STATEMENT OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE
DIOCESE OF WESTERN LOUISIANA
This 14th day of April, 2008.
We, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Western Louisiana, make this statement that we do not recognize the depositions of Bishops Schofield and Cox as having had the requisite canonical votes necessary for the deposition of a bishop. We would refer the Church to the March 27, 2008 letter from the Standing Committee and Bishop of South Carolina to the Presiding Bishop, which we believe to be correct in its recitation of the applicable canons and their history.
The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church have been held up by some church leaders as part of the way forward for our broken church, in that these governing documents provide a procedural basis for our common life together. One of the main justifications for the actions taken at General Convention 2003 regarding the consents to the Bishop of New Hampshire was that the Diocese of New Hampshire had followed the canonical process in electing a bishop. We also note that the Diocese of South Carolina was held to an exacting standard in obtaining consents for the consecration of Bishop Mark Lawrence, while such exacting standards as to form of consents have not been applied to any other Episcopal election to our knowledge.
However, such documents cannot provide the basis for our common life when they are ignored for expediency’s sake. Selective enforcement of canonical requirements breeds mistrust in the church which can preclude reconciliation. Moreover, we find that the uncanonical actions taken in the matter of the depositions of Bishops Cox and Schofield erode confidence in the church and its canonical processes and delegitimize subsequent actions taken by the Presiding Bishop and others in attempting to reorganize the Diocese of San Joaquin.
We call upon all in authority in the church, including ourselves, to follow the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in decision making.
Adopted unanimously April 14, 2008, with a motion that the same be sent to:
The Presiding Bishop
Episcopal Life Online
The Living Church
Alive (Robert Harwell, Ed.)
Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina
Endorsed by Bishop MacPherson On April 15, 2008
UPDATE: The Diocesan Council expressed its support by unanimous resolution for this statement by the Standing Committee on April 15, 2008.