Skip to comments.Maryland Episcopalians riled over national church posture
Posted on 01/21/2007 4:38:43 PM PST by sionnsar
BALTIMORE - Quo vadis, Maryland?
In the wake of two more Virginia Episcopalian congregations severing ties with the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) over interpretive issues of sexual morality and scriptural authority, it appears that a similar number of Maryland congregations are also reviewing their options.
Were waiting to see what the Episcopal Churchs final response is to remaining in this same position, said Father David Stenner, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Reisterstown, one of a group of dissenting parishes that agrees with the worldwide communions concerns in the matter.
The churches in Maryland [diocese] are meeting with our bishop, but were not planning anything at this time like what Virginia has done. ... We wish to remain a constituent member of the Anglican communion [and] were hoping that the Episcopal Church will respond to [that communions call to] remain true to the traditional teaching of the church, Stenner said.
What Virginia did, in votes in December and January, was see 11 Episcopal parishes disaffiliate with their diocese and the national primate in New York one of 38 worldwide Anglican provinces ruffled by, for one thing, the 2003 consecration of a gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire and join a U.S. mission organization under the primate of Nigeria, while claiming church property rights. Four other parishes had previously disaffiliated but made no property rights claims.
Stenner made it clear, however, that his group's ongoing talks which he considers encouraging with the Rt. Rev. John Rabb, bishop suffragan of the diocese of Maryland, were all that were on the table at the moment. Maryland state law is not clear, Stenner said of the property dispute matter, so we're not ready to go that far yet.
I am pleased with the direction these talks have taken, Rabb said in a prepared statement to The Baltimore Examiner. Each of these churches are committed members of the diocese.
But while encouraged by Rabbs openness to dissent, Father Terry Sweeney, rector of St. Timothys Episcopal Church in Catonsville, said he hopes Rabb who may not succeed diocesan Bishop Robert Ihloff will eventually embrace the dissenting position.
We have come to the end, Sweeney lamented, inasmuch as we have elected a noncelibate, openly gay man. ... There's really not much more that can happen. Weve recently consecrated a bishop thats been married three times. Weve done it all. Im not sure how much more can break.
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