Revelations that formal charges of misconduct have been filed against Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori have heated up the wires across the internet, prompting questions as to who brought the charges, do they have substance, will they receive a fair hearing from a canon law process controlled by the Presiding Bishop, and what outcome might be expected?
In Episode 95 of Anglican Unscripted, set for broadcast this week, canon lawyer Allan Haley discusses the technicalities and legalities of the charges. However, comments from the national church, those investigating the charges and the accusers are unlikely to be forthcoming as the process is sub judice.
However, Anglican Ink can report that documents filed with the Maryland Secretary State show the American Anglican Fellowship is the new name for the American Anglican Council of Washington — a seperate entity from the American Anglican Council (AAC) led by the Rt. Rev. David Anderson and Canon Phil Ashey.
According to a name change form filed on 27 June 2013, the trustees of the AAF are: Bradley Hutt, David Bickel, Robert England, Emily Volz, Rufus Peckham and Emily Virts.
Are these kooks? Cranks besmirching the honor and integrity of the presiding bishop? Based upon my interaction with three of these individuals going back to the late 1990s, I can say these are serious individuals whose claim that they took this action after prayer consideration is an honest statement.
Some will doubtless attempt to label the AAF as dead enders on the wrong side of history — slack jawed troglydites unwilling to frolic in the sun light uplands of the new Episcopal Church. My experience of these individuals (I do not know them all, nor was I aware they had brought the charges) is that they are intelligent, devout men and women who acted upon the call of conscience.
Whether their endeavor will serve as a check to the lawlessness that has corrupted the higher cadres of the Episcopal Church remains to be seen. The cynic in me wonders whether it makes any sense to initiate canonical proceedings against an individual who has manipulated the canons — can law be a remedy to canonical lawlessness?
Honor, integrity — need I say prudence — are unfashionable words in these days of cant and expediency. But it is what has led the AAF to act.