Baltimore Area Episcopal Diocese asks bishop for resignation following fatal bike crash

Episcopal leaders have asked the bishop accused in a fatal collision with a bicyclist in Baltimore last month to resign her position in the church.

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland made the request Monday in a letter to Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook.

The eight-member panel told Cook it had “agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events.

“Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position.”

Read it all from the Bal;timore Sun.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, Theology

3 comments on “Baltimore Area Episcopal Diocese asks bishop for resignation following fatal bike crash

  1. TomRightmyer says:

    While I think I can understand some of the social pressure felt by the Standing Committee, Bishop, and leaders in the Diocese of Maryland, as a priest ordained in that diocese in 1966 who served there until 1974 I think the call for Bishop Cook’s resignation is not wise. I read that she is at a well-regarded alcoholism treatment facility in Harford County, not far from where I served at Joppatowne, and I hope the diocesan medical insurance is helping pay for that. I would like to have read more public support for her from the bishop and others in the diocese, something like, “Bishop Cook appears to have made some very serious errors in judgment. We don’t condone those, and she will have to deal with the consequences, but she is one of us, a member of the clergy of this diocese, and we support her as she continues her life in Christ.”

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Very compassionate and pastoral of you, Tom. But I strongly disagree. My own reaction was a perhaps snarky, “Finally. What took so long?”

    The diocese was terribly slow in acknowledging reality and the incredible scandal that this whole bizarre set of wierd and ugly events has caused. That scandal is many-sided. It’s not just the multiple crimes committed by +Cook in this tragic accident: her DUI, stupidly texting while driving, and the hit-and-run killing of the hapless cyclist. The wider set of related scandals involve for starters the total failure of the diocesan leadership to face up to Cook’s alcoholism, confront her about it, and help support her in the hard work of recovery. But the scandals also involve the highly suspicious “companion” relationship between +Cook and Mark Hansen. According to 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1, a bishop is supposed to be completely above reproach, without even the appearance of impropriety or anything nearly so outrageous as has come to light since this convoluted mess began.

    So while we are called to be merciful as a primary trait of God’s people (e.g., “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God,” from Micah, or “Blessed are the merciful…” from the Beatitudes in Matthew), the needs of Heather Cook as a hurting, wounded individual are secondary to the needs of the Christian Community, for our integrity and public reputation have beed badly damaged, and many folks disheartened by how the whole affair has been mishandled.

    As with any big scandal, “[i]It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up[/i]” that does the most damage to the Church’s credibility. This whole sad episode is Exhibit 789 that TEC seems to be simply incapable of imposing necessary discipline on anyone, for any reason, except, of course, for political incorrectness.

    David Handy+

  3. priestwalter says:

    I agree with David. Tom, you mentioned ‘I read that she is at a well-regarded alcoholism treatment facility’. Unfortunately, these facilities do not have a ‘magic-wand’ and the success rates in the very best alcohol rehabs are dismal. This is not her first rodeo. Although relapse is often a part of recovery, I have not read that she ever began a program of recovery after her last drug/alcohol conviction. Oh, and let’s not forget she is also a druggy. This not just about alcohol. Bible believing denominations would never have considered her a candidate for the episcopate in the first place. But this is TEC.