The House of Bishops (HOB) of the Episcopal Church, USA has just concluded their fall gathering in Phoenix, AZ. At the conclusion of the meeting (which ended yesterday), the HOB issued a mind of the house resolution calling on Charles Bennison to immediately and unconditionally resign as the bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Charles Bennison was inhibited in 2007 after a scandal rocked his already tenuous episcopacy. 35 years ago, then Father Bennison, failed to report his brother’s sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. A Court of Review recently overturned a lower courts ruling stating the statute of limitations had run out on the case thereby reinstating Bishop Bennison as head of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Bennison resumed control of the diocese August 16th. Since then, an avalanche of protests has been unleashed from all corners of the church.
Bishop Bennison has not responded to the mind of the house resolution (he was in attendance in Phoenix) nor has he responded to Episcopal News Services request for comment.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania had been at odds with Bennison over his leadership style and financial excesses for several years before the scandal. Bennison has repeatedly been asked to resign or retire to which has has always responded no. TEC Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts-Schori has also weighed in on this matter with limited success.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania covers the five county Philadelphia metropolitan area in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Bishop Bennison released a statement late yesterday stating he has no intention of resigning or retiring. He wants to “work things out” with the Standing Committee and the Diocese. Bennison is 66-years old which gives him six more years until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 72.