Monday, August 26, 2013

Finally! Voices of Faith and Reason! Communion Partner Bishops.

I've been wrting about the need for an energetic, love-based approach to the Gospel mandate that includes all of life and society in the world, a thing at which we Anglicans used to be so adept. See  It's not enough just to split the difference, but to cover it all ("Love covers a multitude of sins") with a dynamic application of God's love. When I decided prayerfully to stay with TEC, it was not dependent upon the outcome of any lawsuit(s), but an attempt to follow the Christ-like way of maintaining unity, as well as pastoral sensitivity to humanity. I preached recently about how Jesus broke the (sabbath) rules in deference to love for the bent-over and oppressed daughter of Abraham. Well, these faithful Episcopal bishops have shown that there are faithful voices of reason still among us. I do not aspire to be a bishop. But at times like this, I would join them and endorse them in this work. I ask your prayers, and offer to you the statement they issued upon the conclusion of their vist with the Archbishop of Canterbury:

August 26, 2013
Dear Communion Partner Sisters and Brothers:
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached recently in Monterey, Mexico:
“It is a dangerous place, a narrow path we walk as Anglicans at present. On one side is the steep
fall into an absence of any core beliefs, a chasm where we lose touch with God, and thus we rely
only on ourselves and our own message. On the other side there is a vast fall into a ravine of
intolerance and cruel exclusion. It is for those who claim all truth, and exclude any who question.
When we fall into this place, we lose touch with human beings and create a small church, or
rather many small churches – divided, ineffective in serving the poor, the hungry and the
suffering, incapable of living with each other, and incomprehensible to those outside the
church. We struggle with each other at a time when the Anglican Communion's great vocation
as bridge builder is more needed than ever.”

It is our vocation as Communion Partners to navigate this narrow path between two dangerous
extremes as we pursue the mission of the Church “to restore all people to unity with God and
each other in Christ.”
To that end, six Communion Partner bishops (Greg Brewer, Paul Lambert,
Ed Little, Dan Martins, Ed Salmon and Michael Smith) made a visit to Archbishop Justin Welby
at his residence in Canterbury, England last week.
There we prayed together and discussed a range of issues concerning the Anglican Communion
and The Episcopal Church. Also present was the Archbishop’s Director of Reconciliation, Canon
David Porter. We believe the opportunity to build relationships and discuss the ministry of
reconciliation we share will bear fruit in this season of our common life. We are encouraged by
our experience of the Archbishop as a man of faith and prayer, committed to the reevangelization of increasingly secularized Western cultures. Please keep Archbishop Justin in
your prayers and remember us before God “who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has
given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Yours in Christ,
+Michael G. Smith
Bishop of North Dakota
Chair, Communion Partner Bishops’ Advisory Committee


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