Four bishops' renunciations of ministry accepted by Presiding Bishop

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has accepted four bishops’ renunciations of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, a senior representative of her office has confirmed.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop, said the Presiding Bishop — in letters dated January 23 and sent to related General Convention, diocesan, pension and deployment offices — has accepted the renunciations made by David J. Bena, resigned bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y.; Andrew H. Fairfield, resigned bishop of the Fargo-based Diocese of North Dakota; and Howard S. Meeks, resigned bishop of the Diocese of Western Michigan, based near Kalamazoo.

A similar letter was sent January 14 regarding the renunciation made by Jeffrey N. Steenson, resigned bishop of the Diocese of Rio Grande, an Albuquerque-based jurisdiction encompassing New Mexico and a portion of Southwest Texas including El Paso.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

24 comments on “Four bishops' renunciations of ministry accepted by Presiding Bishop

  1. William P. Sulik says:


    Bp. Bena never renounced his vocation or ordination. You can see [url=]here[/url]:

    Note in particular the “Bena Clause:”

    [blockquote] “Since I have now been transferred from one Province in Communion with the See of Canterbury to another Province in Communion with the See of Canterbury, I am neither renouncing my Orders as a Bishop, nor am I abandoning the Communion of the Church.”[/blockquote]

  2. Albany* says:

    These are godly men who could no longer drag TEC like a ball and chain.

    The Invincible Ignorance of 815.

  3. Albany* says:

    #1. Yes, of course, you are quite right about Bp. Bena. And the PB knows it and she is simply acting like a pope, which is her way.

  4. William P. Sulik says:

    This calls to mind Bishop’s Henry Luke Orombi [url=]famous reply[/url] to Bp. Peter James Lee:

    [blockquote]I must object, in the most strenuous terms, to your characterization of Rev. Ashey’s decision to resign as a Missioner of the Diocese of Virginia as a renunciation of his holy orders. I have seen his letter to Bishop Jones. Even those of us for whom English is a second language understand his plain English to mean that he has resigned from the staff of the Diocese of Virginia, but not from his priestly orders.[/blockquote]

  5. AnglicanFirst says:

    Doesn’t there have to be “cause” in order to defrock clergyman?

    I can understand removing or suspending a cleryman’s authority to practice as a clergyman within an episcopal (small ‘e’) jurisdiction, but defrocking?

    Does this mean that ordination and consecration ceremonies are ‘merely of man’ and can be manipulated ‘by man’ at the waft of a political breeze within the church?

  6. John Boyland says:

    I didn’t see any information about why or how Meeks renounced his orders.

  7. Albany* says:

    And it will get worse, unless it gets better. And the only way for it to get better is for 815 to put as much energy into going positive as going negative. 815 seems unable to see that a few simple protections for dissenting groups would quite likely save the day. Our present state is the inherent problem with trying to control by force rather than love. It takes a thousand Dutchmen to plug the leaks, and every time you do, you get another. Go positive to traditionalists 815. You might wake up to new day.

  8. CanaAnglican says:

    Praise God for real bishops ! Praise God for real bishops !! Thank you Bishop Bena for your loving oversight of the Anglican District of Virginia in CANA.

  9. Choir Stall says:

    All is well.

  10. Ian+ says:

    In England they’re now calling her Katharine the Arrogant, and justly so!

  11. larswife says:

    [blockquote] Meeks, in a letter dated December 20, 2007, formally filed his renunciation of ordained ministry. Fairfield did so in a letter dated June 26, 2007; Bena in a letter dated March 6, 2007; and Steenson in a letter dated December 1, 2007. [/blockquote]

    I would hazard a guess that each of those letters said absolutely [b]nothing[/b] about renouncing their ordinations. Resigning from TEC – yes; renouncing ordination – no. Political spin…political spin…political spin.

  12. Already left says:

    Let me see – it took from March 07 to Feb 08 for her to “get” +Bena but she tried with +Duncan before has done anything.

  13. Catholic Mom says:

    she is simply acting like a pope, which is her way.

    If she were acting like a pope (a vicar of Christ on earth) you wouldn’t be in this mess. In fact, if ANYBODY with authority in the Anglican Communion were acting like a pope you wouldn’t be in this mess. There are few people who are trying.

  14. flabellum says:

    How differently things are done in England! In 1996 I resigned my parochial office in the Church of England and a few days later was received into the Catholic Church. Neither then, nor when I was ordained to the Catholic presbyterate, did the Church of England seek to deprive me of orders which the Church of England considers to be indelible, nor did the Catholic Church demand any repudiation.

  15. justin says:

    #13, perhaps “she is simply acting like she is the pope”.

    To be honest, I don’t think she’s acting like a pope, nor like she is the pope. Rather, I think she’s acting like a CEO who is intent on using every tool at her disposal to consolidate the power and resources of her corporation and its brand. Woe to anyone who would defect from this corporation and yet continue to claim to be a regular Anglican — since TEC owns the exclusive franchise rights for this country, bought and paid for over the last century or two.

    If a principle of church polity supports this paradigm, you will hear TEC proclaiming it loudly — e.g. the Nicene bishop asserted the principle of diocesan integrity, so foreign bishops cannot invade. If a principle of church polity would reduce the power of TEC, suddenly it is a protestant denomination — e.g. the Nicene bishops were bound by their conciliar decisions, but TEC is bound only by the decisions of its General Convention, etc..

