Archive for April, 2012


Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

In response to my last post, someone asked me if the President of the House of Deputies was involved in some kind of power struggle. That is, indeed, the rumor and the concern.

The President now has her own web site (interestingly, the Episcopal Church web site doesn’t link to this site, at least as far as I can tell.) And in a recent post, Bonnie Anderson referred to herself as reigning at the top of the church hierarchy from her office in Michigan, along with the Presiding Bishop at her office at 815 Second Avenue, New York City.

Now, 815 Second Avenue has been recognized as the “National Church” headquarters for quite some time; not so, “Christ Church, Michigan.” As a pyramid only has one true highest point, we might wish that our hierarchy retain its traditional single shepherd, The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.–J. Douglas Ousley


Monday, April 16th, 2012

Several times, I have noted the ambitions of the President of the House of Deputies of General Convention, Bonnie Anderson. (She is sometimes referred to as “Canon” or “Dr.” Anderson, reflecting an honorary canon’s title or her honorary doctorate from some seminary. It should be noted, however, that she has had no formal seminary training or theological education.)

Some bishops are concerned that Ms. Anderson is leading a campaign equal rights for laity that will stir controversy at this summer’s General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Since “Episcopal” refers to our leadership by bishops who are the successors of the apostles, it is by no means clear that this campaign is orthodox. And given that Ms. Anderson and the current Presiding Bishop seem to agree on almost every issue facing the church, it is not clear that the church would benefit by having two chiefs rather than one.

I note however that recent press releases from church headquarters refer to Bonnie Anderson as PHOD–President of the House of Deputies, like the Secret Service nickname for the President of the United States, POTUS. In my view, “PHOD” reflects a delusion of grandeur that is as dangerous as it is unwarranted. —J. Douglas Ousley

Only in England

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Here is a quote from the 99th Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, commenting in the 1960’s on a possible choice to succeed him:

“Dr. Ramsey is a theologian, a scholar, and a man of prayer. Therefore he is entirely unsuitable.”

Michael Ramsey nevertheless was appointed the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, and he went on to become perhaps the most popular English bishop of the 20th century. That he was a scholar and a man of prayer turned out not to be disadvantageous. —J. Douglas Ousley

Cardinals Flying the Coop?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Yesterday, another Manhattan rector announced that he is resigning to look for a position in a small upstate parish. This will make at least seven parishes in this borough who are looking for rectors.

I love my job and try never to complain; most days, it hardly seems like work. My job is certainly easier than the work most of my parishioners do. But the early retirements and resignations of so many of my colleagues recently makes me wonder if being a “cardinal” rector is not what it used to be. More demanding parishioners may be a problem, as well as less money. Or this may just be a generational blip. Time will tell.

But for one parish, a sobering announcement on Palm Sunday. —J. Douglas Ousley