The Presiding Bishop writes to the House of Bishops

Posted by Kendall Harmon

April 30, 2008
For the House of Bishops

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Inasmuch as the past several weeks have involved some significant situations, I thought it would be helpful to review and comment on process. First, regarding deposition for “abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church,” it is important to remember that such an act is not by definition punitive, but does give formal recognition to a reality already taking place. Once the Title IV Review Committee has certified that a bishop has abandoned the communion of this Church under Title IV, Canon 9, the bishop in question is given sixty days to respond.

During this sixty day period, Title IV has a provision for temporary inhibition of the bishop by the Presiding Bishop with the consent of the three senior active bishops of the Church. These bishops who must consent to the temporary inhibition do not, however, have a veto over consideration of the merits of the deposition by the House of Bishops, any more than those who must consent to temporary inhibitions in other circumstances have a veto over consideration of the charges by a trial court. This understanding of the canon is held not only by my Chancellor, but also by members of the Title IV Review
Committee including an attorney who is an original member of the Committee, the chancellors of several dioceses who have been consulted, and the former Chair of both the Standing Commission on the Constitution and Canons and the Legislative Committee on the Canons at the General Convention.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons

Posted April 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel wrote:

Wouldn’t her repeated use of the phrase “this Church” indicate something *very* important to the Lambeth Bishops?

April 30, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
2. Sir Highmoor wrote:

She is feeling the heat, otherwsie, she would not have sent the letter.

April 30, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
3. Dr Crestwood wrote:

If the HOB had any real leaders in it, they would accuse her of the same abandonment of the faith, which is the truth, and have her inhibited…it would do wonders to reverse the demographic of decline that has consumed the Episcopal Church like an Ebola virus…

April 30, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
4. View from the Pew wrote:

This is just a further confirmation that TEC is and wants to be an autonomous church! TEC argued in their legal brief in VA the Anglican communion is neither a church nor a religious society but is a “family” from which no one can be removed (i.e. the Anglican communion has no jurisdiction or authority over the 38 independent/autonomous churches). One has to wonder if TEC has forgotten the Nicene Creed: “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” It is past time for the rest of the Anglican communion to let TEC do what they so obviously want to do (like a rebellious teenager)...leave home.

April 30, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
5. Ralph wrote:

I somehow sense or feel a sinister quality in the tone of the letter. It gives me a cold, dark feeling. It has the nature of an edict, as if she were speaking “ex cathedra” to “her” bishops and to “her” church.

She seems to be attempting to exert authority and power that I’m not at all sure that she actually has, if she is really a “prima inter pares”. I don’t sense that she is feeling around for consensus, but that she’s telling folks how things are.

No response from the House might be taken as acceptance of her rise to power. It would seem that the bishops have their work cut out for them. If she gets away with this, then she can go ahead with plans for her coronation ceremony.

April 30, 4:19 pm | [comment link]
6. Irenaeus wrote:

“[Deposition] is not by definition punitive”

Just as incarceration in Soviet mental hospitals was rehabilitative.

April 30, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
7. Alta Californian wrote:

I have taken note of the increasing use of the term “this Church” over the last few years.  What I am noticing now, both in this letter and in the San Joaquin lawsuit, is the description of the Southern Cone as “another Church”.  The lawsuit is based on the notion that the property is being stolen for use by “another Church”.  This rhetorically declares TEC out of communion with the Southern Cone, and, if followed to its logical conclusion, perhaps the rest of Anglicanism (and with it perhaps catholic Christianity altogether?).

April 30, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
8. samh wrote:

It is indisputable that the Episcopal Church is descended from the Church of England.  If Jefferts Schori is claiming that it not related except by affinity now, and that it is totally independent… then that is an implicit statement that AT SOME POINT between the 17th century and today that a split has indeed occurred.  And if such a split has happened, then TEC ought to allow those who wish to remain connected to the CofE to do so.  TEC has not historically been an autonomous church, separate from her Anglican brothers and sisters.

