A Letter to the Clergy

October 27, 2003

My brothers and sisters,

Over the past months I have become increasingly aware of the burdens many of you are having to face in the light of the consent to the ordination and consecration of the Bishop Coadjutor-elect of New Hampshire. I know from many of your bishops and my own conversations with a number of you that you have been hard pressed to minister to those of differing opinions within your congregation, while at the same time having your own points of view. As I said when I wrote to you following our General Convention, I am enormously grateful for your ministry in this present season.

I am sending along to you a copy of a letter I wrote to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and then shared with our bishops. Though you may have already seen it, I wanted to make sure that you have a copy, given the fact that you are the primary communicator and interpreter of the actions of our church for the members of your congregation or those who look to you for pastoral care.

Yesterday I had the privilege of presiding and preaching at the Eucharist and confirming three young people at the Church of the Holy Communion in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I was there for the first Executive Council meeting of this triennium. Being with faithful Episcopalians and sharing in their life and worship reminded me of the incredible grace and resiliency that exist in congregations across our church.

At the coffee hour I met people who had been life-long Episcopalians, as well as those who have been recently drawn to our church. Our conversations revealed a variety of opinions, and at the same time a common conviction that our church is larger than any one point of view and must embrace all. As I left the church at the end of the morning I noticed a brass plaque commemorating the ministry of a 19th century rector. It described him as follows:

In charity – broad
In courage – dauntless
In honor – spotless
In spirit – catholic

As I stood there I found myself praying that indeed our charity might be broad, particularly in a season of polarization; that our courage may be dauntless as we live through these challenging days; that our honor may be spotless as we minister with care to those of varying opinions; and that our spirit may be catholic and able to make room for God’s own catholicity, which embraces all things in the fullness of God’s fierce and unbounded compassion.

This comes as always with my prayers and gratitude.

Yours ever in Christ,

Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate

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