As we all hear about the actions of the Primates in calling for a three-year moratorium on The Episcopal Church’s participation in the committees and structures of the Anglican Communion, many in Canada are wondering what this action means for us and for our brothers and sisters in The Episcopal Church and throughout the Communion. As your bishop, I want to share a more comprehensive response to the Primates’ actions after we all hear more from Primate Fred Hiltz. I wait on Fred’s more thorough perspective on the meeting in order to support him during this difficult time and in order better to understand the action as well as the personalities and dynamics leading to the action.
In the meantime, I offer you these thoughts:
- I am profoundly saddened by the Primates’ actions. While I understand that the recommended moratorium did not, as some feared, attempt to sunder the bond between the Communion and the Episcopal Church, it did call to remove them from some of the diverse conversations that, for me, are at the heart of Anglicanism. “We are a community of conversation and, at times, disagreement,” an Anglican friend once told me. My wish is that our conversations together continue with all parts of the Communion at the table.
- Our work together in our diocese goes on. We continue to work together on the development of our parishes; we continue to work together on our engagement with indigenous peoples; we continue to work together on our relationships with each other; we continue to work on the enactment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our kinship with those in need and our acts of compassion towards them and towards the earth, itself. We continue to do this work together regardless of where we stand on the Primates’ recommendation or on the potential change to the marriage canon, which will be discussed at our upcoming 2016 General Synod.
- I want to assure all LGTBQ people in our diocese as well as their families and friends that the Diocese of New Westminster continues to honour both the presence and contributions of LGTBQ people in our churches. While the Primates’ decision may be painful, please know that in baptism God secures both our identity and our unity with one another in Christ. Nothing can take this away.
Please pray for our Primate Fred, for The Anglican Church of Canada and for the leaders, people and parishes of our diocese. Please pray for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and for the leaders and people of The Episcopal Church. Please pray for the Anglican Communion and for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Initial Statement from the Most Reverend Fred Hiltz regarding the Primates' meeting in Canterbury