Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
A recent online article from Nashville, TN has necessitated a statement of clarity and charity on behalf of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. The CEEC is comprised of men and women who take the commands of Jesus seriously: love the Lord with all your being and love all your neighbors as you love yourself. In each human being we see the very image of God and seek to honor that image with love and faithfulness. Of course, this conviction means that we are also committed to expressing Christian unity in accordance with the prayer of Jesus and the teachings of the Scriptures. What this Christian love and unity look like in daily life can be surprising and even counterintuitive because, ultimately, we represent a Kingdom that is not of this world.
The headline in question states that the CEEC has a “progressive stance on human sexuality issues,” a claim that is misleading at best and patently false, at worst. While it is true that our Communion joyfully welcomes qualified men and women into the Holy Orders, this should not place us under the broad and unhelpful descriptor of “progressive” in regard to sexual ethics.
Our canons are clear on this matter:
“Marriage, as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman…is a sign of the mystical union between Christ and His Church.” (Canon 2 – Section 5)
The article posted online does not include the terms of this particular priest’s proper reception into one of our Diocese of the CEEC (with the blessing of his ACNA Bishop) because it is merely the dissemination of a letter intended for that local parish, which has not been received into CEEC. His reception does not reflect any modification to our canons (or an intention to do so).
On behalf of our House of Bishops, I am saddened that this article may have become a source of confusion, distraction, or division. We respect the work of ACNA and do not see this development as any sign of strife between the communions. While some may be prone to read this online news item uncritically, accepting it as utterly factual and accurate, I trust that most people will give this statement an honest hearing. Wisdom dictates that we rarely grasp reality, with all of its nuance and complexity, upon first glance. I pray that this statement helps everyone move forward in love with some more clarity and understanding.
Grace & Peace
Bishop Quintin Moore