Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bishops held accountable

It's been a strange couple of months in the Episcopal church, what with the Diocese of San Joaquin voting to unaffiliate with TEC and affiliate with a South American province, and Fort Worth and Pittsburgh setting the stage to do the same.

Last Friday the Bishop of San Joaquin, John David Schofield, was inhibited on abandonment charges by the House of Bishops.

Yesterday we learned that Bp. Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh will be brought up on abandonment charges (although he was not inhibited from performing episcopal acts in the meantime).

And it looks like the storm is headed for Fort Worth. Bp. Jack Iker received a second warning from Presiding Bp. Katharine Jefferts Schori that he will face disciplinary charges as well if he continues to lead people to believe that parishes and dioceses can leave the Episcopal Church. In TEC, people are free to come and go, but parishes and dioceses may not.

Katie Sherrod has some more thoughts about what it's been like to live with +Iker in Ft. Worth.

Apparently Bp. Iker feels threatened by the correspondence from the Presiding Bishop. And he's in discussions with my bishop, Bp. James Stanton of Dallas, about providing for those parishes that don't want to go along with his plan to flee for South America. Stanton should not be aiding Iker's bad behavior, IMHO.

Here's the take from Fr. Jake, who has covered all of the above wonderfully. Jake's place has been a virtual refuge for those faithful Episcopalians living in hostile dioceses, and provided a forum for getting people together to plan for life after the blustery bishops. Mark Harris' commentary is here.

All this activity, while upsetting and sometimes troubling, gives hope to those folks who have weathered the storm in these areas. Because when the dust settles they will be free to be comprehensive broad church Episcopalians, welcoming all of God's children.

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