[ENS] I have received today a copy of the Windsor Report issued by the Lambeth Commission after their months of study and reflection on issues currently facing the worldwide Anglican Communion. It will take some time for me, and for others in our diocese, to reflect on its nearly 100 pages.
I can well imagine some will come to quick and easy conclusions about what the report does and does not say and will come to injudicious judgment about whose positions the report does and does not support. I join Archbishop Eames and our Presiding Bishop in encouraging members of the Episcopal Church in the United States to receive this report prayerfully, humbly and with an openness to the fruits of the Spirit.
I had the opportunity to meet Archbishop Eames several years ago at Virginia Theological Seminary, during a time when he was working toward reconciliation between various Christian factions in Northern Ireland. In chairing this commission he has taken on an equally complex task.
Within the Anglican Communion we enjoy very different ecclesial structures. In the English and African provinces of our church, bishops are chosen by committee, and in England only after consultation with representatives of the Queen. This hierarchical methodology for the selection of bishops has been viewed as problematic by the American Episcopal Church since the American Revolution. The American Church is committed to an ecclesiology which posits great authority in the lay members of our denomination.
Bishop Robinson was elected in New Hampshire by a majority of lay and clerical delegates voting in their local diocesan convention. Bishop Robinson’s confirmation was achieved only after a majority of lay and clergy delegates in the House of Deputies and a majority of bishops in the House of Bishops voted to confirm his election. The American branch of the Anglican Communion has long believed the Holy Spirit is present in this democratic process, and this remains a fundamental difference between our provinces.
The parishes and campus ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas are focused on evangelism, stewardship, Christian education, outreach and pastoral care. We have gay and lesbian members who have made, and continue to make, substantial contributions to the life of this diocese, and we love and support them. We have members of our diocese who have been deeply wounded by the actions of the Episcopal Church with regard to Bishop Robinson’s election, and we love and support them.
Though there be many temptations, we are determined to remain focused on our primary mission: to know Christ and to make Christ known.
The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe
Bishop, the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas