Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings from the Holy City of Jerusalem.
As some of you may know, I am in the Holy Land for a week as part of my responsibilities as a member of the board of The American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem ( AFEDJ). We are visiting some of the 16 schools and hospitals which we help support in Israel, the West Bank, and in Jordan. I will bring home with me a wealth of experiences, from feeding starving children in Gaza at the Ali Ahli Hospital, to watching happy kindergartners at St John's School in Haifa. Many of you have helped make these ministries happen through your gifts and prayers to AFEDJ and the Diocese of Jerusalem.
On Thursday, there came word of the decision of the Anglican Communion Primates meeting in England to "suspend" The Episcopal Church from full participation in the Anglican Communion for three years. I know that this decision has been hurtful to many, especially our LBGT brothers and sisters who see this (rightly) as further rejection of their full participation in the Body of Christ.
I would commend to all of you the insightful commentaries of such writers as Rev. Susan Russell, Andrew McGowan, and our own Dean Troy Mendez for close analysis, but above all, take time to watch the video message of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. This expands on his earlier, moving statement.
I want to make it very clear that this decision in no way invalidates the actions of our own church. We are not backing down from full inclusion of all. Oddly, we have been asked to not participate in policy decisions by a group that has no authority to make such decisions in the first place!
If there is any good to come out of this, it is that the worldwide communion has held together, although at the expense of the American church, which once again has been excluded from full participation. However, as Bishop Curry says, there is always hope when talk to each other and love each other in spite of our differences.
Blessings on you all.


Bishop Kirk Smith