Monday, 15 March 2004

Ohio update

The bishops of the Diocese of Ohio have responded to yesterday’s event.
On the Extra-Canonical Confirmation Service Held 14 March 2004 in Fairlawn, Ohio

From the Ven. Mark Hollingsworth Jr., Bishop-Elect of Ohio:
I am disappointed that the parish priests from the Diocese of Ohio and the six bishops of the Church who were involved in this service chose to begin their relationship with me, not with direct and honest dialogue, but by acting in this manner. I certainly don’t want anyone to think that this behavior is characteristic of Christian community, especially the young people of those congregations.
An action of this sort, designed to break down the community of faith, has no place in our polity. No one group can define for the whole Church what constitutes an “emergency.” The laity and the clergy of the Diocese of Ohio, meeting in convention last November, clearly articulated their support of an inclusive theology in the larger Church, and their affirmation of its actions in last summer’s General Convention. It is a singular privilege to begin serving with them in this diocese at a time of such great potential for the Church.

From the Rt. Rev. J. Clark Grew, II, Bishop of Ohio
It is unfortunate that five Episcopal parishes, gathering people for sacramental purposes, have felt the need to participate in an unauthorized and clandestine service. I am not yet clear on what prompted such an action, one that was also decided and planned in secret, except perhaps an anxiety on their part caused by having the majority of clergy and parishes in this diocese take up the work of mission at home and abroad after the events of last summer, and center themselves in the gospel imperatives with renewed energy in anticipation of shared service with Bishop-elect Mark Hollingsworth.
It saddens me that these five congregations had to create a disturbance with our common Church polity, in order to focus attention once more on their minority position. There is no crisis in the Diocese of Ohio, except the one created by a group that hopes to hold on to attention that is slipping away as time passes, a group that may use the threat of further extracanonical action as a way to manipulate the House of Bishops in its deliberations on the matter of alternative oversight.
Neither the House of Bishops nor the Diocese of Ohio is likely to be swayed by sudden confrontational actions. Any response by the Diocese of Ohio in this matter will be prayerfully considered and characterized by the life of Jesus himself, who calls us all to unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.

Thanks to Kendall Harmon for the following press coverage:
Two local radio reports Diane Keough talks to participants and also to ECUSA Communications Director Dan England
Associated Press Conservative Bishops Defy Episcopal Church
Cleveland Plain Dealer Episcopalians exclude bishop

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 March 2004 at 9:57 PM GMT | TrackBack
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