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Diocese of Haiti Consent Process Unsuccessful

Diocese of Haiti Consent Process Unsuccessful

The story of the contested episcopal election in the Diocese of Haiti has taken yet another turn, as the Presiding Bishop’s Office today has given notice that consents have not been received:

On 3 January 2019, the 120-day canonically mandated period for gathering consents to the ordination and consecration of the Venerable Joseph Kerwin Delicat as the Bishop Coadjutor of Haiti came to a close. I am writing to report that a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction in The Episcopal Church did not consent to the ordination and consecration, nor did the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Haiti provide evidence of consent from a majority of the Standing Committees of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church.

In the coming days I will be in consultation with leaders in the Diocese of Haiti, as well as with others around The Episcopal Church, as we look for the next, best steps forward.

This latest challenge comes on the heels of a long period of controversy surrounding the office of the bishop. It seemed to come to a head last August, when Delicat’s election was challenged by a group of priests and laity who asserted that the current bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jean Zache Duracin, had meddled with the process itself, which charges were found credible by the Province II Court of Review. (See the Cafe’s previous coverage of the challenge here.) It is unclear whether that report, which was appended to the information sent to bishops and Standing Committees, was a “kiss of death” as alluded to in a September piece by Mark Harris. As also discussed in that September piece, the future for the Diocese of Haiti is also quite unsettled in the wake of these events. It is especially unclear at this juncture whether, as Harris worded it, the diocese will be able to recover and prepare for another election, or whether it will be able to overcome the racist stereotype of its being unable to govern itself. To that end, we echo the Bishop Curry’s call to prayer on behalf of the people and clergy of Haiti.

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Cynthia Katsarelis

I do find Mark Harris’s statement overblown. Can the diocese recover? Of course! The Haitian Episcopalians do amazing work all over the country, on their own and in partnership with others and the work doesn’t rely on the bishop! The bit about having to “overcome the racist stereotype of its being unable to govern itself” completely ignores the Haitians who brought the concerns to the larger church, which they are entitled to do, just like any other diocese in TEC. Being an episcopal church/diocese means belonging to a larger whole, in some cases that means following particular practices and in other cases, it means having resources to help with difficult matters.

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is vitally important in that country, and I hope we will support them in prayer as they work through the next chapter. Then I hope the entire church will work on a capital campaign to rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral and Holy Trinity Primary School and School of Music.

Allan Miles

Amen!

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