'The difficulties... are at heart pastoral': The Presiding Bishop's statement on the conflict at Church of the Good Shepherd

September 6, 2002

For more than a year I have sought to resolve the impasse between the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and the rector and vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont. Although I have no canonical authority in this diocesan matter, I have employed every means at my disposal to help find a way forward that honored the concerns of all, and strongly urged that they enter into a process of mediation. During this time, I have met with Bishop Bennison as well as Father Moyer and members of the Vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

To my mind the difficulties between the parties are at heart pastoral, and therefore resolution could have been found without recourse to canons and rubrics. This failure to resolve the conflict has been costly for all involved. As chief pastor of the Episcopal Church in the United States it grieves me deeply that this rift has occurred in the body of Christ. It grieves me further when a bishop's ministry is not welcomed by a congregation, a diocese loses the services of one of its priests, and the mission of the church risks losing the commitment and energies of dedicated members of a congregation.

I am aware that some have said this conflict is an indication that those with 'traditionalist' views do not have a place in the Episcopal Church. I cannot say strongly enough that this is not the case. Unfortunately, it is the difficult and anomalous situations that draw notice, as if they were normative. Indeed, this occurrence is a sad exception to how the ecclesial life of the Episcopal Church in the United States is lived.

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA