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OHIO: Canon Theologian Responds to Ohio's Actions

CANON THEOLOGIAN RESPONDS TO OHIO ACTIONS

By Canon Kendall Harmon

This is simply one more consequence of the arrogance of much of the
current Episcopal church leadership which unilaterally acted against
Scripture as understood by both the Eastern and Western Churches worldwide.

We have had parishes in Atlanta leave for Bolivia, we have a church in Wyoming emerging under the care of a Canadian bishop; we have a new parish in Versailles, Kentucky, whose place in the Anglican family is as yet not fully known.

These and other similar steps are part of a larger picture of an
Episcopal community in crisis whose primary overseers remain sadly in
denial.

It is a matter of regret that the Diocese of Ohio has allowed the
development of an atmosphere so hostile and intimidating to traditional
Episcopalians that people from these six parishes felt they had to take
this step. The fact that the five retired bishops who reached out in
love were joined by an international Anglican bishop serves to
underscore that the worldwide communion understands the seriousness of this situation, even though most Episcopal leaders do not.

This was an act offered out of deep pastoral concern for those in Ohio
who were profoundly alienated, hurt and excluded from many facets of the diocesan common life. As Jesus discovered, religious authorities often struggle with the offer of genuine compassion to those who are
oppressed.

Let us remember that the canons were made for the church, not the church for the canons. Let us pray that many in Episcopal authority will awaken to the profound misstep against the faith of Christ's Church that they have made. Let us also hope that the House of Bishops will support a plan for Adequate Episcopal Oversight as the Primates envisioned it in October 2003. Anything less than that will simply increase the chaos in, and the hurt and damage to, the body
of Episcopalians in this country.

Dr. Kendall S. Harmon
Canon Theologian
Diocese of South Carolina

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