The Phoenix newspapers have been full of stories and reactions to the recent election of a self-declared, openly active homosexual as the next Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire. Unfortunately, newspapers have used the word "Anglican" in reference to both the Bishop-elect and the Episcopal Church.
I am concerned that people may associate with that strange body, and its recent action, all who identify themselves as Anglican. I assure you, most emphatically, that is not the case.
The word Anglican refers to a spiritual heritage and an ancestral connection with the church of England, and also to the unique balance between Evangelical and Catholic, between word and sacrament, associated with that branch of Christianity.
Anyone interested in the Anglican Church in America position on some of the issues relevant to this current situation may find the following facts helpful:
We recognize and support the sanctity of human life, beginning at conception.
We believe that marriage -- defined by the life-long union of one man and one woman -- is God's loving provision for family life and procreation, and that sex outside of marriage is against God's law.
We believe that "same sex attraction," is a temptation to sin. Those burdened by it need to be informed of the relevant teachings from Holy Scripture, rather than encouraged to indulge in the temptation at their peril.
We believe homosexual practice to be in direct violation to God's explicit Word, and any endorsement or encouragement of such activity by any church, e.g. the blessing of same-sex unions, to be anathema.
We share with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, an ordained ministry of male bishops, priests and deacons in Apostolic Succession. As in the Eastern churches, married men may be ordained.
We believe the Holy Scriptures to be the revealed Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and salvation is found only by the name of Jesus Christ.
We believe the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds to be sufficient statements of personal faith.
Those who still think the battle for sanity and sanctity can be fought from within the Episcopal Church have our prayers and sympathy.
Those who have decided they can no longer in good conscience remain in this body should know that they need not join those wandering in the wilderness. The Diocese of the West of the Anglican Church in America offers you a chance to come home again.
The Right Reverend James G. Stewart, Diocese of the West, ACA