Sunday, July 09, 2006

More from the Oregon Public Broadcasting interview

Christy George mentioned the issue of gay marriage and having an openly gay bishop as driving the current conflict in the Anglican Communion, and asked, "Is this the big bottom line issue for people?"

Katharine Jefferts Schori: I think it's the presenting issue. I don't think it's the real source of conflict. There have been gay clergy and gay bishops in the church forever. Gene Robinson's the first bishop who has been open about that before his election. I think the real root difference is that different parts of the church are interested in maintaining a particular strand of Christian identity, perhaps to the exclusion of some of the other strands. And one of the gifts of Anglicanism over the centuries has been an ability to live with difference, to comprehend a variety of understandings of how to live in the church and in the world. And if we exclude the other parts of those--those other strands--we become diminished.

And the urgency right now I think is about people's sense that their particular strand of identity will be lost, both from the African church and the conservative end of the church in this country, and the most liberal end of the church in this country. It's a struggle for identity, it's a struggle to discover where authority lies when we do differ in our approaches to questions. The Anglican Communion is kind of a hodgepodge of bodies that have grown out of British colonial history, and missionary work, both from the Church of England and from the United States church over the centuries, and we have very different identities because we exist in different contexts.

Christy asked if the church is as divided as the United States on some of the same social issues.

Katharine Jefferts Schori: The studies that have been done, and we've got a great statistical researcher at the church office in New York, the studies show that there is maybe 10 or 15% on either end of the spectrum who are pretty entrenched. But there's this great, broad, middle segment of the church, 70% of the church at least, that is perfectly willing to live with a diversity of understandings, and a diversity of practice. And they are beginning to express their will, I think' That's a much more Anglican way of being, than living on one of the ends of the spectrum.

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