A handful of "progressive" Episcopal women want to ban Anglicans, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics from the Order and make it an Episcopal Church-only organization. They have targeted the elected president of the Order, Joan Dalrymple, but frankly, I have to wonder if the real target is the national Chaplain, none other than the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida. He's been making peace of late with those parishes and clergy who seek to separate from the Episcopal Church. And now we have Washington-style politics going on, with whispers of financial mismanagement (absurd, you can read their financial statements yourself here - including the audit) as well as an entire shadow website put up online as a "shadow" Order (sound familiar friends?).
At the Daughters of the King Triennial, held in 2006, the delegates voted to interpret the bylaws strictly so that each chapter had one vote. The bylaws do not recognize "Episcopal" and the Order is not an official part of the Episcopal Church. It's like the Alpha Course - it's associated with Episcopal Churches, but is a separate entity. The Triennial voted by an overwhelming majority of 219 to 30 to seat Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican Chapters.
Since the Triennial, a small group formed calling themselves the "Episcopal" Community of the Daughters of the King and they seek to expel from the Order all the Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic members. They have recruited bishops from the Episcopal Church to pressure the president of the DOK, continuing the whisper campaign to cast a cloud over her leadership.
And now, if that's not enough, the Presiding Bishop is now casting her autocratic shadow over the move to expel everyone but Episcopalians from the Order, writing the Episcopal Bishops:
My brothers and sisters,
I know there have been questions in many dioceses about the status of leadership in the Daughters of the King. This issue was raised while I was meeting with the bishops of Province IV. Attached is a letter from the bishops of Province IV, expressing concern. I understand that responses have begun, and wanted you to be aware of this. Questions you may have can appropriately be directed to the Daughters in your own diocese, and on their behalf to the national leadership. Given the energy behind this, you may want to share any responses you receive with others on this list, so that all may be suitably informed. I look forward to seeing you all in March.
Shalom, my foot. Notice that the financial issue (which is without merit, as we can see for ourselves by reading the financial statements that have always been transparent) is just a hook. The real issue is frankly, Umbridgian. Katharine Jefferts Schori says there are now "questions in many dioceses about the status of leadership in the Daughters of the King." Right - it's a progressive Episcopalian attempt at a coup to oust the current leadership and to install leadership that will expel all the Anglicans, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics from the Order.
But what is so strange about this is that none of the correspondence is directed to the Chaplain - their fellow bishop. What's up with that? Is this retaliation against Bishop Howe for his generous treatment of parishes and clergy in the Diocese of Central Florida who are seeking to separate from the Episcopal Church?
In the Diocese of Virginia Bishop Lee has been outstanding. He has been incredibly generous, as he was at the recent Diocesan Council meeting, to bless the efforts of the Daughters of the King in the Diocese of Virginia to have both Anglican and Episcopal Chapters. The leadership is made up of Anglicans and Episcopalians. There is an Anglican chaplain and an Episcopalian chaplain and they work together. And we work together. In fact, this past Diocesan Council was so incredibly good for my own soul to be in a position to pray for the Diocese of Virginia, to be in the chapel there praying, not only for the efforts of the diocese, but for my own heart.
But this campaign that now includes the Presiding Bishop herself is disgraceful. There's no other word for it. It seems to be targeted not only at the leadership that is truly inclusive, but at the chaplain who has been truly generous - John W. Howe.