Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Bishop Henry Scriven

Updated again Saturday morning

There have been several confusing reports about Bishop Henry Scriven’s status as a bishop.

ENS reported Presiding Bishop accepts two bishops’ voluntary renunciation of orders.

Religious Intelligence reported US Presiding Bishop deposes Church of England Bishop

…On Oct 16, Bishop Scriven wrote to Bishop Schori to inform her that he was returning to the Britain to take up the post of director of South American ministry for SAMS-CMS. Ordained in the Church of England, Bishop Scriven was consecrated in 1995 as Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe by Archbishop George Carey. In 2002, Bishop Scriven became the Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church. Following Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan’s deposition from office as Bishop of Pittsburgh on Sept 19, Bishop Scriven’s position in the US church was terminated.

In his letter, Bishop Scriven informed Bishop Schori he was returning to the UK to take up the SAMS-CMS post and had been appointed an Honorary Assistant Bishop and would be under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Oxford.

In her response of Nov 12, Bishop Schori acknowledged that Bishop Scriven was now a Bishop of the Church of England, and said she would “release you from your orders in this Church” for reasons “not effecting moral character.” Bishop Schori added that she believed “that subtlety was lost on some of our Communion partners” over her understanding of canon law, as her action would not undo the “indelible” mark of ordination, but was a housekeeping action that would end his licence to serve in the US Church.

However, before Bishop Schori’s tenure as Presiding Bishop, bishops who left the US church to serve in other provinces were not released from their orders, but transferred to other churches…

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a statement:

An article that appeared on Episcopal Life Online on January 23, 2009 reported that Bishop Henry Scriven, the former Assistant Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, had renounced his orders and that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, had accepted that renunciation. Although the article may suggest otherwise, the Standing Committee understands that this action was not in any sense a disciplinary action or an action taken because of Bishop Scriven’s support for the attempt to realign the Diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Before he relocated to England, Bishop Scriven had submitted his resignation as a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, inasmuch as he was planning to return to England and serve as Assistant to the Bishop of Oxford. In order to permit that, the Canons required that he be released from his orders in the Episcopal Church for reasons not affecting his moral character, which is what occurred. This is a routine way of permitting Bishop Scriven to continue his ministry. Orders in the Church themselves are indelible, but licensing is required to exercise them.

The Standing Committee gives thanks for the gracious way in which Bishop Scriven exercised his ministry in the Episcopal Church while he served here as Assistant Bishop and we hope he and his wife Catherine will visit us in the future.

Friday morning update

The Church Times has a report by Pat Ashworth ‘Really weird’, but Scriven bears no ill will on orders.

…Bishop Scriven described the letter he received in November releasing him from his orders as “really weird”. He retained it but did not respond to it. The promised certificate releasing Bishop Scriven from his orders did not reach him personally, “though, to be fair, she might have tried as I was wandering round the world,” he said on Wednesday.

The correspondence is now in the public domain. “I had no desire to publish these letters until the thing was announced but was then very happy for them to be released,” Bishop Scriven said. “Hers was a very gracious letter but I was kind of boggled by the language really. It’s two nations divided by the same language, it seems to me. I bear no ill will, and I think it’s a storm in a teacup really…

There is a further report from ENS which notes PITTSBURGH: Standing Committee acknowledges Scriven’s service to diocese.

The Anglican Communion Institute has published Is The Renunciation of Orders Routine?

Saturday update

Andrew Carey has also weighed in, see A dangerous move by the Americans.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 4:21pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA
Comments

What tempests in what teapots suddenly boil over when a conservative bishop is involved these days. Especially one with strong ties to, say, Duncan the virtual archbishop yet deposed and the Sydney-Akinola-Orombi-Venebles axis of our beloved conservative Anglican realignment campaign.

Scriven's new position seems a lot more clearly situated in a new church life context, insofar as his realignment campaign ministries will have to now be worked out in the CoE contexts, rather than the much vaunted antigay USA situations that have constantly been used as realignment wedge campaign issues. Interesting to note that, once Duncan and company were clearly gone, publicly, and all in public view, Scriven found somewhere else to be. Perhaps he is not nearly so exclusively captured in the gravities of that other, realignment orbit as many others in the realignment cosmos are?

