Communique from May 15th Meeting with the Presiding Bishop

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Thu May 24 00:36:25 EDT 2001


Communique from May 15th meeting with the Presiding Bishop

A group of bishops and other leaders met with the Presiding Bishop at
the Episcopal Church Center on May 15, 2001, to express their concern
for the place of a continuing conservative witness in the life of the
church.

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, asked for the
meeting, and was joined by the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker, Bishop of Fort
Worth, and the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy. The bishops
were accompanied by the Rt. Rev. Donald Parsons, retired Bishop of
Quincy; the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Jr., Bishop of Pittsburgh and
chairman of the American Anglican Council's Bishops' Advisory Council;
the Rev. David Moyer, rector of The Church of the Good Shepherd,
Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and president of Forward in Faith; and Mr.
Charles Nalls, executive director of the Canon Law Institute, and
attorney for the vestry of Christ Church, Accokeek, Maryland, in their
dispute with the Rt. Rev. Jane Dixon, Bishop of Washington Pro tempore.
The Rt. Rev. Douglas Theuner, Bishop of New Hampshire and chair of the
Presiding Bishop's Council of Advice; the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee,
Bishop of Virginia and convenor of the Resolution A045 Task Force; and
David Booth Beers, chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, were present at
the Presiding Bishop's invitation.

The meeting provided a candid expression of views concerning the
dispute at Christ Church, Accokeek, Maryland, which the bishops who had
requested the meeting viewed as symbolic of a rapidly-deepening rift
between conservative Episcopalians and a perceived majority willing to
resort to exclusionary practices in key dioceses. Pleas that a creative
way forward be found in the Accokeek situation (in order that the unity
of the Episcopal Church might be preserved) and suggestions on how to
do so were discussed.

In light of the dynamics of the Accokeek dispute, where, to the Bishops
who asked for the meeting, the principle of diocesan sovereignty
appears as the ultimate principle, searching questions were raised
about coercive implementation of General Convention Resolution A045.
The diocesans of Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin stated their
assessments that Task Force visits would be disruptive and
triangulating in the lives of their dioceses.

The Presiding Bishop sought to reassure the bishops that the Executive
Council, in its appointment of the task force, had a temperate spirit
in which they wanted the church to move forward with the ordination of
women in all dioceses, but in ways that respected the theological
integrity of the various dioceses.

A significant amount of time was spent discussing suggestions made by
the Primates at Kanuga and the subsequent Pastoral Letter issued by the
ECUSA House of Bishops regarding sustained pastoral care, commonly
referred to as extended episcopal oversight or flying bishops. The urgent
need for
sustained pastoral care for traditional Episcopalians was emphasized as
an attempt to prevent further departures from the Episcopal Church. The
perception of an increasing rate of loss of catholic, evangelical and
charismatic members to other ecclesial bodies was put on the table by
those who had asked for the meeting.

The entire group shared hopes that ways forward could be found through
these and other sources of friction, ways to strengthen the bonds of
unity in the church.

After nearly two hours of conversation, which all agreed were candid,
courteous, and fruitful, the group adjourned with the Presiding
Bishop's blessings.

END




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