I received an emailed notice on Friday that the Diocese of Chicago had accepted the renunciation of my orders. To be precise, the letter from Bishop Lee reads that I voluntarily renounced my ordained ministry (!) and that I was therefore ‘removed and released from the obligations of the Ministerial office and deprived of the right to exercise in this Church the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred in Ordination’.
It’s OK, I’m a priest in good standing of the United Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. The wording of the form letter does sound as though the legal status of ‘renouncing priesthood’ simpliciter has been forceably applied to the more benign status of ‘moving to another Episcopal jurisdiction’. I don’t have a beef with Bishop Lee; those are the rules of the Episcopal Church USA these days. Since the whole process was delayed for months, I suppose I wish it had been deferred for another month, so that we could find out the fate of the possible amendment to the canons that would distinguish ‘transfer to another bishop’s jurisdiction’ from ‘abjuring sacerdotal identity’, but it doesn’t make a big difference. Hey, maybe they’ll name the changed canon after me — the ‘AKMA Canon’, the way Walter Dennis gave his name to the infamous Dennis Canon! Of the two, I’d rather have a canonical-status canon named after me than a (disputed) property-ownership canon.
And besides, now I can’t be charged with clerical misconduct under Title IV for disagreeing with the official positions of the ECUSA leadership.
Anyway, thank you, Bishop Gregor and Provost Kelvin, for making a home for this sojourner. I’m pleased to be here.