April 30, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
9. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Another belated attempt to define a canon as meaning what we says it means and not the the words on the paper.

April 30, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
10. jamesw wrote:

I believe that this letter was written by KJS on the advice of her chancellor, for the purpose of attempting to head off legal challenges to the purported depositions of bishops.  I am sure that DBB fully realizes that the canons were not followed.  DBB is hoping that a court which accepts the “heirarchical church” theory will actually also accept the “heirarchical church tyrant” theory and hold that the highest official of the denomination (which the PB would claim to be) can interpret the canons in any way she pleases, even if that interpretation is arbitrary and capricious.  I am not sure if the courts (and this seems aimed at the DSJ litigation) will accept this rather astonishing letter from the PB for its intended purpose.

April 30, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
11. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

It has been pointed out elsewhere that no one except for an attorney would begin a letter with “Inasmuch as…”.  +Schori did not write this. Her chancellor wrote it, and she signed it.
The Rabbit.

April 30, 5:54 pm | [comment link]
12. Irenaeus wrote:

Bre’r Rabbit [#11]: Where KJS is, there also is her Beers.

But think twice about this “Inasmuch as” stuff:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us….”—-Luke 1:1 (NASB)

April 30, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
13. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Hmmm, point taken. Perhaps to attorneys we should add doctors?
The Rabbit.

April 30, 6:19 pm | [comment link]
14. w.w. wrote:


You are right on target, IMO.


April 30, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
15. Cennydd wrote:

It would seem to me that the more reasonable members of the HoB must eventually come to the realization that there truly IS “something rotten in Denmark”......this of course meaning TEC, and somebody, somehow, is going to have to take action to rectify the situation if they want to save their Church from oblivion.

April 30, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
16. Irenaeus wrote:

“Everyone needs to run over to the Living Church and check out Memorandum Concludes Presiding Bishop is Subverting Constitution and Canons”—-RobRoy on Stand Firm
This looks significant.

April 30, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
17. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Significant indeed, Irenaeus. Couldn’t happen to a nicer gal.
The Rabbit.

April 30, 9:17 pm | [comment link]
18. libraryjim wrote:

about time.

Jim Elliott <><

April 30, 9:25 pm | [comment link]
19. Irenaeus wrote:

Bre’r & Jim [#17-18]: Certainly will give her, her Beers, and the House of Bishops something to think about. Might even cramp her style.

Let’s give the authors of the report credit for a magnificent (wrestling-style) reversal.

April 30, 11:05 pm | [comment link]
20. Cennydd wrote:

Will any action ever be taken against KJS?  I doubt it, but it is immaterial to me, now that I’ve left her Church along with my bishop and diocese.  I am concerned for those who are trapped , however, and that’s why I hope that these bishops have enough courage to issue a presentment against her.

April 30, 11:30 pm | [comment link]
21. robroy wrote:

An exercise: go back and read her vapid Easter missive and then read this statement. Does anyone begin to believe that Ms Schori wrote the current legal brief?

April 30, 11:59 pm | [comment link]
22. w.w. wrote:

The memorandum cited in the Living Church story portrays a denomination and leaders out of control, ignoring/violating the church’s constitution and rules of governance while gutless overseers stand by in silence. The paper would be a good foundation on which to frame a brief to the secular courts, especially to the California supreme court. With a case involving Episcopal parishes before it, this high court will soon decide whether church property disputes should be settled according to neutral principles or in deference to church hierarchies (which may be under the control of tyrranical lawbreakers—as this memorandum demonstrates). Such a brief might be fuel for second thoughts among the justices.

If the California high court gives the nod to neutral principles, let’s hope the media give Schori-Beers-et al the proper credit they deserve!


May 1, 1:48 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.

Next entry (above): Wounded Veteran an inspiration to others

Previous entry (below): From Auschwitz, a Torah as Strong as Its Spirit

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)