August 6, 2010

Pennsylvania Episcopalians to Gather

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has sent e-mail to members of the diocese inviting them to Philadelphia Cathedral Sunday afternoon for a “a time of open conversation and an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings” in light of the recent court ruling in favor of Bishop Charles Bennison. The agenda includes Evening Prayer and refreshments afterward.

According to the e-mail message (available on the diocesan Web site here), Bishop Bennison will return to the diocese on August 16, but has asked Assisting Bishop Rodney Michel “to continue for a time.” “Initially Bishop Bennison will meet with diocesan leaders as we enter a new stage in our relationship together.”

The Standing Committee continues:
Surely our responses to the decision of the Court vary broadly; from fear, anger, hurt, and profound disappointment, to relief and joy, to bewilderment and curiosity. If we have learned anything in recent years, it is that we must not allow these differing feelings and reactions divide us. Each of us is a member of the body of Christ, each of us striving to be faithful in the best way we know how. Let us be careful to honor one another. This is not the time to withdraw and go our separate ways; this is the time to come together, to recommit ourselves to our baptismal vows and to our common life, to offer our unique gifts and resources, to provide a beacon of hope, and together be agents of God’s justice and mercy in this Diocese of Pennsylvania.
No doubt, the Standing Committee is planning how it can make the best of what is clearly a bad situation. In light of Bishop Bennison’s past actions and his conflicts within his diocese, Episcopalians should pray that Bishop Bennison is led to resign his see. Pennsylvania Episcopalians should demand it.


  1. This is a very interesting situation. The court, in essence, is letting Bishop Bennison off on a technicality. But it's like trying to un-ring a bell. The court originally found him guilty, in spite of his assertion that he had no knowledge of what his brother was doing, i.e. the court chose not to believe him. I believe most people will still "hear the bell ringing".

  2. Unfortunately, I don't think he will resign quietly. If he was going to, he would have done it earlier. I suspect that like Montana's Bishop Jones whose affair happened years before he was charged, Bennison will need a large golden parachute to get him to leave. He has all those lawyers to pay now.


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