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Diocesan Digest

[Episcopal News Service] 

* WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bishops meet President Bush, discuss leadership issues
* CENTRAL GULF COAST -- New cathedral established in Alabama
* DALLAS -- Episcopalians meet to study Windsor Report
* MICHIGAN -- U.S., Canadian bishops meet; welcome Archbishop of Canterbury's letter
* MINNESOTA -- Red Lake memorial service a gift of healing
* SOUTHEAST FLORIDA -- Bishop Frade reiterates policies
* SOUTHERN OHIO -- Slate of four confirmed for bishop's election
* SOUTHERN VIRGINIA -- Bishops selected to address diocesan leadership

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bishops meet President Bush, discuss leadership issues

[ENS, Source: NOEL] -- At the invitation of the White House, a group of 20 religious leaders, including Bishops James Stanton of Dallas, Keith Ackerman of Quincy, Peter Beckwith of Springfield, and Daniel Herzog of Albany, met with President George W. Bush on May 3 in Washington, D.C.
        Other Episcopalians present were: the Rev. Canon David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council; Sharon Stockdale of the Episcopal Church Missionary Community; and Georgette Forney, president of NOEL, formerly known as the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life. Also present were leaders from the Methodist, United Church of Christ, Baptist and Lutheran denominations.
        Bush led a discussion that included abortion, challenges in Iraq and the Middle East, Social Security, and the value of faith-based initiatives for the American people. Stanton commended Bush for his work against AIDS in Africa. NOEL President Forney said, "As a woman who regrets her abortion and works with many others who feel the same, I worry about the emotional and spiritual consequences for those who choose euthanasia for a loved one or support the destruction of embryos. We especially need to help women so they can choose to have their babies and care for them."
        As Marine One landed outside to take Bush to Air Force One for a commitment in Mississippi, Ackerman asked Bush if they could pray for him before he left. The President accepted his offer and those on either side of him, Ackerman and Forney, laid their hands on him as all prayed.

CENTRAL GULF COAST -- New cathedral established in Alabama
[ENS, Source: The Coastline] -- A service of Holy Eucharist was held at Christ Church Cathedral, Mobile, Alabama, April 23 to celebrate the seating of Bishop Philip M. Duncan, II, of the Central Gulf Coast and the installation of the Rev. Johnny Cook as first dean of the Cathedral.
        More than 50 clergy participated in the service, including a delegation representing the Downtown Mobile Ecumenical Council. Following the Bishop's sermon, Dr. James F. Walters, pastor of First Baptist Church and senior member of the Downtown Ecumenical Council, and the Most Rev. Oscar Lipscomb, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mobile, addressed a congregation of about 725. A reception and luncheon on the grounds followed the service.
        Established in 1822, Christ Church is the oldest Episcopal church in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and the oldest in the State of Alabama. In 1830, Christ Church hosted the organizing of the Diocese of Alabama. Located within a few blocks of the riverfront, the rebuilt historic Fort Conde, the central business district and the Mobile City/County Government Plaza, Christ Church has an active ministry in the community and hosts various events throughout the year for those working and/or living downtown.
        At its 34th annual convention February 17-19, the diocese had approved, with the agreement of the bishop, the rector and vestry of Christ Church and the standing committee of the diocese, a resolution and subsequent canon that established the first cathedral for the diocese.
DALLAS -- Diocese calls special convention; Episcopalians study Windsor Report

[ENS, Source: Diocese of Dallas] -- Upon the recommendation of the Executive Council of the Diocese of Dallas, the Bishop and Standing Committee are calling a Special Convention of the Diocese on Saturday, May 14, at St. Michael and All Angels Church, 8011 Douglas Ave., Dallas, convening at 9 a.m.
        The purpose of the Special Convention is to consider and respond to the Windsor Report. The Windsor Report may be found online at:
The Special Convention will consider the following resolution:
        "RESOLVED, the Diocese of Dallas meeting in Special Convention on May 14, 2005 at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, receives and accepts the Windsor Report and endorses its proposals and expectations, especially those set out in paragraphs 134 and 144; and, be it further
        RESOLVED, the Diocese of Dallas hereby reaffirms its constitutional responsibility for being a constituent member of the Anglican Communion."
(Note: The preceding Resolution may be modified according to the Rules of Convention.)

Full story:

[ENS, Source: Via Media] -- More than 100 Episcopalians met at Church of the Ascension in Dallas, Texas, April 30 to study the Windsor Report under the guidance of the Rev. Dr. Michael Battle, vice president, associate dean of academic studies and associate professor of theology at Virginia Theological Seminary.
        Battle spoke about the importance of communion, and drew attention to the fact that the Windsor Report, issued by the Lambeth Commission on Communion, was designed to be a stimulus for maintaining and encouraging communion within the Anglican Communion in the midst of difference. He warned that the document must be considered in its entirety, not simply by choosing particular paragraphs that reflect personal views. He described being "in communion" as having a concern for all persons, not just those who share a particular viewpoint, culture or lifestyle. The "primary purpose of communion," he said, "was to invite us into the presence of Christ -- the oneness of Christ."
        "Increased diversity of cultures creates more communion," he added. "If you're happy to stay in your own method or way of church, you won't understand the benefits of communion."
        Battle led the participants through the major sections of the Windsor Report, noting, in particular, the grounds for the comments made by other provinces in the Anglican Communion, and the various types of consequences that the actions taken by the Episcopal Church in the United States have had in the world. Battle noted, "If the world for us is [only] the United States, there will be no communion."
        Participants broke into small groups to consider two questions posed by Battle: (1) How is today's Anglican struggle different from the Church's past struggles (for example, including gentiles in the early Church, the battle over slavery, and women's role in ordained leadership). (2) What are your recommendations about 'our oneness in Christ' in the midst of division.
        Battle urged participants to find and propose ways to stay in communion by sharing the sacraments, and creating public forums so that honest opinions could be shared. He concluded by challenging all participants -- both clergy and laity -- to find a way in the spirit of the Anglican Church to a new path forward toward communion, distinct from those advocated by the extremes within the Church.

