Thursday, July 06, 2006

dallas' episcopal diocese joins others in bishop rift

Associated Press

The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas on Wednesday joined a growing rejection of the church's newly elected bishop because she supports same-sex relationships.

Bishop James M. Stanton, the head of Dallas' diocese and its 40,000 members, wrote a letter asking Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for a "direct pastoral relationship" from overseas instead of being under the American church and its new leader.

At the Episcopal General Convention last month, Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chosen as the church's presiding bishop-elect. She supports ordaining gays and blessing same-sex relationships. She will be installed Nov. 4.

Dioceses in Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Florida, South Carolina and California have taken similar actions and called for Williams to assign another leader.

The Fort Worth diocese also has objected to a woman being elected head of the Episcopal Church. Some conservative Episcopalians don't believe women should be ordained priests.

Stanton said he will assemble a panel to consider his diocese's relationship with the denomination in order "to listen to the concerns of my people."

The Episcopal Church and its fellow Anglicans worldwide are struggling to prevent differences over the Bible and sexuality from escalating into a permanent break.

You can read the Diocese's press release here, and the Standing Committee's letter here. No one, as far as I can tell, has picked up on the bishop's choice of words in describing what he will seek from the Archbishop of Canterbury ("a direct pastoral relationship"), as opposed to what the Standing Committee asked him to pursue ("a direct primatial relationship"). I'm not sure WHAT the significance of this difference might be, nor IF it is significant. Is it because Bp. Stanton doesn't want to risk running afoul of the ECUSA canons, by which the diocese is currently bound? One thing is sure: the media, so far, have interpreted Dallas to be doing the same thing that Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Central Florida, San Joaquin, and Springfield have done, whatever that is. I.e. whatever "primational oversight" might be, people seem to be going with the assumption that a "direct pastoral relationship" with ++Cantuar amounts to the same thing.


Anonymous said...

It's about time.

koenigsfreunde said...

I doubt there's much of a difference, except with the possible difference that you point out regarding canon law. In terms of the things that really count like episcopal ordinations, theological leadership, and the like, it's pretty much the same thing.

I don't blame Dallas, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy, SC & San Joaquin for making their appeal. I'm grieved that it leaves reasserters who are not in those dioceses in a tougher position.