Communion Is a Gift From God: A Letter from Bishop Lee
January 15, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Some of you will have seen the news that the meeting of Anglican primates concluding today at Canterbury Cathedral in England has voted to issue what they call “consequences” to the Episcopal Church for our adoption of equal marriage at this past summer’s General Convention. For more context, I commend to you Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s video statement, filmed outside the gates of Canterbury Cathedral and released this morning.
First, I want to assure you that the Anglican Communion is a way of describing the web of living relations between our churches. It is not a governing body with authority in the internal workings of its member churches, and this announcement will not change in any way the Diocese of Chicago’s commitment to the full inclusion of all of God’s people in our life and ministry. As your bishop and as a Christian, I believe that the faithful, loving, and lifelong union of two persons--of the same sex or of opposite sexes--is capable of signifying the never failing love of God in Christ for the church and the world, and nothing that happens in a meeting or anywhere else will ever change that.
I will leave to others to explain exactly which Anglican Communion committees will not welcome the full participation of Episcopalians for the next three years. But please know that none of these developments will change our life-giving mission relationships with the people of South Sudan and the people of Southeast Mexico. Our commitment to partnerships with African Anglicans who are working to curb anti-gay and anti-transgender violence and with African scholars whose biblical interpretations affirm the dignity of LGBTI people will also continue without interruption. You can read more about this work, which I have been privileged to undertake at three African consultations in the last five years, on the website of the Chicago Consultation.
I believe deeply, and never more than today, that communion with our fellow Christians is a gift from God. That true communion, which is based on our membership in the body of Christ and our love for one another, cannot be ended by temporal concerns, and will perhaps be made even stronger by this challenge.
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee
Bishop of Chicago