Bishop Kelshaw, retired of Rio Grande, has joined the Church of Uganda. One of the crankiest and strangest of all bishops in the Episcopal Church, Kelshaw retired, thank God, and Rio Grande moved on. It elected Bishop Steenson who has resigned and become a Roman Catholic. The diocese is currently in the process of nominating candidates for bishop.
Kelshaw joins several other retired bishops - Andrew Fairfield, William Cox and David Bena - in leaving TEC to join other Provinces. As a rule, retired bishops continue as members of the House of Bishops and can serve in a variety of capacities as assisting or interim bishops. But when they become members of another church in retirement they cease to have a place in TEC house of bishops and cease to hold license to minister in TEC. All of this is termed "renunciation," meaning only that the bishop has renounced his or her place in The Episcopal Church and is no longer a minister of TEC. It says nothing of the validity of ordination as a bishop in the Church of God, nothing pertaining to "cause", noting detrimental to the moral or theological qualifications to be bishop. It only says the person is as he or she claims - no longer a bishop in this church. Nothing in what will be requried by canon suggests that he is no longer a bishop or no longer Anglican. (See Title III. 12.7-8)
Bishop Kelshaw is still a bishop. Renunciation are about where the bishop is licensed and where the bishop has jurisdiction. Kelshaw is no longer bishop of the Rio Grande and has no juristiction there. Now he is not licensed to exercise his episcopal office in The Episcopal Church.
On the one hand, this is no big deal. He has simply gone away. It is not clear however that he has gone away physically. So if Bishop Kelshaw continues to live in the US and exercises a ministry under license of the Church of Unganda without the permission of diocese where the action takes place, then he and his adopted Province are both subject to censure.
He seems to have been clear in wishing to avoid such censure, at least a the moment. It would appear from the announcement regarding Bishop Kelshaw's leaving that he has saught permission to officiate at a confirmation and it has been given.
Here is the copy of the email from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. It is taken from Stand Firm's pages.
"The following announcement is from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
In an email to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori, dated February 14, 2008, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Terence Kelshaw stated that he has been received into the Province of Uganda. Bishop Kelshaw wrote, "I have therefore requested and been received into the Province of the Church of Uganda (where I once lived for two years) and I believe I sense a certain security and unity with that decision and with that Province."
No consent to his resignation is required, since he is not a sitting bishop. The Presiding Bishop will, in due course, send out a notice that renunciation of his ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church has been received and he has been removed from our rolls and released from the obligations of ordained ministry in this Church. (Per David Booth Beers, Chancellor for The Episcopal Church.)
Bishop Kelshaw has been scheduled, for many weeks, to preside at the Confirmation Service at St. James, Clovis. After consulting with David Booth Beers, it would appear that, with the permission of the Standing Committee, Bishop Kelshaw can preside at the service without issue as to the validity of the confirmations. Canon Kelly is giving consent to Bishop Kelshaw for this weekend's service of Confirmation. Further information will be distributed as events unfold."
(David Booth Beers is Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, not The Episcopal Church...thanks to a friend for correcting TLC's error.)
Kelshaw was part of the early members of the Network of Anglican Dioceses and Parishes, aka "The Network." His successor seemed a bit less enthusiastic about the Network. Now Kelshaw, as a member of the Church of Uganda, will no doubt reappear in the Network as part of the international partners group.
The Primate of Uganda might well be adivsed to accept Bishop Kelshaw with a bit of care. He is at times stranger than fiction.