At its recent convention the Diocese of Atlanta passed several resolutions of note:
The council handled seven resolutions, two of them sending a message to the 76th General Convention next summer that the Diocese of Atlanta supports "development of appropriate rites for the celebration and blessing of sacred unions for gay and lesbian persons" and the repeal of General Convention Resolution B033, which, authors said, had "run its course" and brought pain to the gay community. Hearings held on both matters revealed few objections, and the resolutions passed without floor discussion by substantial margins.The council also "Also approved was a new canon (39), which gives the bishop authority, when warranted, to declare an emergency in a parish." The new canon (39) states, in part,
In the event that the vestry or other authorities of a parish are unable to function adequately due to natural disaster or other emergency, loss of personnel, or abandonment of The Episcopal Church (TEC) by parish officials, the Bishop, in his discretion, may declare an Emergency in the parish. Disputes among parish officials who remain within TEC shall not in themselves constitute an Emergency within the meaning of this Canon.In explanation:
Emergencies of this type have arisen in most of the dioceses of Province IV in the last few years, and it is thought to be valuable to have the emergency powers of the Bishop in such a situation recognized and incorporated into the Canons of the Diocese. These situations frequently have legal implications with possible court interpretation by a judge who probably will not be an Episcopalian.
Examples of where emergency powers have been needed recently in various dioceses in the Church include situations where the vestry has been scattered by natural disaster, and where vestry members have abandoned the church en masse, leaving no Episcopal Church authority in the parish.