Continuity and fidelity; orthodoxy and obedience. These four themes are central to our ordination vows, and they lie at the heart of the promises that you and I renew and reaffirm today. But, dear friends, you know as well as I do that we renew these sacred vows today at a time of great dissention and upheaval in the life of the Church, and especially that branch of the catholic Church where we have been called to serve and witness. Every week it grieves me that I receive unprecedented numbers of canonical notifications from other bishops informing me of priests and deacons who have resigned from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church, many of them known to me personally. But these resignations from the ordained ministry have been received, not because they no longer desire to serve as priests and deacons in Christ’s Church, but because as a matter of conscience they can no longer serve in the Episcopal Church. It grieves me that in recent days canonical actions have been uncanonically taken against some very orthodox, faithful bishops (four of them to date, but still counting.) And the charge that has been brought against these faithful, orthodox, godly bishops is the very curious one of having “abandoned the communion of this church.” Again, it must be said that these are not bishops who have renounced their orders. These are not bishops who have abandoned orthodoxy. These are not bishops who have denied the Faith. These are bishops who have made hard decisions about what they will and will not do in continuity and fidelity, in orthodoxy and obedience to their sacred call by God to serve as bishops in His Church. I honor them.
In conclusion, none of us can say with any degree of certainty how all this is going to turn out, or when it will be resolved. But one thing is clear, my brothers and my sisters. By God’s grace today we stand, we make our stand, and we are willing to stand together, whatever the outcome or the cost. What we do today is to reaffirm our promises to be faithful, obedient, bishops, priests, and deacons, not in a denomination, not in a national church, not in a sect, but in Christ’s one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. May God help us and defend us.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.