From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
[ENS] House of Bishops acts on consent, education, calendar
"Mika Larson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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
The resolutions adopted in this session now go to the House of Deputies
for concurrence to become official actions of the convention.
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