October 18, 2004
Dear Friends in Christ:
The Lambeth Commission today issued its report dealing with differences within the Anglican Communion highlighted by recent actions by the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada. Their report comes after much work, study, and prayer. I commend it to your reading.
The Presiding Bishop has issued his response to today’s report. I want to echo his comments as we begin our reflection on the commission’s report.
Many had anticipated this report to be more conclusive and final in its statements and recommendations. It is much more deliberate and intricate in nature. Its release today is the first of several important steps in the coming months. I will be meeting with the bishops of Province IV in December to begin to reflect ion the work of the Commission. The full House of Bishops will hold a special meeting in January to deepen our conversation about the report and its implications for the Communion. The Bishops will gather again in March, when we will have conversations with members of the Lambeth Commission. The Primates will consider the report at a meeting in February while the Anglican Consultative Council will review it at a meeting in late spring. The Archbishop of Canterbury will officially receive the report and associated recommendations in June. Perhaps by then we will have a clearer vision of the pathway ahead.
The Presiding Bishop said at last month’s meeting of the House of Bishops that we should be prepared to receive this report with humility and openness. I am receiving it in that spirit. Bishop Griswold also noted that, “at the end of the day, whatever word the Lambeth Commission has to give to the Communion, I hope that we will see it as an invitation to become more than we have been….I believe we are all called to see how the circumstances of our lives invite us to become an authentic sign to a broken and divided world of Christ’s power to reconcile in the force of his deathless love.”
Let me take this opportunity to say clearly that as we move ahead it is my intention that this diocese will do so as a faithful constituent member of the Episcopal Church. I ask you to join with me in committing our lives, talents, treasures, and prayers to the ongoing work of the Gospel in this church’s mission and ministry.
The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, III,
Bishop of Mississippi