8. 'Sustained Pastoral Care' on agenda for March bishops' meeting
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Wed Feb 6 01:21:15 EST 2002
'Sustained pastoral care' on agenda for March bishops' meeting
by Jan Nunley
[ENS] "Sustained pastoral care" for parishes at odds with their bishops
will be discussed at the House of Bishops meeting March 7-12 at Camp
Allen in Texas. The meeting will center on the theme of "Inhabiting
In a January 11 letter to bishops, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold
said the bishops will continue the discussion began at their September
meeting in Burlington, Vermont on how bishops can be reconcilers,
"personally, corporately within the church, and in the nation and the
Griswold also said he wants to examine the bishops' role as "chief
pastors to the whole flock of Christ committed to our charge, and how
we can develop sensitive and creative ways of ministering directly and
indirectly to congregations who feel estranged from us and the life of
The concept of "sustained pastoral care," whose main supporters are
conservatives upset with the church's perceived liberal drift, was
endorsed by the Primates Meeting at Kanuga in March 2001.
The presiding bishop's office said the bishops will not consider any
form of Provincial Episcopal Visitors or "flying bishops" program, such
as the one established in the Church of England since 1993. Under the
program, a Church of England parish may petition its diocesan bishop
for alternative episcopal oversight by one of three bishops appointed
by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Quoting Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara, Griswold wrote that bishops
should be "open to everyone, absolutely everyone, both on the right and
on the left." He said the vast majority of bishops practiced this kind
of oversight, "costly as it may be."
Several bishops, including Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island and
retired bishops Allen Bartlett of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and Mary
Adelia McLeod of the Diocese of Vermont, have allowed conservative
bishops to minister to parishes in their dioceses, without
Conservative bishops said they were pleased with the planned
discussions, but want them to be more than a "token gesture."
"It is unfortunate that it took so many years to make it to the agenda,
but perhaps we bishops can now begin to work together to find a way to
restore at least some degree of peace and unity in our church," said
Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, a leader in the
conservative American Anglican Council.
The primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, and the primate of
Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Rev. Iraj Mottahedeh, will join
the American bishops for their meeting.
The Revd Jan Nunley is deputy director of Episcopal News Service. Ed
Stannard of Episcopal Life and Religion News Service contributed to
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