Dixon Fires off Letter to Edwards in Eleventh Hour Bid to Break Deadlock

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Thu May 24 23:50:53 EDT 2001


Special Report

By David W. Virtue

Washington Suffragan Bishop Jane Dixon has fired off a letter to Fr.
Samuel Edwards in a last ditch effort to head off a show down between
herself and the parish of St. John's, Christ Church, Accokeek,

Edwards has till 5pm today to accept Dixon's offer because the canons
require that he no longer officiate at Christ Church beginning May 26.
"The time has come for us to move forward," she writes.

In a hand delivered letter Dixon makes it clear that her primary
concern is the parish property and she demands that Edwards "actively
oppose all attempts to remove Christ Church or St. John's parish from
ECUSA or its Diocese of Washington."

"You will acknowledge that the vestry of Christ Church and St. John's
Parish holds the parish property in trust for the ECUSA and its Diocese
of Washington, and you will always act to maintain that trust and to
oppose any effort to impair that trust;

"You will not support, and will actively oppose, any effort to
transfer, alienate or encumber any property of Christ church or St.
John's Parish without the express written permission of the Bishop and
the standing committee of the ECUSA's Diocese of Washington;

"You will always obey the Constitution and Canons of the ECUSA and its
Diocese of Washington;

"You will recognize me and my successors as your Bishop, and in
accordance with the canons of the ECUSA and its Diocese of Washington,
obey, respect and be guided by our Pastoral direction and leadership;

"You will share the ministry in Christ Church and St. John's Parish
with me and my successors, and thus, among other things, will
graciously cooperate with and participate in our visitations in Christ
Church and St. John's Parish.

Dixon then says that if Edwards provides these guarantees he will be
licensed and his letters Dimissory accepted, and allowed to be "priest-
in-charge" of Christ Church for the remainder of the three-year

Dixon says that Edwards would not have the legal or canonical rights of
a rector.

She then threatens that if he breaches any of the guarantees that he
will be subject to disciplinary proceedings in the Diocese of
Washington and the Standing Committee.

Dixon concludes her letter by saying that if Edwards is not willing to
provide these guarantees the Diocese of Washington reaffirms its offer
of relocation and other interim assistance extended previously "to help
your family make the transition."


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