Washington Bishop John Chane has appointed Edward Salmon, the retiring bishop of South Carolina, to provide "supplemental episcopal oversight" to All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
According to a diocesan news release, Chane said he was "attempting to maintain the highest degree of communion possible with All Saints, in spite of theological differences between the diocese and the substantial majority of the parish."
"Under this arrangement, Bishop Salmon has agreed to visit the parish from time to time, to confirm on my behalf and to supervise the process of discernment of individuals who wish to explore their potential call to ordination," Chane wrote in a letter to All Saints parishioners dated October 23.
"I will continue to make canonical visitations to the Parish, of course, and work with candidates for ordination under Bishop Salmon's oversight," Chane wrote.
All Saints belongs to the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (NACDP), which is also known as the Anglican Communion Network. The Rev. Al Zadig Jr., rector of All Saints, is a member of the group's steering committee, according to the Washington news release.
The Diocese of South Carolina is listed on NACDP’s website as one of the group’s 13 founding dioceses. The group claims a theological disagreement with the Episcopal Church, especially with the 2003 General Convention’s consent to the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.
Chane said he has "long respected" Salmon, and has developed a warm relationship with him during their service together in the House of Bishops.
"I believe you will find him to be a reconciling figure in your midst and I bid you to welcome him to your community," he wrote to parishioners.
Salmon also stressed the importance of his relationship with Chane. "It has put me in a place where I can be of help and pastoral support to both the parish and the bishop of Washington," he said in the release.
"This decision by Bishop Chane simply reflects the open recognition in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies at General Convention 2006 that ‘we are two [theological] minds within one body,'" Zadig said in the release. "The events on the international and national stage are now playing out on the local level. Despite all that, this generous act by Bishops Chane and Salmon will help us continue a thriving, growing and loving orthodox ministry in Washington."
The two bishops will hold a meeting at All Saints at 4 p.m. on October 29.
The arrangement for "supplemental episcopal oversight" appears to be a variation on the provision of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) developed by the House of Bishops in March 2004 to accommodate congregations that, due to theological differences, do not believe they can "receive appropriate pastoral care" from their diocesan bishop. The bishop delegates another mutually-agreed upon bishop to provide pastoral care.
Read the original DEPO plan.