“It seems wise that we identify some principles to guide us in dealing with the problems that will be created should one or more of our congregations attempt to alter their relationship with the diocese and The Episcopal Church,” said the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Bishop of the Rio Grande, in a letter to the diocese.
“The effect of losing the active participation of even one or two of our larger congregations would be substantial, and we looked realistically at that scenario,” Bishop Steenson wrote. “Your diocesan leadership certainly does not have its head in the sand about the steps that need to be taken should this occur.”
The fact that the annual meeting of the diocese is scheduled only two weeks after the expiration of the Sept. 30 deadline for The Episcopal Church to respond to the primates’ communiquÃ© increased the desire for some direction among a number of diocesan leaders, according to the Rev. Colin Kelly, rector of Trinity on the Hill, Los Alamos, N.M., and president of the standing committee.
“Our goal is to keep the diocese together,” Fr. Kelly said. “We are basically a healthy diocese and we believe the primates’ recommendations are the best way forward for us. We felt we needed to let Executive Council know how we feel.”
At its meeting in March, the House of Bishops referred the primates’ pastoral council scheme to Executive Council, which is scheduled to meet June 11-14 in Parsippany, N.J., June 11-14–its only meeting prior to the Sept. 30 deadline.