UPDATED: ENS report – see below:
The House of Bishops today responded to the controversy initiated when nine Episcopal bishops offered support through either affidavits or an amicus brief to breakaway factions attempting to take possession of the property of the church. The letter names the legitimate bishops of the four renewing dioceses, a matter which is at issue in cases in the Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy.
The resolution approving the following statement passed unanimously on a roll call vote, which is both significant and curious, since a number of the bishops who signed affidavits or the amicus brief were present in the house.
A Mind of the House Resolution:
Resolved, That Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin–lay and clergy–be commended for their unflagging efforts to continue to witness to God’s mission as The Episcopal Church during recent difficult times as they reorganize their continuing dioceses in that same spirit; and be it further
Resolved, That the leadership in each of those four continuing dioceses be commended for their similar efforts, including in particular the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth; the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh; the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy; and the Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and especially the strong lay leadership of each dioceses.
Bishop Buchanan said: “Bishop Ohl and I triggered this resolution by writing our letter. The House of Bishops spent nearly two and a half hours discussing this matter in productive and collegial conversation that worked toward reconciliation. The matter will continue to be discussed at future meetings of the House of Bishops.
“I am most grateful for the resolution that identifies me as the bishop of the Diocese of Quincy.”
Episcopal News Service reports that at least one bishop feels that it did not address the question that was asked:
Announcement of the “mind of the house” resolution came after the bishops spent most, if not all, of their private conversation time over the past three days discussing a request from Buchanan and Ohl that their colleagues “set the record on the polity of this church regarding its hierarchical character.”
Buchanan told Episcopal News Service after the resolution passed during private conversation that he “told the house I am grateful for the support and help the resolution provides, but it’s not what I asked for. I asked for clarification around the hierarchical character of our church.”
He later e-mailed ENS to say that “the House of Bishops spent nearly two and a half hours discussing this matter in productive and collegial conversation that worked toward reconciliation. The matter will continue to be discussed at future meetings of the House of Bishops.”