No welcome for observers at Texas meeting of conservatives

October 6, 2003

An attempt by Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and Dean George Werner, president of the House of Deputies, to send four observers to the American Anglican Council meeting in Texas has been rebuffed.

Griswold said that the four-Bishop Christopher Epting, deputy for ecumenical and interfaith relations; Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington; Dean Titus Presler of Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas; and the Rev. Brian Prior of Spokane, Washington-had been asked to "bring a greeting and to listen with care and the ear of the heart to the voices of those present. Their presence was to be a visible sign of the fact that, in the midst of disagreement, we are nonetheless fellow members of Christ's risen body and that we are called to bear one another's burdens and to acknowledge that when one member suffers the whole body must bear that suffering."

In a letter to Griswold, the Rev. David Anderson, president of the AAC, said that there is no category for observers and that all must register as participants, signing the document, "A Place to Stand," that gives the AAC's theological perspective on the current state of the church. He said that those who are gathering for the meeting feel a sense of betrayal and abandonment by the leadership of the Episcopal Church and feel that those who voted to confirm Gene Robinson's election as the church's first openly gay bishop have shattered and shipwrecked the church.

"When teachings and practices contrary to Scripture and to this orthodox Anglican perspective are permitted within the Church-or even authorized by the General Convention-in obedience to God we will disassociate ourselves from those specific teachings and practices and will resist them in every way possible," warns the "A Place to Stand" statement.

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