Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry announced today that on October 16, 2020, pursuant to Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, he and the Rt. Rev. William H. “Bill” Love, Bishop Diocesan of Albany, entered into an Accord to resolve a disciplinary matter that was pending against Bishop Love. The Accord was approved by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops on October 21, 2020 and became effective on that date.
The disciplinary matter that was resolved by the Accord arose out of a Pastoral Direction issued by Bishop Love on November 10, 2018, prohibiting the clergy in his Diocese from utilizing marriage rites for same-sex couples that had been authorized by the Church’s General Convention in 2018. On January 11, 2019, the Presiding Bishop issued a Restriction on Bishop Love’s Ministry which barred Bishop Love from taking certain actions against Albany clergy while any Title IV matter arising from his Pastoral Direction was proceeding. The Title IV Church Attorney filed charges against Bishop Love, asserting that his issuance of the Pastoral Direction violated Episcopal Church Canon IV.4.1(c), which requires ordained persons to “abide by the promises and vows made when ordained.” A Title IV Hearing Panel heard arguments in the matter by virtual means on June 21, 2020. On October 2, 2020, the Hearing Panel issued a decision on the arguments, concluding that Bishop Love’s actions indeed violated the Canons. The Panel had not yet issued a final Order resolving the case when the Accord was reached by the Presiding Bishop and Bishop Love and approved by the Disciplinary Board on October 21, 2020.
Under the Accord, Bishop Love will resign as Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of Albany effective February 1, 2021, following a terminal sabbatical to begin on January 1, 2021. The Presiding Bishop’s Restriction on Bishop Love’s Ministry will remain in effect until February 1, 2021, and Bishop Love has acknowledged that his November 10, 2018 Pastoral Direction will lose force no later than that date. Bishop Love has agreed to work with the Presiding Bishop’s Office to foster a healthy transition for the Diocese.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry expresses sadness for the pain that has been experienced across the theological spectrum and also his continuing support for the Church’s intention that all persons have access to marriage rites authorized by the Church. He expresses thanks for Bishop Love’s faithfulness as Bishop of Albany and wishes him well in retirement. Bishop Curry anticipates a collaborative and respectful transition in episcopal leadership and prays for healing, reconciliation, and mutual flourishing across deeply held theological differences. To that end, he prays:
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, p. 823