The documents giving the diocesan view of this matter are reproduced here, below the fold.
And this report appeared on TLC Bishop Howe Withdraws Name from Eastern Michigan Censure Letter
A further report on TLC Eastern Michigan Bishop Responds to Critics of His Deposition
August 4, 2005
Statement prior to reading the deposition of Gene Geromel as a priest in the Episcopal Church.
On February 6, 2000 The Rev. Gene Geromel and the congregation of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church voted with a vote exceeding two Thirds of their communicant population to leave the Episcopal Church. The occasion for the vote was preceded by a one-year dialogue between members of St. Bart’s vestry and members of the Diocese’s Standing Committee. The prearranged understanding was that if the adult members were to cast a vote in excess of two thirds of their communicant population, the Diocese would sell the Church buildings and Rectory to the congregation at market value.
A year prior to the vote, members of the congregation formed a legal entity, PECUSA, INC. without informing the diocese. In the year prior to the 2/6/00 vote, the congregation defaulted completely in giving their diocesan tithe, in violation of diocesan canons. The Rev. Geromel also publicly refused to receive the Bread and Wine of Holy Communion from the bishop of Eastern Michigan for more then a year up to the time of the vote stating that that he was not in communion with his bishop.
The St. Bart’s buildings, owned by the diocese, were sold to St. Bart’s in due course, and St. Bart’s became a church not recognized by the Episcopal Church.
In an act of generosity the bishop offered Gene the opportunity to remain a priest in the diocese as a licensed clergyman serving an ecumenical Church. In order for The Rev. Geromel to be licensed he had to agree to abide by the Constitution and Canons of the church and his ordination vows in which he pledged obedience to, and remains in communion with his bishop. The Re. Geromel said he could not do this in due conscience: hence the license was never granted.
Consequently, in another act of generosity the bishop withheld a deposition process for a five year period with the clearly stated hope that the Rev. Geromel might someday “return” to the Episcopal Church, or to a day when there might be a canonically appropriate way for Geromel to transfer to another duly recognized Anglican jurisdiction that was recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has upheld a long standing principle that a priest can only be transferred to another Diocese if they are called to physically work and live in that Diocese. A Priest may not function in a diocese other than their own without the other diocese’s bishop’s permission.
During these past five years, Geromel has filed three annual reports to the bishop of Eastern Michigan where he has the fragile standing of a “priest-not-in-good-standing’ who may not function sacramentally in any Episcopal Church in Eastern Michigan. Also during this period of time the bishop has once given permission to the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, to visit St. Bartholomew’s. Bishop Ackerman and the Bishop of Eastern Michigan have a standing agreement (which is know to Geromel) that he is welcome in Eastern Michigan as long as he sought prior permission and reported his activities to the bishop of Eastern Michigan.
In January 2005, five years after St. Bartholomew’s separation from the Episcopal Church, the Standing Committee of the diocese has asked the bishop to finalize its relations with Geromel by issuing a six-month inhibition, during which time if Geromel did not reaffirm his communal status with the bishop, a letter of deposition would be served. The charge for the inhibition is that Geromel has abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church.
The President of the Standing Committee reads the January letter asking for the bishop to serve a letter of inhibition.
The letter of deposition is read and signed and served.
Letter from the Standing Committee
THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF EASTERN MICHIGAN STANDING COMMITTEE
924 North Niagara Street
Saginaw, Ml 48607
877-752-6020 Fax 989-752-6120
Dean Bedford, Jr., President
The Rev. Peter Cominos, Vice-Pres.
The Rev. Gail L. Vince, sect.
08 January 2005
To The Rt. Rev. Edwin M. Leidel, Jr.
On Sunday, 06 February 2000 the Rev. Gene Geromel led the people of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in a vote to separate their congregation from the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan and the Episcopal Church in the USA. Subsequently, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan sold the church and rectory property to the congregation at lair market value. The congregation now calls itself St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, but has no valid canonical relationship to ECUSA.
In a pastoral letter to the diocese, dated 07 February 2000, Bishop Leidel stated:
The Rev. Gene Geromel is an executive officer of an organization called “Forward in Faith North America”. It is the hope of this organization to implement a non-geographic American Anglican Province to co-exist with ECUSA as a legitimate Anglican diocese of conservative Anglicans, I personally find it hard to believe that such an entity can exist without causing confusion and harm to the missionary intent of God’s work within Anglicanism. God and Time will tell. Until then, it is my intent to remain connected (if not “in communion”) with the Rev. Gene Geromel and the people of St. Bartholomew’s.
After the publication of the Windsor Report it is becoming clear that an extra-territorial jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church is in all likelihood, never going to happen.
In a letter to the Rev. Geromel, dated 26 July 2001, Bishop Leidel stated:
It always remains my hope and prayer that, at some time, Fr. Geromel and the people of St. Bartholomew’s will return to a status of full membership in good standing within the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan.
It is now clear that neither the Rev. Geromel nor the people of St. Bartholomew’s have any intention to return to the fold of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan and the Episcopal Church.
In the same 26 July communication Rev. Geromel was invited to remain in communion with Bishop Leidel by stating his willingness to be in communion with Bishop Leidel. Rev. Geromel has never responded to that invitation and he has in the past refused to take communion from Bishop Leidel prior to the February 2600 separation.
Having heard recently that the Standing Committee might bring charges of “Abandonment of the Communion of this Church against him, Rev. Geromel wrote a letter to Bishop Leidel asking that the Bishop share the letter with the Standing Committee include the following warning:
“if you choose to raise the issue of any abandoning the communion of this Church’….it would bring with it publicity more detrimental to you than to me, especially in an area where yon have already lost at least a third of the Episcopalians and nearly all the orthodox clergy.”
In the same letter Rev. Geromel also charged that he has been unjustly treated in not being granted a transfer to a Network diocese in California while continuing to function as the pastor of St. Bartholomew’s within the geographic limits of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. Bishop Leidel’s refusal to do this was reaffirmed in a 27 September 2004 resolution of the House of Bishops, which states:
The House of Bishops rejects the practice of transfer of canonical residence to allow a priest or bishop to exercise ordained ministry outside of the geographical boundaries of his or her canonical license.
In light of all of the above the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan unanimously declares that it has determined that the Rev. Gene Geromel has abandoned the Communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Discipline of this Church on the following grounds:
1. He has led his congregation out of the Diocese and Episcopal Church.
2. He acknowledges that he is out of communion with his bishop.
3. He has shown no sign of wanting to return to the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan as a priest in good standing.
4. He has not participated in the Councils of the Episcopal Church for over five years.
Yours Faithfully in Christ,
(signed by Dean Bedford, Gail Vince, William McClure, Dana Howard, Charles Geagan, Pete Jungquist, Charles Leibrand, Elsa Pressentin, and Glenn Stone.)
The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan