House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, who attended the first four days of the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans at the bishops' invitation, has responded to the actions taken by the house.
She said the bishops' statement, "A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by Our Anglican Communion Partners," is "comprehensive."
"It calls for careful reading, reflection and discussion," Anderson said, asking Episcopalians to be in dialogue with and prayer for their bishops after they have studied the statement.
The full text follows.
September 27, 2007
Statement from the President of the House of Deputies to the people of the Episcopal Church regarding the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans and its outcomes
As an invited guest of the Presiding Bishop, I was honored to attend the recent House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. I was warmly welcomed by the bishops, both corporately and privately. It was also a pleasure to meet and spend considerable time with the staff of the Anglican Communion office and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates.
The bishops worked diligently, not only on a consensus document to be released to The Episcopal Church, but to add their hands and hearts to the on-going rebuilding work in New Orleans and Mississippi. I was saddened so see that a few bishops left New Orleans after Archbishop Rowan completed his final words to the bishops. That some bishops chose to remove themselves from the opportunity to participate in the Gulf Coast's rebuilding speaks loudly to me in both concrete and theological terms.
As a community, the bishops are hard working, faithful, dedicated and insightful. We are blessed by their unfailing commitment.
The House of Bishops' statement, "A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by Our Anglican Communion Partners," is comprehensive. It calls for careful reading, reflection and discussion.
The bishops reaffirmed that they are partners with the laity and the clergy in formulating the Episcopal Church's response to the issues of our church and our world. They said: "Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God's call is a lively partnership among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention."
Equally important was the bishops' continuing insistence that gay and lesbian persons "are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church." They also called for all partners in the Anglican Communion to recommit to the communion's opposition to "any action or policy that...violates their dignity as children of God."
The bishops spoke on a number of other issues and I commend their entire statement to you for study. I also suggest that you study a companion statement offered by the bishops, which speaks about the context of their time on the Gulf Coast and how what they saw influenced and renews their call to the mission of the Episcopal Church. That statement and other resolutions passed by the bishops are being perfected and should be posted on the church's website soon.
After you have studied the bishops' statements and resolutions, it is my request and hope that you will give your own response to your bishop(s) regarding his/her work at the meeting in New Orleans. Thank them for their ministry and leadership. Encourage them to continue to be in partnership and communication with you. Laity, clergy and bishops are strengthened for God's mission as we work closely together to follow the way of the cross. Hold the people of the Gulf Coast, The Episcopal Church, all provinces of the Anglican Communion, bishops, laity and clergy in your daily prayers.