Will bishops and dioceses leave the Episcopal Church?
It’s beginning to look like that may be a possibility in three years if, as many expect, the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) and the Anglican Communion part ways.
A key bishop, +Howe of Central Florida, has just written to his diocese and all but said he will leave ECUSA if it leaves the Anglican Communion. For the Anglican Communion has priority with him:
I have said over and over and over again that I will not leave the Episcopal Church. But that has always been based upon the assumption and conviction that the Episcopal Church would never leave the Anglican Communion. . . .
God forbid, but if the Episcopal Church decides to walk away from the Anglican Communion it will also walk away from me. As I said to our Annual Convention in January,
“I value the Anglican Communion immensely. Apart from the Communion my episcopacy means nothing. And should the Episcopal Church decide to ‘walk separately’ from the rest of the Communion we will become just another American protestant sect. I have no desire to move in that direction.”
God bless Bishop Howe for his clarity and courage.
I don’t know what the next three years will look like, particularly what 2008 will look like. I do think that will be a year of schism. I’m not predicting dioceses will leave ECUSA, but that is possible. In any case, it will be interesting . . . and messy.