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Presiding Bishop "Deposes" Two Orthodox Episcopal Bishops

Presiding Bishop "Deposes" Two Orthodox Episcopal Bishops

By David W. Virtue

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori made it official and "deposed" The Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney, Bishop of Quincy (ret.) and The Rt. Rev. David Bane Bishop of Southern Virginia (resigned).

In letters to the two bishops released to VOL, Jefferts Schori said the bishops have renounced their orders under Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church. With the advice and consent of the Advisory Council to the Presiding Bishop, she has removed them from the Ordained Ministry of this Church.

Both men deny they have renounced their orders or abandoned the communion of the church. Both bishops have been received into other Anglican jurisdictions. Bishop Bane has been received as a bishop in the Anglican Communion of North America (ACNA) through the graces of The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh. Bishop MacBurney is serving as assisting Bishop for the Anglican Diocese of Quincy.

Last fall, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori charged Bishop MacBurney with abandonment of communion and inhibited him for performing sacramental episcopal acts at an Anglican Church that formerly was part of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of San Diego.

Bishop Bane was forced into stepping down as Bishop of Southern Virginia with promises that his skills would be used elsewhere. He got a "Dear John" letter from Mrs. Jefferts Schori saying that the church could not use his gifts and that he should seek counseling. She accused him of renouncing his orders.

He wrote VOL at that time, "I have renounced nothing. I retired from the Episcopal Church, a bishop in good standing. She says I can go hunt on my own. I have done so, and I am very happy in the new ocean of God's love that I now find myself."

In an e-mail to VOL this week, Bishop Bane said that while the action of Jefferts Schori comes as no surprise, "I feel the two of us have been thrown into the 'outer darkness'.

"Actually it feels to me more like being thrown into the light, and I think this whole thing is getting downright silly. For the record, my letter to the Presiding Bishop has no mention of any desire to renounce anything, and certainly not Holy Orders. It is almost unbelievable arrogance for her to tell me that I am now "deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations." Did the Episcopal Church endow me with gifts and spiritual authority? I remember the Services of Ordination as Deacon, Priest, and Bishop, but what took place there was that a small piece of the Body of Christ recognized those God-given gifts and authority and wanted to use them in that Church. As for no longer utilizing these gifts and spiritual authority, we shall see about that."

Bane said that some of his friends have proved him wrong in all of the political maneuvering regarding his departure from the diocese. "After I had sent my letter explaining my situation to the Presiding Bishop (again, not renouncing anything), I told my friends that I did believe she was a caring person and I wagered that she would make a personal call to me as a fellow Christian and bishop to express concern and care, despite what might have to happen 'officially.'

"I am glad we did not bet anything significant because I would have lost. That was a very surprising and eye-opening experience for me and this latest act on her part is just more of the same.

"It is quite clever of the PB and her advisors to utilize Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 instead of Title IV, Canon 9, Section 1, which has to do with 'The Abandonment of the Communion of This Church by a Bishop.' Title IV stipulates that this is the case when (ii) there is "formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the same, and (iii) by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than this Church or another Church not in communion with this Church."

"The problem for the PB is that this Canon requires a full and open process of Inhibition and Deposition which includes the entire House of Bishops. And to be clear, I did accept an appointment to serve the Gospel as a member of the Province of the Southern Cone. Another problem for the PB here is that the Episcopal Church is in communion with other Provinces in the Anglican Communion who are also in communion with four dioceses that were once in The Episcopal Church."

"What in the world happened to gentleness, forbearance, forgiveness, humility, compassion, and love? Why is it impossible for there to be any expression of these gifts even in difficult times among Christians? I just don't get it, and this approach is becoming much more dangerous and destructive than the leaders of TEC seem to understand. After all of this I still have not received a single personal contact from the Presiding Bishop or any other brother/sister bishop, and there is no place in my understanding of the Christian Faith to put that. I am sad to be thrown out of the church I have always loved. Thank God for the faithful loving people I have encountered in the Anglican Church in North America. May Christ's will be done in and through all of us in these strange times."

Bane signed his note, The Rt. Rev. David C. Bane, Jr., Grateful Bishop in the ACNA.

Bishop MacBurney is traveling and was not available for comment.


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