MICHIGAN -- U.S., Canadian bishops meet; welcome Archbishop of Canterbury's letter

[ENS, Source: Anglican Journal] -- A joint meeting with several bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada was held in Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit April 27 through May 1.
        The bishops heard presentations from theologian Walter Brueggemann. Also present were both church's primates, the Most Rev. Andrew Hutchison of Canada and Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.
        Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sent a letter to the joint meeting which said he remained "hopeful" that the Anglican Communion, deeply divided over the issue of homosexuality, could still move forward together.
        "The recent primates' statement has, I know, been hard for many to hear. But what it represents is an attempt to hold some space for us all to decide where our future lies in regard to the Communion; to think about how we act with the goal of allowing our relations in Christ to develop, not to cut off the possibilities of moving together," he wrote. "It undoubtedly challenges people on different sides of the current debate; essentially we are trying to find a way of moving forward as a church, not as a collection of interest groups of 'left' or 'right.'"
        He added that the primates' statement "also represents a deep reluctance all round to move hastily in the direction of separation."
        The Anglican Communion's present situation, he added, "is in some ways nothing new: we are always living between testimony to God's overwhelming and unsurpassable gift and our own countertestimony of confusion or faithlessness."
        Archbishop Williams said he could not offer "an easy solution to our tensions" as "that would be presumptuous." But he added, "I can only send my greetings and prayers as a brother in this confused environment, and urge you all to look to the Lord of the church for patience, mercy and renewal."
        Canadian and American bishops welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury's letter.

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MINNESOTA -- Red Lake memorial service a gift of healing
by Joe Bjordal

[ENS, Source: Diocese of Minnesota] -- One month after 10 people were killed in a shooting spree on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, a rare and perhaps historic gathering took place on Saturday, April 23 at St. Mark's Cathedral, Minneapolis. Representatives of the three faith traditions on the Reservation -- Traditional Indian, Roman Catholic and Episcopal -- came together for a memorial and healing service. Nearly 500 persons filled the Cathedral to participate in prayers for healing and to hear four speakers reflect on the tragedy and the process of healing and moving forward.

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SOUTHEAST FLORIDA -- Bishop Frade reiterates policies

[ENS, Source: The Net] -- Bishop Leo Frade reiterated to the diocesan Executive Board at its March 8 meeting his policies regarding the blessing of same-sex unions and ordination of homosexual persons.
        Reporting to the board on requests made of the North American churches in the communiqué issued by the Anglican Primates following their February meeting, Frade outlined policies he has stated in the past.
        He said that the request for a moratorium on same-sex blessings "does not apply" in our diocese, because he has not authorized the blessing of same-sex unions.
        He told the board that although he voted to approve the consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, because he felt there was "no canonical impediment" to Robinson's election, he has decided to refrain from consent to any bishop elected between now and the next Lambeth meeting of Anglican bishops in 2008.
        "If I cannot give consent to one bishop, I can not give consent to any bishop," he said.
 After the March meeting of the House of Bishops, he amended this statement to reflect the bishops' decision to postpone consents to episcopal elections only until General Convention 2006.
        The bishop said that he will not ordain any openly gay person, and added that he has instructed the Archdeacon for Deployment that he will not accept into this diocese any priest or deacon who is openly gay.
        However, he does not intend to suspend any homosexual clergyperson already in the diocese.
        He said that he recognizes this as a discriminatory policy, but it is one he has chosen on a temporary basis in the hope of preserving unity in the Anglican Communion.
        He asked board members to help clarify the points made in the primates' communiqué and to dispel misinformation on these issues for laity in the deaneries.

SOUTHERN OHIO -- Slate of four confirmed for bishop's election

[ENS, Source: Diocese of Southern Ohio] -- The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio announced April 25 that the two individuals nominated by petition have satisfactorily completed the required background check process. The Rev. Canon George Aldrich Hill III, rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Ohio, is a nominee by petition for election as the ninth bishop of Southern Ohio. The second nominee has withdrawn.

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SOUTHERN VIRGINIA -- Bishops selected to address diocesan leadership

[ENS, Source: Diocese of Southern Virginia] -- Bishop David C. Bane of Southern Virginia presented three names of bishops to the Executive Board April 19, as asked by resolution at a Diocesan Convention, and they have been accepted unanimously. They are Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana, Bishop Chilton Knudson of Maine, and Bishop Gordon Scruton of Western Massachusetts. They will meet with Bane in Atlanta in mid-June to form a plan for addressing reported discontent with Bane's leadership.