Skip to comments.DEPO Working in Rhode Island
Posted on 07/13/2005 5:39:30 PM PDT by sionnsar
The House of Bishops plan for Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) has received near universal condemnation from those who are in serious theological disagreement with their diocesan bishop, but the proposal is nearly identical to a long-standing one in the Diocese of Rhode Island that has been widely praised. The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf believes she enjoys relatively good relations with the handful of conservative parishes and clergy in her diocese because she has created space so that they can honor their beliefs.
Every group in the Church that feels alienated needs to be able to connect with others of like mind, said the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf. Here in Rhode Island there are not too many parishes that would sympathize with the theology espoused by the [Anglican Communion] Network. I could understand why they would want to connect with them.
Last spring when the New England Convocation of the Network met in Rhode Island, Bishop Wolf said she offered to greet participants at the start, but only if her presence would not cause controversy. After consulting with the conference organizers, she was assured she would be welcome.
I wanted to show that I respected them and their need to be in relationship with others like them, she said. I didnt stay to spy on them. There has got to be room for a variety of opinions on [human sexuality]. This controversy is not likely to be solved any time soon.
Soon after she was consecrated Bishop of Rhode Island in 1996, Bishop Wolf said she met collegially with two rectors who were opposed to women bishops on theological grounds. The three were already acquainted with each other, having started their ministries in the same deanery and that alleviated some fears. Bishop Wolf recalls talking things out at that first meeting and then together working out a pastoral arrangement that has endured.
The agreement on visitations states that the visiting bishop must be a member in good standing of the Episcopal Churchs House of Bishops, that the choice of visiting bishop should be worked out between the bishop and parish, that Bishop Wolf would initiate the invitation, and that relations remain cordial between her and the dissenting clergy and parishes.
There is one Forward in Faith parish where Bishop Wolf said she has never made a visitation, but she has been invited to visit that parish seven or eight times during the past nine years.
Im willing to go there under whatever circumstances we can work out, she said. I have real affection for these priests and I believe they do for me. We do agree when it comes to spirituality and the importance of Christ in our lives. Weve shared at some wonderful levels.
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