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Diocesan Digest - September 21


The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Ihloff  

[Episcopal News Service] 
  • DALLAS: Via Media group will discuss Church-Communion relations
  • MARYLAND: Episcopal bishop sets retirement for April
  • NEW YORK:Episcopal AIDS group set to grant money for AIDS-related work
  • ROCHESTER: Congregation loses property case in court
  • TENNESSEE: Five men nominated as next bishop
  • SAN DIEGO: New rector assigned to St. John's, Fallbrook

DALLAS: Via Media group will discuss Church-Communion relations

[Source: Via Media-Dallas] Fort Worth-based writer, producer and commentator Katie Sherrod will give her reflections on the relationship between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion at a meeting of Via Media-Dallas at 7 p.m. October 1, at Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas. The event is free and open to the public.
A prize-winning journalist, Sherrod is active in the Episcopal Women's Caucus and winner of its 2006 Magdalene Award in recognition of her service to the church and others. She wrote and produced "Women of the Table," a documentary about the ministries of both lay and ordained women in the Episcopal Church. Married to an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth, she has written extensively about issues regarding the Episcopal Church and its relationship with the Anglican Communion.
Well-known to area residents through her commentaries in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News, Sherrod produced numerous documentaries for KERA-TV. She is also a regular contributor to The Witness magazine and Every Voice Network. She was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1987 and named Texas Woman of the Year in 1989.

Via Media – Dallas is a group of clergy and lay Episcopalians in the Diocese of Dallas that "advocates openness, balanced and accurate information, and clarity of thought about issues facing the Episcopal Church," according to its website. Members of Via Media-Dallas wish to remain a part of the Episcopal Church and its life and governance.

For more information visit

MARYLAND: Episcopal bishop sets retirement for April

[Source: Diocese of Maryland]

Maryland Bishop Robert W. Ihloff has written to the diocese announcing that he will retire on April 10, 2007.

"I am blessed with good health and considerable energy. There are many days when I feel I'd like to postpone the decision about retirement just a little longer. I enjoy what I do among you and feel much fulfilled in my vocation. Yet, I know in my heart this is a good decision and timely," he wrote in a letter, available at (

Ihloff wrote that he chose April so as to be able to "make the Holy Lenten journey" and to celebrate Easter one last time as the diocesan bishop. The April date allows him to participate in "a number of important meetings within the diocese and the larger church," he wrote.

He said he wanted the diocese's annual convention in May to look forward rather than say good-bye to him.

Ihloff and his wife, Nancy, will retire in Maryland, he wrote, "cherishing our relationships in new ways and celebrating the health and vitality of our beloved Episcopal Church here in Maryland."

Ihloff, 65, was ordained a deacon in 1967 and priested in 1968. He was consecrated as Maryland's bishop on October 21, 1995.

NEW YORK: Episcopal AIDS group set to grant money for AIDS-related work

[Source: Episcopal Response to AIDS] The board of directors of Episcopal Response to AIDS (ERA) on September 18 announced the charity's first ever request for proposals (RFP) from organizations serving people with HIV/AIDS in the greater New York area.

"We pray for our brothers and sisters who have perished from the pandemic as we also pray for all who minister to those living with HIV and AIDS," said Suzanne Culhane, chair of ERA. "Through the generosity of individual donors and the coming together of parishes throughout the Episcopal Diocese of New York, ERA will offer critical assistance to ministries that daily make a difference in the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, and face an ever-increasing demand for services and an ever-decreasing supply of funding."

ERA was formed in 2003 as a loose coalition of Episcopal churches in the Diocese of New York who agreed to do collaborative fundraising for HIV/AIDS-related services through the annual AIDS Walk New York, organized by Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). ERA's mission is to support, foster and financially enable HIV/AIDS ministries affiliated with Episcopal faith communities in the greater New York area. It gained 501(c)3 non-profit status earlier this year.

Supported exclusively by contributions to individuals walking with ERA in the annual AIDS Walk New York, ERA raised over $55,000 this year alone. As a "Community Partner" for the event, ERA is able to directly receive the funds it raises through the walk. This arrangement enables ERA to direct its resources as it sees fit to Episcopal communities of faith that offer ministries to people with HIV/AIDS. Reflecting the organization's core Christian values, ERA donates a 10% tithe to GMHC in gratitude for their work that makes ERA's mission possible.

"ERA is a model AIDS Walk New York Community Partner," said Janet Weinberg, GMHC's managing director of development and legislative funding. "ERA has consistently shown over and over again through its ambitious fundraising efforts that it is an organization committed to caring for people with HIV and AIDS, and we're proud to work with them to bring critical HIV/AIDS services to all who need them in our communities. It takes all of the great work of our partners to tackle this devastating disease."

In 2006, ERA will make several grants of up to $5,000. Proposals must be submitted to ERA no later than October 20. Grant awards will be announced on December 1, World AIDS Day, with money distributed by January 1. Guidelines for proposals and applications for the grants can be downloaded at ERA's Web site:

"We're looking forward to reading creative ways in which people can stretch a relatively modest grant of $5,000 or so to help meet the needs of the people affected by HIV/AIDS who rely on them," Culhane said. "As ERA continues to grow, we look forward to being able to go even deeper with our funding."

