From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] House of Bishops acts on consent, education, calendar

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Fri, 1 Aug 2003 17:53:37 -0400

August 1, 2003

by David Skidmore and Richelle Thompson

House of Bishops acts on consent, education, calendar

The House of Bishops added two new members to its ranks Thursday
afternoon and upped  the ante of the church's commitment to ministry to
diverse populations.

The house confirmed the elections of the Rev. George Councell as
bishop-elect of the  Diocese of New Jersey and the Rev. Joe Burnett as
bishop-elect of the Diocese of	Nebraska.

Second-language requirement

Bishops also took a step toward requiring all ordination candidates to
have competency  in a second language or culture.

"If we really are serious about becoming a church who knows cultures and
knows  languages and really is evangelical,  then we would enshrine that
in canon and would  make it a requirement for all candidates," said the
Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith, bishop of  Connecticut. 

Province VIII is becoming increasingly multicultural, said Bishop
Katharine Jefferts  Schori. "Clergy cannot function there if they are
not adept in another language or  culture." 

The resolution directs the Standing Commission on Ministry Development
(SCMD) to  "prepare revisions of the ordination canons to require
competency in a contemporary  language other than native language or a
culture other than the candidate's native  culture." It also would
require intercultural field education experience of all  candidates.

Some bishops expressed concern about the structural implications of the
resolution and	its impact on General Ordination Exams. The Rt. Rev.
David Bena of Albany raised the  issue of the average age of ordinands,
which has climbed over the years, and their  language skills.

The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, bishop of the Convocation of American
Churches in Europe,  said the diocese requires all non-American
candidates to learn English. "And I think  turnabout is fairplay,'' he

The Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald of Alaska concurred. "Alaska would like to
say 'amen' to  Europe," he said. "I'm very afraid if you don't make it
mandatory, it won't get done. I  think we could unintentionally leave up
a barrier."

Continuing education

A pilot program for developing diocesan continuing education programs
also won  endorsement from the bishops on Thursday after a short debate
over whether dioceses  should be forced rather than urged to provide
continuing education for all clergy and  lay professionals. 

In its original form, the resolution (A121) from SCMD directed dioceses
to make plans  and provisions for such continuing education and report
their progress to the  commission. It urged dioceses without such plans
to participate in a pilot program  developed by the Office of Ministry
Development. The legislative committee on Ministry  amended the measure
by substituting "encourage" for "direct" and eliminating a  provision
for 20 dioceses to participate in the pilot program. The committee also
altered the measure by changing the directive on authorizing $46,000 to
requesting the	Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance
to consider such an allocation.

Several bishops questioned the legislative committee's changes, arguing
that changing a  mandate to a recommendation would ensure there was no
accountability for a diocese's	participation. To substitute the word
"encourage" for "direct" "takes the teeth out of  it," said Bishop
William Gregg of Oregon as he moved to restore the original language.

Bishop James Jelinek of Minnesota supported the committee's amendment,
noting the  difficulty of directing dioceses to follow through on clergy
continuing education "when  we have no teeth on recertification." To do
so, he said, "is putting the cart before  the horse" and saddling small
dioceses with an unreasonable expense.

Bishop Jim Kelsey of Northern Michigan pointed out that the Title III
revisions being  proposed by the SCMD call for establishing continuing
education for all licensed and	ordained ministry. "So this horse may be
hitting the road," he said. And if those  proposals pass, the commission
may be able to ensure there is accountability, he added.

Two attempts to further amend the resolution - a recommendation for
dropping the  diocesan pilot program provision and one removing
reference to the 74th General  Convention - were defeated. 

Defending the pilot program, Bishop Russell Jacobus of Fond du Lac said
his diocese  probably would not have been able to get a continuing
education program off the ground  without having the help of the Office
of Pastoral Development and its consultants. 

Twelve dioceses, including Fond du Lac, agreed to participate in the
two-year pilot	program launched in 2000. Of the 12 who joined, two
dropped out in the first year, and  three others only partially
participated. Six dioceses established full-fledged  continuing
education programs.

