The Episcopal task force on property disputes related to the churchfight over the Bible and sexuality is monitoring dioceses it considers"problems" for the church.
Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington, Ky.,head of the House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes, says hispanel is maintaining contact with Episcopalians in those dioceses whowish to "remain loyal to The Episcopal Church."
Among thedioceses are Pittsburgh; Quincy, Ill.; Springfield, Ill.; Dallas andFort Worth, Texas; San Joaquin, Calif.; and Rio Grande, which coversparts of New Mexico and Texas. They have each, to different degrees,distanced themselves from the national denomination.
Since the2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, V. GeneRobinson of New Hampshire, some traditionalist parishes have split fromthe U.S. denomination. Church leaders are trying to prepare for anylegal fights over the properties.
Sauls says that lawyers,including several diocesan chancellors and a judge on the 11th U.S.District Court of Appeals, are helping the bishops prepare.
Thetask force has developed a "brief bank" of court filings and legalresearch to help dioceses with litigation and has also identifiedpotential expert witnesses
The panel is also working on aposition paper "setting forth possible common grounds which could besought so that the split in The Episcopal Church which is feared by thetask force might be avoided."
Sauls gave the update on the task force's work during a Nov. 15-18 meeting of the Episcopal Executive Council in Chicago.
TheExecutive Council - comprised of clergy and lay people - oversees thework of The Episcopal Church between meetings of the denomination's toppolicy-making body, the Episcopal General Convention, once every threeyears.
The Executive Council also approved creating a workinggroup to consider forming an "Anglican regional convocation of theAmericas" that would include the Anglican Church of Canada, theAnglican Council of Latin America and the Province of the West Indies.
TheEpiscopal Church is the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member AnglicanCommunion. The only other Anglican regional convocation is called theGlobal South, which includes Anglican leaders from African nations andother developing countries. Global South members are mainlyconservatives who have been very critical of the direction of the U.S.church.
ELCA multicultural ministry creates association for European-Americans
CHICAGO(AP) - The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Americahas approved the creation of a European American Association to jointhe church's five other ethnic associations in helping create amulticultural church.
The overwhelmingly white denomination hasassociations for African-Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives,Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Arab/Middle Eastern Heritage.
Inproposing the new ethnic grouping, the Multicultural Ministries' officesaid a recent churchwide reorganization made clear that "those in thischurch's European American community have not had the structure tojourney together with the five ethnic associations."
The Rev.Sherman Hicks, executive director of ELCA Multicultural Ministries,said the new European American Association is part of "a new vision"for the ministries' work.
"This church has looked at 'multicultural' as basically 'ethnic-specific,' and that is not multicultural," Hicks said.
TheChurch Council voted during its Nov. 11-13 meeting in Chicago. Thecouncil serves as the denomination's legislative authority betweenchurchwide assemblies.
Wilmington Catholic diocese releases list of accused priests
DOVER,Del. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has released thenames of 20 priests against whom it received substantiated allegationsof child sexual abuse.
The list of names was printed in the Nov.16 edition of the diocese's weekly newspaper, The Dialog. It includeseight living priests accused of abusing minors in the diocese, and twoothers who ministered in the diocese but were accused of abuseelsewhere.
Of the 20 priests listed, the names of 10 hadpreviously been released publicly, either by the diocese or by themedia, church officials said. The list includes only the names ofpriests employed by the diocese, not those employed by religious orders.
Onlya small number of U.S. dioceses have released the names of accusedpriests. Advocates for victims have been demanding that more diocesesdo so, to encourage other victims to come forward and to warn thepublic about any predators in their midst.
Bishop MichaelSaltarelli said in a letter accompanying the list that he released thenames after extensive consultation with the Diocesan Review Board, amostly lay panel formed to comply with the 2002 U.S. bishops' Charterfor the Protection of Children and Young People.
Saltarelli saidthe recent arrest of the Rev. Francis G. DeLuca in Syracuse, N.Y., wasa factor in his decision. DeLuca, 77, was arrested last month andcharged with sexually abusing a Syracuse boy for several years,beginning when he was about 12.
DeLuca was removed from theministry in Delaware in 1993 and allowed to return to his hometownafter church officials in Wilmington learned of credible sex abuseclaims against him dating to the 1960s.
"I am deeply troubled,and profoundly regret, that a priest of this diocese, removed fromministry so many years ago, has once again sexually abused a minor,"Saltarelli wrote.
Saltarelli said that by disclosing the namesand locations of other living priests with substantiated allegationsagainst them, "we perhaps in some way may help prevent or deter anyfurther incidents."
for a listing of alternate locations.