A Statement from Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota

It is inappropriate to speak publicly about specific personnel matters. However, during these contentious times over the issue of sexual morality in the life of the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion, I have chosen to follow the recommendations of the bipartisan, international “Windsor Report.” Therefore, I will not ordain or license any clergy member who is unable to promise faithfulness in marriage or to abstain from sexual relationships outside of marriage.

While Episcopalians in North Dakota are not of one mind on these matters, at our annual convention in 2005 a resolution was overwhelmingly passed which “commended the Windsor Report as a way forward together in spite of the differences which threaten to divide us” and expressed our desire for the Diocese of North Dakota “to remain both a member of the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

19 comments on “A Statement from Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota

  1. Kendall Harmon says:

    I see this is posted in the comments on the article involving North Dakota below but I wanted to make sure people saw it.

  2. Summersnow says:


    Thank you for posting this notice as I had missed the citation in the comments on the original article.


  3. Choir Stall says:

    Gotta love Bishop Smith. I can’t criticize him from this post. There appears to be at least ONE bishop who believes in canons and agreements being upheld. The Listening Process is taking place, but the Listing Process isn’t….no compromise to “fall in” while listening.

  4. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Courtesy calls by her to Edmund Browning and Frank Griswold would seem more apropos. They are entitled to what they enabled, abetted, and consecrated to the ECUSA/TEC/GCC, don’t you think? Why should +Smith shoulder on alone? Spread the joy, wot?!

    Or, perhaps she needs to enlist Kaeton+ to add ND to the hit list of parishes to have borders crossed for not recognizing women to Kaeton’s satisfaction?

  5. dl says:

    Thank you Bishop Michael, for living true to your commitment, even when it is not expedient to do so. I doubt others will learn from this; his actions stand out in dark contrast with those for whom Windsor is merely language to nuance, but not actions to take.

  6. Jeffersonian says:

    Not to be too terribly fatalistic, but we’ll see how long this lasts. I have a hunch that post-2009 GC, our good Bishop Michael won’t have an option but to be prophetic…or else.

  7. drjoan says:

    I think Bishop Smith deserves letters and messages of commendation based on his setting and KEEPING standards consistent with the Canons of TEC!

  8. John Wilkins says:

    The bishop has the authority. He was elected and can make decisions about his diocese. To me, as a reexaminer, that’s the end of the story.

    I may think he is wrong, but then, he is the bishop, elected by the baptized people in his diocese. Bishops and priests in other dioceses do not have warrant to critique or complain. After all, its not their problem.

    Like +Gene.

  9. RazorbackPadre says:

    Mr. Wilkins # 8,

    You seem to be arguing along democratic principles for a radically individualistic approach to Christianity – not my jurisdiction, therefore not my vote therefore none of my business. I believe your argument is false.

    Even in a representative democracy the leaders elected in other states influence the lives of those in other states. We are a community and therefore have a reason to be concerned about what goes on elsewhere. How much more the Church, the communion of Christ Jesus is a body, the right hand’s health intimately tied to the left little toe.

    Your plan, whether you intend it or not, is quite destructive because radical individualism denies the rightful need of the body to protect itself from disease throughout. Your argument is similar to saying that a body has no need – worse, no right to an immune system.

    I am glad that Bishop Smith understands that his decisions do in fact effect the whole church and therefore the whole church has a reason to inform and be concerned with his decisions.

  10. TomRightmyer says:

    In her open letter on Dr. Crew’s web site Dr. Baldwin announces her intention to abandon the communion of the Episcopal Church by celebrating communion in a congregation not in communion with the diocese. She needs to be deposesd in the same way Bishop Cox was. Would anyone like to bet that will happen?

    Tom Rightmyer trightmy@juno.com Asheville, NC

  11. Vintner says:

    I dunno, Tom, it depends on which bishop has canonical authority over her. Don’t forget, Bishop Knudsen inhibited the priest in Oregon who proclaimed to be both Muslim and Christian at the same time. So there is hope…

  12. TomRightmyer says:

    She appears to have been ordained in the diocese of Wyoming and is I suppose canonically resident there. Someone more familiar with the canons about clergy canonically resident in one diocese acting in another can coment on the canonical process. But celebrating communion for a group of people not under the authority of the diocese is the priestly equivalent of ordaining in a similar parish – which is the offence for which the House of Bishops purported to depose Bishop Cox. I’m still willing to take bets as to whether this woman will be deposed.

  13. TomRightmyer says:

    Has anyone heard more about the Muslim Episcopal clergywoman who lives in Oregon (or was it Washington State) and is canonically resident in Rhode Island?

  14. PadreWayne says:

    C’mon, get it right: The priest who claimed belief in Islam and Christianity was canonically resident in Rhode Island, practicing in Dio Olympia; she has been reprimanded by +Wolfe, not Knudsen. I realize the New England states (and dioceses) can be a bit blurry, but… This is also OT.

  15. Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) says:

    #12, I wish I did not have the same bleak view of what will likely happen as you.

    For those less Internet savvy, here is a [url=http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dojustice/j535.html]link to the letter[/url].

    I will grant that she has an interesting view of the Eucharist.

    I hope I get points for trying to be nice…..

  16. Vintner says:

    It’s not off topic at all, PadreWayne, especially when one keeps in mind the public letter that she wrote and the fact that she has done a service in open defiance of not being licensed. I am, of course, assuming that the prescribed number of days have passed before a priest MUST ask for a license. The sarcasm and snideness of some of the comments in her letter aside, she, as an Episcopal priest, functioned at a service. If I were invited to do a wedding in a Methodist Church with the Methodist liturgy, I would still have to obtain the bishop’s permission. So changing the format of the liturgy doesn’t change anything. She is in open defiance of the bishop’s order and thus it would be my hope that the Bishop of Wyoming would take some sort of disciplinary action against her.

  17. Alice Linsley says:

    God bless you, Bishop Smith!

  18. John Wilkins says:

    Hi Razorback,

    You have my argument wrong. I am advocating obedience within one’s geographic boundaries. I am saying she should submit to the bishop’s authority, as I would in the same situation.

    I have inherited a tradition whereby bishops are elected, and it has been this way for more than 200 years. I submit to the person elected, be it conservative or liberal.

    We are “interested” in other parts of communion, but our roles are more circumscribed. I don’t have authority to tell another rector how to manage his business or altar.

    Although I think you are right that a body should have an immune system, I’m not exactly sure what the sickness is. If anything, it seems that strengthening the integrity of particular roles is how one would treat whatever is deemed a sickness. And that trust is, itself, a way of managing an illness in practice. The Christians of New Hampshire trust Gene. The Christians of North Dakota Trust their bishop. It should be good enough for us, for we are sinners, and lack God’s knowledge.

  19. Bob G+ says:

    We need to re-acquire a sense of discipline, and the good bishop is exercising such discipline. While I may disagree with him on some issues, I believe he is perfectly within his rights as a bishop abiding by the established canons to act as he has.