Progressive Episcopalians express concerns over "visitor" plan
The episcopal visitor plan is designed with the English "flying bishop" model in mind. Under it, bishops acceptable to both some dioceses and the national church, under the authority of the national church, assume some duties normally the prerogative of ++Katharine and other bishops. Other church officers, conceivably, might have their duties delegated as well.
Since the episcopal visitor plan would likely replace ++Katharine at consecrations and other visits, and perhaps otherwise direct what duties other national officers could and could not perform in some dioceses, the Progressive Episcopalians are concerned that they would be further isolated from the mainstream church.
"Of particular concern to PEP," the Pittsburgh Episcopalians wrote, "is the fact that the episcopal visitors plan makes no provision for connecting to the wider Episcopal Church loyal Episcopalians in dioceses (such as Pittsburgh) that have requested “alternative primatial oversight.”
“Many of us celebrated the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori,” explained PEP board member and blogger Dr. Lionel Deimel. “Should our bishop accept an episcopal visitor, those of us who have been most vocal in support of our church would be isolated from it and subject to even less respect within our diocese than we are now.”
Other Episcopalians in other dioceses with leadership hostile to the Church have expressed similar concerns, and have expressed a clear need to remain connected to the wider church.
The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, has requested "immediate intervention" in their diocese by the national church, in order to maintain the diocese's historic episcopate and canonical institutions. In November, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will meet with the Forum during their convention.
Anderson and ++Katharine have travelled to other dioceses whose leadership is at odds with the national church in order, partly, to maintain the connections with loyal Episcopalians there.
The Progressive Episcopalians were otherwise supportive of the bishops' work in New Orleans.
"We pray that the Anglican Communion will see this answer as a conscientious attempt to address concerns raised by our sister churches in the Communion," they said.
The full statement can be viewed here.