Can the realignment bishops start fights constantly, all around the planet, based on their new claims to special closed righteousness; and not have us recognize by tightening up our solidarities and governance that they are really doing so?

Clappy hands to Jefferts Schori for speeding up her alertness and responsiveness to all the sleazy shifty conservative realignment bishops boating about. She got it pretty fast, that under assault by the realignment bishops plotting in back floor rooms to suddenly rename old trust funds and establish confusing new corporations, she was better advised to run a tight ship.

Any scrutiny, heightened or regular, which conservative realignment bishops must now endure is just that logical - should we say, inevitable? - outcome of their screechy calls for high scrutiny of everybody else whom they preach have so failed their incredibly high and scrupulous church life standards.

This increased scrutiny must now shine glaring lights on, say, Armstrong in Colorado as fiscally dodgy priest, and others who claim they have new holy powers to leave TEC and keep license in it, all at the same time. What is different about Jefferts Schori's watch is partly mainly this mean-spirited conservative realignment campaign.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 7:45pm GMT

Would you please correct our PB's name. She is Bishop Jefferts Schori. There may not be a hyphen but it should be treated as if there is one.

Posted by: Deacon Charlie Perrin on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 9:26pm GMT

"Bishop Schori added that she believed "that subtlety was lost on some of our Communion partners" over her understanding of canon law, as her action would not undo the 'indelible' mark of ordination, but was a housekeeping action that would end his licence to serve in the US Church"
- George Conger - Religious Intelligence -

What is is about this statement of the PB of TEC that George Conger does not understand? How can he, on the basis of this (his own) evidence, say that Bishop Katherine is "deposing a Church Of England Bishop"?. What, in fact, has happened, is that the PB has accepted the renunciation by a C.of E. Bishop of his ability to exercise his episcopal ministry within TEC in the US.

As the PB herself says, in Conger's own article, this does not deprive him of the exercise of episcopal ministry in any other province of the Communion. What is so revolutionary about that? And why the need to draw attention to the consequences of Bp Scriven's own action in resigning from TEC?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 11:01pm GMT

Charlie
I understand that, and always write it correctly myself. What appears above is quoted directly from Religious Intelligence.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 29 January 2009 at 1:10am GMT

The modus operandi of the realignment crowd has always been attack, attack, attack with full invective no matter how trivial the issue and cry 'persecution!' when confronted with the consequences of one's behavior, again no matter how trivial.

It worked for a number of years, but now seems curiously quaint, vaguely ridiculous, and certainly disingenuous.

Posted by: William on Thursday, 29 January 2009 at 1:27am GMT

William, that is the modus operandi of the political right in America, of which the so-called "Renewal Movement" is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Attack! (Melo)Drama! Paranoia! Cries of persecution! Condemnation of elitists!

Posted by: JPM on Thursday, 29 January 2009 at 4:35pm GMT

In the 1920s hard line evangelicals left CMS because they felt that liberal evangelicals were in charge and they founded BCMS ( Bible Churchmans missionary society... called Cross links by a more sensitive generation ).....this move represents the victory of the conservatives!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 1 February 2009 at 8:08am GMT

"William, that is the modus operandi of the political right in America, of which the so-called "Renewal Movement" is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Attack! (Melo)Drama! Paranoia! Cries of persecution! Condemnation of elitists!"

But it's so effective! People are fearful, and will follow whatever promises to protect them from whatever it is they fear. So make them more fearful, making them even easier to manipulate. It is particularly ironic in Christians, since our religion teaches us that Christ "giveth us the victory" over all our enemies, even death has no meaning for us. What can there possibly be for us to fear? Oh, right, that we will slip up in some way, or perhaps not be sufficiently servile and sycophantic and the vindictive, angry petulant God who pretends to love us will roast us for all Eternity. Right. Well, that just explains everything. When even God can't be trusted to love us, what's left but fear?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 at 1:51pm GMT
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