Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has restricted the ministry of the Rt. Rev. Vincent W. Warner amid allegations of recurrent marital infidelity. Warner was Bishop of Olympia from 1990 to 2007.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory Rickel, Warner’s successor, announced the restriction Sept. 28 in a letter to members of the diocese.
“I received allegations regarding Bishop Warner several weeks ago, and promptly reported them to the presiding bishop’s office,” Rickel wrote. “The restriction will remain in place until the matter is resolved following procedures outlined in Title IV of the canons of the Episcopal Church.
“I will keep you apprised of Bishop Warner’s status, but will not disclose details that were shared with me in confidence,” Rickel added. “I want to assure you, however, that the current allegations involve neither minors nor individuals who were in the bishop’s pastoral care.”
Toward the end of his tenure as bishop, Warner showed an aversion to settling church-property disputes through lawsuits.
In a guest column for The Living Church in December 2005, Robert R. Chapman, Jr., described the bishop’s interaction with St. Stephen’s Church in Oak Harbor.
“At a meeting on April 5, Bishop Warner asked those gathered to pray for his healing with the laying on of hands,” Chapman wrote. “The Rev. Carol Harlacher of St. Stephen’s offered holy water from Lourdes. The bishop offered something unusual in return — his crozier. The crozier was cracked and broken, Bishop Warner said. He asked if the people of one of the congregations would take and fix this symbol of his office. Ms. Harlacher agreed to accept repair of the staff on behalf of St. Stephen’s.
“A few months later the repaired crozier was returned to Bishop Warner in better condition than when it was new.”