Further Action on Bishop William Love’s November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive

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[September 18, 2019]  The Title IV Reference Panel for the discipline of bishops – composed of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops Cate Waynick, and Bishop for Pastoral Development Todd Ousley – announced it voted earlier today, pursuant to Episcopal Church Canon IV.11.3, to refer to a Hearing Panel the matter related to Bishop William Love’s November 10, 2018 Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive. Bishop Love’s pastoral letter and pastoral directive referred to the 2018 Resolution B012 of the General Convention. Under the Canons, the Hearing Panel will conduct a proceeding and then “reach a determination of the matter by (a) dismissal of the matter or (b) issuance of an Order.” (Canon IV.13.12)

In his Pastoral Letter and Pastoral Directive, Love, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, articulates his belief that same-sex marriage is contrary to Scripture and the “official teaching” of this Church and as a consequence directs that same-sex marriages may not be performed by any canonically resident or licensed clergy of his Diocese, and requires full compliance with the Diocese of Albany’s Canon XVI, which forbids the same clergy from “officiat[ing] at,” “facilitat[ing],” or “participat[ing] in” such marriages; forbids the recognition of such marriages in that Diocese; and forbids the use of church property as the site of such marriages. 

On January 11, 2019, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a Partial Restriction on Ministry to Bishop Love after broad consultation with leadership in The Episcopal Church and discussions with both Bishop Love and the Episcopal Diocese of Albany Standing Committee. In addition to the partial restriction on ministry, Bishop Curry also noted, “I am aware that Bishop Love’s conduct in this regard may constitute a canonical offense under Canon IV.4(1)(c) (“abide by the promises and vows made when ordained”) and Canon IV.4.(1)(h)(9) (“any Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy”), and that conduct has been referred to the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, bishop for pastoral development and intake officer for disciplinary matters involving bishops.”

Title IV is the section of The Episcopal Church’s Canons that addresses the grounds and processes for “ecclesiastical discipline,” a canonical process adopted by the Church to encourage accountability, reconciliation, and pastoral response when a member of its clergy (deacons, priests, or bishops) is accused of misconduct.

Members of the Title IV Hearing Panel for this matter include:

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, Episcopal Diocese of West Texas
The Rt. Rev. Herman (HollyHollerith IV, Resigned, Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisley, Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, Hearing Panel President
The Rev. Erik Larsen, Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island
Ms. Melissa Perrin, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago