The Diocese of Central Florida is committed to making disciples of all nations and loving one another as Christ loves us.
The Deputation from the Diocese of Central Florida has an extraordinary sense of sadness and disappointment that the Episcopal Church has chosen to adopt a provisional rite for same-sex blessings.
We recognize that to the vast majority of those members participating in the councils of General Convention, this represents progress. To us, it represents a step back from the clear teachings of Holy Scripture and a disregard for the unity and teaching of the Church.
Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized marriage between a man and a woman as a divine ordinance for the ordering human relationships. For that reason, he sternly warned against human interference with marriages. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ”˜made them male and female,’ and said, ”˜For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)
The 77th General Convention’s decision represents denominationalism. In matters of ethics and morals, we have shown blatant disregard for the unity of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. However, we in the Diocese of Central Florida stand in solidarity with our communion partners within the Episcopal Church and within the Worldwide Anglican Communion who “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) . We deeply lament the costly repercussions that these decisions will have within the Episcopal Church and for Anglican Christians around the world especially those under anti-Christian totalitarian regimes.
The actions of General Convention also represent a departure from the rubrics and worship of the Book of Common Prayer and the stated Canons of the Episcopal Church. These liturgies are not recognized in the Diocese of Central Florida as being consistent with either the laws of the State or the canons of this Church on Marriage. The Book of Common Prayer says, “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that ”¦ the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church.” (p. 422)
While we are greatly saddened by the General Convention’s action, we are not discouraged. We know that we are called by God to “stand firm”. If any are discouraged, let us bear one another’s burdens and cast our cares on the Lord in prayer for one another. Our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord gives the strength and hope needed to serve without compromise within the Episcopal Church and the world, “for our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh”. (Ephesians 6:12) Our faith is not in the human institutions of the Church, but in the unwavering faithfulness of Jesus Christ our Lord””his grace is sufficient.
We stand behind our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Gregory Orrin Brewer, in his endorsement of the minority report known as the Indianapolis Statement.
The Rev. Charles Holt, Chair
The Rev. Phylis Bartle
The Rev. Danielle Morris
The Rev. James Sorvillo
The Rev. Eric Turner
Mr. Charles Armstrong
Mrs. Anneke Bertsch
Mr. Sid Glynn
Mr. William Grimm, esq.
Mrs. Sonya Shannon