Notes from Fairbanks

Bishop Daniel H. Martins •

The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins writes about the first day of the House of Bishops’ meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska:

Our day began with Morning Prayer at our tables in the main meeting room. We were then welcomed by Bishop of Alaska Mark Lattime, who, in turn, introduced two gentlemen from the indigenous peoples of the area, who addressed us at some length. I was particularly impressed by the first one, who maintains a profound sense of connection with the people who have inhabited this land for 10,000 years alongside an uncommonly rich, articulate, and well-formed Christian faith. He had some insights into the story of Melchizedek in Genesis that I had never heard before.

After a break, and the usual “check in” time with our table groups, we heard from Bishop of Central Florida Greg Brewer, speaking on behalf of the Task Force for Communion Across Differences. How can we as a House do a better job of making sure we hear — and actively listen to — all the voices in the room, including those which, for one reason or another, may be soft or silent? Bishop Brewer was speaking particularly of those who represent what has become a minority position on issues of sexuality and marriage, but which has been long held in our church and continues to be mainstream in global Anglicanism. Personally, I found his remarks to be the highlight of my nearly seven years in the House of Bishops. He spoke truth that has desperately needed to be spoken, but which has been either so unwelcome or so inaudible that it has been accorded no venue. I felt light a huge weight was beginning to be lifted.

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