. . . Q: You recently went to the San Joaquin Diocese in California (which voted to secede from the Episcopal Church) to speak with those who remain Episcopalian. You said that healing is possible. How, when the issues seem so intractable and the divide getting wider?
A: The experience of the people present at the convention in San Joaquin is that healing is happening there. In groups of people with a variety of opinions about some of these hot-button issues, it's remembering what it is that originally calls them together.
Q: Property disputes with breakaway churches are a big issue and getting bigger. What do you say to people who feel it's unbiblical to take fellow Christians to court over issues like property?
A: We have a fiduciary and a moral responsibility as leaders in this church to use and steward the gifts ... for the purposes for which they were given. ... Generations before us gave permission in the name of the Episcopal Church and intended them (gifts and properties) for the benefit of communities and generations to come. (The breakaway churches) are clearly saying they're no longer part of the Episcopal Church.
Q: What about the argument of the breakaway churches and diocese that the Episcopal Church left them?
A: The church has changed repeatedly throughout history. The church has struggled with the place of African Americans in the church, the place of slavery in the church, the place of children in the church, women in the church, immigrants in the church, and today, the place of gays and lesbians in the church.
Q: What do you think is the proper role for the Episcopal Church to play in the Anglican Communion on the issue of ordaining gay men and lesbians and same-gender unions?
A: It appears to be our vocation in this day and age to encourage conversation, to encourage theological reflection about how we're created, what the holiness of life looks like.
Q: Some people find it hypocritical that church members in some parts of the world who are so outspoken against ordaining gays are allowed to have multiple wives. Are they allowed to, and if so, what are your thoughts on that?
A: The (1988) Lambeth Convention (the once-a-decade gathering of the world's bishops) made pastoral provisions for polygamists to be received into the church. ... It seems to me that the church throughout history has made different provisions in different provinces for circumstances that aren't universal.
Q: Do you see the upcoming Lambeth Convention this year as settling any of these issues?
A: The Lambeth Convention's intent is to gather bishops in community and to meet each other as individual human beings. It's never been intended to settle issues.
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