Welcome the Returning

By Zachary Guiliano

General Convention has cleared a way for returning clergy who had left the Episcopal Church. Resolution A120 amends a series of canons and thus has an incredibly long title: “Amend Canon III.7 to Add 7.11; Amend Canon III.9, to Add 9.12, and Renumber 9.12 and 9.13; and Amend Canon III.12, to Add 12.8 and Renumber 12.8, 12.9, and 12.10.”

Bishop Henry Parsley of Easton proposed one amendment. He wondered why a requirement had been removed that would ensure bishops be “satisfied with the person’s theological qualifications and understanding of the faith.” He argued that such an assessment was especially necessary in the case of clergy who had departed. He proposed restoring the requirement.

Several bishops responded, however, by highlighting an immediate need for passing the resolution at this Convention.

“We are dealing with this [situation] every month,” said Bishop Dorsey McConnell of Pittsburgh. “It would be great to have this now, and if we amend it, it’s dead.”

Michael Smith, the Bishop of North Dakota, sounded a similar note: “We need this canon now, not three years from now.”

Bishop William Stokes of New Jersey also urged passage of the resolution.

The amendment failed, and the bishops voted to concur with the House of Deputies.

Resolution A120 is now an act of General Convention.

Image: Detail of “Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt, via Wikimedia Commons • http://is.gd/lHYTSb

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