Bennison repeats intention to stay

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The reinstated bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania made clear to the diocese’s standing committee that he did not intend to resign despite their appeal to him. The standing committee had been the episcopal authority in the diocese since 2007 when Bishop Bennison was inhibited by the presiding bishop.


The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Although Episcopal leaders in the Philadelphia region are urging him to resign, long-suspended Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. told them Tuesday that he intended to stay at the helm of the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania. At a meeting at Episcopal Church House in Society Hill, “he made it clear to us he would resume his responsibilities,” said the Rev. Glenn Matis, president of the standing committee that has run the 55,000-member diocese during Bennison’s nearly three-year absence.

For years before his suspension, the committee quarreled with Bennison over diocesan finances and other matters, and had asked him repeatedly to resign or retire.

Matis declined Tuesday to speculate on future relations between Bennison and the committee. “It’s too early to tell,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen him in two years and nine months.” When it became apparent in their meeting that Bennison intended to stay, Matis said, committee members did not broach the question of resignation, but instead “updated him on issues relating to the diocese.”

Public reaction to Bennison’s return has been largely negative. ..

Read it all.

ENS also has a report.

A new feature of The Episcopal Church website going by the name Perspectives has this as well: http://episcopalchurch.org/perspectives/diopa/. It provides a good background on the Bennison story. Added: In the comments below Torey Lightcap wonders what the objectives of Perspectives are in this case, and more generally.

Addendum.

The embattled Episcopal bishop of Philadelphia said he erred in not investigating his brother’s sexual abuse of an underage girl 35 years ago, but brushed aside calls for his resignation, saying it is more “interesting” for him to remain in office.

Read more of this RNS story.

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Tom Sramek, Jr.
Guest

What say we actually let the good bishop at least attempt to do some listening and reconciliation before suggesting that he be locked out or tossed out on his ear? If, as has been suggested, this is a systemic issue, then simply kicking out the bishop won't solve the problem. If there continue to be issues, then clearly some intervention and advice from the Presiding Bishop would be helpful.

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tgflux
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tgflux

I have nothing to add, but

Lord have mercy!

JC Fisher

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Gregory
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Gregory

One thinks back to the many sainted bishops of ancient times whose ministry began with them trying to evade, at great lengths, episcopal consecration, out of humility! Or those who, out of the same humility, were willing to step down from the episcopacy when faced with far less controversy than Bishop Bennison. Back in the sixth century, Isaac of Nineveh resigned his bishopric when, while arbitrating a debt dispute between two Christians, the lender refused to grant the debtor an extended due date when Isaac appealed to the gospel values of mercy and patience. "Leave your gospel out of this!" the lender rudely snapped. "Well, if you won't heed the Lord's commands in the gospels," Isaac said, "then what remains for me to do here?" And so he stepped down from the episcopacy a mere five months after consecration and retired into a quiet life in a mountain monastery -- where he wrote profound books that still make his episcopal ministry felt today! Having an impact as a Christian isn't always about having an office...

Gregory Orloff

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LA Episcopal priest
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LA Episcopal priest

Can his salary be reduced as a token of appreciation? Can the standing committee provide office space for SNAP right next to his personal office? Maybe a sit-in is called for? Just asking.

Bill Ledbetter

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Peter Pearson
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Peter Pearson

As I have stated before, this situation is far more complicated than just the case against Bishop Bennison no matter how anyone feels about the man. It is also a struggle between episcopal and congregational polity in this diocese which has been the case for generations. What it demands of us at this time is to sit quietly and wait to see how this unfolds. We, with our "Talking Heads" weren't built for that.

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