Confusion about Bishop Scriven and renunciation

There seems to be some confusion about the status of Bishop Henry Scriven’s status according to Thinking Anglicans.

First there was the report from Episcopal Life that the Presiding Bishop had accepted Bishop Scriven’s renunciation of ministry in the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Scriven had been serving assistant bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He announced in August 2008 that he would be leaving that post for a leadership role with the United Kingdom-based South American Mission Society (SAMS). He was scheduled to begin his work in early 2009.

Scriven had provided “episcopal ministry” to the Diocese of Pittsburgh after Jefferts Schori deposed Robert Duncan as bishop of the diocese September 19 for his efforts to re-align that diocese with the Southern Cone. The leadership and the majority of the members of the diocese agreed to make that re-alignment October 4 at their diocesan convention.

Scriven, who is a British citizen, had worked with SAMS in Argentina, serving as the chaplain of the British Embassy Church in Madrid, Spain and as Suffragan Bishop in Europe for the Church of England before he came to Pittsburgh in September 2002. Former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning had made Scriven an assisting bishop for the Convocation of American Churches in Europe in May 1995.

Jefferts Schori said her acceptance of Scriven’s renunciation also came with the advice and consent of her advisory council.

Then Religious Intelligence reported that perhaps he was not under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church.

Following this the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh released this statement:

An article that appeared on Episcopal Life Online on January 23, 2009 reported that Bishop Henry Scriven, the former Assistant Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, had renounced his orders and that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, had accepted that renunciation. Although the article may suggest otherwise, the Standing Committee understands that this action was not in any sense a disciplinary action or an action taken because of Bishop Scriven’s support for the attempt to realign the Diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Before he relocated to England, Bishop Scriven had submitted his resignation as a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, inasmuch as he was planning to return to England and serve as Assistant to the Bishop of Oxford. In order to permit that, the Canons required that he be released from his orders in the Episcopal Church for reasons not affecting his moral character, which is what occurred. This is a routine way of permitting Bishop Scriven to continue his ministry. Orders in the Church themselves are indelible, but licensing is required to exercise them.

The Standing Committee gives thanks for the gracious way in which Bishop Scriven exercised his ministry in the Episcopal Church while he served here as Assistant Bishop and we hope he and his wife Catherine will visit us in the future.

Read more here.

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