michaelcurry Blog

August 1, 2017
Tagged in: Title IV

On June 28, 2017, I issued a Partial Restriction on the Ministry of the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, arising out of actions by Bishop Bruno that in my view may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church. As explained in that order, I had learned that, earlier this year, Bishop Bruno entered into a contract for sale of property (the “St. James property”), that has an important role in a disciplinary matter now pending under the Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, in which Bishop Bruno is the Respondent. According to Bishop Bruno’s submissions in that disciplinary matter, the contract for sale of the St. James property set the closing date as July 3, 2017.

Bishop Bruno’s actions and intentions regarding an earlier attempted sale of the St. James property are currently under review in the pending disciplinary matter. I continue to be deeply concerned that his act of entering into a new contract for sale of the same property, while his approach to the earlier sale is still under review, continues to have the potential to undermine the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process. I noted that the secrecy with which the recent sales contract was undertaken has added to the potential for undermining the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process.

The Title IV Hearing Panel with jurisdiction over this matter has now issued its proposed Order. My review of the order and the factual findings that undergird it, as well as my independent understanding of the deeply impaired relationships among the respective parties, have led me to have additional concerns about Bishop Bruno’s exercising any aspect of his episcopal authority over the St. James congregation, its “Vicar,” or St. James’ real and personal property, during the pendency of this matter in the Title IV process. In my opinion, any exercise of more general authority by Bishop Bruno over the St. James congregation while the Title IV matter is pending, including through a likely prolonged appeal process when any suspension or other disciplinary order would not be in effect, may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church.

Therefore, as set out more specifically below, I have determined to restrict Bishop Bruno’s entire authority over the St. James congregation until the Title IV proceeding is finally resolved, thereby removing him from all diocesan processes and decisions involving St. James.  The purpose of this is to create space for the Bishop Coadjutor and the Standing Committee to, a) exercise their respective ministries of healing and reconciliation within the diocese, and, b) seek to resolve the conflict over and determine the disposition of all matters related to the property, congregation and Vicar, which is the proper domain of their respective authority and responsibility as leaders of the Diocese. With this restriction in place, I urge the diocesan leadership to press forward vigorously toward reconciliation for the sake of the ministry of the Gospel.

Accordingly, in order to further protect the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process and the ministry of the Diocese regarding all persons with a genuine interest in the pending disciplinary matter, and thereby continue to protect the good order and welfare of the Church, I hereby, pursuant to Canons IV.7(3), (4), and IV.17(2), place the following additional partial restriction on the exercise of Bishop Bruno’s ministry until the pending Title IV matter has been finally resolved:

During the period of the restriction, Bishop Bruno, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or as Corporate Sole, or in any other capacity, is forbidden from exercising any episcopal authority or jurisdiction, secular, temporal, pastoral, or ecclesiastical, regarding in any manner any of the St. James real or personal property, the congregation that formerly worshipped in that property, as well as those who have since joined as members, and the Rev. Cynthia E. Voorhees, commonly referred to as the “Vicar” of the congregation.

This restriction is effective immediately. This document shall be served upon Bishop Bruno today and shall inform him of his right to have any objections to this restriction heard pursuant to Canon IV.7.

 

(The Most Rev.) Michael Bruce Curry

XXVII Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

On June 28, 2017, I issued a Partial Restriction on the Ministry of the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, arising out of actions by Bishop Bruno that in my view may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church. As...
July 28, 2017
Tagged in: LGBTQ Michael Curry

In light of President Trump‘s tweet banning transgender individuals from serving in the military and the Department of Justice’s argument that employers can legally discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, I am compelled to oppose these actions and to affirm the moral principle of equal rights for all persons, including the LGBTQ communities. I do so as a follower of Jesus Christ, as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and as a citizen who loves this country.

This conviction is not born primarily of a social ideal, but of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and the witness of our biblical and theological tradition.

Genesis 1:26-27 teaches us that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. This is a divine declaration of the inherent sanctity, dignity and equality of every person.

