Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has issued a statement of clarification regarding a group of bishops who will meet in New York in the first half of September "as an opportunity for those of differing perspectives to come together in a spirit of mutual respect to exchange views."
The full text of the statement follows:
I have become aware of a great deal of speculation regarding a meeting that will take place in New York in mid-September. I would like, therefore, to offer a few clarifying words on what has been conceived as an opportunity for those of differing perspectives to come together in a spirit of mutual respect to exchange views.
Shortly after the General Convention, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared with me some conversations he had had with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the whole notion of "alternative primatial oversight" and the difficulty in making a response. Though application for the same had been made to the Archbishop, it was clear in our conversation that the Archbishop, though symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, has no direct authority over the internal life of the Provinces that make up the Communion. Canon Kearon's point was that such requests needed to be discussed and a resolution be sought within the Episcopal Church itself. We agreed that the most helpful next step might be to have a candid conversation to include the Presiding Bishop-elect and me together with bishops who have expressed a need for "alternative primatial oversight," and to have Canon Kearon join with us in the conversations. Bishops Duncan and Iker were then asked to be participants. We also agreed that the group might be expanded by other bishops to be chosen by the participants themselves. Bishops Duncan and Iker invited Bishops Salmon, Stanton and Wimberly to take part. I have asked Bishops Henderson, O'Neill and Sisk. This is the genesis of the meeting now set for mid-September. Bishop Peter Lee was asked to serve as convener and he in turn thought it would be helpful were he joined by a bishop known to have views different from his own. Accordingly, Bishop John Lipscomb was also asked to serve as convener. Whether or not this is the first in a series or in fact a one-time conversation will be decided by the group itself.
As I write these words I am deeply mindful of the state of the world and of the desperate need for the costly and all-engaging work of reconciliation. In the light of the ongoing struggles across the globe, and certainly at this moment in the Middle East, the preoccupation with our own internal disagreements must not allow us to close our eyes to the needs of the world and its suffering people.
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
August 22, 2006