August 4, 2005
We, the undersigned bishops of The Episcopal Church USA reject as invalid the declaration of deposition by the Right Reverend Edwin M. Leidel, Junior, the Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan, against the Reverend Gene Geromel under Canon IV.10 [Of Abandonment of the communion by a priest or deacon]. We reject this deposition on its spiritual, moral and canonical content and find it reprehensible use of episcopal authority by a fellow bishop of this Church.
The inhibition and deposition of Father Geromel pronounced by Bishop Leidel contradicts the expectation of the Primates when a matter has been referred to the Panel of Reference. We find no restraint by Bishop Leidel "to those requesting a stay on any civil or ecclesiastical proceedings." [First Plenary Session -- Panel of Reference] Father Geromel has been deprived of due process, and has not been afforded any manner of appeal, which likewise occurred in the actions of the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania against Father David Moyer, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut against Father Mark Hansen. These actions are a deliberate misuse of Canon IV.10. We believe no credible case has been made that Father Geromel has "abandoned the communion of this church." The pattern of abuse of our canons is alarming.
As a witness to our solidarity with Father Geromel, and in keeping with the spirit of the Windsor Report, and as witnesses against this injustice which compromises the bonds of affection as of August 4, 2005, the Reverend Gene Geromel is granted license to function in each of our dioceses as a priest in good standing, and we welcome him to continue his service as a brother priest of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Jr., Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Ft. Worth
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. David J. Bena, Suffragan Bishop of Albany
The Rt. Rev. Stephen H. Jecko, Assisting Bishop of Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney, Diocese of Quincy (Retired)
The Rt. Rev. Donald J. Parsons, Diocese of Quincy (Retired)
The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assisting Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. William C. Wantland, Diocese of Eau Claire (Retired)