Further, the sanctity of every human person and the principle of human equality before God are deeply imbedded in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. In Mark 22:26 and Luke 13:10-17, Jesus teaches the inherent worth and dignity of the human person. In Matthew 5:43-38, he tells us of God’s love for all people equally. In Luke 10:25-37, he commands us to love God and to love every person. Above all, Jesus teaches that we are to treat all others as we ourselves would want to be treated (see Luke 6:31-36).

As followers of Jesus Christ we believe the inherent sanctity, dignity, and equality of every human being as a child of God is part of the moral foundation of our faith. In the Episcopal Church we promise in Holy Baptism to “respect the dignity of every person,” and to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.”

As Americans, we believe in civil and human equality, as one of the foundational ideals of our country. Discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is a violation of the fundamental ideal of equality in America. The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Those rights – and the protection from discrimination – apply equally to all Americans.

I truly believe that the overwhelming goodness and kindness and sense of justice of the American people are summed up in the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, which says that we are “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  Therein is the soul of America!

So, to the transgender individuals currently serving in the armed forces: thank you. We are grateful for your service and for your sacrifices.  We support you and all service members and veterans. You are our neighbors, brothers and sisters in God‘s human family, and fellow citizens of this country we love.

 

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

In light of President Trump‘s tweet banning transgender individuals from serving in the military and the Department of Justice’s argument that employers can legally discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, I am compelled to...
June 29, 2017
Tagged in: Title IV

In recent days, I have learned of actions that, in my view, may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church.  I have learned that, earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, entered into a contract for sale of property (the “St. James property”) that is central to a disciplinary matter now pending under Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, in which Bishop Bruno is the Respondent. According to Bishop Bruno’s submissions in that disciplinary matter, the contract for sale of the St. James property sets the closing date as July 3, 2017. 

Bishop Bruno’s actions and intentions regarding an earlier attempted sale of the St. James property are currently under review in the pending disciplinary matter. I am deeply concerned that his act of entering into a new contract for sale of the same property, while his approach to the earlier sale is still under review, has the potential to undermine the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process. The secrecy with which the recent sales contract was undertaken adds to the potential for undermining the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process.

Accordingly, in order to protect the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process and, thereby, the good order and welfare of the Church, and pursuant to Canons IV.7(3), (4), and IV.17(2), I hereby place the following partial restriction on the exercise of his ministry until the pending Title IV matter has been finally resolved: 

During the period of the restriction, the Bishop, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or as Corporate Sole, or in any other capacity, is forbidden from closing on the sale of the St. James property, or otherwise selling or conveying the property or contracting to sell the property, or, in any way assisting in the sale or conveyance of the property.

This restriction is effective immediately. Nothing in this restriction is intended to express any opinion about the merits of the pending Title IV proceeding.

This document shall be served upon Bishop Bruno today and shall inform him of his right to have any objections to this restriction heard pursuant to Canon IV.7. 

 

(The Most Rev.) Michael Bruce Curry
XXVII Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

In recent days, I have learned of actions that, in my view, may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church.  I have learned that, earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, entered into a contract for...
June 1, 2017

With the announcement by President Donald Trump of his decision to withdraw the commitment made by the United States to the Paris Climate Accord, I am reminded of the words of the old spiritual which speaks of God and God's creation in these words, "He's got the whole world in his hands." The whole world belongs to God, as Psalm 24 teaches us. God's eye is ever on even the tiny sparrow, as Jesus taught and the song says (Luke 12:6). And we human beings have been charged with being trustees, caretakers, stewards of God's creation (Genesis 1:26-31).

The United States has been a global leader in caring for God's creation through efforts over the years on climate change. President Trump’s announcement changes the U.S.’s leadership role in the international sphere. Despite this announcement, many U.S. businesses, states, cities, regions, nongovernmental organizations and faith bodies like the Episcopal Church can continue to take bold action to address the climate crisis.  The phrase, “We’re still in,” became a statement of commitment for many of us who regardless of this decision by our President are still committed to the principles of the Paris Agreement.

