A PANEL of bishops in the US Episcopal Church is to decide how the Bishop of Albany, the Rt Revd William Love, is to be disciplined, after he refused to allow clerics in his diocese to officiate at same-sex marriages.
The Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Michael Curry, temporarily restricted Bishop Love’s ministry in January (News, 18 January), after Bishop Love wrote an open letter to his flock challenging the authority and legality of a recent General Convention resolution (News, 23 November 2018). The resolution requires that all bishops permit churches in their dioceses to hold same-sex marriages where it is legal under civil law.
Under the restriction, Bishop Love is “forbidden from participating in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage”, and cannot punish any cleric who chooses to officiate at a same-sex marriage.
Bishop Love appealed against the restriction, which he has agreed to abide by while the case is pending. Last week, the Title IV Reference Panel for the Discipline of Bishops — Bishop Curry; the President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, the Rt Revd Catherine Waynick; and the Bishop for Pastoral Development, the Rt Revd Todd Ousley — announced that it had voted to refer the case to a hearing panel. This was done under Canon IV.11.3.
A statement said: “Title IV is the section of the Episcopal Church’s Canons that addresses the grounds and processes for ‘ecclesiastical discipline’: a canonical process adopted by the Church to encourage accountability, reconciliation, and pastoral response when a member of its clergy (deacons, priests, or bishops) is accused of misconduct.”
Bishop Love said that he was grateful that his case had been expedited directly to the Hearing Panel.