Adapted from an announcement by the Diocese of Maryland

In a letter dated January 26 [PDF], the Diocese of Maryland’s eight-member standing committee has asked that the Rt. Rev. Heather E. Cook resign from her work as suffragan bishop.

The committee “arrived at this decision after significant and prayerful discernment, and with due and proper consideration for the best interests of the diocese and its people,” the letter said. “We continue to hold you in our prayers.”

On December 28 the diocese identified Bishop Cook as the driver in an accident that killed cyclist Thomas Palermo on December 27. On January 9 the state’s attorney for Baltimore brought several charges against Cook, including vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, texting while driving, and leaving the scene of the accident.

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“It was clear that our lay and clergy leaders on the standing committee felt that the best interests of the diocese would be served were Heather to resign,” said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland. “Since this does not impede the Episcopal Church’s investigation into the matter, it is my hope Heather will see the wisdom in this recommendation.”

Cook is prohibited from resigning her orders as a bishop while the Episcopal Church’s Title IV investigation proceeds [Title IV questions; PDF]. But the diocese believes nothing prevents her from resigning as a diocesan employee.

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