Faith bodies like the Episcopal Church occupy a unique space in the worldwide climate movement. In the context of the United Nations, the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, we are an international body representing 17 countries in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia and the Pacific. We also are an admitted observer organization to the UNFCCC process, empowered to bring accredited observers to the UN climate change meetings. Furthermore, the Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian tradition, and we remain committed to ensuring that Anglicans everywhere are empowered to undertake bold action on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

We know that caring for God's creation by engaging climate change is not only good for the environment, but also good for the health and welfare of our people. The U.S. is currently creating more clean jobs faster than job creation in nearly every other sector of the economy, and unprecedented acceleration in the clean energy sector is also evident in many other major economies.

My prayer is that we in the Episcopal Church will, in this and all things, follow the way, the teachings and the Spirit of Jesus by cultivating a loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, all others in the human family, and with all of God's good creation.

In spite of hardships and setbacks, the work goes on. This is God's world.  And we are all his children. And, "He's got the whole world in his hands."

 

(The Most Rev.) Michael Bruce Curry
XXVII Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

With the announcement by President Donald Trump of his decision to withdraw the commitment made by the United States to the Paris Climate Accord, I am reminded of the words of the old spiritual which speaks of God and God's creation in these words...
May 23, 2017
Tagged in: Haiti Michael Curry

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti

Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry

Tuesday, May 23

 

"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”"

Matthew 28:16-20

 

My brothers and sisters, I greet you, in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I likewise bring you the greetings of your brothers and sisters in Christ who are, with you, the Episcopal Church, or, better yet, the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

I give our God thanks for you, for the faithful ministries of clergy and lay people here. For you the clergy of this diocese, for the people of the churches, parishes and missions, for all of the schools which educate new generations of children, for clinics and hospitals which care for the sick, for ministries like St. Vincent's School for the Handicapped, the Center for Agriculture of St. Barnabas, the Music School of Holy Trinity, for the ministries you and many share with groups like Episcopal Relief and Development, Fresh Ministries, Food for the Poor, Heifer International, Episcopal University of Haiti, and many, many more.

But I want to add a special word of thanks and thanksgiving to Almighty God. In the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew chapters 5-7, the Lord Jesus taught us that the way of love is often realized in our willingness to go the second mile, sometimes when it hurts. The way of love, Jesus taught us, is the way of the cross, willingness to sacrifice self-interest, and even self, for the good of others.  That is the way of Jesus. And he is our Lord! And we are his followers, his disciples.

And you,

the Reverend Clergy of this blessed Diocese,

you, the Standing Committee,

you, Chancellors and other clergy and lay leaders of the Church here,

and especially you, my beloved brother bishops,

Bishop Zache Duracin, Bishop Oge Beauvoir,

you in this Covenant have been willing to go the extra mile, as Jesus taught us.

For the good of the people, for the good of the nation and for the good of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.

You have sacrificed self-interest for the good of all.

You have been willing to begin the hard and difficult work of healing.

You have been willing through this Covenant to open the way that leads to reconciliation.

 

I thank you. And to God be the glory!

It was on the cross, as he was dying, that our Lord Jesus forgave even those who had tortured and crucified him. "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." Our beloved brother, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, has shown us that Jesus teaches us from the cross that forgiveness is the way to a new future. He says that without forgiveness there is no future.

Mutual forgiveness and repentance, healing and reconciliation are hard work and they often take time. Healing and reconciliation do not happen quickly. But it happens, if we are willing, to allow God’s grace to work in us, for God's grace is sufficient. God is able.

And through this Covenant we -- Bishop Duracin, Bishop Beauvoir, the Standing Committee, the Reverend Clergy, and I, as your Presiding Bishop -- all of us together, we take this step in which we each repent for any way we have hurt each other,  we take a step toward mutual forgiveness, a step toward God's healing, a step toward reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. This I commit to do, and I pray and believe you join me in that.

Now we are not perfect. We will make mistakes along the way. But if we press on, following this way of Jesus, walking together, upholding each other, we will make it because God’s power, working in us can do more than we can ask or imagine.  And this world needs our witness.  People need to know the power of God to heal, to forgive, to reconcile and rebuild. People need to know the power of our faith as we press on toward the Kingdom of God.

As St. Paul said in Philippians.

Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

 

So why does this matter? To Haiti? To the world? Pay attention to the roots, the source, the origin. The key is always there, in the roots.

