Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Jeffrey Steenson to the People of St. Clement’s, El Paso

Posted online, a letter from Bishop Jeffrey Steenson of the Diocese of the Rio Grande to the people of St. Clement's:

. . . You will be asked to vote on the question of dissolving your relationship with the Diocese of the Rio Grande and the Episcopal Church, because of the acute sense of alienation from the recent decisions and direction of the Episcopal Church and because of the concern that this relationship is inhibiting the ability of St. Clement’s to do effective ministry in El Paso.

Those of you who know me are well aware that I personally agree with the leadership of St. Clement’s about where the Episcopal Church seems to be heading. But as a bishop under the authority of this Church there are certain obligations and responsibilities to be observed. . .

. . . We are willing to try to find a negotiated settlement that may allow St. Clement’s to become an independent congregation with its existing facilities. But we also have a fiduciary duty to the Episcopal Church, and so any solution we might propose requires that we in good faith have considered the mission of the Diocese and consulted with the Presiding Bishop’s office to represent the Episcopal Church’s interests. I am very concerned that civil litigation might follow St. Clement’s actions, because we have a clear word from God about this, in I Corinthians 6. The work of the Gospel is absolutely not served by lawsuits of this type. St. Paul’s counsel is that all the parties work patiently and diligently within the Church for resolution.

Because I respect the spiritual integrity of St. Clement’s as a vibrant Christian community, I will not pursue a “divide and conquer” strategy that has been used elsewhere to isolate the so-called “dissidents.” Nevertheless, I have a pastoral responsibility for those members of St. Clement’s who might find themselves in the position of wanting to remain in the Episcopal Church, should a strong majority of the congregation vote otherwise. . .

Bishop Steenson serves as the DEPO bishop for my parish in San Diego. I'm sure this situation weighs heavy on his heart.

H/t to TitusOneNine.

Read it all.

1 comment:

Taylor Marshall said...

In Defense of Jeffrey Steenson:

http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2007/09/in-defense-of-bishop-jeffrey-steenson.html