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INDIANAPOLIS: Bishop issues temporary license for Springfield priest

INDIANAPOLIS: Bishop issues Temporary license for Springfield priest

When the inevitable telephone call from the Bishop of Indianapolis finally came, the Rev. Robert Todd Giffin feared the worst. He suspected that the Rt. Rev. Catherine M. Waynick had learned that with the full authority and approval of the Bishop of Springfield, Fr. Giffin was going to be offering pastoral care to Episcopalians within Bishop Waynicks diocese who no long er recognized her as their spiritual leader.

The call itself was anticlimactic. After a cordial 30-minute conversation in which a number of nuances were explained, Bishop Waynick granted Fr. Giffin a license to officiate in her diocese for the next 12 months.

I think they are in a hard place, Bishop Waynick said. They clearly want to remain within the Anglican tradition and yet they are completely unwilling to affirm the New Hampshire consecration.

The they to which Bishop Waynick referred is otherwise known as Faithful Anglicans in the Heartland (FAITH). Comprised primarily of former members of three parishes within the Diocese of Indianapolis and one from the Diocese of Kentucky, the group has been averaging 60 members a week while meeting in a motel conference room in Evansville, Ind. Fr. Giffin, who

was recently ordained and installed by Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield as priest-in-charge of two small congregations St. Alban's, Olney, and St. Mary's, Robinson, Ill. said he is an Indianapolis native and continues to live in Indiana. He commutes two hours by car because his wife's employment requires the couple to reside there. He learned of FAITH by reading a newspaper article in The Evansville Courier & Press which reported that the group had recently bid $150,000 to buy a former Presbyterian church in Evansville.

After meeting with the leadership team of FAITH, Fr. Giffin agreed to allow them to transfer their baptismal membership records to his congregation in Robinson. Bishop Beckwith told The Living Church the dioceses of Indianapolis, Kentucky and Springfield adjoin near Evansville, and that his clergy frequently make visits to parishioners whose physical location at the time of the call may be in another diocese. Bishop Beckwith does not believe a license to officiate is necessary in order to make a hospital call, nor does he believe that FAITH required one. However, he added that he was grateful to Bishop Waynick for including Fr. Giffin in the Indianapolis clerical directory.

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