I recently went on a pilgrimage to Ghana in West Africa. I've been to Ghana before, but I had not been to the slave camps, or to the castles where newly captured people, imprisoned and then boarded on ships for sale and slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean.

At the site of the slave camps, evidence of what happened there is still visible. Bowls for food chiseled in the rock, by the slaves, hundreds of years ago, are still there. Water wells dug in the ground, are still there. Burial grounds for those who died are still there. In the oral tradition of our ancestors who told the story of what happened there, passing the story down from generation to generation, you can see and hear the cries of our African forbearers, longing to breathe free.

And then there were the trees standing in the field surrounding the slave camps. People were tied to those trees at night. Those trees saw it all. Those trees, still there, are witnesses to what happened. Those trees, like the tree that became a cross, bear witness.

One of the trees, on which undoubtedly hundreds of enslaved people were tied had a root system underneath it, the likes of which I have never seen. The roots above the soil were large and thick. And you could see them digging down into the soil where the minerals and sources of life are to be found. The roots of the tree are the key to the life of the tree.

The prophet Jeremiah said it this way:

 

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,

whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,

sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,

and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,

and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

The roots of that old African tree are the keys to its life. The roots of this Diocese will be the keys to its life and future. And the roots of this Diocese are in Jesus Christ who said:

"Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."

John 15:4-5

 

Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and risen from the dead, he is the root, he and his way are the keys to the future of the Diocese of Haiti and to the entire Episcopal Church.  Jesus is the root which anchors us when the storms of life threaten to tear us down.

So why does this work of reconciliation, this covenant, matter? It's all about that roots. The roots of that old African tree are the keys to its life. The roots of this Diocese will be the keys to its life and future.

When I met with the Bishop and Standing Committee last summer, we met in the conference room of Diocesan House. When I sat down in my seat I happened to look across the room. There, on the wall, was the famous portrait of Bishop James Theodore Holly, first Bishop of this Diocese.

When I saw that portrait it brought to mind a deep childhood memory. My father was an Episcopal priest. And like many priests of African descent in the Episcopal Church in those days, he had copies of the books of Father George Freeman Bragg, Jr.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Dr. Bragg, the Rector of St. James' Baltimore, chronicled the history of sons and daughters of Africa in the Episcopal Church.

When I was a child I use to play in my father's study. And I remember thumbing through his books. One of the pictures and biographies was that picture of Bishop James Theodore Holly. I've been seeing that picture of him since I was a very little child. And he has long been a hero to me.

Still longer, Bishop Holly is a hero and saint here, now one of the saints and worthies on the official calendar of our Episcopal Church.  One whose witness to the strength of Jesus, and whose hope in a new future for the people of this beautiful island still nurtures the growth of this diocese and also the Episcopal Church itself.

Soon after Bishop Holly left the United States and moved here, 43 members of the group who immigrated with the Bishop died from yellow fever and malaria, including his wife and some of his children. But he and others stayed. Bishop Holly loved Haiti, and the government eventually made him a Haitian citizen. And he is buried here in Haiti.

At some point in his ministry Bishop Holly returned to the United States to raise funds and gather support in the wider Episcopal Church for the Church in Haiti. In one lecture he made the case for their continuing to financially support the work. The title of the lecture was, "A Vindication of the Capacity of the Negro Race for Self-Government, and Civilized Progress as Demonstrated by Historical Events of the Haitian Revolution."

He reminded his audience that under the leadership of Toussaint L’ Overture the people of Haiti, brought here as slaves had done something incredible. In the American Revolution, most of the American colonists had at least some semblance of freedom before the American Revolution. They were colonists, not slaves.  But the Haitian Revolution was a revolution of people who were slaves. And like the Hebrews under Moses in the Bible, they sought and won their freedom.

Bishop Holly said it this way:

The revolution in Haiti “is one of the noblest, grandest, and most justifiable outbursts against tyrannical oppression that is recorded on the pages of the world's history.

A race of almost dehumanized men -- made so by an oppressive slavery of three centuries -- arose from their slumber of ages, and redressed their own unparalleled wrongs with a terrible hand in the name of God and humanity."

