Bishop Gene Robinson failed the first major test of his episcopacy this past
week after all but three members of a New Hampshire congregation voted to secede
from the diocese rather than accept his authority as Bishop.
“We offered [the parish] 95 per cent of what they were seeking,” Bishop
Robinson said. “They chose not to accept any offer, would not grant the
final five percent of authority that allows the tiniest thread of relationship
with their bishop.”
Redeemer’s Senior Warden Jerry DeLemus stated the parish “remained
united in principle and action last night” and was “true to the
authority of Holy Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ”
The Rochester parish has been a sore spot in Bishop Robinson’s campaign
to win over opponents in New Hampshire. The parish vicar, the Rev Donald Wilson,
an opponent of his election, was dismissed for contumacy in November. Over
the past six months, the congregation witnessed public confrontations between
diocesan officials and traditionalists and an exodus of parishioners to other
denominations and Episcopal parishes.
…A spokesman for the departing congregation, Richard Ellwood, told The Church
of England Newspaper, that as a matter of conscience the parish could not accept
the episcopacy of Bishop Robinson. “Because of Robinson’s unrepentant
sin, the very idea that he would be ordained a priest let alone consecrated
a bishop is abhorrent and a violation of canon law and Scripture.”
As a matter of conscience also, Bishop Robinson noted he could not agree to
a proposal that would undercut the US House of Bishops’ agreed statement on
Delegated Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) and was “upholding my vows as a bishop
and my responsibilities under the canons of the church”.
This is a good example of the silliness of conscience without
formation. A conscience that has been formed by one’s likes and dislikes is
not a conscience but a mirror or the ultimate yes man. The size of the congregation
is like the Agatha Christie novel "Ten Little Indian", there falling faster
than somebody gets murdered in a slasher film.