Bishop restores Eucharistic licenses he stripped without justification
Peter Beckwith, the bishop of Springfield who in 2005 stripped all 15 lay ministers at St. Andrews parish of their Eucharistic licenses with no justification, last week reinstated them.
He also asked to meet again with the vestry of St. Andrews, in order to reconcile with them. The parish, in Edwardsville, Illinois, about 20 miles east of St Louis, has filed a request for Delegated Episcopal Oversight partly because since 2005, Beckwith has refused to confirm anyone from St. Andrews.
Beckwith is a Network bishop and the vice chairman of the American Anglican Council, which works to undermine and destabilize the Episcopal Church.
In 2004, Beckwith summoned St. Andrews' rector, The Rev. Virginia L. Bennett, to diocesan offices and told her her parish did not "support the orthodox faith."
Then, in 2005, he refused to confirm an openly gay woman at St. Andrews, and, later, anyone at all at St. Andrew's. When many parishioners refused to take communion from Beckwith when he went to the parish anyway, he demanded the names of all of them.
Rev. Bennett refused to provide any names, and in response, Beckwith revoked the licenses of all the eucharistic ministers.
On December 11th, Beckwith met with the vestry, reinstated the eucharistic licenses, and on Sunday St. Andrew's worshipped with eucharistic ministers for the first time in nearly a year.
What precipitated Beckwith's campaign against St. Andrews? Rev. Bennett was the lone General Convention deputy from Springfield diocese to vote to confirm Bishop Robinson in 2003, and at their website, St. Andrews proclaims that "all baptized Christians are invited to partake of Holy Communion." This includes the openly gay woman that Beckwith refused to confirm.
After Bishop Beckwith began his episcopacy in Springfield in 1992, he initiated "Vision 2000," a plan to emphasize and promote pastoral care, Christian formation, and stewardship.
Apparently he concluded it is best to promote pastoral care and Christian formation by working to undermine TEC, revoking lay episcopal ministers' licenses, and not confirming anybody in a parish.
He may have learned the errors of his ways but we shall not hold our breath. If he has repented of his wrongful acts and truly wishes reconciliation then we will have to wait to see the fruits of his repentance.
Here is a background story about Beckwith's shenanigans.
Here is a report about the licenses being reinstated and Beckwith "accepting responsibility" for his actions against the lay ministers.
Here is the ENS story about St. Andrew's request for DEPO.
Here is the November interview in The Chicago Tribune where Beckwith uses the word "prostitute" when discussing Presiding Bishop Katharine, and where he also says he has the authority and insight to determine which dioceses of The Episcopal Church Springfield is in communion with, and which not.
Here is a comment about Beckwith using the name "admiral of morality."