What the House of Bishops will be up to at its next meeting

The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops will be gathering for its final meeting before the 2012 General Convention Friday March 16 through Tuesday March 20. According to a draft schedule that was posted online, here is some of what is on their agenda:

A discussion of resolution B014 from the 2009 General Convention which might well be nicknamed "the Bennison resolution" because it has been given momentum by the standoff in the Diocese of Pennsylvania between the leadership of the diocese, which has made it clear that it has no faith in Bishop Charles Bennison, and Bennison, who has made it clear that he has no intention of leaving.

The resolution created "a Special Task Force for the study of reconciliation or dissolution of Pastoral Relations between dioceses and their bishops, including the constitutional, canonical and theological implications thereof." A diocese stuck with a bad bishop currently has little recourse for ending the relationship. That situation should be rectified. But bishops are rightly concerned that legislation crafted too broadly could be used against them by people with political axes to grind.

The bishops will be discussing the work of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music which was directed by Resolution C056 of the last General Convention "in consultation with the House of Bishops, [to] collect and develop theological and liturgical resources."

The bishops will also be discussing the proposed Anglican Covenant, which has been signed by several provinces, but is in danger of being rejected by the Church of England, and a revised document on Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight.

The spring meeting of the house usually includes several sessions referred to as retreat time. At this meeting, the retreats are on the topic of Spiritual Discipline; Proclamation of the Gospel; Faith, Unity and Governance, and Mission. The first session will be facilitated by Bishop Tom Shaw of Massachusetts, the second by Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina, the third by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the forth by Bishop Julio Holguin of the Dominican Republic.

Comments (5)

Here is a place where the church could save a bundle -- 2+ meetings of the bishops every year. And they are not the HOUSE of bishops unless they are meeting in conjunction with the House of Deputies. They cannot do House business or should not unless they are in public meeting at General Convention.

We only started having two meetings a year when Ed Browning called us into the first Spring meeting at Kanuga in the days when the HOB was being defined as "dysfunctional" due to internal conflicts. The Spring meeting was originally only a "retreat format" although that has been weakened in recent years. This year something of that format has been restored. Although dioceses bear the cost of this primarily, I think we could well take a look at whether two meetings a year are still necessary.

Can you link to the actual draft agenda?

Erik Campano

I hope there'll be at least some discussion of the proposed budget.

Why are new rules needed? People have had no trouble getting rid of bishops doing their job but stepping on toes (New Jersey leaps to mind) so why is it so hard to get rid of one who isn't doing his job -- indeed has worked against it -- and is stepping on toes. No strong enough toes?

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