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ALBUQUERQUE: Rio Grande Revisionists Slammed for Subverting Bishop's Election


By David W. Virtue

The Diocesan Council of the Rio Grande has slammed the local branch of Via Media for trying to block the election of a bishop coadjutor to replace the biblically orthodox Bishop Terence Kelshaw when he retires in 2005.

Via Media, the growing nationwide revisionist group had sent a letter to all Episcopal Church bishops and diocesan standing committees protesting the canonical actions of the Council. Via Media called for the blocking of the election and withholding of consents, advocating an interim bishop be named instead.

Via Media members are "posers" who say they represent the middle ground, said the Council.

Posing as "middle grounders" they are trying to subvert the diocese's orthodox priests and laity and gain support for their revisionist causes. Via Media has formed branches in a number of dioceses where the bishops voted against the confirmation of the admitted homosexual Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.

In a letter sent to all members of the diocese, the Diocesan Council refuted claims by Via Media Rio Grande that the search was not following canons, and pointed out the Council is working closely with the Presiding Bishop's pastoral development staff, including Bishop Clay Matthews and Canon Carlson Gerdau. The letter laid out the timetable and process for the bishop-coadjutor's selection, including a survey to be sent to all members in the diocese

The Council unanimously passed a resolution calling Via Media's action "reprehensible" and "destructive," and sent it to all members of the diocese:

"The Diocesan Council and Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Rio Grande register their protest against the actions of the self designated group Via Media Rio Grande, specifically, letters sent to each bishop and standing committee in the ECUSA to subvert due process of the election of a bishop-coadjutor in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, and consider these actions reprehensible, destructive of the life in the diocese, and do not promote healing for the church."

Via Media stole the list that contained private information said the bishop. The group was publicly cited earlier by Bishop Kelshaw for obtaining the official mailing list for the diocesan newsletter "without authorization." Via Media then used the list to mail out its own literature to all diocesan members and gave it the appearance of official diocesan mail.

The list was closely held by the diocese for privacy reasons because it contained the home addresses of all the members of the diocese.

"I have resolutely refused to permit home and parish addresses to be passed from this office to other people and bodies even within the diocese," wrote Kelshaw in a Pastoral letter to the diocese.

The leader of Via Media Rio Grande is the Rev. Brian Taylor of St. Michael and All Angels in Albuquerque, N.M.

Other Via Media Rio Grande leaders who signed the letter that went to all ECUSA bishops and standing committees were Rev. Gary Meade (St. John's Cathedral, Albuquerque), Diane Butler and Dr. Don Partridge (St. Thomas of Canterbury, Albuquerque), Rev. Richard Murphy (St. Bede's, Santa Fe), and Patricia Riggins and Dr. James Tryon (St. Michael and All Angels, Albuquerque).

Bishop Kelshaw has said he intends to retire no later than July of 2005.


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