From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Presiding Bishop Rejects Call for Resignation

Date 06 May 1996 06:14:20

Canon James M. Rosenthal, Director of Communications
Anglican Communion News Service
157 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UT, England
Tel. 44 0171 620-1110
Fax 44 0171 620-1071

#731 ACC

Presiding Bishop Rejects Call for His Resignation

(ENS-Episcopal News Service) Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning
strongly rejected a call from the conservative organisation
Episcopalians United for his resignation, and chastised the group
for fostering a "mean-spirited and destructive context" for dialogue
in the Church.

In a letter to the Presiding Bishop dated 11 September, the Revd
David H Roseberry of Plano, Texas, Episcopalians United chairman,
asked for Presiding Bishop Browning's resignation, charging that
"actions during your leadership and this most recent financial
scandal have shattered the trust that many faithful Episcopalians
placed in the Episcopal Church Center."

Events such as the embezzlement of $2.2 million by former treasurer
Ellen Cooke "have so damaged the Church and our unity that we seek
a positive remedy for the pain we all feel," Fr Roseberry wrote.
According to an Episcopalians United survey, Fr Roseberry wrote,
"our membership does not have confidence in your ability to lead our
Church into healing and renewal."

While admitting that "I am not a faultless person or a perfect
Presiding Bishop," Presiding Bishop Browning said in a 13 September
letter to the group's board, "I have seen over the years, and
continue to see, very broad support and affirmation for my
leadership." He flatly rejected the call for his resignation,
saying, "I have been called to this office. I have been faithful to
this office. I will continue to be so."

Chiding the group for what he calls its "costly efforts to discredit
the Presiding Bishop," he added, "Surely you are aware that you set
a mean-spirited and destructive context for the moral discourse in
which our Church is engaged."

The "alarmist and distorted picture you paint of the Church is
hardly a means of evangelism or a way to build up the mission of the
Church," said the Presiding Bishop. "You have pictured a Church in
turmoil, in shambles, when all around this Church there is life and
health and clergy and laity are carrying out the imperatives of the

The organisation's efforts "are an attempt to put forth your own
agenda and views by discrediting those of others," he said, noting
that such an approach is not "a healthy component of the
conversation to which our community of faith is called."
Episcopalians United has repeatedly attacked the presiding bishop
and his policies in its newsletter and mailings.

The Presiding Bishop reminded the organisation that "there is a
place for you to register your views and opinions. You have a place
at the table." Episcopalians United should be "part of the
discussions that go on over the next years leading up to the
election of the next Presiding Bishop," he said. "You will have a
fair hearing and we together will respond to God's leading."


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