Bishop Henry Scriven: Follow up.

Three Rivers Episcopal's Jim Simons wrote me a correction to my earlier blog and pointed to a statement by the Pittsburgh Standing Committee (EDP/TEC) which I am happy to reproduce below. It is a fine statement of support for a bishop who is well loved by many on both sides of the divide in Pittsburgh and a good statement of just what has taken place in this rather difficult situation.

An article that appeared on Episcopal Life Online on January 23, 2009 reported that Bishop Henry Scriven, the former Assistant Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, had renounced his orders and that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, had accepted that renunciation. Although the article may suggest otherwise, the Standing Committee understands that this action was not in any sense a disciplinary action or an action taken because of Bishop Scriven’s support for the attempt to realign the Diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Before he relocated to England, Bishop Scriven had submitted his resignation as a member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, inasmuch as he was planning to return to England and serve as Assistant to the Bishop of Oxford. In order to permit that, the Canons required that he be released from his orders in the Episcopal Church for reasons not affecting his moral character, which is what occurred. This is a routine way of permitting Bishop Scriven to continue his ministry. Orders in the Church themselves are indelible, but licensing is required to exercise them.

The Standing Committee gives thanks for the gracious way in which Bishop Scriven exercised his ministry in the Episcopal Church while he served here as Assistant Bishop and we hope he and his wife Catherine will visit us in the future."

The issue is as I have stated before: "Orders in the Church themselves are indelible, but licensing is required to exercise them."
Thanks to Three Rivers Episcopal.


  1. Mark

    You and Jim Simons can spin this anyway you want. But the bottom line line is Bishop Scriven never renounced his orders regardless of ENS and KJS has promulgated.

  2. David,
    What happened here, and what Jim Simons and the Standing Committee are trying to point out, is that Bishop Scriven has legitimately transferred to another Province. The procedure for a bishop is different from that for letters dismissory for a priest. KJS has dismissed him as a bishop in good standing who has voluntarily relinquished his ministry to take up ministry in the CofE.

    ENS did get the story wrong. This is not analogous to the renunciations of ministry by bishops such as Harvey, Harding, Ferris, and Iker.

    Most importantly, the door, both in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and in TEC in general, seems quite open for future visits.

  3. As I said on another blog- much ado about nothing. The PB Schori and Bishop Scriven knew that his indelible orders were not renounced.
    A tempest in a teapot

  4. Can anyone explain why a foreign bishop is in the U.S. facilitating the piracy of American dioceses?

    Given the the damage that Minns and Scriven have done here, I think we would do well to English evangelicals at a distance.

  5. Sir,

    This is part of a comment that I submitted in September at "The Rector's Page", http://revbmrobison.blogspot.com/ , in response to a post on the deposition of Bishop Duncan:
    I was taught that ordination, like Baptism, causes an indelible change. In Baptism, one is "marked as Christ's own forever"; and priests are priests "forever according to the order of Melchizidek."

    Thus I was surprised to read in "The Church of the Triune God", the Cyprus Agreed Statement of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, the following:

    "Bishops and presbyters do not possess an indelible mark.... We are not aware that the theory of an indelible mark conferred by ordination can be fond in patristic teaching. On the contrary,... once the Church decided to depose a bishop or presbyter they returned to the rank of layman.... The fact that the ministerial rehabilitation and restoration of such persons did not... involve re-ordination, does not imply any recognition that they were bishops or priests during the period of such punishment."

    Fr. Mark, it looks like your statement and the Agreed Statement don't agree with each other, but then there is probably a lot of nuanced theological language that I cut out when I was snipping out the statement I quoted, and I am not theologian. Does The Episcopal Church actually have a position on this matter?

  6. Oops--that should read "Given the the damage that Minns and Scriven have done here, I think we would do well to keepEnglish evangelicals at a distance."

  7. Allison, you raise a good question. We don't have a good answer, really, because I fear few Episcopalians are aware of the Cyprus Statement. Indeed, I did a quick check in the Digital Archives of General Convention resolutions, and realized there had not been a resolution to receive, not only the 2005 statement, but any statement since 1985 - and this despite the fact that three Americans, including two bishops, participated in the Cyprus meeting in 2005. The last resolution in 1985 recommended the Dublin Agreed Statement for study. So, I doubt many Episcopalians know of the Cyprus Statement as a whole, much less the paragraph you cite (which, by the way, I have seen cited previously, somewhere in the depths, I think, of Thinking Anglicans).

    Even if we were aware, we would have to spend some time determining the import of the Statement. It was a group intending to represent the Communion broadly; but even when representation in the Communion is as broad as Lambeth we differ on how we should appropriate the results.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.