Monday, January 18, 2016

[key statement by presiding bishop michael b. curry]

“Many of us have committed ourselves and our church to being ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ as the Bible says, when all are truly welcome,” Curry said in remarks he later made available to Episcopal News Service.

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 so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love, this decision will bring real pain,” he said. “For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Bishop Curry's statements were being made in the context of the Primates 2016 meeting at the end of last week, where it was later voted to put temporary sanctions against the Episcopal Church.
Read the entire article here.


  1. Thank you for this.
    I agree that the church is to be absolutely welcoming and embracing. A thought that does go through my head is, is it possible for someone to feel absolutely accepted while not agreeing with their position on this issue? There seems to be a sense in our culture that for me to feel be truly and deeply loved by someone means for them to agree with me (i suppose it depends on how important the issue is to me and how much i see it as a part of my core identity). As a parent, I feel like I can love my children even while not agreeing with things they do. But, there is a sense in our greater culture that to not fully agree is to, to some degree, reject. Can a church be inclusive and loving and still have a "traditional" ethic regarding sexuality?

    1. Hey Chris,

      Thanks raising an important question about inclusivity and traditional sexual ethics.

      For me as an individual, being inclusive means that I include people and embrace them for who they are. If friends are celebrating a wedding anniversary, I will celebrate with them - it doesn't matter if they are gay or straight. If my uncle brings his boyfriend to Thanksgiving dinner, no problem. Granted, this is easier for me as I have a progressive view of sexual ethics. However, I do know that some people who have a traditional sexual ethic might do the same -- be absolutely welcoming and embracing. You, for example.

      The difference for a church with a traditional ethic of sexuality, is that there will be limits to their inclusion, because by definition the ethics apply to the entire parish and inform the leadership's decisions regarding members. For example, the lesbian Christian who has been welcomed warmly by the congregation since arriving at the church two years ago, falls in love and wants to be married at the church. The church with a traditional ethic must say no. Of course she can still be part of the church, but by declining to officiate at her wedding, she is automatically no longer included the way straight couples are included. The church's "no" tells her that her relationship is not as good and not as acceptable. She can be there, but she is an outsider, not fully included. That church is not inclusive.

      Now, back to me and my friends and relatives. If I held to a traditional
      sexual ethic, I might not think that it is good for my uncle to be living with his boyfriend. But because I am not responsible for him, I could let it go and trust that God is at work in his life and that I can love him for the person he is and the person God has made him to be. (obviously assuming that I am not conservative to the point that I tell others what is wrong about their lives, reject them if they are "living in sin", etc.).

      It is possible for a traditional church to do that? I don't know. They would really have to prioritize respect and dignity of all people above their own values. They would have to ramp up their trust that God is working in everyone's life and that God doesn't need them to mess around with people (and this begs questions related to discipleship, confronting the person who is sinning, etc.). They would have to hold their views and beliefs with humility (as in, "This is what we believe but we could be wrong...") and I don't see much of that in churches. So I'm guessing it is not possible, but am open to more discussion.

      Warm regards,


    2. In thinking about this further, I was reminded of some of the key points in Bishop Flunder's radical inclusivity model. Particularly:
      #2 Radical inclusivity recognizes, values and celebrates people on the margin.
      #3 Radical inclusivity recognizes harm done in the name of God.

      I think it would be very difficult for a church with a traditional ethic of sexuality to carry out #2...