On Monday May 22nd, St. Edward’s vestry met with Bishop Romero (Assisting Bishop), Ann Wright (President of the Standing Committee), and Nancy Cohen (Diocesan Chancellor).  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of St. Edward’s joining the Anglican Communion Network.(ACN)  I opened the meeting by welcoming our three diocesan visitors, and by inviting Bp. Romero to open the meeting in prayer.  We then took turns explaining how we came to this moment.  I spoke of the great impact that the General Convention of 2003 had on St. Edward’s and my determination that we would be prepared for the General Convention of 2006.  Bishop Romero spoke of his desire to be present as a diocesan witness to our decision making, and of his support for any decision we made with regard to joining the ACN.  Among his other comments, Bishop Romero pointed out that St. Johns Chapel  was part of the American Anglican Council, a group affiliated with the ACN.  Bp. Romero went on to say that he was comfortable with our joining the ACN, but wanted to be certain that the decision was made in a way that involved a majority of St. Edward’s parishioners.

The Meeting continued with each member of Vestry stating their feelings and thoughts about joining the ACN.  Several Vestry Members asked questions of the Bishop, and sometimes of me.  It was very clear to all present that a strong majority of vestry members favor joining the ACN.  After the round table, visiting members of St. Edwards, of which there were 18 were invited to share their thoughts or ask questions.  Those who took the opportunity to speak reflected the diversity of the parish.  Most who spoke were in favor of joining the ACN, some wondered about the timing, and one person spoke of her concern that joining the ACN sends a message that those who disagree are not welcome here.  Several people responded by sharing their experience that St. Edward’s is very welcoming to all, and their hopes that we will remain welcoming.  I see no conflict between joining the ACN and remaining welcoming.  Being welcoming is one of our core characteristics and would be difficult to change even if we desired to.

I went home greatly pleased by the quality of the meeting.  Our conversations were models of grace and kindness.  It was an exceptional meeting, and I hope that everyone went home feeling loved and valued.  On a personal note I was very grateful that our visitors went away with the clear impression that this initiative is not about me.  There was some fear in the diocese that I was somehow leading the parish in a direction it did not want to go in.  I think it is clear to everyone at Monday’s meeting that there is great support for this direction within St. Edward’s.  We are in a difficult time, and I pray that our future meetings reflect the grace that so characterized this one.

Yours in Christ,