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QCH: Disassociation from Bishop Spong
Disassociation is not new to Bishop Spong and the Diocese of Newark.
In 1990, at least 75 bishops (including all 26 of the 50 signers of
the new document who were bishops before 1991) voted to dissociate
from Bishop Spong and the Diocese in the ordination of openly gay
priest Robert Williams. By 1994 many more signed the Statement of
Koinonia drafted by Bishop Spong and calling for the very ordinations
which provoked the disassociation. At this moment, 90 bishops have
signed that statement. See their names at
Disassociation is much milder than a formal 'presentment.'
Disassociation does not inhibit the one disassociated (and certainly
does not reject the diocese's gifts and offerings to the Church).
Disassociation is tantamount to a loud 'harrumph! you embarrass me';
and I cannot imagine a Christian worthy of the name who has not at
some time embarrassed other Christians for the sake of the gospel.
Of the 50 signers of this new disassociation statement, 37 (74%) also
signed the Presentment in August 1995 to bring Bishop Walter Righter
to trial for heresy -- and lost in their attempt.
Of the remaining 13, six became bishops in 1995 or later:
1995 Robert Duncan
1995 John Lipscomb
1995 Vernon E. Strickland
1996 Paul Marshall
1997 Dan Herzog
1997 Mark MacDonald
Seven bishops who signed here did not sign the presentment against
Bishop Righter but were bishops when it was circulated:
1960 Robert Mize, ret.
1970 Alex Stewart, ret.
1972 Herbert Edmondson, ret.
1984 Leopold Frade
1984 Don Wimberly
1988 Herbert Thompson
1989 John H. Smith
There is a much more generous response when another person's faith
challenges our own. Imagine our Lord saying, "Why Thomas, you little
pip-squeak, how dare you ask to see the proof. I disassociate myself
from you in no uncertain terms!"
Why in the Episcopal Church we respect Thomas enough to name churches
My bishop invited those who disagree with him to debate him. These 50
have taken a much safer response, one that frees them from having to
defend their faith in any of its particulars.
Do not be afraid of a Bishop who challenges us to think, and re-think,
and re-think. Beware instead the Bishops of Laodicea, who take no
risks at all.