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Diocesan Digest - January 26, 2006

[Episcopal News Service] 
  • ALBANY: Eight nominees added to coadjutor slate
  • FOND DU LAC: Diocesan move focuses on community and ecumenism
  • MARYLAND: Prison ministry gets grant to help released inmates
  • NEW YORK: Bishop calls leaders together to discuss real-estate sales
  • OREGON: Armed Forces Bishop Burgreen dies at 81
  • SOUTHERN VIRGINIA: "Interim interim" bishop chosen
  • WASHINGTON: Commemoration in Lesser Feasts contemplated for Supreme Court justice


ALBANY: Eight nominees added to coadjutor slate

[SOURCE: Diocese of Albany] The Diocese of Albany has certified eight more nominees to enter its election for a bishop coadjutor, set for March 25.

The coadjutor will eventually succeed the Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, who in October called for the election.

The final slate now includes:

  • The Rev. Dr. Tory K. Baucum, who teaches at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky;
  • The Rev. Dr. Canon Christopher A. Brown,  rector of Trinity Church, Potsdam, New York;
  • The Rev. Scott M. Harding, rector of The Church of the Messiah, Glens Falls, New York;
  • The Rev. Dr. William R. Hinrichs,  rector of St. George's, Clifton Park, New York;
  • The Rev. Dr. Canon Stephen Holmgren, rector of Grace Church, West Feliciana Parish in the Diocese of Louisiana;
  • The Rev. Walcott W. Hunter,  rector of St. Paul's, Kinderhook, New York;
  • The Very Rev. Canon William H. Love, rector of St. Mary's, Lake Luzerne, New York;
  • The Rev. Dr. Shaw Mudge, Jr. ,  rector of Christ's Church, Duanesburg, New York;
  • The Rev. Dr. Michael Tessman, interim rector of St. Monica's, Hartford, Connecticut;
  • The Rev. Robert E. Witt, Jr. , rector of Zion Church, Morris, New York; and
  • The Very Rev. Marshall J. Vang, dean of the Cathedral of All Saints, Albany.

FOND DU LAC: Diocesan move focuses on community and ecumenism

[SOURCE: ENS] When the Diocese of Fond du Lac in northeastern Wisconsin recently moved its office north from Fond du Lac to leased space in Appleton the move was meant to strengthen the diocese.

The plan behind the move involves eventually creating a diocesan center "that could be a resource center for use by all," according to recent issues of the diocese newspaper, The Clarion. Such a center would have meeting and office space, storage room and exhibit space for the archives of the diocese, and parking.

The move to Appleton will put the diocesan operations in a more central location with greater accessibility for members of the diocese.

"With such a Diocesan Center, we might better become a 'community of disciples' rather than a loose federation of congregations," Bishop Russell Jacobus said in a Clarion article.

The Bishop's Residence in Fond du Lac has been leased to a transitional housing agency and an abuse prevention agency. The lease will be for three years, with the option to purchase after the first year. The former diocesan office building is being leased to the same two social-service agencies for office space but the lease does not have an option to buy so that the diocese can re-evaluate its use. The lease with the two agencies recently drew praise from the Appleton Post-Crescent newspaper.

The relocation will also cut down on the bishop's travel time. Jacobus has moved to Appleton. Fond du Lac, located in the southern part of the diocese, is no longer the transportation hub it once was when the bishop could travel by rail.

Jacobus told the diocesan convention last fall that he envisions the move to be a step toward an even larger vision. The Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and United Church of Christ judicatories lease office space in the Appleton area. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of American synod office, which includes a resource center and meeting rooms, is located on the north side of Appleton. The property next to the ELCA center is for sale, he said.

"Can you picture an ecumenical office complex developed on that property that would be connected to an expanded ecumenical resource center? I believe something along those lines could be a reality," he told the convention. "Working ecumenically could be a venture that would be a model for others."


MARYLAND: Prison ministry gets grant to help released inmates

[SOURCE: Diocese of Maryland] Two hundred men getting out of prison this year should have a better chance of staying out because of a federal grant awarded to Episcopal Community Services of Maryland (ECSM).

The $657,935 Department of Labor Prison Reentry Initiative (PRI) faith-based grant went to ECSM in part because the agency proposed partnerships with Baltimore City's One-Stop Career Centers, Goodwill Industries and America Works. The men will between the ages of 21 and 40 and most will have a history of drug and alcohol addiction. The program could get under way in February.

ECSM's Prison Reentry Initiative will join with public and private agencies to provide employment-readiness training, drug treatment and recovery, health and social and legal services, parole adherence and housing, assistance. The other major partners will focus on job training, placement, job retention and mentoring.

