WASHINGTON The Episcopal bishop of Washington appointed a more conservative leader to provide supplemental oversight to his church, All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, Md.
In efforts to maintain communion with his parish, Bishop John Bryson Chane, who supports homosexual ordination, arranged to have retiring bishop the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon of South Carolina oversee the process of ordination.
"Under this arrangement, Bishop Salmon has agreed to visit the parish from time to time, to confirm on my behalf and to supervise the process of discernment of individuals who wish to explore their potential call to ordination," said Chane in a letter to All Saints on Monday, according to the Diocese of Washington.
The additional overseer was appointed in response to theological disagreements that arose between Chane and a majority of the congregation.
Earlier this year, Chane had criticized conservative Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, primate of the Church of Nigeria, for backing a law that criminalizes same-sex marriage in his country and denies gay citizens the freedoms to assemble and petition their government.
Chane expressed his support of homosexuals, including the ordination of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, saying, "The victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us," according to The Washington Post.
Conflicting with most of his congregation, Chane invited Salmon a vocal opponent of gay ordination to provide supplemental pastoral oversight.
"I have sought to provide a path toward continued relationship," said Chane. "The goal before us remains, as the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, for us to seek to be in 'the highest degree of communion' with one another."
Chane described his personal relationship with Salmon as one of respect and warmth. The two had met when they joined the House of Bishops in 2002.
"I believe you will find him to be a reconciling figure in your midst and I bid you to welcome him to your community," he told the parishioners in his letter.
Accepting the invitation, Salmon commented, "It has put me in a place where I can be of help and pastoral support to both the parish and the bishop of Washington."
Both bishops will hold a meeting with the parish on Oct. 29 to discuss Salmon's role at All Saints Church.
"This decision by Bishop Chane simply reflects the open recognition in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies at General Convention 2006 that 'we are two [theological] minds within one body,'" said the Rev. Zadig, Jr., rector of All Saints Church. "The events on the international and national stage are now playing out on the local level. Despite all that, this generous act by Bishops Chane and Salmon will help us continue a thriving, growing and loving orthodox ministry in Washington."