Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
We, the members of the Executive Council, met in Portland, Oregon on March 2-4, 2007. We are elected to represent the whole church between General Conventions.
We are conscious that this is the first meeting of a major deliberative body of the church in the wake of the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We are in a process of discerning what it means to be members of a global and multicultural Anglican Communion, autonomous yet interdependent, diverse yet living a common life as a family of churches.
At this meeting of Executive Council, the following actions were taken:
- Fulfilling a mandate from the 75th General Convention (Resolution A166), we created a process to allow for the full participation of all Episcopalians in the response to a draft text for a possible covenant for the Anglican Communion, as envisioned in the Windsor Report. Responding to the draft covenant does not presuppose agreement with the terms and principles advanced in the draft.
- Executive Council recognizes that the requests made by the Primates, directed to the House of Bishops and the Presiding Bishop, raise important and unresolved questions about the polity of the Episcopal Church and its ecclesiology. We have authorized the appointment of a work group to consider the role, responsibilities and potential response of the Executive Council to the issues raised by the Primates. The work group will make a report and recommendations at the June 2007 meeting of the Council.
- We wish clearly to affirm that our position as a church is to welcome all persons, particularly those perceived to be the least among us. We wish to reaffirm to our lesbian and gay members that they remain a welcome and integral part of the Episcopal Church.
- Further, we offer our prayerful affirmation to all who struggle with the issues that concern us: those who are deeply concerned about the future of their Church and its place within the wider Communion, and those who are not reconciled to certain actions of General Convention. We wish to reaffirm that they too remain a welcome and integral part of the Episcopal Church.
It is our common baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that binds us together. We promise in our Baptismal Covenant to respect the dignity of every human being. As we engage in conversations about these issues, may we “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). In so doing, may we “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.”
The Executive Council is especially thankful for the thoughtful leadership of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, and for their wisdom and patience.
We rejoice in the ministries of Province VIII and the Diocese of Oregon, about which we learned much during a presentation on Saturday night.
We also acted to:
- designate the line item in the Church’s 2007-2009 budget for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to seed, along with Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and Jubilee Ministries, an “MDG Inspiration Fund” to assist in eradicating malaria and other diseases; and encourage individuals, congregations and dioceses to contribute;
- express continuing deep concern for peace with justice for all peoples in the Middle East;
- urge the closing of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and the end of secret detention centers and “extraordinary rendition”;
- urge the US government to grant asylum to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, or those advocating for their civil rights, who seek such protection, and commit the Episcopal Church to aid in their resettlement;
- urge that future General Conventions will not be held in states that prohibit domestic partnerships;
- reaffirm asking congregations to commit to funding the seminaries of the Episcopal Church; and
- pass a budget for the Episcopal Church for 2007.
The Council will meet again in June in Parsippany, New Jersey.
In the love of Jesus, and the service of Christ’s Church,
The Executive Council