"Over the past 16 years, we've worked with recently released clients in our drug and alcohol support and treatment program," said Jean P. Cushman, ECSM executive director. "We are aware that drug addiction is at the bottom of why many are incarcerated in the first place. It made sense to us to go after the PRI grant. It is a good fit."

Maryland's recidivism rate averages about 50 percent, said Mark A. Vernarelli, public information director, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

The Baltimore-based ECSM won one of 30 grants awarded out of 549 applications.


NEW YORK: Bishop calls leaders together to discuss real-estate sales

[SOURCE: Diocese of New York] New York City's hot real-estate market has some Episcopal congregations looking to cash in but the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk wants priests and lay leaders to think twice about such plans.

He has called a meeting for February 16 to discuss how to preserve property and the proceeds of property sales for future generations.

In a January 20 letter, Sisk noted that several Manhattan parishes have developed or are developing property transactions that involve the sale of either part or all of the property on which the current parish plant stands or part or all of the development rights, or air rights, above the existing parish facilities. Sisk said he has made clear that he has an aversion to selling property.

"Our parishes and the diocesan administration today own but a small fraction of the real estate that has been in our possession, and in general we are the poorer for it. First, we no longer have the real estate, and second, in every instance of which I am aware, we have not kept the proceeds of the sale intact as an endowment for more than one generation," Sisk wrote in his letter.

He wrote that the same two points concern him about sales of air rights or sales involving a parish's patrimony - the land on which the church, parish house and, possibly, the rectory sit, or the development rights over that property.

Air rights involve the unused, zoned air space above a building. Developers can build taller buildings by buying the space over lower buildings. A United Methodist congregation on Park Avenue in Manhattan recently sold its air rights for $30 million.

Sisk wrote that he is worried that once the fixed asset of real estate becomes the liquid asset of money, it is spent and spent immediately. "When the real estate market is going up so fast and when at least some indices of church life in some parishes are stagnant or in decline, the proceeds of property sales are particularly at risk of being spent down," he wrote.

He and the Standing Committee are trying to assure the preservation of the proceeds of patrimonial property sales by asking that parishes agree to invest them in the diocese's Parish Endowment Management Service "so the funds can't be overdrawn, and the principal thereby dissipated, without the consent of the parties that had to approve the sale," Sisk wrote.

Sisk called the February 16 meeting to air questions and concerns raised by the request "and to explore any other options that will be both practical to administer over decades and effective in preserving these assets for succeeding generations," he said in his letter.


OREGON: Armed Forces Bishop Burgreen dies at 81

[SOURCE: The Living Church] The Rt. Rev. Charles L. Burgreen, retired bishop suffragan of the Armed Forces, died January 20 at age 81 in 
Oregon. He had been diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer just a week earlier.

Born in West Virginia, Burgreen followed his father into the ministry, attending Maryville College (Tennessee) and the School of  Theology, University of the South. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1946 and to the priesthood in 1948. He served a curacy at Holy 
Trinity, Riviera Beach, Florida, from 1946-48, and served from 1948-51 as priest in charge at two parishes in the Diocese of Central 
Florida: St. Mark’s, Haines City, and St. Alban’s, Auburndale.

In 1973 he moved to New York to serve as executive assistant to the Bishop of the Armed Forces at the Episcopal Church Center, serving in that capacity for five years. He was consecrated bishop in 1978, and served as suffragan bishop until his retirement in 1989. He also served as national chaplain of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.

Burgreen is survived by his wife of 57 years, Helen; daughters Amy Freed and Beth Stuhlman; four grandchildren and many great-

His funeral will be held January 26 at 4 p.m. at St. Mark’s, Medford, Oregon.


SOUTHERN VIRGINIA: "Interim interim" bishop chosen

[SOURCE: Diocese of Southern Virginia] The Rt. Rev. Robert H. Johnson has been selected by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Southern Virginia to become the diocese's interim bishop.

The diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. David C. Bane Jr., announced on October 1 his intention to retire at the 2006 Annual Council, set to be held February 10-12.

Bane was consecrated bishop coadjutor on September 6, 1997 and became the ninth bishop diocesan upon the retirement of the Rt. Rev. Frank H. Vest in June 1998.

Problems, including questions of management style, in the diocese during the past several years culminated at the 2005 Annual Council in February with the adoption of a resolution that called upon Bane to request that the Presiding Bishop appoint three bishops to evaluate diocesan programs and relationships and recommend steps to move the ministry of the diocese forward.

