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ECUSA: Offical Pastoral Care Statement Being Considered by HoB


Submitted by David W. Virtue

Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care

The Church is the body of Christ. Striving to be the limbs of Christ, as
fully as possible, and acknowledging and appreciating the tension such
diversity may bring, the Episcopal office offers the Church a source of
unity. Representing these limbs, we who are called to be bishops,
recognize that diversity may require extending our charity with one
another in new directions and through creative forms of care and

We are called to be one, as Jesus prayed (John 17:22ff). While we know
that our unity is strained, we will continue to strive for godly union
and concord. Consistent with the ancient teaching of the Church,
ordination and consecration provide the gifts necessary for the
sacramental effectiveness of all bishops.

We, therefore, call upon the bishops of the Episcopal Church, as we exercise leadership in our dioceses and as we work always towards the fullest relationship--and as the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, "the highest degree of communion,"--to provide for pastoral care of those who are in distress.

We acknowledge particularly that there may be need for Supplemental
Episcopal Pastoral Care to be given to some congregations where such
distress has been articulated in terms of significant differences between
the diocesan bishop and those congregations. At all times, however, we
must recognize the constitutional and canonical autonomy of bishops and geographic integrity of diocesan boundaries.

In response to the current climate of debate, we believe it is important
to restate a document of agreement and procedure already crafted and
adopted by the House of Bishops.

*March 2002, A Covenant on Episcopal Pastoral Care:

"We believe that the present Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal
Church are sufficient for dealing with questions of Episcopal oversight,
supplemental Episcopal pastoral care, and disputes that may arise between the bishop and a congregation. We encourage that their provisions be used wisely and in the spirit of charity.

The provision of supplemental Episcopal pastoral care shall be under the direction of the bishop of the diocese, who shall invite the visitor and remain in pastoral contact with the congregation. This is to be
understood as a temporary arrangement, the ultimate goal of which is the full restoration of the relationship between the congregation and their bishop."

Expanding on this previous agreement by reframing what was affirmed by the House of Bishops in March 2002, and working always towards the
highest degree of communion, we offer the following recommended steps in order to provide "Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care" while keeping the integrity of the diocesan bishop's responsibility for oversight intact.

Recommended Steps:

If a congregation and/or diocesan bishop of this Church find the need for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care for serious cause, the following steps apply:

1. The priest in charge and the canonically designated lay leadership,
after fully engaging and consulting the congregation, will seek from
their diocesan bishop, (or the diocesan bishop may suggest) a
consultation regarding the appropriateness and conditions for
Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care.

2. If no resolution regarding such Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care
is forthcoming consistent with A Covenant on Episcopal Pastoral Care,
either the priest in charge and the canonically designated lay
leadership, or the diocesan bishop, after informing the other, may
approach the provincial bishop of this Church serving on the Presiding
Bishop's Council of Advice for help in seeking a resolution.

3. After review of the situation, that provincial bishop shall request
two other bishops of this Church representative of the divergent views of that province to join with the provincial bishop to review the situation,
to consider the request, and to make recommendations to all parties. The provincial bishop shall periodically inform the Presiding Bishop, the
President of the House of Deputies, the Presiding Bishop's Council of
Advice, and the House of Bishops at its regular meetings of the progress and results of the process.*

4. As bishops of this Church, we pledge ourselves to pray and work for
generosity of spirit and flexibility in carrying out these procedures
while striving for Godly union and concord. We recognize that this
commitment will require self sacrifice by the bishops, and we invite the
Church to join us in this Commitment.

* If the provincial bishop is the diocesan bishop about whom an appeal
has been made, that bishop shall recuse her or himself and ask the
Council of Advice to request one of its members to serve in this


1. The bishops of each province within this Church, under the leadership
of the bishops serving on the Council of Advice, will meet between
November 1 and January 31, 2004 to discuss this proposal* and record the following:

a. What might constitute a "serious cause" that would require
consideration for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care?

b. Who among the active and resigned bishops within your province of this Church would be appropriate to provide such care?

c. Will the active and resigned bishops within your province of this
Church, working in unity with each other, facilitate requests for
Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care in congregations?

d. If facilitation within your province cannot be accomplished, would you
be willing to make use of bishops who have been identified by other
provinces within this Church?

e. What would be your hesitation(s), if any, with this proposed process?

f. Should training be required and made available for those who might
provide Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care within this Church?

g. Who shall pay the costs, travel and other expenses, including an
honorarium, when Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care within this Church is provided?

* While this process is being further developed, should any request for
Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care be made, the Council of Advice
strongly recommends the use of this process as prescribed above until
such time as the House of Bishops of this Church has adopted a procedure.

2. The bishops of the Council of Advice will meet in the month of
February 2004 to review the findings from each provincial meeting of
bishops of this Church and to develop a more complete process of
Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care.

A more fully developed process for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care within this Church, incorporating the suggestions of the Provincial
discussions, will be presented to the House of Bishops for further
discussion and affirmation at its March 2004 meeting.

Persons who have worked on this draft:

The Most Rev'd Frank T. Griswold, III

The Rt Rev'd Vincent Warner, Diocese of Olympia

The Rt Rev'd Robert H. Johnson, Diocese of Western North Carolina

The Rt Rev'd Ted Daniels, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Texas

The Rt Rev'd Katherine Jefferts Schori, Diocese of Nevada

The Rt Rev'd Jack M. McKelvey, Diocese of Rochester

The Rt Rev'd Gary Gloster, Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of North Carolina

The Rt Rev'd Bruce Caldwell, Diocese of Wyoming

The Rt Rev' F. Clayton Matthews, Bishop Suffragan, Pastoral Development

Ms. Ira Leidel, Spouses Planning Group

Ms. Jamel Shimpfky, Spouses Planning Group

Mr. David B. Beers, Chancellor, The Presiding Bishop

The Rt Rev'd Lloyd Allan, Diocese of Honduras

The Rt Rev'd Chilton Knudsen, Diocese of Maine

The Rt Rev'd Jim Jelinek, Diocese of Minnesota

The Rt Rev'd Robert Ihloff, Diocese of Maryland

The Rt Rev'd Charles Jenkins. Diocese of Louisiana

The Rt Rev'd Wendell Gibbs, Diocese of Michigan

The Rt Rev'd Harry Bainbridge, Diocese of Idaho

The Rt Rev'd Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana

The Rt Rev’d Richard S. Chang, Diocese of Hawaii


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