Hearing Panel finds Bishop Love guilty of failing to abide by the Discipline and Worship of the Episcopal Church

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Letter to the Diocese of Albany from the Rt. Rev. William Love

October 4, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

I received word late Friday night, October 2nd, that the Hearing Panel, convened by the Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, has reached its verdict regarding my issuance of a Pastoral Letter and Directive to the clergy and people of the Diocese of Albany on Nov. 10, 2018, in response to the 79th General Convention Resolution B012.

The Hearing Panel has found me guilty of failing to abide by the Discipline and Worship of The Episcopal Church, and thus violating my ordination vows. They issued a 42 page document outlining their decision, a copy of which will be posted to the Diocesan Website.

The Summary of Opinion states, “This Panel unanimously concludes that TEC has met its burden of showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that Bishop Love has violated Canon IV.4.1(c) in that his November 10, [2018] Pastoral Directive violated the Discipline of the Church, as Resolution B012 was properly constituted and passed as an authorized revision to the BCP as expressly provided for in Constitution Article X, thus requiring that all Bishop Diocesans permit their clergy the option to utilize such rites.
TEC has further met its burden of establishing that Bishop Love’s Direction also violated the Discipline of the Church in that it violated Canon I.18. The canonical legitimacy of Resolution B012 rendered Canon I.18 mandatory, requiring adherence by Bishops Diocesan in permitting their Clergy the option to perform same-sex marriage rites. TEC has also met its burden of establishing that the Direction violated the Worship of the Church in that Resolution B012 added canonically-authorized same-sex marriage rites to the Worship of the Church pursuant to the BCP.”

While I am very disappointed and strongly disagree with the Decision of the Hearing Panel, particularly their argument that B012 was passed as an authorized revision to the Book of Common Prayer, they have issued their judgement. Unfortunately, given the nature of this case, I have no reason to believe that appealing the Hearing Panel’s Decision would result in any different outcome.
A separate Hearing will be scheduled within the month to discuss the terms of discipline to be carried out. Until then, we don’t know what actions will be taken. Whatever the final outcome, it will severely impact not only me and the ministry entrusted to me as Bishop of Albany, but it will also seriously impact the life and ministry of the Diocese. I continue to pray that somehow God will use all of this for His purposes.

I want to thank all of you who have been holding me, my family, and the Diocese of Albany up in your thoughts and prayers these past many months. I would ask that you please continue to do so. We appreciate and need those prayers.

I also want to express my most heartfelt thanks to my legal team, Fr. Chip Strickland and Mr. Mark McCall. Despite the outcome of the case, they put together and carried out a phenomenal defense. I will be forever thankful for all they have done.

In closing, I had very much hoped to share with you a very different outcome regarding the Hearing Panel’s ruling. Unfortunately, that was not too be. With that said, I want to encourage each of us in the days ahead to keep our focus on our Lord Jesus Christ.
While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, the Lord does. He will guide and lead us through all the storms of life, if we keep our eyes on Him, trusting Him in all situations. As we read in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). And last, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7).

God Bless You!

Faithfully Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. William H. Love
Bishop of Albany