The report by bishops Gordon Scruton of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, Chilton Knudsen of Maine and Charles Jenkins of Louisiana recommended, among other things, a three-year interim with the search for a new bishop to begin in the third year "to allow for the grace of an interim period to unfold fully."

Johnson will serve as what the Rev. Charles Joy, rector of St. Andrew's Church in Norfolk and a member of the Standing Committee called the "Interim Interim" from the conclusion of Annual Council in February until at least the middle of July, except for a period in late March or early April when he has a prior commitment.

"Bishop Johnson is an experienced leader who will provide a 'non-anxious' presence as we begin this next phase in our transition," Joy said.

Bane commented that "it has been a pleasure to know and work with Bishop Johnson during my time in the House of Bishops. He is highly respected throughout the church and, I am sure, will be a good pastor as you continue the transition process."

Johnson, the fifth bishop of the 111-year-old diocese of Western North Carolina, was elected Bishop Coadjutor in November 1998 and consecrated March 11, 1989. He became the diocesan January 1, 1990 and retired in September 2004 after almost 17 years of service.

In the wider church, Johnson served as president of the Province IV (southeastern U. S.) Bishops and president of the Presiding Bishop's Council of Advice and was a member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council. He has served on the Total Ministry Task Force, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Church Deployment Board and on the leadership team for New Bishops/Spouses Conference.


WASHINGTON: Commemoration in Lesser Feasts contemplated for Supreme Court justice

[SOURCE: ENS] Members of a congregation where the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall worshipped are asking the Diocese of Washington to call for including him in the Episcopal calendar of saints.

Marshall, who died in 1993, was a towering figure in the civil rights movement and the first black justice to sit on the nation's highest court.

Members of St. Augustine's Church in Washington, D.C., have submitted a resolution to the diocese's convention set for January 27-28 that would have the diocese ask the 2006 General Convention to place Marshall's name in "Lesser Feasts and Fasts," the church's calendar of saints.

"His Christian faith was deep inside his being and it was this faith which was the foundation and source of his energetic pursuit of justice," the Rev. Thomas Smith, retired rector of St. Augustine's, told the Associated Press.

Among other contemporary Episcopal saints are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Florence Nightingale and Enmegahbowh, the first recognized Native American Episcopal priest.

Marshall, the grandson of a freed slave who fought in the Union army and later ran a grocery store in Baltimore, Maryland, was born in Baltimore in 1908. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and law school at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

In 1936 Charles Hamilton Houston, chief counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), called him to come to New York to be his deputy. Four years later the Legal Defense Fund, dedicated to civil rights advocacy and litigation, appointed Marshall as its first director.

He spent thirty years crisscrossing the South, filing lawsuits on behalf of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. On more than one occasion, lynch mobs sought to hang him. In 1954 he headed a team of lawyers and successfully argued the Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court, overturning centuries of discrimination in education.

President John Kennedy appointed him to the federal bench in 1961. President Lyndon Johnson nominated him as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1967.

Marshall was a very active member of St. Philip's Church in New York City's Harlem. He was on the vestry (1957-82), and served as senior warden and a deputy to the 1964 General Convention. When the Marshall family moved to Washington, D.C., they joined St. Augustine's Church where his widow, Cissy, is still a very active member.

Marshall believed very strongly in the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. Consequently, according to the information filed in support of the diocesan resolution, once he joined the Supreme Court, he attended church very infrequently. Concerned that he would develop partisan political views which might affect his judgment, he ceased voting in local and national elections.

However, the resolution's information states, that Cissy Marshall has often said, "it was his deep faith in God and the teachings of our church that gave him the strength and courage to seek equal justice for all, always doing the best he could with what he had."

Criteria for Episcopal sainthood, according to the guidelines in "Lesser Feasts and Fasts," include heroic, loving and joyous faith in confessing Christ "even to the point of risking one's life," love, work "for the good of others," service to others for Christ's sake, demonstrated devotion to regular individual and communal prayer, and recognition of the faithful beyond the person's local community.

"Lesser Feasts and Fasts" also notes a resolution of the 1958 Lambeth Conference stating that adding a person to the calendar of saints ought to be "expressed over a reasonable period of time." Generally, this has been seen as two generations or 50 years after the person's death, according to "Lesser Feasts and Fasts."

Additions to "Lesser Feasts and Fasts" require the approval of two consecutive meetings of Convention. When names receive the first convention's approval, they are normally added to "Lesser Feasts and Fasts" on a trial basis for the next three years. The calendar's guideline call for proposals to add names to come to the chair of the church's Standing Liturgical Commission no less than 18 months before the next General Convention.