Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Statement from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Northern Indiana

From here:

We, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Northern Indiana strongly protest the failure of the Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori and Chancellor David Booth Beers to follow the Canons of our Episcopal Church in the depositions of Bishops John Schofield and William Cox. Deposition is the harshest punishment that can be handed a bishop. It is essential that both the letter and the spirit of the Canons be followed since, in this case, the rights of the accused are protected, in part, by the extraordinarily high level of involvement and concord called for within the House of Bishops by Canon IV.9.2. As others have pointed out, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church at various times distinguishes between a majority of the Bishops at a meeting, from a vote by a majority of the whole. Mr. Beers was incorrect in his assertion, reaffirmed by the Presiding Bishop in a letter to the House of Bishops (April 30, 2008), that the Canonical language of “the whole number of bishops entitled to vote” can be taken to mean only “those in attendance at a particular meeting.” This makes deposition an action with no higher standard than any matter of routine business. We agree with the analysis provided by the Bishops and Standing Committees of the Dioceses of South Carolina and Central Florida that the Canons plainly require a majority of all Bishops entitled to vote, not just those in attendance at a particular meeting. [1]

We call upon the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops to revisit those decisions and make every effort to follow our Church Canons in this and all future House of Bishops decisions.

We note with alarm that the Presiding Bishop has publically stated her intent to begin, at the September meeting of the House of Bishops, deposition proceedings against Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for abandoning the communion before the diocese votes to do so in November. We plead for calm and prayer in the face of temptations to escalate abuses of power in this way. We agree with the Standing Committee of Central Florida and others who insist that depositions are an unnecessary and unfortunate way to deal with disagreement, dissension, and even division within our Church. We believe it also borders on unchristian.

This statement was written shortly after Trinity Sunday. The Trinitarian faith we profess in our worship is no mere exercise in divine arithmetic. The Trinity helps us know God’s true character within whose being exists a community of divine self-abasement. Thus understood, the Trinity is the foundation upon which truly human relationships are built. Everything the New Testament has to say about Christian relationships flows from this essential understanding of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nowhere is this clearer than in Philippians 2:1-11.

We believe that when we let the same mind be in us that was in Jesus, other ways of responding to division come into view. Those Bishops (or other clergy) who, for sake of conscience, can no longer minister as part of The Episcopal Church can be transferred at their request, or permitted to renounce their vows and join with other Anglican Provinces without vindictiveness or punitive measures. Confrontation in the Church is an opportunity to show the world how Christians conduct themselves in the midst of serious disagreements. It is an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel.

We urge the House of Bishops to give attention to these matters in the name of mutuality, humility and concord.

We insist that when it becomes necessary to invoke the Canons, that both the letter and the spirit of the law be dutifully followed.

We encourage the Standing Committees of the various dioceses within The Episcopal Church to investigate these matters for themselves and prayerfully consider an appropriate response.

Peace be to the Church, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have an undying love our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Northern Indiana :

The Rev. Bennett G. Jones II, President

The Rev. James Warnock, Secretary

The Rev. Canon Richard A. Kallenberg

Timothy C. Gray

Cynthia Guzzo

Pamela Barnes Harris

20 comments:

Cany said...

Well shoot, Dan. I wondered how long it would take you:) Now I have an answer.

Wherever you end up, and despite my vehement disagreement with you on almost everything, it seems, I do wish you well.

Rob Eaton+ said...

Bennett Jones, LTI II, Orlando, 1990?

A laywoman in Province VII said...

Fr. Jones, Fr. Warnock, Canon Kallenberg, Mr. Gray, Ms. Guzzo, and Ms. Harris – dear friends I have never met: I wish I could shake each of your hands and thank you personally. Thank you for allowing yourselves to be used in order for the truth to be heard.

ruidh said...

Well, more fuzzy thinking.

I'll say it again, deposition for abandonment is not a punishment. The person accused isn't deprived of anything they haven't already given up voluntarily.

Schofield isn't losing any sleep over this. He's probably laughing as the way this keeps going on and on.

traditionalanglican said...

ruidh said...

Well, more fuzzy thinking.

I'll say it again, deposition for abandonment is not a punishment. The person accused isn't deprived of anything they haven't already given up voluntarily.

Schofield isn't losing any sleep over this. He's probably laughing as the way this keeps going on and on.


You are likely right the Bishop Schofield is not losing sleep over this, but you are wrong about punishment. Bishop Schofield did not resign his position in Holy Orders, only his membership in the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Dr Schori is presenting that he no longer has the authority to acts as a man in Holy Orders.

If this is not punishment, then why not give him letters to what is at least on paper a sister jurisdiction?

Scott+

ruidh said...

You are likely right the Bishop Schofield is not losing sleep over this, but you are wrong about punishment. Bishop Schofield did not resign his position in Holy Orders, only his membership in the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Dr Schori is presenting that he no longer has the authority to acts as a man in Holy Orders.

Right. He no longer has the authority to act as a man in Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church. He doesn't want to. Everyone is happy.

Except for the people making political hay.

