UPDATE 2, added 11PM: Report from Baltimore Sun – see below
UPDATE 1: more from Baltimore Brew – see below
The Diocese of Maryland has issued a statement following this morning’s closed-door meeting held to allow diocesan clergy to receive and process information, express feelings, ask questions, and come together after the tragic events of past weeks, in which a cyclist was killed in an accident involving the Suffragan Bishop of that diocese, Heather Cook.
The Rev. Scott Slater, chief assistant to the Bishop of Maryland, reported to the assembled clergy on the events of December 27 and its aftermath. Many details, however, remain undisclosed:
Out of respect for the ongoing police investigation, for the Palermo family, and for Cook, Slater did not share details of his conversation with Cook in the meeting with clergy today. Slater and other staff members are cooperating fully with the police investigation and the Title IV investigation begun last week by the Presiding Bishop’s office. We cannot disclose details of that investigation either, as they are constrained by church disciplinary procedures under canon law.
Cook is now in good hands and receiving care that will hopefully help her on her journey forward.
Cook remains on administrative leave from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. She is receiving pay and benefits in accordance with standard denominational practice. Since she is a bishop it falls under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to handle disciplinary proceedings regarding Cook’s actions. As stated above, these proceedings have begun. The disciplinary process, known internally as Title IV for the section of the Church’s Constitution dealing with discipline procedures, is in place to objectively investigate and determine appropriate action.
According to the release on the diocesan website,
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is guided throughout this tragic situation by three core values: accountability, compassion and the rule of law. As we all process and come to understand this tragedy, these values will be our focus.
The statement concludes,
Please continue to keep the Palermo family and Heather Cook in your prayers. We are urging congregations to designate a Sunday offering for the Palermo family fund.
The full statement can be found here.
UPDATE 1: More information following the meeting with clergy and bishop was gathered by The Brew here.
UPDATE 2: The Baltimore Sun has a report with quotes from Bishop Sutton, Episcopal Church spokesperson Neva Rae Fox, Bishop Cook’s attorney, and others.
Posted by Rosalind Hughes