A former Episcopal Church bishop compelled to resign for upholding traditional marriage has joined the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Bishop William H. Love stepped down as diocesan bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany in February and was, at his request, “released and removed” from ordained Episcopal ministry by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry last week.
The Anglican Diocese of the Living Word (ADLW) announced this morning that Love has been received into the ACNA diocese as a retired bishop and appointed to assist Bishop Julian Dobbs. The two will officiate an Easter service on Sunday at Bishop Seabury Anglican Church in Gales Ferry, Connecticut, the diocesan pro-Cathedral.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Right Reverend William H. Love and Mrs. Karen Love into the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word,” diocesan officials wrote in a statement. “Earlier today, the Most Reverend Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America announced the reception of Bishop Love as a retired bishop of the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop Love has prayerfully accepted the invitation from Bishop Julian Dobbs to serve as an assisting bishop in the diocese.”
Assisting Bishop Love will perform episcopal acts including confirmation and receptions at the direction of Diocesan Bishop Dobbs, according to ADLW Communications Director the Rev. Marc Steele. While Love and his wife Karen have been received into the ACNA, he is not presently a member of the denomination’s College of Bishops, which would require action by the college to join.
Archbishop Foley Beach released his own statement today welcoming Love into the ACNA.
“Bishop Love expressed his desire to be received into the Anglican Church in North America. As of today, I have received him with joy as a retired bishop in the Province,” Beach wrote. “I look forward to seeing the fruit of Bishop Love’s ministry alongside Bishop Dobbs, to the glory of God!”
The ADLW announced in early March that several clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Albany were in the process of being licensed for ministry in the ACNA diocese. Those names will be made public after the licensure process is completed.
Love wrote in a March 30 e-mail to friends and supporters that it was his intention to join ACNA following his release from Episcopal ministry.
“At the moment, Karen and I have no plans to physically move from our home in the Adirondacks, but we also know it would not be appropriate for me to serve in any ACNA parishes within the geographic boundaries of the Diocese of Albany,” Love wrote. “Although Karen and I are about to begin a new path in our Christian walk and service, it is my most sincere hope and prayer that all the friendships we have made with so many of you throughout the [Albany] Diocese these past 30 years will continue.”
Love requested to be released and removed from Episcopal Ministry in a March 25 letter to Presiding Bishop Curry that was made public on April 1. The three-page document states Love’s conviction that, fifteen years after his election as a bishop, he cannot remain within the Episcopal denomination.
“The passage of [General Convention Resolution] B012 [mandating same-sex marriage rites] and my subsequent conviction by the Hearing Panel clearly shows ‘there is no place in this branch of the church’ for theologically conservative and orthodox bishops to uphold the traditional understanding of marriage as that between one man and one woman as clearly revealed by God in Holy Scripture and taught by the Church for over 2000 years,” Love wrote to Curry. “I sincerely care about these [same-sex attracted and transgender identifying] individuals and for that reason, I do not believe it is appropriate for me as a Bishop, or for the Church to bless or encourage behaviors that I believe God has revealed through Holy Scripture and over 2000 years of Christian teaching, as being in opposition to His will, and therefore harmful to the very people we all say we want to help and share God’s love.”