Calendar considerations

King Charles the Martyr has died again in the House of Bishops
Following the recommendation of the legislative Committee on Prayer
Book, Liturgy and  Music, the bishops soundly rejected the resolution
from the Standing Commission on  Liturgy and Music (SCLM) to add the
17th-century English king to the Episcopal Church's  commemorative
calendar. The resolution (C010) would have established a commemoration
for King Charles I on January 30, the day he was executed in 1649 by
order of  Parliament. 
The legislative committee heard arguments both for and against Charles'
inclusion, said  Bishop Henry Louttit (Georgia), the committee's
co-chair. The chief objections focused	on the need for more diversity
in the calendar and whether his martyrdom was triggered  by his defense
of the faith or "his political rigidity," said Louttit. "One issue is he
is obviously male, English and old," said Louttit, prompting laughter
from the bishops.  The committee, he added, felt there needed to be more
balance in the calendar. 
Bishop Barry Howe, also on the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee,
said the  committee heard conflicting historical analysis of Charles'
efforts in defense of the  historic episcopate, some of it surrounding
his support of Archbishop of Canterbury  William Laud whom Howe
described as "one of the most confining and devastating  archbishops."
Laud, who served from 1633 until his execution in 1645, was noted for
his harsh  punishment of Puritans and his efforts to make the church
independent of Parliament.  Along with Charles he is commemorated in the
Church of England's calendar. 
Today's action marks the second time the house has rejected a
commemoration of Charles  I, although the SCLM has considered at least a
dozen proposals since the last vote in	1985.
The road proved easier for eight other candidates proposed for the
calendar. By  unanimous vote and without debate the bishops gave final
authorization for Enmegahbowh,	the first Native American ordained in
the Episcopal Church who served as priest and  missionary among the
Minnesota Ojibwa; Florence Nightingale, the pioneer for hospital  reform
in the mid-19th century; and Philip the Deacon, one of the 12 apostles
(A093).  They also approved trial commemorations for Janani Luwum,
Archbishop of Uganda and  Martyr; William Temple, Archbishop of
Canterbury; and C.S. Lewis, theologian and writer  (A094); and the trial
use of propers for Luwum, Temple and Lewis (A095). The first  bishop of
Ohio and Illinois, Philander Chase, was approved for trial commemoration
(A096) as were propers for Chase (A097). The bishops also approved for a
three-year  trial the commemoration of Florence Li Tim-Oi, the first
women priest in the Anglican  Communion. 

With limited debate the bishops referred for further study by the SCLM
two  commemorations: Tikhon, Russian Orthodox bishop of Alaska and North
America (C009), and  the Rev. John Roberts, missionary to the Wind River

Other actions

In other actions, the bishops followed the ministry committee's
recommendation by  adopting the amended resolution (A119) directing the
SCMD in consultation with the  North American Association of the
Diaconate (NAAD) to continue study of the role of  deacons in the
councils of the church. The committee had amended the resolution by
having the SCMD consult the dioceses along with NAAD. 

The bishops also adopted a resolution (A119) from the Standing
Commission for Small  Congregations calling for the Office of
Congregational Development and the Missioner  for Rural and Small
Communities to print and distribute the resource, Expanding Mission  and
Vitality in Small Congregations. Bishop Larry Maze, chair of the
legislative  committee on the church in small communities, said his
members were so impressed with	the commission's resource that they
decided to amend the resolution to call for not  only its printing and
distribution but also its promotion.

In other business, the house tabled resolution A085, which discussed the
reception of  members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Although the resolution stems  from continuing work in Called to Common
Mission, the bishops tabled it after  widespread concern that the church
needs to do more theological reflection on  confirmation and its

On second reading, the bishops overwhelmingly approved the continued use
of the	supplemental liturgical resources, Enriching Our Worship 1 & 2,
during the next  triennium (A091). These were first authorized by the
2000 convention.

The House of Bishops approved resolution C031, which calls on the church
to work toward	reconciliation and support and encourage interfaith
worship services such as the World  Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation.

The possibility of continuing the Executive Council Task Force on Ethics
and New  Genetics was approved in Resolution A013.

In recognition of the financial burdens on seminarians, the house passed
a resolution  calling for the SCMD to convene partnership with members
of the Church Pension Board  and other agencies to seek solutions to
seminarian debt.
The resolutions adopted in this session now go to the House of Deputies
for concurrence  to become official actions of the convention.

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home