  16. Albany* says:

    # 15, Yes, of course, but that line of thinking let’s her off the hook. What needs to be said clearly is that she lives ecclesiastical self-contradiction. She claims Anglicanism has no authority to contain or correct or control, meanwhile asserting exactly such every day at previously unheard of levels in TEC. It’s the moral equivalent of Bush’s royal assertion of executive powers. Even a plain review of the history of this Church — without regard to the broader Communion — shows the hubris of this pseudo-pope.

    #13 Catholic Mom, with all respect, it is dishonest to pretend the Roman Catholic Church is in lesser disarray. Paper declarations from the Pope do not suffice to make your point. In the American Roman Catholic pew and the “Roman Catholic street” there is the same open revolt on the very same issues. And let’s not even get into what is going on in some of those loony New Age convents.

  17. Catholic Mom says:

    Catholic Mom, with all respect, it is dishonest to pretend the Roman Catholic Church is in lesser disarray. Paper declarations from the Pope do not suffice to make your point. In the American Roman Catholic pew and the “Roman Catholic street” there is the same open revolt on the very same issues. And let’s not even get into what is going on in some of those loony New Age convents.

    It is??? The Roman Catholic Church is in the same disarray as the Anglican Communion? OK, with 1.1 billion or whatever it is members, I don’t doubt there are problems and looney-tunes but falling apart like the Anglican Communion is? Bishops denouncing bishops, whole blocks of the church leaving? No clear lines of authority for either teaching or discipline? With all respect, I don’t think so.

  18. flabellum says:

    Is the Pope equivocal about moral theology? Does the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith connive at heresy? Are there Catholic Dioceses promoting same-sex blessings?

  19. Albany* says:

    17& 18. I think you’re missing my point. Let’s talk about the divorce rate among Roman Catholics, or the number who practice birth control, or even the number who believe in Transubstantiation (they recently did a survey on that one – not too good), or thinks there ought to be married clergy, or women priest, or are heterodox New Agers in convents and monasteries, I’ve met those loonies in considerable numbers. And if you don’t think you have a gay problem, after all you’ve been through, I’d have to call that invincible ignorance. No, it’s not authority on paper alone. You are fighting the same battle as we are for the hearts and minds of the pew sitters — and some are in active revolt in your Church with quite complicit priests. Let’s not pretend.

  20. Catholic Mom says:

    The Church is always in an active battle for the hearts and minds of the pew sitters. That’s why we have a Church. Jesus came to call not the righteous but sinners to repentence. This does not mean the Church is in the same “disarray” as the Anglican Communion which is in the process of self-destructing. As far as complicit priests, there may be some, but generally any parish priest that stands up and loudly pronounces himself in total disagreement with key teachings and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church is going to find himself replaced post haste. We do not have bishops writing books refuting the Nicene Creed point by point and if we did they would be called hastily to Rome for a long retreat until their mind cleared.

  21. Albany* says:

    #20 It’s not in the same disarray; it is just different disarray.
    The core problems are the same. There’s a tendency in the Roman Church to think things are secure if the teaching is sound. That’s not so. Things are secure when the pew sitters buy the teaching and act accordingly. I’m not talking about “falling short of the mark” here. I’m talking about folks believing it in areas of doctrine and morals –especially human sexuality. Divorce, birth control, etc. I’d say, in fact, because there’s been less honesty about it, you’ve had more of a problem around gay clergy. The point is we both need to deal with this head-on. For us, it’s more central authority. For you, it’s more honesty about what’s actually going on in your Church and less paper solutions.

  22. Catholic Mom says:

    Things are secure when the pew sitters buy the teaching and act accordingly.

    There never has been and never will be a time when “the pew sitters (all of them) buy the teaching and act accordingly.” There will always be a substantial number of folks who hear but do not believe. Jesus said that many are called, but few are chosen. But the mere fact that they ARE pew sitters — that they actually care enough to show up and sit in the pews — means that they at least have a chance to hear. But if the people in the pulpit do not “buy the teaching” then all is lost. If the shepherds are lost, then the sheep are doomed. But, in the Roman Catholic Church, overwhelmingly the people in the pulpit DO “buy the teaching” and most of them even act accordingly! Why you insist on calling this “paper solutions” I don’t know. My parish church — and I could drive to six just like it all within 25 minutes of here — has 1,800 families — and a large percentage actually show up for Mass every week. Over 100 kids made their First Communion last year — so many they had to do it in three Masses. These kids spent a solid year studying beforehand and examined their consciences and went to confession in advance. We have close to 100 kids preparing for Confirmation. They have a lengthy course of study and service to fulfill first. Halfway through the year they stand up in Mass and make a solemn declaration of their intent. People in the church “adopt” one of the kids preparing for Confirmation and become their prayer partners. Whether all these kids will grow up to “buy the teaching and act accordingly” I don’t know, but it won’t be because of lack of teaching, practice, and good example. “Disarray” is the last word I would think of to characterize my church.

  23. Albany* says:

    #22. I’m impressed and get your point. I fear that you have yet to get mine.

    Perhaps we both don’t know one another’s Church as well as we think — or maybe we understand disarray differently.

  24. rob k says:

    Related indirectly to the issue discussed by Catholic Mom and Albany – In my experience Roman Catholics seem to pooh-pooh differences between the denominations more than anyone else by saying things like “We all worship the same God”. Yet they are practically all loyal to their Faith.