Below is a statement, in full, from Christ Church, Philadelphia.
Statement of Christ Church, Philadelphia to Convention of Diocese of Pennsylvania regarding Episcopal Assessment
To the members of convention in the Diocese of Pennsylvania:
By a unanimous vote of its Vestry, Christ Church, Philadelphia will not contribute its Episcopal Assessment for 2011. Christ Church will increase its contribution to the Program Budget for 2011 by the amount of its Episcopal Assessment. The total support for the Diocese of Pennsylvania from Christ Church, Philadelphia, will remain the same.
The Vestry of Christ Church, Philadelphia fully knows that by refusing to contribute its Episcopal Assessment for 2011, we lose representation in Diocesan Convention. We pray that the Convention will restore our voice and vote as diocesan canons permit, and to the other parishes that will similarly participate in this act of ecclesial disobedience.
We take this action willingly and without hesitation for two reasons: First, the decision of Charles Bennison to continue as diocesan bishop continues to threaten the Program Budget, which at this moment in time is more important to the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. We discern that we are better stewards of the resources entrusted to us by increasing our support of the Program Budget.
Second: the Vestry of Christ Church, Philadelphia, has discerned that to contribute to the Episcopal Assessment is to agree to and support Charles Bennison's decision to remain as Diocesan Bishop, and we cannot do so. We are in full agreement with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, which stated in September 2010:
As the House of Bishops, we have come to the conclusion that Bishop Bennison's capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged. Therefore, we exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. For the sake of the wholeness and unity of the body of Christ, in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and in the church, we implore our brother to take this action without further delay.
We encourage the vestries of the parishes in our diocese to join Christ Church in increasing support to the Program Budget, and reducing payment of the Episcopal Assessment.