Diocese of Ohio

Four churches in the Diocese of Ohio, my home diocese, intend on leaving the Episcopal Church. Bishop Hollingsworth issued a press release, and it follows. I am thankful that there is a willingness on all sides to work this out amicably.

November 9, 2005
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
This afternoon I have released to the press the following joint statement with the rectors of the congregations involved:
“Four congregations in Northeast Ohio have voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) and the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. They are St. Luke’s, Akron; Church of the Holy Spirit, Akron; St. Anne’s in the Fields, Madison; and St. Barnabas, Bay Village.
“The four parishes held congregational meetings Sunday, November 6, 2005 to ratify the unanimous decisions of their vestries (elected church boards) to affiliate with the Diocese of Bolivia in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Their decision results from a
theological dispute with the Episcopal Church over divergent understandings of the authority of Scripture and traditional Christian teaching.
“The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, was informed of these decisions at a meeting with the clergy leaders of the four parishes the following day. Together they discussed seeking a constructive way forward that will be
supportive of all involved. The bishop and the four parish rectors are committed to negotiating a mutually beneficial resolution and have agreed to continue working together toward that
“The rectors of the four congregations are as follows:
The Rev. Roger Ames, Rector, St. Lukes’, Akron
The Rev. Kelly Irish, Rector, St. Anne’s in the Fields, Madison
The Rev. Scott Souders, Rector, Church of the Holy Spirit, Akron,
The Rev. Dr. James Tasker, Rector, St. Barnabas, Bay Village”
I have informed both the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Ohio and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church about the actions of these parishes, and I wanted you to hear
of it directly from me. As well, I want to assure you that I am committed to working collaboratively with these congregations toward a faithful and just resolution.
The clergy of these congregations have agreed with me to say nothing more publicly about this situation, and I ask that you support our efforts by doing the same.
We are given in this an opportunity to move forward in a way that is worthy of our common vocation as Christians. Know that appreciate your prayers, just as I keep you in mine.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio