Bishop’s Letter to the Diocese

A response from the Bishop to recent communications on the marriage canon issues

It has been about three weeks since the national House of Bishops issued its public statement to the Bishop-Donald-PhillipsCouncil of General Synod from its special meeting in February. Because I knew that within a week I would be preaching at our Mothering Sunday service, and would be including references to same-sex marriage and the proposed change to our marriage canon in my sermon, I decided not to make a public statement at that time. I was also waiting until after the meeting of the Council of General Synod (March 9–13). That meeting did issue a statement to the Church as well as a response to the House of Bishops’ statement.

Since the Mothering Sunday service, I have learned that some people were deeply hurt by the sermon. That was certainly not my intent and I want to offer a sincere apology for any of my words that wounded. In particular, I regret that I did not take into account that the sermon would be heard in the context of the House of Bishops’ statement. I am now aware that all of these reports, statements and responses are inextricably connected and are not received independently.

I have also learned that, while the House of Bishops’ statement was intended to be constructive, it has not been received that way by many of the people I have talked with in the Diocese. Naturally, as a member of that house, I also regret this and have contacted the chair of our house agenda committee to make sure there is an opportunity to discuss this at our regular spring meeting of the House in a few weeks. As several other diocesan bishops have written in their responses, the statement of the House of Bishops will not thwart or pre-empt the necessary discernment and decision processes that need to occur when General Synod meets in July. I ask for your prayers for our diocese, particularly for our delegates to General Synod, and especially for myself as I continue to seek the leading of the Spirit in my ministry in our midst.

Yours in Christ,

+ Donald


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