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Accord reached on complaints against bishops

Accord reached on complaints against bishops

Breaking & Corrected: A “conciliation” agreement has been reached in the complaint filed by the Standing Committees of two Episcopal dioceses against nine bishops who filed amicus briefs supporting breakaway dioceses bid to hold on to the property, assets and name of the dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth.


The accord is the result of formal discussions where the parties come to agreement on an outcome. Concilliation is not a trial but it an option available under Canon IV of the Episcopal Church.

An Office of Public Affairs news release says:

The outcome of a January conciliation meeting concerning complaints involving the Episcopal Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy has been announced, following the written agreement of all parties and acceptance by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

“As a result of the process of Conciliation under Canon IV.10 of The Episcopal Church, the…Complainants and Respondents agree to this Accord on terms which promote healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation,” begins the Accord, which was signed by all parties in March 2013.

Even though there is agreement, the proceedings of the meeting, held according to Canon IV.10 on January 8 and 9 in Richmond, VA, as well as any documentation, presented remain confidential.

The meeting concerned complaints from the Diocese of Quincy Standing Committee against Bishops Peter Beckwith (Springfield), Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana) and Edward Salmon (South Carolina), and from the Diocese of Fort Worth Standing Committee and an individual complainant against Bishops Maurice Benitez (Texas), John Howe (Central Florida), Paul Lambert (Dallas), William Love (Albany), Daniel Martins (Springfield), Edward Salmon (South Carolina), and James Stanton (Dallas).

John G. Douglass was Conciliator for the meeting.

The outcome of a January conciliation meeting concerning complaints involving the Episcopal Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy has been announced, following the written agreement of all parties and acceptance by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

“As a result of the process of Conciliation under Canon IV.10 of The Episcopal Church, the…Complainants and Respondents agree to this Accord on terms which promote healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation,” begins the Accord, which was signed by all parties in March 2013.

Even though there is agreement, the proceedings of the meeting, held according to Canon IV.10 on January 8 and 9 in Richmond, VA, as well as any documentation, presented remain confidential.

The meeting concerned complaints from the Diocese of Quincy Standing Committee against Bishops Peter Beckwith (Springfield), Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana) and Edward Salmon (South Carolina), and from the Diocese of Fort Worth Standing Committee and an individual complainant against Bishops Maurice Benitez (Texas), John Howe (Central Florida), Paul Lambert (Dallas), William Love (Albany), Daniel Martins (Springfield), Edward Salmon (South Carolina), and James Stanton (Dallas).

John G. Douglass was Conciliator for the meeting.

According to Canon IV.10, conciliation is not a trial but a form of mediation.

Participants were one person from each of the Standing Committees of the Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy; the individual complainant; four representatives of the respondent bishops; three bishops appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori; advisors to the complainants and respondents; and legal advisors.

Appointed by the Presiding Bishop to represent the House of Bishops were Bishops Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real, Edward Little of Northern Indiana, and Michael Milliken of Western Kansas. (Canon IV.10.Sec 2).

Highlights of the accord include:

4. Respondents express regret for any harm to the Bishops, clergy and laity of the Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy resulting from Respondents’ acts.

5. Respondents agree not to file or endorse any further amicus brief or affidavit in litigation outside of their respective dioceses and against the legal position of The Episcopal Church until the General Convention formally addresses this conduct, either by amendment to the Constitution and/or canons or by formal resolution and to act in accordance with the action of the General Convention.

6. Respondents acknowledge that the 2009 Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church is likely a minority opinion.

7. Respondents affirm that the authority of a diocesan Bishop is limited by the Dennis canon (Canon I.7.4).

8. In the spirit of reconciliation, Respondents undertake to help defray the costs of the Conciliation process. Complainants except the Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez from any obligation under this paragraph.

Acceptance of the accord means that the complaints that the Bishops violated certain canons is now resolved and that they cannot be charged again in this matter.

See the full accord here.

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Jonathan Galliher

There's a difference between marriage-according-to-secular-law and church marriages and the case about marriage is concerned with the secular sort, so there is more room for bishops to voice their opinion, for or against, on that subject. In the case above the disagreement was over the polity of TEC.

Jonathan Galliher

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Ann Fontaine

But there is no canon that forbids same sex couples from union and blessing - hence the liturgy that is currently in use.

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Ann Fontaine

Dear The Hackney Hub. There is nothing in the Constitution and Canons against marriage equality -- people have tried to pass such legislation at General Convention but it has always failed. The marriage rite says husband and wife - but there is no prohibition against another rite for same sex couples.

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The Hackney Hub

And yet it's perfectly acceptable for thirty or so Episcopal bishops to file an amicus brief in another court arguing for gay marriage, which openly contradicts the Constitution and Canons of this Church, as well as her Prayer Book.

[The Hackney Hub: Please sign your name when you comment ~ed.]

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Jonathan Galliher

Chris, the church is an organization, and has to be an organization unless we're prepared to deny the Incarnation and that humans have bodies.

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