Thursday, January 26, 2006

From the Episcopalopian Desk

When the 24-hour Catholic news cycle stops kicking my ass, I've been meaning to focus a bit on things ECUSA.

The Episcopalians are holding their triennial General Convention this summer in Columbus, Ohio. We all know what happened at the last one, but the coming one is always a biggie in the novennial cycle as it will have the election of the Presiding Bishop, the primate of the American church who serves a ten-year term.

Over at Beliefnet, Friend of Whispers Charlotte Hays reports that the shortlist for the PB election has just been released:
The slate of candidates from which the next Presiding Bishop (head of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.) will be elected has been announced. There is one woman. It's also quite heavy on southerners. Is this an attempt to appear conservative without actually conserving?
Hmmmm... All I know about the demos of the ECUSA is that they have one Earle Fox, and we have, um, about 500,000 of them.

And believe me when I tell you that one is more than enough.

Closer to home, in this, David Moyer's home diocese, word's been sent my way that the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has unanimously sought the ouster of Bishop Charles Bennison.
Standing committee member the Rev. Glen M. Matis, rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Philadelphia, told The Living Church "the actions of the Standing Committee involved judgments concerning trusts and the bishop's ability to lead the diocese now." The standing committee is expected to issue a formal statement shortly.

In a letter to diocesan clergy dated Jan. 25, Bishop Bennison said he was “seriously praying about the standing committee’s request,” and called for prayer “for me, for our colleagues throughout the diocese, and above all for the unity and health of our diocese.”

In recent years, the diocese has spent $9.6 million in unrestricted net assets in order to meet program expenses as parochial contributions have declined. Bishop Bennison opened the diocese’s 222nd convention on Nov. 5 with a call to affirm his leadership. “If you feel I’m not leading you effectively, tell me, and if I feel it is God’s will, I’ll resign,” he said as reported in the diocesan newspaper, The Pennsylvania Episcopalian.
I'm taking bets as to whether or not this'll be covered in the Philadelphia press. But that's why I'm here.

Interestingly enough, Bennison -- a member of the church's liberal wing whose tenure has been marked by fierce divisons and litigation -- hosted Justin Rigali at the last General Convention. I'm told that the Episcopal bishop caused a hubbub by kissing the cardinal's ring.