Long Island Episcopal Bishop Could Face Presentment if He Stays Beyond Election

david at virtueonline.org david at virtueonline.org
Wed Jan 14 22:07:38 EST 2009

Episcopal Bishop of Long Island Could Face Presentment if He Stays Beyond Election of New Bishop

By David W. Virtue 

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Long Island has hired an attorney to investigate The Rt. Rev. Orris Walker on the grounds that his continued stay beyond the March election of a new bishop will hamper the new bishop's ability to function.

The bishop is presently on medical leave and will not return to his post till February. The Rev. Richard Brewer, president of the Standing Committee, told VOL. "He did not turn over ecclesiastical authority to the Standing Committee. He will be back in six weeks."

Rumors have abounded that Walker has AIDS. In 2007, a "New York Times" writer asked the bishop if he had AIDS. The bishop would neither confirm nor deny it. Walker is an alcoholic. He has, in the past, misappropriated funds from his diocesan accounts, tried to broker back into the church a sodomite priest who appeared in Penthouse magazine under an article titled, "The Boys from Brazil", and sold off properties, accumulating millions of dollars as a war chest for the diocese.

VOL has learned that a number of persons have stepped forward to say they are unhappy with any extension of Walker's time in the diocese after the election of a new bishop coadjutor.

Under Canon law, Walker is entitled to stay for three more years. This has clearly angered many in the diocese who have viewed his tenure as a disaster. It is unclear what the charges would be filed in any presentment against Walker, if he decides to stay on beyond March.

Brewer told VOL there was nothing in the Standing Committee's discussion to indicate a possible presentment, but he didn't rule it out either.

Brewer would only say that he and the committee are open to hearing the concerns of the diocese. He said the Standing Committee serves as a Counsel of Advice to the bishop. Brewer is the rector of The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, NY. He said the decision to leave is solely the bishop's'.

Asked if the former Bishop of Oregon, Johncy Itty was a candidate, Brewer said his name was not one of the five finalists. "We have not received a petition to place him on the ballot, as far as I know, he is not. He could only be added by petition at this point in time." There are no gay candidates for bishop; they are mostly moderate, said Brewer. Itty has been appointed to an interim position at the Mercer School of Theology on Long Island.

Another source told VOL that he would neither confirm nor deny the charges against Walker.

His attorney said he could not speak due to client privilege relationship concerns.


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