Since this past April, the threat of a lawsuit has been hanging over us, seeking to distract us from our mission and make us anxious about the future. As you know, the small minority who separated from us in order to remain in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America has not been content with our willingness to give them their buildings and property ”“ they want ours as well! It has been and will continue to be a huge distraction and a great drain on time, energy and resources. I have tried to keep all of you informed, while at the same time not being preoccupied with the litigation, as it has developed. Our focus must be on the mission of the Church, not the lawsuit. Sad to say, there is no end in sight. Once there is a decision by the court, whichever side loses will surely file an appeal, with the likelihood of another appeal after that. So we are talking years, not months, before this whole matter is resolved. I can assure you that we are being very well represented by our attorneys, and I ask that you continue to pray for them as they go about their work, especially our lead attorney, Shelby Sharpe. I am certain that he would want me to remind you, however, that our hope and trust is in God alone, not our legal team. We are engaged in spiritual warfare, as well as a legal battle. I would also remind you that no diocesan funds or parish assessments are going toward our legal expenses. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, all of our legal fees are being paid by special gifts. For this, we are sincerely and deeply grateful, and we say a word of heartfelt thanks at this time.
As the lawsuit makes its way through the courts, we must continue to focus on the mission of the church, to go make disciples of all nations and to minister in the name of Christ to all who are in need. We are called to be a missionary and evangelistic church, as well as a ministering and serving church. But the work of the church is always hampered and weakened by divisions among us. So now more than ever, we must work and pray for the unity of the Church of God. Christ wills for his disciples to be one, and we must do all we can to heal the brokenness in the Body of Christ. It is not enough to simply maintain the historic biblical faith for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We must also share it with others, in order to bring the whole world to Christ. And this work must be done in concert with others, never alone. So let us work and pray for a deeper unity in Christ for all believers, for the sake of mission, that the world may believe.