Communion Partner bishops challenge TEC polity

Episcopal Life Online continues its reporting on the Communion Partners bishops’ statement challenging the polity of the Episcopal Church and stating that they would sign the Covenant regardless of the decisions of the Church.

The spokesman for a group of Episcopal Church bishops and clergy who released an April 22 statement challenging the polity of the church pledged the group’s commitment to remaining in the Episcopal Church, but said that his diocese would consider signing onto a proposed Anglican Covenant if General Convention did not agree to do so.

Meanwhile, an expert on Episcopal Church polity labeled as “bizarre” the idea that individual bishops or dioceses could take that step, and questioned what meaning it would have in the wider Episcopal Church or Anglican Communion.

Diocese of Western Louisiana Bishop D. Bruce MacPherson told ENS April 28 that “one common thing [the Communion Partners bishops and rectors who signed the statement] have, and this has been shared from the beginning with the Presiding Bishop, [is that] we are committed to remaining a part of the Episcopal Church as opposed to some of the other directions that have been taken by others.”

MacPherson, who said he helped organize the crafting of the statement and is the group’s spokesman, acknowledged that the Communion Partners and some clergy and lay people who left the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin and Quincy share “a concern for the constitution, the canons, the polity of the Episcopal Church being lived out in the manner they are designed to be by General Convention.”

MacPherson said those concerns center on how the statement signers perceived the Episcopal Church’s governance structure wielding power, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s effort to reorganize the four dioceses which lost many of their clergy and laity, and her actions in removing some of bishops involved.

More statements by CP bishops are here.

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