Episcopal bishop placed on leave, faces possible disciplinary action

Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming being interviewed by Wyoming PBS in January 2022.
Bishop Paul-Gordon Chandler of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming being interviewed by Wyoming PBS in January 2022. | Screenshot: YouTube/Wyoming PBS

An Episcopal Church bishop in Wyoming has been placed on administrative leave as he faces a potential disciplinary action based on allegations that have not been made public.

The Rt. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, bishop of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming, was recently placed on administrative leave amid a “pending Title IV allegations against him,” according to a Monday statement from the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs.

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, the Episcopal Church House of Bishops vice president, issued the disciplinary action against Chandler while serving as “presiding bishop-designate.”

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Gray-Reeves assumed the role of presiding bishop-designate while Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry continues to recover from surgery he underwent last month.

“This restriction will remain in effect until further notice,” stated the public affairs office.

Although the reason for the disciplinary action has not been disclosed, Episcopal News Service reported Monday that a diocesan standing committee letter to the regional body mentioned “an alleged indiscretion with a member of our diocesan team.”

Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church involve the processes for which to oversee formal accusations made against clergy accused of violating ecclesiastical laws.

The canons were approved at the Episcopal Church General Convention of 1994, taking effect on New Year’s Day 1996 and creating a standard for all dioceses.

“Prior to the fundamental changes in how the church handled discipline, decisions surrounding clerics were often made unilaterally by bishops or by an ecclesiastical trial court,” states an Episcopal Church website on the canons.

A process revision was made in 2009, which “extended pastoral care opportunities and requirements to all parties and set the tone for future revisions.”

“The General Convention of 2009 was a watershed year for the modern Title IV, but it was not the end of the evolution of the disciplinary canons,” the denomination acknowledged.

“As Title IV processes are carried out within the church, the need for further revisions comes to light. Additional revisions have been accepted at every succeeding General Convention and will likely continue to be.”

According to his online biography, Chandler was raised in Senegal and previously served as rector of the Anglican Church in Qatar and rector of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cairo, Egypt.

Chandler also helped to found CARAVAN, a nonprofit organization that seeks to use international arts to advance positive social change and world peace.  

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