Area Episcopal officials to ponder House of Bishops action
Episcopal Diocese of Quincy officials won’t know what they think of this week’s The Episcopal Church (TEC)’s House of Bishops action until they have a chance to ponder it.
"I need to scrutinize it, literally pray over it and then sit down with my standing committee so I can have clergy and lay input," Bishop Keith Ackerman said Wednesday.
Bishop Peter Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, though, said he was "disappointed" by the resolution and called it "the same old stuff."
The resolution passed by the bishops on Tuesday was in response to a request made by Anglican Communion archbishops from around the world to clarify the TEC’s positions on blessings of same-sex unions and consecration of noncelibate homosexuals as bishops.
In the resolution, the bishops "pledged" not to approve public rituals for same-sex unions and to "exercise restraint" when it comes to approving bishop candidates "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
Leaders in the Peoria-based, west-central Illinois Diocese of Quincy have stood on the conservative side of the issues and discussed the possibility of finding a way to leave TEC while remaining within the Anglican Communion if the American province is kicked out of the communion.
Quincy leadership is expected to consider potential actions at its annual synod Oct. 19-20 in Moline. Ackerman said he also is waiting to see how the non-American archbishops respond to the American bishops’ resolution.
"Ultimately, the real test is going to be when the primates read it," he said from Pittsburgh, where he was attending a meeting of Common Cause Partners, an alliance of traditional Anglicans. He left the House of Bishops meeting Friday due to financial constraints and after offering his opinions at meetings with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Beckwith didn’t attend at all.
"I didn’t see the point in it," said the Springfield bishop, who also is in Pittsburgh. "I’ve had my say, and people don’t listen."
Beckwith, whose area includes Tazewell and Mason counties, said the resolution "doesn’t solve the problem." He said the House of Bishops seems to be more worried about non-U.S. archbishops having authority over U.S. dioceses who disagree with TEC’s direction.
"If you don’t spend time on the cause, it would seem that you’re wasting your time focusing on the situation," he said.
Ackerman expressed surprise at the resolution’s plan to use eight U.S. bishops as "episcopal visitors" for dioceses, including Quincy and Springfield, that have requested oversight from someone other than TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
"None of the dioceses that requested alternative pastoral oversight were included in the discussion prior to the announcement," Ackerman said. "That was a little bit strange."
Beckwith called the way the plan was created "presumptuous" and "condescending."
He said he’s not sure what the Diocese of Springfield will do. Its annual synod is Oct. 26-27.
Michael Miller can be reached at (309) 686-3106 or email@example.com.