.
    He criticized people of “abnormal
    sexual orientation” in 2007 and
    strongly opposed the consecration of
    then-New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene
    Robinson four years earlier because
    he is openly gay.
    Michael K. Lavers
    Michael K. Lavers has been a staff
    writer for the Washington Blade
    since May 2012. The passage of
    Maryland’s same-sex marriage law,
    the HIV/AIDS epidemic, thet
    burgeoning LGBT rights movement in
    Latin America and the consecration
    of gay New Hampshire Bishop V.
    Gene Robinson are among the many
    stories he has covered since his
    career began in 2002. Follow Michael

  17. Rev. Michael A. Tanner says:

    As one whose heart and mind has been changed over my 30 years as an Episcopalian through, among other things, finding myself in communion with gay and lesbian Christians, I understand our sisters and brothers who haven’t yet experienced this transformation, and I feel the hurt of the Primates’ proposed exclusionary treatment of the EC. Over my life, I have excluded and I have been excluded. I am thankful that, in my excluding, some whom I excluded nonetheless embraced me and allowed space for God’s work in my heart and mind. Thus, in the hurt I feel from the Primates’ vote, I am resisting impulses to respond with another form of exclusion. I hope our church will do the same. To be a cruciform church entails enduring insult, injury, and exclusion in the same spirit that Christ endured the cross, praying for our opponents and doing good to them. If I must choose between excluding and being excluded, I choose the latter.

    1. Kim Fink says:


  18. Josephine (Chepi) DiCalogero says:

    (I will not dignify the items of the Primates statement as conclusions but only as suggestions for they have not come through the Instruments of the Anglican Communion which do not give the Primates this power. If +Justin Welby enacts any of the sanctions on TEC then he has destroyed the Anglican Communion which only began because of the love given in the USA to the Anglican Church.)

    The following is what I wrote in Thinking Anglicans and I share with you.

    As a faithful follower of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and an Episcopalian, I resent the actions that would happen if the Archbishop of Canterbury were to accept the “suggestion” numbered seven which would bar the Episcopal Church from any and all commissions, committees or agencies. If this is enacted, I would demand that the Episcopal Church refuse all and any monies provided to any and all members of the “Anglican Communion” who would accept this “suggestion”. To have Provinces of the Communion, that discriminate, actively do physical harm to those who God so lovingly birthed differently and then continue to expect that the Episcopal Church fund them, I say shame, I would also demand that they be excluded from the very same commissions, committees and agencies that they would have the Episcopal Church excluded. These provinces live in another century and are the ones that are tearing apart the Anglican Communion.

    Perhaps it is time for the dissolution of the Anglican Communion as we have known it. To have provinces that are in another century represent the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury needs to accept the fact that there is no going back.

    To accept all of God’s children as his beloved, then all must be afforded the same rights and privileges that God grants. He does not grant to a few select children but to all his children.

    I will always be proud that I am a member of the Episcopal Church and know that God has given us a difficult road but a road that he wants for all his children.

  19. Patrick Andersen says:

    If we are going to receive discipline, then getting it for inclusiveness is the best reason I can think of. I noted that the majority’s opinion also indicated that a man and woman married must stay together for life; i.e. divorce is illegal. I wonder if they will enforce that within their own churches. If not, what discipline would be appropriate?.

  20. Cathy Stratz says:

    Dear Presiding Bishop Michael, thank you for leading us toward what God wants, not man. I grew up Catholic and always resented all of man’s laws that were forced upon us in order to not go to hell. I came to the Episcopal church as an adult and into the welcoming arms of the congregations – no judging – all are welcome. I applaud your courage and don’t worry about the Anglican consequences. Thank you.

  21. Robert G. DiCalogero says:

    Not to discount the pain and suffering that these actions of the Primates will cause to the LBGT community in North America, this struggle places modern civilization against medieval and tribal mores endemic to a majority of the churches in the Global South. Unfortunately, many Anglican churches and patriarchs have decided to compete in a race to the bottom of social justice. It should not be overlooked that many of these sub-Saharan African and South Asian churches are competing directly with fundamentalist Islamic teachings about the relationships between men and women and the responsibility of a just society. This is a shameful competition that no truly Christian and loving community should engage. Those who will be most affected and ostracized are the members of the LGBT community living under these Provinces and their Primates. It begs the question, what price do we pay for a soul when that price is governed by Sharia.

  22. Josephine DiCalogero says:

    I would like to know why my husband, Robert G. DiCalogero”s comment was not published. Was it because we used one computer? Or was it because he spoke the truth about the Global South’s competition with fundamentalist Islamic Sharia law? He has been in Africa many times for many official trips and has seen the sham of the Anglican churches and their rush to the bottom of the social justice ladder.

    1. Kathleen Ricker says:

      Josephine, I can see your husband’s comment–it probably underwent moderation (as did mine) before it was published. It’s a very good and unsettling point.

  23. Rev. Rigoberto Avila says:

    Cuando recibimos el bautizo con agua en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y el Espíritu Santo fuimos incorporados en la Iglesia de Cristo Jesús sin condicionamientos. Si somos hijos/as del Dios creador y redentor, porque tenemos q excluir a los/as hermanos/as q tinen diferente opciones y preferncias. La Iglesia es el hogar del pueblo de Dios, y nuestro Señor Jesucristo fue bien claro q el pueblo de Dios incluye los q estan excluidos y considerados pecadores por otros.
    La Iglesia Episcopal con todo sus errores, es símbolo del amor en inclusividad.

  24. Canon Mark Sims says:

    Following the path set forth by Jesus Christ is not always an easy walk. Yet, Christ’s teachings and our own Baptismal Covenant, compels us all to seek the face of Christ in all human beings and to strive for justice for every single person, to the exclusion of no one. We pray for those with whom we disagree, as well as those we feel have been unjustly set aside and segregated in the past. Pray for peace and unity. Canon Mark Sims+

  25. Frank Riggio-Preston says:

    I believe the time has come to form a new communion of churches with like interpretations of Jesus’ teachings of his love. Paul’s letter about no Jew or gentile or male or female or free or slave or free applies. Africa and other conservative churches of the Anglican communion can read Jesus’s words with their hate and we will read them with love and move forward without the Anglican communion and the hate and insults aa d

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