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Hearing Scheduled for Albany Bishop

Hearing Scheduled for Albany Bishop

The Albany Times-Union reported last week that a Hearing Panel will be convened on April 21, following Bishop William Love’s refusal to allow same-sex couples to be married in his diocese.

In a letter addressed to his diocese earlier this week, Love said the hearing will be held at the Desmond Hotel April 21. A start time has not been given, but Love said he expected the hearing to start mid-morning and last a few hours.

… Last January, the Episcopal Church placed Love on restriction, forbidding him from penalizing anybody who performed same-sex rites.

A spokesperson for Episcopal Diocese of Albany said Friday that Love was traveling overseas and would not have further comment about the disciplinary hearing.

“I want to thank all of you who have been holding me and my family and the Diocese of Albany up in your prayers these past many months,” Love wrote in his message earlier this week. “It is greatly appreciated. Whatever the outcome of the Hearing, I pray God’s will and purpose will be accomplished.”

In that somewhat brief letter to the diocese, Bishop Love further explains that,

It is alleged by the Intake Report and Investigator’s Report that I have “violated Canon IV.4.1(c) by failing to abide by the promises and vows made when he [I] was ordained, specifically the Declaration he [I] signed at his [my] ordination as bishop in which he [I] promised to ‘conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.’”

The above charge is the result of my unwillingness to abide by Resolution B012, passed by the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which if followed, would allow for same-sex marriages to occur in the Diocese of Albany.

… In accordance with the Canons, the Hearing is “open” to the public however, under the control and direction of the Hearing Panel. Space will be limited. While the exact starting time has not yet been released, I anticipate it will begin by mid-morning and will most likely take only a few hours. Both sides have agreed that there are no contested facts regarding my actions and neither side will be presenting witnesses. Instead, the attorneys will be making arguments as to what the canon law requires.

The Cafe’s previous coverage of Bishop Love’s actions is available here, here, and here.

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Cynthia Katsarelis

I hope that they simply move him to a position where he doesn’t have any power over people. Of course, if he went back to being a parish priest, he’d never have to do a SSM.

Jon White

I expect that like Stacy Sauls, he would have real difficulty finding a parish position. I think the slowness of this case highlights the real conundrum facing the hearing panel. Ignoring General Convention is something bishops and dioceses (and parishes) do ALL THE TIME, nor is it an enumerated offense under Title IV. Every church using the NZ Prayer Book on a Sunday morning is ignoring GC, every parish that doesn’t give 1% to seminary education is ignoring GC, every parish that cut their part time staff to 18 hours to avoid benefits is ignoring GC, not to mention dioceses that won’t pay their “assessments” to the church center and every priest who presided at a same-ex marriage before 2015 – also ignored GC. I think there is a genuine desire to resolve this in favor of TEC’s consensus around marriage equality, but the sloppiness of our polity may come back to bite us here.

Kenneth Knapp

I haven’t really followed this story, but from what I know of him, he would probably have been pretty mainstream for Episcopal bishops when I was growing up. I don’t think his problem is so much ignoring GC (that is, as you state, forgivable) as it is simply being conservative.

Kurt Hill

Some technical violations can be ignored, Jon. What cannot be ignored is a refusal to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.” That’s true of parishes which refused to de-segregate in the 1950s and those which refuse to see Christ in gay people today. Love should be removed as Episcopal Bishop of Albany.

Jon White

Perhaps he should, I’m merely suggesting that in terms of the constitution and canons there is not a clear difference between what you name as technical violations and Love’s stance that Resolutions are not binding and that the GC cannot override diocesan canon. This case was opened over a year ago if it was as simple as many hoped; it likely would not have taken 18+ months to get to the hearing panel.

Kurt Hill

I see your point. But having a bishop like Love is still an embarrassment to many Episcopalians…

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