"In the name of God and humanity." There in that voice, there in those words, there in the spirit of James Theodore Holly who lived for this Church and this land, there are the roots of this diocese.

The roots of this diocese are in Bishop Holly's fervent desire that the loving, liberating and life giving Gospel of Jesus Christ should be proclaimed among the descendants of Africa here in Haiti.

The roots of this Diocese are in Bishop Holly's passionate conviction that following the way of Jesus the Church here might help the people and nation of Haiti to rise up and to claim the high calling among the nations of the earth.

But ultimately the roots of this Diocese are in the one of whom Isaiah prophesied when he said:

"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1

 The roots of this Diocese are in Jesus Christ who died, and was raised from the dead, by the loving power of our God, who the Bible says, makes all things new.

So, standing firm, rooted in the faith of Christ Jesus, let the Diocese of Haiti rise up and reach out anew! 

 

Rise up, reach out and go, make disciples of all nations.

Rise up, reach out and go, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to all creation.

 

So keep on preaching the Gospel.

Keep on teaching the children.

Keep on healing the sick.

Keep on feeding the hungry.

Keep on loving the orphans.

Keep on standing with the poor.

 

And always remember, you do not do this alone. Your fellow Episcopalians stand with you.

For we are not simply the Episcopal Church. Together we are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement. And Jesus promised, “I will be with you always, even to the close of the age.

God love you. God bless you. And you keep the faith. Amen!

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry Tuesday, May 23   "Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And...
May 18, 2017

 

We are coming together as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church to oppose deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty. We make this call in anticipation of the May 21 Global Day of Prayer to End Famine. We highlight the importance of foreign assistance and humanitarian relief as members of the World Council of Churches.

We also make a call to pray, fast, and advocate not just on May 21, but throughout the 115thCongress. At the invitation of Bread for the World, we join with ecumenical partners and pledge to lead our congregations and ministries in fasting, prayer and advocacy, recognizing the need to engage our hearts, bodies, and communities together to combat poverty. As the call to prayer articulates,

“We fast to fortify our advocacy in solidarity with families who are struggling with hunger. We fast to be in solidarity with neighbors who suffer famine, who have been displaced, and who are vulnerable to conflict and climate change. We fast with immigrants who are trying to make a better future for their families and now face the risk of deportation. We fast in solidarity with families on SNAP, who often run out of food by the last week of the month.”

Domestically, Americans throughout the country are struggling with poverty, and many government-funded programs allow them to care for and feed their families. As we look overseas, we must acknowledge that foreign assistance and humanitarian relief can help to address regions confronting famine and food insecurity, including South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Lake Chad Basin. We will challenge proposals to eliminate or defund proven anti-poverty programs, at home and abroad.

The story of Esther provides encouragement for our fasting, prayer and advocacy. Esther, a Jew, was the wife of the Persian king. When plans were made to slaughter all the Jews in the empire, Esther’s cousin Mordechai pleaded with her to go to the king and use her voice to advocate for them, even though this might place her life in danger. He urged her not to remain silent, as she may have been sent “for such a time as this.” Esther asked people to fast and pray with her for three days to fortify her advocacy before the king, resulting in saving the lives of her people.

God’s intention is the flourishing of all people and we are called to participate in God’s loving purpose by standing with our neighbor who struggle with poverty and hunger. Following the Circle of Protection ecumenical fast in 2011 to fortify the faith community in opposing cuts to vital anti-poverty programs, we may have also been prepared “for such a time as this”. We commit ourselves to and invite our members to one day of fasting every month to undergird our efforts to convince our members of Congress to protect poverty-focused programs.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Episcopal Church

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  We are coming together as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church to oppose deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty. We make this call in anticipation of...
April 24, 2017
Tagged in: Diocese of Haiti

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During this holy season commemorating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ it is with genuine thankfulness that I am able to share the following good news with you.  The Bishop of Haiti, the Bishop Suffragan of Haiti the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Haiti and I as your Presiding Bishop have entered into a Covenant with one another.

