Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus:
Many of you have heard the news that a majority of the primates of the Anglican Communion have voted to impose sanctions on the Episcopal Church over issues related to the actions of General Convention’s decision to change canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and authorize two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples. You may also be aware of our Presiding Bishop’s response to this action in which he said in part:
“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, where all are truly welcome.” Our commitment to be an inclusive church is not based on a social theory or capitulation to the ways of the culture, but on our belief that the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross are a sign of the very love of God reaching out to us all. While I understand that many disagree with us, our decision regarding marriage is based on the belief that the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians are true for the church today: “All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are one in Christ.”
For my part, as the Bishop of the Diocese of Oregon, I stand with Bishop Curry and affirm our diocesan family as a house of prayer for all people. Our LGBT brothers and sisters should expect to find a welcome in the churches of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon this Sunday. I remain in prayer for the Anglican Communion and for my brother Bishop Michael Curry as he works to bring God’s message of love to the primates of the Anglican Communion.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley
Episcopal Bishop of Oregon