This has been a significant historical week for The Episcopal Church. I am overwhelmed with joy at the election of Michael Curry as our next Presiding Bishop. Bishop Curry is an evangelist at heart. His love for Jesus is palpable, contagious, and inspirational. It won’t be long before everybody — both within and beyond the Church — knows Michael Curry’s story.
In addition to the great gifts Bishop Curry brings to us this election of our first African American presiding bishop is a significant moment in our history, as it was when Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected as our first female presiding bishop nine years ago. Bishop Curry is the right person for the right time, and I am elated, proud, and full of hope that we will follow his lead and become more expressive of our faith and in proclaiming the Good News of God’s love for all people.
By now it’s likely that you are aware that this meeting of General Convention has made another significant decision, as The Episcopal Church has acted to extend the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples. This decision was made prayerfully and carefully. It is the culmination of forty years of discernment in our church, and I support this decision.
I am grateful for the care with which the Church has acted in this matter. We are a diverse people united in our commitment to follow Jesus Christ. This action respects that diversity. I know there are faithful Christians who do not agree with this decision. My prayer is that wherever we find ourselves theologically on marriage, we can take pride in being part of a tradition grounded in compassion and inclusion of all.
The marriage resolutions approved by this General Convention are inclusive of the historic diversity which characterizes The Episcopal Church. They give the access of marriage liturgies to all couples while protecting the conscience of clergy and bishops who dissent theologically. It has always been true that no priest can be forced to perform any marriage liturgy. That remains the case.
I look forward to meeting with the clergy and lay leadership of the two dioceses I’m blessed to serve, as we discern policies for our respective contexts. I want to remind us that this action becomes effective on the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2015.
We live in a world starving to know God’s love and compassion. We are called to proclaim that God’s love includes everybody — no exceptions. Whatever one’s theological perspective on marriage, we all know that. I ask your prayers as I work with clergy over the next months to make this a grace-filled process for everyone.
God bless us all.