December 23, 2015
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,
With a heavy heart, I write to inform you I am resigning as rector of Calvary Church, after the 11 a.m. service on January 10.
In my letter to the parish in July, I spoke of the love that binds us together in Christ Jesus transcending all differences. Martin Luther said "my conscience is captive to the Word of God," and "to go against conscience is neither right nor safe." I have never asked, nor should any be asked, to go against personal conscience or integrity. After prayer and study of scripture, I am not able to approve same-sex marriage as rector of Calvary. In order that all have the care they seek, I have provided for same-sex marriages at our cathedral.
A resolution of this year's convention states: "This convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her theological objection to or support for the 78th General Convention's action contained in this resolution."
The vestry opposes my position, and the bishop does not support me in holding it. Therefore, I have no choice but to resign, or contradict my conscience. The love of Christ will always bind us together, but with the current leadership, I cannot stay.
It has been a gift from God to serve as your priest and rector. My family and I have been blessed by the friendship and support of so many within this parish. To be a fellow minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you has been an honor. The love we have shared across so many differences and rich variety has shaped me, and changed me for the better. Together, we have fed and clothed the poor. We have welcomed them as friends into the church. We have sung the praises of God in beauty and majesty. We have brought the young to know God, and even to sing God's praise. The love of Christ Jesus is seen so clearly in so many here. Continue in his love. I ask your prayers for Andrea and our family.
May God bless and comfort you, and may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the love of God, and of Christ Jesus, his only Son. Amen.
Faithfully in Christ Jesus Our Lord,
The Rev'd Jonathan M. Erdman