Writing to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church on May 18, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold announced the composition of the delegation accompanying him to next month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Nottingham, England, to for the Episcopal Church.
The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta; the Rev. Michael Battle, associate dean of academic affairs and vice president of Virginia Theological Seminary; the Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana; the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, suffragan bishop of New York; the Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity; and Mrs. Jane Tully of Clergy Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (C-FLAG) will join the Presiding Bishop and a delegation from the Anglican Church of Canada in addressing the ACC on June 21.
In their Feb. 24 communiqué, the primates requested ‘the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report’ and ‘to consider whether they are willing to be committed to the inter-dependent life of the Anglican Communion understood in the terms set out in these sections of the report.’
Both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have agreed not to send an official delegation. The Episcopal Church’s ACC delegation-Bishop Roskam, the Rev. Robert Sessum of Lexington, Ky., and Ms. Josephine Hicks of Charlotte, N.C.-will not participate but will observe and respond to questions.
The delegation chosen by the Presiding Bishop represents a diverse slice of the Church. Bishop Jenkins voted against affirming the election of Bishop Gene Robinson at the 74th General Convention, while Bishop Alexander voted in favour. Bishop Roskam participated in Bishop Robinson’s consecration. The Rev. Susan Russell is president of the Church’s largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, and Mrs. Tully, wife of the rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, is a leader of C-FLAG.
In discussing a response to the primates’ request at the April 13 Executive Council meeting, several council members argued that it was important that a gay or lesbian clergy person be part of the delegation to Nottingham.
Ms. Russell concurred, telling The Living Church, “it is a tremendous opportunity for us to both witness to the good news of God in Christ Jesus made present in our lives and relationships and to represent to the larger communion our commitment to choosing reconciliation over division.”