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From my pew at the consecrations in Denver
I experienced powerful and mixed emotions as I attended the consecrations
of four new bishops for the Anglican Mission in America on Sunday.
I rejoiced with those who rejoiced. The 1,000 persons gathered there have
deep faith commitments and fully believe that they are serving Jesus.
They have long felt embattled within ECUSA; in Denver it was clear that
they do not feel aliens in their own space. It was good to witness their
unrestrained joy. It was good to sing hymns with them and to witness
firsthand their vision of their calling.
I share their hope that they will lead many to Christ. Of the myriads of
people spiritually starved in our world, many might heed their witness who
would not heed the witness of those of us in ECUSA. May God bless all
ministries that respond to the Great Commission.
I enjoyed the sermon by the Most Rev. Datak Yong Ping Chung, one of the
most spirited evangelists in the Anglican Communion. I heard him preach
once before, several years ago, when I represented Bishop John Spong at a
World-wide Conference on Evangelism. At that time Bishop Chung gave me
important new insights into the story of Jesus's encounter with my
Samaritan ancestor at the well, insights which continue to nourish me.
In Denver, I rejoiced in Bishop Chung's sharp reminder that when we
consecrate bishops we do not consecrate princes, but servants, that the
defining emblem of the office is not a crown but a humble shepherd's
staff. I wish all four new bishops well as they strive to live into that
I was touched when Father Nelson Koscheski greeted me as the clergy
procession passed the press pew when they entered, and I was deeply moved
later when he went out of his way to share the Peace with me.
I also rejoiced when sometime adversaries David Virtue, Bill Murcheson and
I shared the peace. I appreciated their kindness and their hospitality.
I grieve that in my attempts to be faithful to the Gospel as a gay
Christian, I give great offense to these my sisters and brothers in
Christ. I wish all within AMiA the fullest possible experience of God's
I grieve for the Anglican Communion in this latest unhappy division, and I
pray earnestly that every one of us will do all we can to sustain bonds of
friendship and kindness across the divide. What can seem a great chasm to
us can be but a tiny ditch no wider than a pencil to God.
I grieve that AMiA has left ECUSA. No one holds a guarantee of being
right. I certainly do not, nor does ECUSA. ECUSA needs the witness of
those who have left us for AMiA. ECUSA needs their dedication and their
passion. We are poorer now that they have gone. I miss them.
Members of AMiA have left our church, but not God's. Holy Eucharist
continues to make us blood kin, and we must behave as such.
Let us not easily take offense at every slight, real or imagined. As we
bear our witness to contrary understandings, let us not be concerned to
prove others wrong, but concerned rather that God will find us to be
faithful servants. God wants AMiA and ECUSA alike to love the whole world
as God does.
The issues that so fiercely divide us today will not be the issues of all
Let those of us in ECUSA be very careful to keep wide open the door for
reUnion, and and until reUnion happens, let us hold AMiA in our prayers.