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Press statements from Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Archbishop Drexel Gomez

Posted on: October 17, 2003 4:50 PM

At the final press conference at the end of the Primates' Meeting yesterday, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, gave the following statement:

"I'd certainly like to underscore the Archbishop's point about it being a difficult but truthful meeting. I think one thing that became very clear early on is that we seek to embody and proclaim the Gospel in very different contexts and what may, in fact, be good news to a majority in one province may, in fact, be bad news somewhere else in the world. And here I think particularly of my own province, the United States in which a majority, though not the whole province, has wrestled with the whole question of homosexuality for at least the last 30 years and come to a sense that men and women whose affections are ordered to members of the same sex are faithful members of the church; are people with whom we share ministry; are people we in many instances ordain, which of course has led to the confirmation of the election of the Bishop Elect of New Hampshire, which has caused such a division and certainly been one of the major focuses of our meeting here. But I do think what binds us together is deeper than some of the things that divide us and certainly the whole question of human sexuality; more particularly homosexuality; is far from settled and as we continue to struggle together I think it's also important, as the Archbishop said, that we keep our focus on the mission we share because there is so much in the world that cries out for our attention beyond issues of human sexuality.

"So it's been a difficult but fruitful two days and I think it's important for us to be aware that communion is not something static, communion is always developing and evolving and the tensions that one has to face in living the mystery of communion often deepens that sense of relationship, even though more immediately there may be obstacles and problems that one has to confront."

Archbishop Drexel Gomez from the West Indies offered the following statement:

"As it has been previously stated, we have had approximately two days of a very honest, difficult encounter but we have dealt with it in what we have come to call an 'Anglican' style but all of our meetings are characterised by reflection in the context of common prayer undergirded by our bible study and the module that I like to use is the one found in Acts chapter 15 where a problem developed in the early Christian community and the leaders of the church assembled in Jerusalem - they prayed, reflected on scripture, and then they came to some determinations, and sent a circular letter to the churches which was binding on the churches.

In our process we have studied, reflected, prayed and worked together and we have done so in almost brutal honesty; because we came to this meeting knowing that we had some very diverse views on the main item before us but I think that part of the success of our meeting is due to the abundance of God's grace that accompanied us but also by the inspired leadership given to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that did not play a small part in the outcome of the meeting."