Group's conclusions draw swift criticism
By Matthew Davies
[Episcopal News Service] A statement released April 22 and signed by Episcopal bishops and clergy challenges the polity of the Episcopal Church by suggesting that dioceses are autonomous entities and independent of General Convention, the church's main legislative body.
The statement, which drew swift criticism for being an attack on the church's governance, was signed by 15 active and retired Episcopal Church bishops and endorsed by three Episcopal clergy who are members of the conservative Anglican Communion Institute. It was leaked online April 22 and officially released later the same day. It suggests that Episcopal Church dioceses are "not subject to any metropolitical power or hierarchical control" but rather "the ecclesiastical authorities in our dioceses are the Bishops and Standing Committees; no one else may act in or speak on behalf of the dioceses or of the Episcopal Church within the dioceses."
In light of their conclusions about the church's governance, the group's statement also claims that individual dioceses are constitutionally entitled to sign onto the proposed Anglican covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion provinces in light of recent disagreements over human sexuality issues and theological interpretation.
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