"People are getting tired of hearing the same story," said the Rt. Rev. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana, recounting the distant beginnings of the Communion Partners some twenty years ago after a Lambeth Conference, then proceeding through events of this past decade. The 90 or so Episcopalians/Anglicans gathered at Orlando's Airport Mariott Hotel, including ten bishops, are well familiar with this broad outline of recent church history.
They haven't traveled here from around the country, and beyond, to be reminded of an old story. They're here for a sense of renewed vision, to look around and see who's still standing in the debris of a once great church, who's willing to make a stand and even give a defense of the hope that is in them.
Bishop MacPherson's opening comments were intended to capture "the big picture" of a growing worldwide partnership. He traced the beginnings in some detail to illustrate the desire of this group to be above board, to communicate openly with TEC authorities, and ultimately to provide a basis for fellowship and a meaningful entry into the worldwide Communion.
The "parameters" of this group include 30 dioceses, with bishops "committed to honoring diocesan boundaries and governed by mutual respect." The purpose of the Communion Partners is to provide mutual fellowship among friendly dioceses and a network for clergy and laity in not so friendly ones.