This Covenant seeks to address and resolve many of the issues of conflict that have been burdening the Diocese, and sets the stage for a healthy and positive way forward for the Diocese and the Diocese’s relationship with the larger Church.  I am grateful to both of my brother bishops and also the President and members of the Standing Committee for their willingness to reach a Covenant which I believe serves the cause of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in  Haiti for the continued rebuilding and renewal after the earthquake and as the Diocese of Haiti  prepares to elect its next Bishop Diocesan. 

The Covenant has entirely resolved the Title III matter that involved Suffragan Bishop Beauvoir’s relationship with the Standing Committee of the Diocese.  Further the Covenant, together with the Memorandum of Understanding (both attached) reached by Bishop Duracin and myself last year, and pastoral conversations between Bishop Duracin and myself have fully resolved the Title IV matter that has been pending against Bishop Duracin.  I am pleased by these measures, as they reflect a commitment by all parties to the ongoing work of healing and reconciliation.

Let me tell you how we got to this point.  As I announced on December 1, 2016, I appointed a three-person panel (the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine; the Rev. P. Roger Bowen; and Paul B. Nix, Jr., Esquire, In-house Counsel for the DFMS in New York)  to investigate the situation. (See http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/12/01/presiding-bishop-releases-letter-about-the-diocese-of-haiti/) After careful interviews and listening to both bishops, to the Standing Committee, and to a group of clergy identified by Bishop Beauvoir as having important concerns, the panel reported the following:

First, they reported that nearly everyone involved was deeply wounded by things that others have said, and their pain was real and deep.  Despite this, relationships among the clergy are generally regarded as “fundamentally sound.”  While the tensions among the clergy have been severe, there appeared to be a willingness and perhaps strong desire among many of the clergy to try to achieve resolution among them.  The clergy have worked with each other for a long time, and their commitment to the Diocese was evident.  There was a general sense that good relationships among the clergy can be recovered with courageous and careful work.  There was also a shared sense that there is much important work to do in the Diocese that is not being attended to because of the energy taken up by current disputes, and an eagerness to get on with that important work.

In contrast to the relationships among the clergy, it appeared to many that the brokenness of the relationship between the two bishops was not retrievable, at least at this crucial time.  There was evidence of a profound lack of trust between the bishops, manifested in part by multiple reports of their openly trading insults.  The state of their relationship had given rise to much sadness, frustration, and anger, not just between the bishops, but also among the clergy, some of whom may have loyalties to one bishop or the other, but who also sense that the struggle between the bishops has cast an unhealthy overlay to the functioning of the Diocese.  

Finally, each clergy group expressed deep concerns about the exercise of authority of one or the other of the bishops, which each group believed is not serving the best interests of the Diocese.  There were concerns that Bishop Beauvoir, before taking his leave of absence, exercised his role as Suffragan Bishop without a full appreciation of the limits of the authority of that office, such that his actions undermined the good order of the Church.  On the other hand, there was evidence that Bishop Duracin has failed to support Bishop Beauvoir’s suffragan episcopate, financially and otherwise.  There were also concerns that Bishop Duracin exercises his authority to transfer clergy around the Diocese in ways that are widely perceived as improperly rewarding or punishing those he favors or disfavors.  There was also a fear that the upcoming process to elect a successor to Bishop Duracin will lack integrity by excluding the voices of clergy who are not in all ways aligned with Bishop Duracin.  

In the light of this complicated and heartbreaking situation, and with all the best hope and prayers for a positive, forward-looking outcome for the health of the Diocese of Haiti, I proposed a Covenant to be entered into by Bishop Duracin, Bishop Beauvoir, the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and myself.  It was my hope that this Covenant would provide the basis for resolving the Title III and Title IV proceedings then pending, and would set a course for a healthy Diocese and upcoming episcopal election.

After deep conversations and negotiation, we have now reached a Covenant with which all parties are comfortable, and that everyone has now signed.  The text of the Covenant is found below, as is the text of the Memorandum of Understanding which provides a template for our partnerships characterized by equality in decision making and relationship, financial transparency, accountability and mutuality in mission whether in Haiti, elsewhere in the Episcopal Church or beyond.  With the Covenant and the Memorandum of Understanding now agreed to and in place the pause that I placed on fund raising for Haiti is lifted.

