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Beloved in Christ,
I greet you in the Name of the most holy and glorious Trinity, the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit whose servants we are.
I have just returned from the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that was convened in Minneapolis Minnesota. First and foremost I wish to thank God for your faithfulness and your prayers. The organized Prayer Cycle that engaged those of you who responded to your priests' invitation meant that we were literally covered in prayer every single hour of the day. This is a reflection of the fact that in our Diocese our first priority is to pray. I wish to thank Candice Hogden Spencer for organizing this watch through the auspices of the Christus Center.
Also wish to commend to your prayers of thanksgiving those who represented our Diocese so well as agents of peace, truth, and love. Those whom you elected to be your Deputies, those who attended the ECW Triennium, and those who volunteered their time have represented the Diocese well. As I wrote to you last week, our deputation is quite unique, for we gathered together three times per day: in the morning for Morning Prayer, at lunch time, and almost every night for Supper followed by fellowship and the recitation of Compline.
I am writing this to you just hours after returning from Minneapolis,
and I am unpacking a variety of things, from suitcases to emotions and memories. The General Convention is a bit like witnessing an automobile accident. Even though it was one occurrence all of the witnesses report something different. Due to the unwieldy size of the Convention there is a constant atmosphere of chaos and ambiguity. I have been receiving an average of 250 e-mails per day regarding the general Convention, and I have heard numerous reports related to what occurred at the General Convention. It would lead me to wonder if I were at the same general Convention they attended. In other words, the spin that has been placed on the issues at the convention has turned tightly both ways! But, just as it will take me a few days to unpack all my papers and documents, it will take days to unpack what really happened. Therefore, for me to report what did and did not happen in this letter would be premature because even as we speak the reaction to this general Convention by our worldwide Anglican brothers and sisters is pouring in.
In spite of the thousands of resolutions and canonical changes that were considered virtually around the clock, there will be only several issues that will engage the media. Therefore I ask you to be patient in the days ahead. I ask you to choose your words carefully, and I ask you not to react until all the information is in. Beginning this week I will prepare a packet of information that will include numerous documents which will be sent to every priest, deacon, and church in the Diocese. I will send a cover letter charting what has transpired, and I will devote a Clergy Day in September to all of the matters at hand. I will also ask each parish priest to invite one member of the Vestry, Bishop's Committee or Cathedral Chapter to attend that clergy day, so that you may hear from your Bishop and Deputies.
The most inappropriate action at this time is to overreact. The most appropriate action is to pray. As you may have heard the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for an unprecedented emergency meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion to discuss the international implications of the 74th General Convention. I will certainly continue to send to each church updated information to keep you apprised of what transpires.
In the mean time, I want you to know how humbled I am to be your Bishop. Satan wishes to scatter the sheep and send them to other pastures. The Good Shepherd seeks to take his sheep into verdant pastures, and I, as a servant of the Lord will spend two weeks of vacation seeking to know the mind of Christ, the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for His sheep.
Please be assured of my love for you and my desire that we "hold fast to what is good. Love and serve the Lord in gladness and singleness of heart, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit."
With love in Christ
Bp. K.L. Ackerman
The Rt. Revd Keith L.Ackerman, SSC