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Presiding Bishop accepts renunciations of Bane and MacBurney

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced on June 12 that she had accepted the renunciations of David C. Bane and Edward MacBurney.

Both men told the Presiding Bishop by letter in March that they intended to affiliate with another Anglican province, according to a release issued by Jefferts Schori's office.
 
Bane is the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia and MacBurney is the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Quincy.
 
The two were not deposed and the actions do not affect their standings in other provinces, the release said.

"They are being removed from ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church 'for causes which do not affect (their) moral character,' " the release said, citing the words of the church's voluntary renunciation canon (III.12.7(a)).
 
Jefferts Schori notified Bane and MacBurney on June 12, the release said, noting that the actions came "with the full support of her Council of Advice, and under the authority of, Title III Canon 12 section 7 of The Episcopal Church."

During a news conference after the House of Bishops meeting in March, Jefferts Schori had expressed "great sadness" when asked about a March 11 letter by Bane, notifying her that he had joined the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and intended to serve as an assistant bishop in the breakaway Diocese of Pittsburgh. He also works the bishop-in-residence at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where he lives.

Bane resigned from Southern Virginia on February 11, 2006 after years of division in the diocese culminated with a report from three Episcopal Church bishops said that the diocese needed "deep systemic change."

Bane said in an interview with Episcopal News Service that the invitation to work in the Diocese of Pittsburgh came to him after he tried to find a way to minister in the Episcopal Church, but was rebuffed at every turn. "I was not wanted in ministry no matter how hard I tried," he said.

Bane added that he "never desired" to leave the Episcopal Church and is sad and disappointed both with his status and with the divisions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

"I don't have any big vendetta or anger," he said. "I am just sad and disappointed."

The "most confusing thing," Bane said, has been the "zero contact" he has had from any member of the House of Bishops as he faced the prospect of finding a new ministry after leaving Southern Virginia. "There must be something about this I don't understand," he said.

Bane said he is now a member of the Southern Cone but is awaiting the outcome of what is being called the June 22-25 "inaugural provincial assembly" of the proposed Anglican Church in North America to see what role he will have to play in that organization.

The meeting is due to ratify a proposed constitution and set of canons. Deposed Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, whom Bane is currently assisting, is expected to become the group's archbishop.

The entity is proposed as an alternative Anglican Communion province in North America for those Anglicans who disagree with the theological and biblical interpretation stances of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. While the Anglican Church in North America has not begun the process of requesting recognition from the Anglican Communion, the conservative Anglican leaders and former Episcopalians who make up the GAFCON/FCA Primates' Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference said in April that they recognize the entity "as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA."

MacBurney's renunciation follows a series of events over the last two years that put him at odds with the Episcopal Church. In September 2008, the Presiding Bishop announced that she had removed the inhibition she had place on MacBurney earlier in the year after he had he conducted confirmations in the Diocese of San Diego without the permission of Bishop Jim Mathes. She admonished MacBurney to not make any other such visits and to apologize in writing to Mathes "for not respecting his authority as Bishop of that Diocese."

Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables had invited MacBurney to perform confirmations at an Episcopal congregation in the Diocese of San Diego that claimed to be affiliated with the Southern Cone. MacBurney agreed and did so in June 2007 at Holy Trinity Parish.

MacBurney could not be reached for comment.

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

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