Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
The Executive Council, meeting October 24 -27, 2003, at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, began its work of overseeing the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church in accordance with the five program and budget priorities established by the 74th General Convention. These priorities are: young adults and youth; reconciliation and evangelism; congregational transformation; justice and peace; and Anglican and other
partnerships. The Council endorsed 73 new international missionaries and set an agenda to address millennium development goals, issues of war and peace, and enhanced resources for young adults and youth ministry.
The council's focus on mission and ministry occurred amidst currents of joy and distress set in motion by decisions of the General Convention. We know that some experienced the consent to the ordination and consecration of a bishop coadjutor for New Hampshire as furthering acceptance and inclusion in the life of the church. We know that some experienced the consent as disturbing to their deeply held moral beliefs and readings of scripture. And we know that many are simply surprised and perplexed, unaware that such a decision might be made. Around the church faithful persons are now engaged in conversation about our common life, about the things that unite us and the things that divide us.
As your Executive Council we commit to continue this dialogue, to listen carefully to the perspectives of all the members of the church, and to speak with respect and charity. We believe there is room in our church for a wide spectrum of opinion and perspective. We seek the highest possible level of communion with our brothers and sisters across our church and among Anglicans around the world. We believe much more unites us than divides us. We invite all in the church to join with us in this effort and to follow the example set by the General Convention in addressing divisive issues with civility, openness and charity.
We offer our profound thanks to our Presiding Bishop for his calm and steady leadership during these difficult times. He has encouraged us to engage one another and the wider world prayerfully, thoughtfully, and patiently. We fully support his efforts to provide episcopal pastoral care for all the members of the Episcopal Church according to the guidelines developed by the House of Bishops in 2002.
We encourage all congregations and dioceses to engage God's mission to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. We believe that we must act as ministers of God's reconciling love even as we work out disagreements and conflict within our household. With a firm commitment to the work of reconciliation and undefended hearts toward one another, we trust in God to make good use of what we offer.
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Ephesians 3:20, 21
Yours in God's mission,
The Executive Council