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Diocesan Digest - March 23

[Episcopal News Service] 

Cause of Juneau fire still under investigation
CALIFORNIA: Commission calls for immigration reform
PENNSYLVANIA: Special budget convention to meet
SAN DIEGO: Community Services names acting director
SAN DIEGO: Convention resolution text corrected
TENNESSEE: Bishop election continues

ALASKA: Cause of Juneau fire still under investigation

[SOURCE: Associated Press, KTVA] Investigators say that a blaze that 
destroyed Juneau's second oldest church, Church of the Holy Trinity, was suspicious and possible suspects have been identified The early-morning fire burned the 110-year-old National Historic Landmark building to its foundation and destroyed an adjacent house March 12.

Fire Marshall Rich Etheridge says few details can be released since the department is still investigating the fire. Juneau's fire chief says the fire appears to have started in a boat parked in front of the house. The motorboat parked between the two buildings was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The fire spread from the boat into the attics of the church and house. No injuries were reported in the fire.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Nativity provided St. Ann's Parish Hall for the Holy Trinity congregation to gather. St. Ann's overlooks the site where the church buildings once stood. Holy Trinity was insured, but church officials say insurance will not cover all reconstruction or replacement costs. Construction began on the all-wood building in May 1896, and the first services were held July 26, 1896. The parish has established a fund for those who wish to help: Holy Trinity Restoration Fund, 411 Gold St., Juneau, AK 99801.

CALIFORNIA: Commission calls for immigration reform

[SOURCE: Diocese of California] The Diocese of California's Latino Commission has called on Congress to enact immigration reform modeled on the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. The act, sponsored by senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), is "the best solution to fix our broken immigration system," according to a resolution passed by the commission March 17.

The resolution calls on Congress to include in any reform legislation a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S. and "more opportunities for immigrants to come here legally and work or reunite with their families."

The commission also said it rejects legislation that would criminalize undocumented immigrants or those who provide humanitarian services to them.

PENNSYLVANIA: Special budget convention to meet

[SOURCE: Diocese of Pennsylvania] Delegates to the Diocese of  Pennsylvania's 222nd convention will re-convene March 24 to consider approving a new version of the 2006 program budget. On November 5,2005, the convention rejected a proposed $4.8 million 2006 program budget by a vote of 205-175. The use of unrestricted net assets in the budget was a major controversy.

In a related matter, Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. has posted a letter on the diocesan website ( reaffirming his pledge "to enter into a rigorous long-term process to address diocesan issues and work for reconciliation." Pennsylvania's Standing Committee voted unanimously on January 24 to request the bishop's retirement or resignation by March 31. A letter from the committee said the request followed "years of repeated attempts at reasoning with the Bishop about fiscal management and trust matters.” Bennison refused the request.

A report issued March 7 by Bishop Clayton Matthews of the Episcopal Church's Office of Pastoral Development and Woodriff Sprinkel, LCSW ( outlines the conflicts in the diocese. Matthews and Sprinkle met February 21 with Bennison, various diocesan leaders and a group called Concerned Pennsylvania Episcopalians.

Their report concludes that they "cannot recommend any process of conciliation or any 'rigorous long-term process for addressing problems.' If the Standing Committee and the Bishop still insist that some process be devised for them to address the issues that have been raised and/or to work on terms of separation through formal mediation, then the Presiding Bishop's Office will assist as long as the ground rules are defined by outside persons to insure that neither party tries to control the process. The expense of this work would be solely that of the Diocese, and the choice of the mediation firm would be that of the Presiding Bishop's Office."

SAN DIEGO: Community Services names acting director

[SOURCE: Episcopal Community Services] Episcopal Community Services (ECS) board chairman Bishop James Mathes announced March 20 the appointment of James "Jake" Young as ECS' acting executive director. Young has been interim chief financial officer since September. Mathes, bishop of San Diego, also announced the retirement of interim chief executive officer Elmer Lundy, who has guided the organization since the departure of the long-time executive director, the Rev. Amanda May. Lundy had been planning to retire prior to May's departure and agreed to become interim CEO until new leadership was found.

"The board has been impressed with Jake's leadership since he came on board," Mathes said in a news release. "He is the right person to lead ECS into the future."

"ECS seized the opportunity presented during the transition to new leadership to examine all aspects of ECS activities and to begin restructuring them in a way that creates the transparency, efficiency and accountability necessary in today's social service environment," Mathes said. "Jake has been instrumental in this process." Young is a former principal at Deloitte and Touche, and has served clients in resolving their financial and management issues. Prior to joining Deloitte, he was the vice president of finance at the Pacific Stock Exchange. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Virginia, and an MBA in finance from the University of California. Episcopal Communit Services was founded in 1927 and serves thousands of people daily. The organization has an annual budget of $18 million and more than 40 sites reaching from San Ysidro to Palm Springs. Services include providing shelter, food, education, training, and counseling to 3,500 homeless and nearly homeless men, women and children living in poverty every day. All ECS services are provided without regard to religious affiliation.

SAN DIEGO: Convention resolution text corrected

[SOURCE: ENS] In a story in the February 16 Diocesan Digest, ENS reported that the Diocese of San Diego had passed a resolution that endorsed the Windsor Report and pledged "to comply fully with its proposals and expectations." The story was based on information posted on the diocese's website at the time. The current form of the resolution posted on the website shows the "and pledges to comply fully with its proposals and expectations" struck from the resolution. The full text of the current form of the resolution can be read at by scrolling down to "060-1: Endorsing the Windsor Report." Note: the "Click here for Resolution Text" at the top of the web page gives the text of the original proposed resolution.

TENNESSEE: Bishop election continues

[SOURCE: Diocese of Tennessee] Lay delegates and clergy will return to Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Nashville March 24 to continue the process of electing a successor to Bishop Bertram Herlong. The electing convention recessed March 17 after failing to elect a bishop with 14 ballots. It is not unusual for bishop elections in the diocese to require a number of ballots. Herlong was elected after 15 ballots and it took 39 ballots to elect his predecessor One reason for the length of the process is that both the lay order and the clergy order must cast two-thirds (66.7%) of their votes in favor of a single nominee on the same ballot. The diocesan lay order has 131 delegates. There are 89 in the clergy order.

The nominees are:

  • The Rev. Canon Brian Cox, 55, rector, Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California
  • The Rev. Canon James B. Magness, 59, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Kentucky
  • The Rev. Canon Neal O. Michell, 53, canon missioner for strategic development, Diocese of Dallas
  • The Rev. Dr. Winston B. Charles, 57, rector, Christ Church, Raleigh, North Carolina (nominated by petition)

The results of the 14 ballots can be seen at For additional information about the nominees, go to Herlong retires at the end of 2006. The bishop-elect will become the 11th bishop of Tennessee.