Open Letter to the President of the House of Deputies of TEC – Ms. Bonnie Anderson
Peace! It is a privilege to me to write to you as your colleague. I am the President of the House of Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. As you said in your statement about the Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it has serious implications for the Episcopal Church and the Worldwide Anglican Communion. First of all, I want to express my support to your statement concerning this issue.
The decision process in the Anglican Tradition is taken among the laity, priests and deacons and bishops. The House of Bishops of any of our provinces does not rule the church alone, and the Primate’s Meeting is just an instrument were the Primates can share their theological thoughts, pray together and have a consultation opportunity among themselves.
The Primate’s Meetings cannot take final decisions about any kind of problem or situation, without hearing before and respecting all the Governance Bodies of each Province or Diocese within the Anglican Communion. In issuing what is essentially an ultimatum, the Primates are assuming more authority than is accorded them in our Communion’s current structure and polity.
Before the Windsor Report recommendations can be understood to be ‘the most clear and comprehensive principles’ for governing the Communion’s life, our Churches must engage this debate in its member provinces’ General Synods and Conventions, and then at the Lambeth Conference next year and in the Anglican Consultative Council which will follow it. As Anglican Episcopalians we cannot sacrifice the gifts we enjoy as an inclusive church, accepting all people as full members of our churches, so that we might conform to a doctrinal uniformity that is anti-natural to our historic identity and experience as an inclusive church.
The real crisis at the Anglican Communion is not about Human Sexuality or Sexual Orientation, is about Authority. There is a battle to find out who has the power at the Anglican Communion. Our Church leaders should remember that who has the real power is Jesus Christ, and that His power is grounded in LOVE. Love that respects everyone and all the different points of view within the Church. As Christian we are not allowed to deny any kind of support and full membership to people that want to be part of our churches. It is not by coertion, but with love that the Anglican Communion will find out the way to solve its present crisis.
Only through our continued faithfulness to being a Church of inclusiveness, compassion, shared authority, justice, love and respect for the dignity of every human being, we will be a witness to the world. May this Lent be an opportunity for all of us to discern more deeply God’s Word and call to service in this world hungry for justice and peace.
Luiz Alberto Barbosa
The Rev. Luiz Alberto Barbosa
President of the House of Clergy and Laity of IEAB