Most Reverend Sir, Honored Guests from the Communion,
I am Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Diocese of California. I have been given the grace of serving a diocese that encompasses enormous diversity, both in what we call the natural environment, and also in what we might call human ecology. I grew up in the American South where to my consciousness human diversity was cast in terms of Black and White.
In the California Bay Area the societal parameters for inclusion, outside even the concerns of the Church, are wide ranging: gender, ethnicity, economic, and sexual orientation. All of these parameters have received intense attention in the civil society, and have also been the concerns of the Episcopal Church in the Bay Area.
With respect to sexual orientation, it must be said that the Episcopal Church is the main refuge for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people who are seeking to lead a Christian life. These people are primarily not natives of the Bay Area, they come from all over the United States and indeed the world. They have come to San Francisco and the Bay Area seeking a life where they are not subjected to discrimination and violence, where they can lead normal lives, and in some cases, Christian lives. It is my responsibility to provide a context for this search for holiness of life.
It is also important to say here that the Episcopal Church in the Bay Area is immeasurably enriched by the presence of LGBT people in our parishes and missions. These are gifted, faithful Christian people, lay and ordained, passionate about their faith and church. It is hard to imagine what the Diocese of California would be like without these great people, but I can get something of a picture by remembering the many places I’ve lived from which they have come to the Bay Area, places where they were barred from employment, pushed out of their homes and families, and yes, found cold welcome in churches, and tragically in some instances, were subjected to physical violence. For every one of these men and women enlivening the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of California there are empty places all over the United States where their graceful presences are missing.
This is also true for me regarding Gene Robinson. He has helped this body of bishops of the Church with intelligence, passion, humility and great courage over the past four years, and I know he has served his diocese in the same manner. I hope, simply, that there will not be a Gene-shaped space at the Lambeth Conference where the living child of God Gene should be.
News and Blogging of the Day:
Our beloved Grandmère Mimi reflects on her impressions of the opening HoB Eucharist.
Rowan Cantuar roundly rejects any notion that September 30th is the deadline for an "ultimatum" and closes with a hopeful note.
The Church of Wales defers on the draft Anglican Covenant, not ready to accept it in its present form.
Mark Harris reflects briefly on the "frustration" of the Network bishops leaving the House of Bishops meeting before the dust behind the Archbishop of Canterbury's carriage settles.
and Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona offers his perspective on the meeting thus far.