ROCHESTER: Congregation loses property case in court

[Source: ENS] The New York State Supreme Court has decided in favor of the Diocese of Rochester in the issues surrounding the former All Saints' Church in Irondequoit.

The leadership of the former All Saints' Church has been ordered to turn over to the diocese all real and personal property, including church records on baptism, marriage, confirmation, death and membership.

The Irondequoit congregation has been at odds with the diocese over the 2003 ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. All Saints refused to pay the assessment that it owed the diocese, and continued to use the building after the congregation was declared extinct by the diocesan convention last fall.

The diocesan convention in November 2005 dissolved All Saints' "because of its refusal to live by the norms, or canons, of this diocese," according to a statement issued by the diocese in March.

"It continues to be a matter of sorrow to myself and diocesan leaders that this is the road that had to be taken. But I'm pleased that the court has ruled in support of the ministry of this diocese," said Bishop Jack McKelvey in a diocesan statement.

"The members of former All Saints' Church have always been free to leave the diocese and Episcopal Church but not to remain in diocesan property or take diocesan property with them," the statement said.

The statement noted that the ruling reinforced "an important principle," namely that all property and records of churches are held in trust by the parish for the diocese in which they exist, and the Episcopal Church.
State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Fisher handed down a summary judgment in favor of the diocese on September 13.

Members of the former congregation have since said that it had joined the Church of the Province of Uganda.

Those members have said they will appeal the ruling, "however, attorneys for the diocese are confident that the thorough and well reasoned decision from Judge Fisher will stand up on appeal," the statement said.

The diocese said it plans to "implement the decision in a cooperative manner."

TENNESSEE: Five men nominated as next bishop

[Source: Diocese of Tennessee]

The Episcopate Committee of the Diocese of Tennessee announced September 20 that it has nominated five men to succeed Bishop Bertram Herlong.

The nominees are:

  • the Rev. John L Bauerschmidt, 47, rector, Christ Church, Covington, Louisiana, Diocese of Louisiana;
  • the Rev. James L. Burns, 60, rector, Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York, Diocese of New York;
  • the Rev. Thack H. Dyson, 50, St. Paul's Church, Daphne, Alabama, Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast;
  • the Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson, Jr., 44, Christ Church Parish, Pensacola, Florida, Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; and
  • the Rev. Carter N. Paden, 53, rector, St. Peter's Episcopal Church and School, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Diocese of East Tennessee.

Nominations by petition will be accepted until noon on October 4.

More information about the nominees is available at May 6 ballots are available. View the results of the March 25 Tennessee balloting and the March 18 ballots

Herlong reconfigured the Episcopate Committee in May and charged the members with gathering new names and offering a slate of three to five names.

The slate announced September 20 does not include any of the original nominees: the Rev. Canon Brian Cox, 55, rector, Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California; the Rev. Dr. Winston B. Charles, 57, rector, Christ Church, Raleigh, North Carolina (nominated by petition); the Rev. Canon James B. Magness, 59, canon to the ordinary, Diocese of Kentucky; and the Rev. Canon Neal O. Michell, 53, canon missioner for strategic development, Diocese of Dallas.

In the Diocese of Tennessee, it is not unusual for bishop elections 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 percent) of their votes in favor of a single nominee on the same ballot.

Herlong intended to retire at the end of this year. The coadjutor, when elected, will become the 11th bishop of the diocese.

SAN DIEGO: New rector assigned to St. John's, Fallbrook

[Source: Village News] The Rev. Wayne Sanders has been assigned as the new rector of Saint John's Episcopal Church in Fallbrook, California.

After being ordained as priest in 1966 and serving in the United States Navy as a chaplain until 1974, Sanders joined the newly formed Diocese of San Diego as the headmaster/assistant of All Saints Episcopal School in Hillcrest, remaining there until 1978. In 1978, he was called to be the vicar of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in University City, where he remained for the next 28 years until his retirement last year. He has since served as the canon for ecumenical and inter-religious affairs for the diocese of San Diego.

The majority of the members of St. John's announced in July that they had decided to align with the Anglican Province of Uganda.

A spokesman for San Diego Bishop James Mathes told the Union-Tribune newspaper that Mathes sent a letter July 18 to diocesan clergy expressing his dismay. Mathes also announced that St. John's rector, the Rev. Donald Kroeger, has been suspended as a priest in good standing in the diocese.

Mathes wrote that he went to see Kroeger on July 17 and the priest denied reports that a secession vote was planned. Kroeger acknowledged July 18 to the newspaper that he misled the bishop.

"I did not feel free to tell him anything so that he could interrupt the free ability of the members of this church to discuss and decide," he said.

Sanders stated that he is "looking forward to growing St. John's Episcopal Church and serving the Lord in our faith community."