Hell hath no fury like a Church scorned, it would seem. The story is that Bishop Scriven became Assistant Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2002. After the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 this diocese became increasingly estranged from the direction and policy of the Episcopal Church. This resulted in the deposition of the diocesan bishop, Robert Duncan, under the charge of ‘abandoning communion’ last year, even though at the time he was continuing to actively serve as a diocesan bishop. The majority of churches in the diocese under the continuing leadership of Bishop Duncan are now under the auspices of the Province of the Southern Cone — thus retaining their link to the Anglican Communion, in a highly unsatisfactory way for all concerned. The planning for the future is to form an alternative province of North America under the initial leadership of Bishop Duncan.
Bishop Scriven of course had written to the Presiding Bishop to inform her of his move back to England, which she had then cavalierly and tendentiously interpreted as a ‘renunciation’ of his ministry. According to the Anglican Communion Institute: “Those ‘Ordinations’ of which she purports to deprive him were conferred on Bishop Scriven not by TEC but by the Church of England, including by the Archbishop of Canterbury personally. The Presiding Bishop has no authority to deprive him of the ministry conferred on him by his ordination in the Church of England.
The Anglican Communion Institute again comments: “The Presiding Bishop’s action has profound consequences for TEC’s status as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and its communion with the Church of England.” Her Declaration of Removal touches upon the ‘ordinations’ conferred on him by the Church of England, not by The Episcopal Church, and therefore she is going down a very dangerous road by pretending to have the authority to pronounce on them. Furthermore, by prohibiting a bishop in good standing within the Church of England from ministering in The Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Schori is opening up the way for a diplomatic row.