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'Irresponsible ... unpastoral ... scandalous'

A Province III meeting was held earlier this week in West Virginia. Bishop Paul and Archdeacon Stringfellow were in attendance to represent the Diocese of Bethlehem.

A resolution that passed a few months ago, at the Province III Synod 2010, April 26, had registered "deep concern and distress to Executive Council [of the Episcopal Church] with the method and presentation of the Triennial Budget at the General Convention at Anaheim, California, in July 2009 and the manner in which staff was released during Convention." 

An accompanying explanation noted that "the fact that the draft budget presented in April was reduced by 23% and not presented to the House of Deputies until the finished budget was brought to the floor bordered on the irresponsible. The manner of the release of Episcopal Church Center Staff during the Convention itself was at best unpastoral and at the worst scandalous."

In a July 9 note to "Bishops, Council Members and Friends" of Province III, province coordinator Barbara Seras shared a June 30 response to the resolution from Winnie Varghese, chair of the Executive Council Networking and Advocacy Committee.

"I want to first reassure you that many share the feelings expressed in the resolution," Varghese wrote. "I also want to let you know what steps are being taken the The Executive Council to insure that we insure a working environment for Church Center staff consistent with our expressed values. We are in the process, through the Governance and Administration for Ministry committee of Council, of reviewing personnel and contracting policies at The Church Center. That work should be reported out at the next meeting, which will set the stage for the next steps. In preparation for that meeting, in October in Salt Lake City, I will ask the chairs of the other committees if they would join me in a conversation about the continuing role of Council in oversight of policies governing The Church Center or if they feel these issues are being addressed by work they are doing. I don't actually know what other work will be concluded at that point, and what will be left to do, so I'm not sure what will come of that conversation, but I think it is the next step."

There are nine provinces in the Episcopal Church. Province III includes the thirteen dioceses of Bethlehem, Central Pennsylvania, Delaware, Easton, Maryland, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Southern Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia in the five states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

See the Province III website here.


Jan Nunley

A heartfelt thanks to the representatives of Province III for this resolution, and for naming courageously what it is when the Church's top leadership does not manage its work in the spirit of Christ as well as the letter of the law: scandalous.

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