Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY
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From the Editor

This week (March 5), the now-retired Albany Bishop Suffragan, The Rt. Rev. David J. Bena, in a letter to Bishop Love, announced that he has transferred to the House of Bishops of Nigeria, and has been received by Archbishop Peter Akinola. He will be a Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Here is an excerpt from Bishop Bena’s letter to Bishop Love:

These are difficult days for the Anglican Communion. There is much disagreement among members on just how the Scriptures are "The Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation." There is much disagreement among members on just how to relate Scripture and the historic teachings of the Church to the Sacrament of Matrimony and sexual behavior in general. These disagreements are causing deep division in the Episcopal Church, with ramifications throughout the Anglican Communion.

The recent Primates Communiqué from Dar Es Salaam speaks of the need to "provide robust pastoral oversight to individuals and congregations alienated from the Episcopal Church with adequate space to flourish within the life of that church in the period leading up to the conclusion of the Covenant Process." Recently I was asked that, upon my retirement, to assist with oversight in this context outside the Diocese of Albany.

It is against such a backdrop that I have taken the following actions:
1) In January I requested Bishop Herzog to grant me a Letter Dimissory to the Province of Nigeria. This he did, and the Letter was formally received by Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate, to become effective after my retirement. 2) Since I have now been transferred from one Province in Communion with the See of Canterbury to another Province in Communion with the See of Canterbury, I am neither renouncing my Orders as a Bishop, nor am I abandoning the Communion of the Church.

I take these actions with no prejudice against the Diocese of Albany. This diocese is strong in following the Scriptures and the historic teachings of the Church, and it has chosen you, an outstanding man of God, to be its new bishop. This diocese is doing well in following the orthodox teachings of the Church. Many parishes in the Anglican Communion are not, however, in such a safe environment as is found in the Diocese of Albany. It is to these entities that I have been asked to minister. There is much disenfranchisement in the land today, with a consequent need for strong pastoral oversight. As God gives me strength, I will offer such leadership. Meanwhile, I pray that the "Foundations" Document unanimously endorsed by all Primates, including the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will pave the way for a healing in this country, as well as a return to the historic teachings of the Church.

As we continue to stand for the Way, the Truth, and the Life that only Jesus can bring, let us continue to pray for one another, as we ought.”

+DB

In February of this year, the Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Tanzania in order to find clarity, unity and resolve of a very difficult situation. Surprisingly, the historic gathering produced a Communique agreed by all the attending Primates, including The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Jefferts Schori. In effect, the Communique asks bishops of the Episcopal Church to:
a) "make an unequivocal common covenant" that they will not authorize rites to bless same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention, and
b) "confirm" that they will not consent to the consecration of a bishop living in a same sex union " unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion";
c) urges all parties, dioceses, congregations, and the Episcopal Church to "suspend all actions in law" arising from property disputes; and
d) outlines a Pastoral Plan to hold together Episcopalian bishops, congregations, and clergy who join in their commitment to the Windsor Report. The Primates, Presiding Bishop, and Archbishop of Canterbury will jointly select a Pastoral Council to oversee the Plan. This Council will act on behalf of the Primates and answer to them. Bishop participants will select a Primatial Vicar, approved by the Presiding Bishop, who will provide pastoral care for those in the Plan.

The purpose of this new structure is quite clear. It states, in part, “We believe that such a scheme is robust enough to function and provide sufficient space for those who are unable to accept the direct ministry of their bishop or the Presiding Bishop to have a secure place within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion until such time as the Covenant Process is complete.”

The document is regarded by many, as a stunning achievement, especially when the Primates agreed unanimously. It clearly addresses the tensions it engendered at the Episcopal Church’s General Conventions of 2003 and 2006.

It should be noted that all of the recommendations in the Communiqué presume the completion of the Anglican Covenant as an urgent priority. A deadline of September 30th was established in the Communiqué to allow time for the Episcopal Church to provide a satisfactory response.

We ask that you pray for our beloved retired bishop suffragan, David, as he continues his life’s vocation to serve Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that you pray for our 9th Bishop of Albany - Bishop Love, the diocese and the church.

George Marshall, Editor

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