By Lauren Anderson
The House of Deputies has voted to eliminate the canon requiring a newly elected presiding bishop to resign from the bishop’s previous jurisdiction before assuming the office.
Since the 1947 General Convention, presiding bishops have been required to resign from their jurisdictions in order to fulfill the responsibilities of the office. This model, Resolution B013 said, is “a manifestation of the 20th Century corporate church.”
Proponents of the resolution said that it is an important part of the conversation about restructuring. While the resolution does not require a presiding bishop to remain in the diocesan jurisdiction, it allows for that option.
“By creating some flexibility there is a possibility of imagining the role of the presiding bishop in a new way,” said the Rev. Gay Jennings of Ohio.
This resolution will influence the conversation throughout the next triennium regarding the election of a new presiding bishop in 2015, Jennings said.
The Rev. Peter Strimer of the Diocese of Olympia spoke against the resolution, saying it does not give a diocese any say in the bishop’s decision.
The Very Rev. Ellis Clifton of the Diocese of Michigan also opposed the resolution, saying there was not a clear enough vision of future structural changes to adopt the resolution.
“I have a feeling that we are in agreement that we want something different, but it seems like everyone is bringing something different to the table,” Clifton said. “Is it possible for us to get a picture of what we are seeking? I don’t want to step out in faith. I want to see a vision.”
The House of Deputies is considering the authorization of new translations of the Bible, including the English Standard Version with the Apocrypha, for use in lectionary readings.
While the deputies discussed Resolutuion A061, which would add the Contemporary English Version (1995) and The Contemporary English Version Global (2005) to the list of authorized translations, the English Standard Version was proposed as an additional translation option.
Proponents said the ESV is widely used and growing in popularity, and has the additional benefit of being available free on the web, making it an efficient option for preparing handouts and PowerPoint media.
“The English Standard Version is a wonderfully popular version. We’re trying to be relevant. We’re trying to be current. We’re trying to become more and more in touch with the world around us. This version is,” said the Ven. David Collum of the Diocese of Albany.
Others opposed the amendment, saying it is not within the purview of the House of Deputies to make a decision about authorizing biblical translations.
“I think for us as a body to micromanage the work of the theologians of the Episcopal Church is not our job,” said Denise Crenshaw of the Diocese of Michigan.
Deputies voted in favor of the amendment to add the ESV translation to the resolution, but later reopened the discussion when the validity of the translation was called into question by a deputy who found a verse from the ESV that used the word homosexuality. The house ultimately decided to reconsider the amendment as its first order of business July 8.