|Bishop Dorsey Henderson|
In his letter to the Disciplinary Panel Bishop Henderson says the new church attorney actually did "preliminary work on the Bishop Lawrence information," when he served in a similar capacity on the old Title IV committee.
|Bishop Mark Lawrence|
Does this seem right to you? Why is a year of no action followed suddenly by Bishop Henderson writing that "time is of an essence?" Why is looking like a sudden rush to judgment?
LATER: A very good read here at the Anglican Communion Institute, and also back to here. In the article from March, C. Alan Runyan and Mark McCall write that:
"the new Title IV is unconstitutional in two key respects: it usurps the exclusive constitutional authority given to dioceses for the trial of priests and deacons and it gives the Presiding Bishop unprecedented and unconstitutional authority over diocesan bishops."The "church" in the Episcopal tradition in the United States was centered on the diocese, around a bishop. Here in Virginia, one of the founding dioceses of The Episcopal Church this is very clear. It took the American Revolution to separate "the Church" (i.e., the Church of Virginia) from the Commonwealth government. Until the Revolution, "the Church" (i.e. the Church of Virginia) was united with the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Following the Revolution, the two were separated. The Commonwealth helped create the new United States, while the Church went on to become the new Diocese of Virginia. Not all the congregation in the Church of Virginia joined in the fray, especially with so many congregations around the Commonwealth so cautious about reintroducing to Virginia part of England's historical propensity to turn their bishops into Lords. They had just spent many years getting rid of them and were in no mood to bring them all back to their former glory.
Each of the new dioceses at some point needed to be recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not all were. According to Robert Prichard at Virginia Theological Seminary when he spoke to the Region VII Council of the Diocese of Virginia a few years ago, a group in Massachusetts (see here) wanted to be recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and become part of the Episcopal Church but were turned down by Canterbury since they did not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. That group of once-Anglican churches went on to establish the Unitarian Church.
|St. John's Church in Richmond.|
So the new Title IV canons are a major revision, designed to make The Episcopal Church the "communion" (and not the diocesan bishops are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury) and centralize authority away from the dioceses, their congregations and their bishop and redirect the center to 815 with its special interest groups and the Presiding Bishop. It's a major change and it might be in the laity's best interest to understand that under the new Title IV canons anyone now can make charges (and not even be identified publicly) against a bishop and have the bishop removed no matter what the diocese and its congregations might say. Think about it.