Presiding Bishop's statement on AAC meeting in Dallas

October 9, 2003

My initial response to the meeting of the American Anglican Council just ending is that, regardless of what has been said or concluded, those gathered in Dallas are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Baptism establishes an indissoluble bond between those who are baptized and the Risen Christ. So too baptism binds us together in such a way that we cannot say to one another "I have no need of you." It therefore concerns me deeply when Christians use inflammatory rhetoric when speaking of one another or issue ultimatums. In such a climate, mutual pursuit of ways to build up rather than tear down is made more difficult, and the vast deposit of faith upon which we all agree is obscured. At the same time, we must acknowledge and respect our brothers and sisters who feel alienated by certain actions of the recent General Convention. We must take seriously their grief and anger and seek as best we can to stand with them. I would like to add one further thought. I have just returned from giving a retreat to a group of Episcopalians engaged in social service ministries within the United States and Latin America. They are working to transform the world, sometimes person by person. This is the ministry of reconciliation to which all persons of faith are called, and it is the mission of the Episcopal Church today and the primary focus of most of its members. Division and splintering, while much in the news, are not the spirit which gives life to our church. In a letter I sent last week to bishops of the Episcopal Church I expressed my hope that the reconciling energy of the divine compassion may flow through our church and our Anglican Communion and witness to a way of being that gives hope to a world so in need of love. This continues to be my hope. The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold Presiding Bishop and PrimateThe Episcopal Church, USA