Home > resolutions > Deputies say presiding bishop may retain diocesan seat

Deputies say presiding bishop may retain diocesan seat

The House of Deputies on Saturday took another step toward changing the church’s status quo when it adopted a resolution that permits the next presiding bishop, who will be elected in 2015, to remain a diocesan bishop. Canons currently require the presiding bishop to resign her or his seat upon assuming office.

Debate on resolution B013 centered on whether this action should take place now or wait for a larger discussion about restructuring that is being dealt with by the Committee on Structure.

In his blog, Deputy Drew Cauthorn from the Diocese of West Texas noted that “In and of itself, the resolution is not significant, but the debate was indeed significant.  Arguments that General Convention (GC) is too large a group to make significant decisions without further study, that the subject is too complicated for action at this GC, that GC should wait for three years to consider changes and that to take action before we knew what the future structure would look like is putting the cart before the horse were all loudly voted down. This House of Deputies wants change and it wants change now. I think that the only thing to temper the deputies desire for change, almost any change, will be the House of Bishops.”

What the resolution did, says Cauthorn, is merely remove the canonical requirement (Title I, Canon 2, Section 3(a) & (b))  that a presiding bishop must relinquish his or her diocesan jurisdiction upon assuming the office of presiding bishop.

The resolution’s explanation says this model of the presiding bishop relinquishing his or her diocesan office dates from the General Convention of 1947. “Deleting the canon that requires the presiding bishop to resign his or her diocese allows for the Joint Nominating Committee to imagine other models for the presiding bishop as part of the ongoing discussions of restructuring of the church.” Deleting the canon, notes the resolution explanation, does not mean that the next presiding bishop must remain in his or her diocese, but allows for that option.

The resolution now goes to the House of Bishops for their consideration.

The House of Deputies on Saturday also adopted other resolutions on a variety of topics:

D037 — asking the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider restoring nearly $3 million in funding for Christian formation and youth ministry, which had been cut in draft versions of the budget;

D042 — recommitting the church to protecting victims of human trafficking;

A114 — calling for increased funding for world missions;

A107 — designating the secretary of General Convention as the Convention’s official registrar;

A026 — directing the church’s chief operating officer to develop an information technology strategic plan for the staff of the Episcopal Church Center;

A035 — reaffirming the church’s commitment to interreligious engagement at all levels;

B017 — calling on the church to support the Diocese of Jerusalem’s Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza with fundraising and advocacy after the United Nations Relief and Works Agency cut its financial aid, slashing the hospital’s budget nearly in half.

Based on a report by Melodie Woerman for Episcopal News Service


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