On 31 October, 2003, the Presiding Bishop wrote to the bishops of ECUSA:
My dear brothers and sisters
Following please find a confidential draft regarding Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care. Building on what we put forward at our meeting at Camp Allen in March 2002, this expanded plan is the work of the Committee for Pastoral Development of the House of Bishops, and my Council of Advice. It is presented to you for your consideration, and where appropriate, immediate use, to deal with situations which may arise in your diocese. The plan calls for "generosity of spirit and flexibility in carrying out these procedures while striving for Godly union and concord." It is my hope that this plan will meet the needs of the present moment and also answer the concerns that have been expressed regarding Episcopal pastoral care for those whose consciences are seriously strained by formal actions of our church.
If you have questions regarding supplemental Episcopal pastoral care please consult the bishop of your province who serves on my Council of Advice. When we gather for our spring meeting in Camp Allen in March 2004, we will have an opportunity to take council together and to make modifications and adjustments based on our experience
With my prayers and all good wishes,
Yours ever in Christ,
Frank T. Griswold
Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care
The Church is the body of Christ. Striving to be the limbs of Christ, as fully as possible, and acknowledging and appreciating the tension such diversity may bring, the Episcopal office offers the Church a source of unity. Representing these limbs, we who are called to be bishops, recognize that diversity may require extending our charity with one another in new directions and through creative forms of care and understanding.
We are called to be one, as Jesus prayed (John 17:22ff). While we know that our unity is strained, we will continue to strive for godly union and concord. Consistent with the ancient teaching of the Church, ordination and consecration provide the gifts necessary for the sacramental effectiveness of all bishops. We, therefore, call upon the bishops of the Episcopal Church, as we exercise leadership in our dioceses and as we work always towards the fullest relationship--and as the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, "the highest degree of communion,"--to provide for pastoral care of those who are in distress. We acknowledge particularly that there may be need for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care to be given to some congregations where such distress has been articulated in terms of significant differences between the diocesan bishop and those congregations. At all times, however, we must recognize the constitutional and canonical autonomy of bishops and geographic integrity of diocesan boundaries.
In response to the current climate of debate, we believe it is important to restate a document of agreement and procedure already crafted and adopted by the House of Bishops.
*March 2002, A Covenant on Episcopal Pastoral Care:
"We believe that the present Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church are sufficient for dealing with questions of Episcopal oversight, supplemental Episcopal pastoral care, and disputes that may arise between the bishop and a congregation. We encourage that their provisions be used wisely and in the spirit of charity.
The provision of supplemental Episcopal pastoral care shall be under the direction of the bishop of the diocese, who shall invite the visitor and remain in pastoral contact with the congregation. This is to be understood as a temporary arrangement, the ultimate goal of which is the full restoration of the relationship between the congregation and their bishop."
Expanding on this previous agreement by reframing what was affirmed by the House of Bishops in March 2002, and working always towards the highest degree of communion, we offer the following recommended steps in order to provide "Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care" while keeping the integrity of the diocesan bishop's responsibility for oversight intact.
If a congregation and/or diocesan bishop of this Church find the need for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care for serious cause, the following steps apply:
1) The priest in charge and the canonically designated lay leadership, after fully engaging and consulting the congregation, will seek from their diocesan bishop, (or the diocesan bishop may suggest) a consultation regarding the appropriateness and conditions for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care.
2) If no resolution regarding such Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care is forthcoming consistent with A Covenant on Episcopal Pastoral Care, either the priest in charge and the canonically designated lay leadership, or the diocesan bishop, after informing the other, may approach the provincial bishop of this Church serving on the Presiding Bishop's Council of Advice for help in seeking a resolution.
3) After review of the situation, that provincial bishop shall request two other bishops of this Church representative of the divergent views of that province to join with the provincial bishop to review the situation, to consider the request, and to make recommendations to all parties. The provincial bishop shall periodically inform the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, the Presiding Bishop's Council of Advice, and the House of Bishops at its regular meetings of the progress and results of the process.*
4) As bishops of this Church, we pledge ourselves to pray and work for generosity of spirit and flexibility in carrying out these procedures while striving for Godly union and concord. We recognize that this commitment will require self sacrifice by the bishops, and we invite the Church to join us in this Commitment.
* If the provincial bishop is the diocesan bishop about whom an appeal has been made, that bishop shall recuse her or himself and ask the Council of Advice to request one of its members to serve in this capacity.
FACILITATING SUPPLEMENTAL PASTORAL CARE
1. The bishops of each province within this Church, under the leadership of the bishops serving on the Council of Advice, will meet between November 1 and January 31, 2004 to discuss this proposal* and record the following:
a. What might constitute a "serious cause" that would require consideration for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care?
b. Who among the active and resigned bishops within your province of this Church would be appropriate to provide such care?
c. Will the active and resigned bishops within your province of this Church, working in unity with each other, facilitate requests for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care in congregations?
d. If facilitation within your province cannot be accomplished, would you be willing to make use of bishops who have been identified by other provinces within this Church?
e. What would be your hesitation(s), if any, with this proposed process?
f. Should training be required and made available for those who might provide Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care within this Church?
g. Who shall pay the costs, travel and other expenses, including an honorarium, when Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care within this Church is provided?
* While this process is being further developed, should any request for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care be made, the Council of Advice strongly recommends the use of this process as prescribed above until such time as the House of Bishops of this Church has adopted a procedure.
2. The bishops of the Council of Advice will meet in the month of February 2004 to review the findings from each provincial meeting of bishops of this Church and to develop a more complete process of Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care.
3. A more fully developed process for Supplemental Episcopal Pastoral Care within this Church, incorporating the suggestions of the Provincial discussions, will be presented to the House of Bishops for further discussion and affirmation at its March 2004 meeting.
Persons who have worked on this draft:
The Most Rev'd Frank T. Griswold, III
The Rt Rev'd Vincent Warner, Diocese of Olympia
The Rt Rev'd Robert H. Johnson, Diocese of Western North Carolina
The Rt Rev'd Ted Daniels, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Texas
The Rt Rev'd Katherine Jefferts Schori, Diocese of Nevada
The Rt Rev'd Jack M. McKelvey, Diocese of Rochester
The Rt Rev'd Gary Gloster, Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of North Carolina
The Rt Rev'd Bruce Caldwell, Diocese of Wyoming
The Rt Rev'd F. Clayton Matthews, Bishop Suffragan, Pastoral Development
Ms. Ira Leidel, Spouses Planning Group
Ms. Jamel Shimpfky, Spouses Planning Group
Mr. David B. Beers, Chancellor, The Presiding Bishop
The Rt Rev'd Lloyd Allan, Diocese of Honduras
The Rt Rev'd Chilton Knudsen, Diocese of Maine
The Rt Rev'd Jim Jelinek, Diocese of Minnesota
The Rt Rev'd Robert Ihloff, Diocese of Maryland
The Rt Rev'd Charles Jenkins. Diocese of Louisiana
The Rt Rev'd Wendell Gibbs, Diocese of Michigan
The Rt Rev'd Harry Bainbridge, Diocese of Idaho
The Rt Rev'd Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana