Bishop Dietsche & Presiding Bishop Respond to Primates’ Vote to Sanction Episcopal Church

Bishop DietscheBishop Dietsche wrote to the people of the New York Diocese in response to the vote of the primates of the Anglican Communion to sanction The Episcopal Church. His letter, together with the statement of the Presiding Bishop referred to in it, follows.

A Spanish translation of the letter from Bishop Dietsche can be read with this link.

January 15, 2016
My brothers and sisters,

Following this message you will find today’s communication from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, commenting on the decisions made yesterday by the Primates gathered in conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury to sanction the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry’s reflection is excellent, and puts our life in the Anglican Communion in the context of an organic, living, continually evolving network of relationships. I find his words helpful in accepting the disappointment of a discouraging meeting and decision without interpreting that as a failure or ultimate breakdown of relationships which have inspired us, enriched us, enflamed our missional desires, and made us proud by our common witness to the gospel across the globe.

Our communion is intact. In no way will this vote impair or diminish the commitment of the Diocese of New York to continue our own mission relationships and the work we are doing through our Global Mission Commission and through the many parishes of New York among the people and churches of Haiti, India, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and across the world. We have countless friends in myriad places, and I am confident that the depth and richness of those relationships across world and communion will continue to make us glad and rekindle every day our love of the historic communion we are happy to still claim.

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The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
Bishop of New York

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Statement by the Presiding Bishop:

Before I say a word about our gathering here at the Primates Meeting, I just want to say a word of thank you to you for all of your prayers: your prayers for this meeting, your prayers for me personally, both here and in my earlier sickness. We are well, and God is God, and I thank you. Let me say a word about the meeting.

This is not the outcome we expected, and while we are disappointed, it’s important to remember that the Anglican Communion is really not a matter of structure and organization. The Anglican Communion is a network of relationships that have been built on mission partnerships; relationships that are grounded in a common faith; relationships in companion diocese relationships; relationships with parish to parish across the world; relationships that are profoundly committed to serving and following the way of Jesus of Nazareth by helping the poorest of the poor, and helping this world to be a place where no child goes to bed hungry ever. That’s what the Anglican Communion is, and that Communion continues and moves forward.

This has been a disappointing time for many, and there will be heartache and pain for many, but it’s important to remember that we are still part of the Anglican Communion. We are the Episcopal Church, and we are part of the Jesus Movement, and that Movement goes on, and our work goes on. And the truth is, it may be part of our vocation to help the Communion and to help many others to grow in a direction where we can realize and live the love that God has for all of us, and we can one day be a Church and a Communion where all of God’s children are fully welcomed, where this is truly a house of prayer for all people. And maybe it’s a part of our vocation to help that to happen. And so we must claim that high calling; claim the high calling of love and faith; love even for those with whom we disagree, and then continue, and that we will do, and we will do it together.

We are part of the Jesus Movement, and the cause of God’s love in this world can never stop and will never be defeated.

God love you. God bless you. And you keep the faith. And we move forward.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church