Skip to comments.Bishop Beisner Spins the Illegal Defrocking Of Fr. Miller
Posted on 01/21/2007 5:25:57 PM PST by sionnsar
January 11, 2007
Dear Friends in Christ:
Grace and peace be with you.
Shortly before his retirement, Bishop Lamb removed our colleague David Miller from the rolls of Episcopal clergy under Canon III.9.8. I am advised that such action is simply the best canonical solution our system has to offer when an ordained member, such as David+, has announced that he has left the Episcopal Church by his own voluntary action.
In this case David+ announced his departure in a letter to Bishop Lamb and me, dated December 17, 2006. The letter was forwarded by an attorney representing David+ and St. Johns. The attorney in his letter reiterated that the action to leave the Episcopal Church and to sever all ties with it had already been taken.
Removal from our rolls simply acknowledges that departure. It means an exit from the Episcopal Church. No more, no less. It is not a deposition. It is not a defrocking. It is not an inhibition or any kind of disciplinary action. It is not intended as a punishment.
Our brother David+ declared in his letter that he had severed all ties with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Northern California. That is exactly what Bishop Lambs action has accomplished. He honored Fr. Millers voluntary action of leaving the Episcopal Church. Under the Canons, accepting such a voluntary action results in a deprivation of the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in Ordination to function as an Ordained Minister in The Episcopal Church.
David+ is now free to follow his call unrestrained by his obligations under the Ministerial office of the Episcopal Church. Accepting his voluntary action and freeing him from the restraints of this Church makes no statement as to his past sacramental or pastoral ministry. It is not a statement about his character, his faithfulness, or any such thing. It simply says that he no longer has any authority as a priest in the Episcopal Church, to whose doctrine, discipline, and worship you and I have promised to be loyal, and of which David+, by his own choice, is no longer a member.
We all do well to remember that David+ made that choice in spite of years of extraordinary patience and pastoral sensitivity shown to him and to St. Johns by Bp. Lamb and this Diocese, including offering to arrange alternative pastoral oversight (from Bishops Hughes and Little), offering reasonable and generous alternatives for the payment of withheld apportionment, and continuing to pay Fr. Millers insurance premiums, without full reimbursement from him.
Fr. Millers letter of December 17 requested Letters Dimissory under Canon III.94.(a) for a transfer to the Anglican Diocese of Argentina in the Province of the Southern Cone.
Having already left the Episcopal Church, David+ lacked standing to seek Letters Dimissory. Such a transfer simply is not an option. I have written this to you in the hope that it might help to clarify a situation that some might find confusing, and others, very distressing. I am personally deeply saddened that David+ felt it necessary to take this step. I ask and expect that each of us will keep David+, the people of St. Johns, our Diocese, and our beloved Episcopal Church in our prayers. Let us be patient and gentle with one another in this difficult time, as befits people who are very much in need of Gods grace and guidance, and who so very much need each other if we are to do Christs mission effectively in Northern California.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner
What Bishop Beisner is doing is trying to say that Fr. Miller left the Episcopal Church, when, in fact, he asked for letters dimissory to another Anglican Province. What does all this really mean? Northern California is not in Communion with the Southern Cone.
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