He continues to act as a member of the Province of the Southern Cone. Our lack of recognition of his jurisdiction doesn't cause him to lose sleep. Why would be allow it to cause us to lose sleep?

If this is not punishment, then why not give him letters to what is at least on paper a sister jurisdiction?

Because he claims a jurisdiction we don't recognize. His claim to be a bishop of a diocese of the Southern Cone in the US will never be recognized by TEC. It is a profound violation of the Windsor Report and Lambeth Council resolutions dating back over 100 years.

There is no sister jurisdiction here.

Phil said...

It is a profound violation of the Windsor Report and Lambeth Council resolutions dating back over 100 years.

It is stunning that those of the Left can continue to write this kind of thing with a straight face - though, being a blog, perhaps ruidh was laughing out loud at his own chutzpah.

ruidh said...

It is stunning that those of the Left can continue to write this kind of thing with a straight face - though, being a blog, perhaps ruidh was laughing out loud at his own chutzpah.

Not laughing and not "left".

Phil said...

OK, ruidh, got it - just a garden-variety hypocrite, then.

Kevin M said...

Curious here: Suppose, for example, a bishop in the Southern Cone decided to align with TEC and then resigned from their House of Bishops (or whatever their equivalent is) but not from his jurisdiction. Would they consider it simply moving to a "sister jurisdiction" or a renunciation of his order in the Province of the Southern Cone?

I suppose this could also depend on whether the Southern Cone considers itself in communion with TEC.

Malcolm+ said...

That's precisely the question, Kevin.

And the answer is pretty clear.

There is no way that the piratical prelates involved in the foreign invasions would stand for it were the situation reversed.

Kevin M said...

Malcolm,

I'd certainly agree with you, but do we have any evidence behind that?

Back in late 2006, ENS ran a story about the Southern Cone's renewal of its position of "impaired communion" with TEC and its support of "our Primate and other Primates who are overseeing the development of a new ecclesial structure in the United States."

Main question: Does "impaired communion" mean "out of communion"? At least as I read it, the Southern Cone supports the overthrow of TEC's governing structures and its replacement by a more amenable regime. How could they support such a position without seeing TEC as illegitimate and, therefore, not a body with which they can be in communion.

Therefore, Schofield left TEC for a church that is not in communion. As a result, Title IV, Canon 9, Sec. 1 comes into play. There is no provision ANYWHERE for a bishop to resign from the House of Bishops without first giving up jurisdiction. But by joining a church not in communion with TEC, he implicitly renounces his orders. Therefore, the proper response by TEC is to acknowledge that he has indeed abandoned communion with TEC and officially remove him from the rolls. It seems pretty straightforward to me, as I'm sure you'll agree.

Kevin

Sarah Richardson said...

As a member of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, I don't recall us inserting ourselves in this self-created drama before. Is this Statement an unfortunate side effect of having called a Rector from the Diocese of San Joaquin? I was really hoping the drama wouldn't follow you.

Sarah said...

RE: "I was really hoping the drama wouldn't follow you."

Oh, the drama of the Episcopal Church will follow every Episcopalian into his or her diocese. Count on it.

Sarah

Christopher Wells said...

Sarah Richardson,

You may want to check out our bishop's statement of agreement about the SC's statement, as reported today by Steve Waring. And see Fr Tony's commendation of the same statement. Both are conveniently here: http://covenant-communion.com/?p=751#comment-2239. Fr Dan is also not on the SC of our diocese.

Christopher Wells

Fred Schwartz said...

I am truly disappointed that the Standing Committee of another diocese does not have someting more pressing to do than concur with a decision that is not theirs, was not objected to by their Bishop at the time of the action and cannot be supported by anything other than supposition, conjecture and speculation. Fr. Dan, you are indeed "the stick that stirs the coffee."

Dan Martins said...

Sorry, Fred, I can't take the credit for this. I wish I could, but it wouldn't be honest. Before the announcement came out, I couldn't even have told you the names of the Standing Committee members in this diocese, let along lobbied them. That said, I'm glad they did what they did. It's a very measured, non-anxious statement. May their tribe increase.

Malcolm+ said...

The problem is, of course, that both sides to this have an argument to justify that the canons were or were not followed, and there does not exist (until Geeral Convention, perhaps) a body with the authority to determine whose interpretation of the canons is correct.

Essentially we have two competing legal opinions, neither being demonstrably and irrefutably true.

What is unfortunate is that it appears virtually everyone expressing an opinion on this issue seems to be lined up as much on the basis of "party" as on the basis of objective interpretation of the canon.

Anonymous said...

RE: "I am truly disappointed that the Standing Committee of another diocese does not have someting more pressing to do than concur with a decision that is not theirs, was not objected to by their Bishop at the time of the action and cannot be supported by anything other than supposition, conjecture and speculation."

Well then I assume that you've been to all the revisionist blogs and expressed your disapproval of all of those Standing Committees who denounced the GC "manner of life" resolution from 2006. I honor your consistent integrity in that.


Sarah

Ben Jones said...

To Rob Eaton: Yes, I was there (LTI II, Orlando, 1990)