Lastly, while the Covenant has been agreed to and signed by us all, we will all come together for the formal liturgical signing of the Covenant in the context of the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 10:00 am  at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

I am truly thankful for Bishop Duracin and Bishop Beauviour, the clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese of Haiti and for all throughout the Episcopal Church who have prayed and worked for this moment.

May the blessings of the Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus be with us all as we go forward together to proclaim the Good News into God's new future.

 Your brother,

+Michael

The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, During this holy season commemorating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ it is with genuine thankfulness that I am able to share the following good news with you.  The Bishop of Haiti, the Bishop Suffragan of...
April 3, 2017
Tagged in: Easter Message

 

It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.

Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome’s Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.

Jesus entered the city on the other side, not on a warhorse, but on a donkey, recalling the words of Zechariah:

Behold your King comes to you

Triumphant and victorious is He

Humble and riding on a donkey

Jesus entered the city at the same time as Pilate to show them, and to show us, that God has another way. That violence is not the way. That hatred is not the way. That brute force and brutality are not the way.

Jesus came to show us there is another way. The way of unselfish, sacrificial love. That’s why he entered Jerusalem. That’s why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God, that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.

God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.

He didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. He went to Jerusalem for a reason. To send a message. That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God.  On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins.

So you have a blessed Easter. Go forth to be people of the Resurrection. Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.

Have a blessed Easter.  And bless the world.  Amen.

 

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

  It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about...
February 22, 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

You see a letter like this every year from your presiding bishop with a request to support the Good Friday Offering. Why? Because we walk the walk of Christ when we walk in solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East, who keep the faith in the very land Jesus called home. We walk the walk of Christ when we advocate for the voices of those who work fearlessly for peace in the midst of unremitting violence. We walk the walk of Christ when we support ministries of healing, education, pastoral care, and interfaith cooperation rooted in a deep desire for a future full of reconciliation and hope.

The Good Friday Offering is our opportunity to add some of the substance of our lives to the substance of our prayers. You have heard me talk about the Jesus Movement so much in these past months. Jesus of Nazareth is not about the talk of faith. He is not about the walk of faith. He is about both the talk and the walk. The Jesus Movement is about the journey we share with a world desperate to see examples of the love of God lived out in each one of us to empower compassion and mercy for all people in all places.

The Jesus Movement is manifested through opportunities like the Good Friday Offering to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

I ask you to join me in the journey of faith as part of the Jesus Movement in supporting the Good Friday Offering again this year.

May God bless you and the love we share in our Lord and Savior.

 

 

The Most Rev. Michael Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate        

The Episcopal Church

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, You see a letter like this every year from your presiding bishop with a request to support the Good Friday Offering. Why? Because we walk the walk of Christ when we walk in solidarity with the Christians of the...
February 8, 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

 

Earlier this week, we informed Executive Council that Bishop Stacy Sauls has filed a lawsuit against the corporation of the Episcopal Church, called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and an unspecified number of unnamed defendants associated with the church. The suit concerns Bishop Sauls’ tenure as chief operating officer of the DFMS and his departure from that job.

As you may remember, Bishop Sauls served as chief operating officer from 2011 until December 2015, when he was placed on administrative leave. Bishop Sauls’ employment with the church ended in April 2016.

The Presiding Bishop, in consultation with legal counsel, tried his best to negotiate a severance with Bishop Sauls. We believe he made a good faith and compassionate offer, but that offer was not accepted. The Presiding Bishop, as a steward of church resources, felt that he could not go beyond that offer and explain it in good conscience to the church.

As officers of the church, we are not going to comment directly on pending litigation that involves the church. We have complete confidence in one another and in the staff, officers, and leaders of the Episcopal Church. We are united in our desire to resolve this suit as quickly and compassionately as possible, and we are committed to working together to create a church culture that follows the loving, liberating and life-giving way of Jesus.

Faithfully,

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings

President, House of Deputies

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:   Earlier this week, we informed Executive Council that Bishop Stacy Sauls has filed a lawsuit against the corporation of the Episcopal Church, called the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and an...