From Bishop Michael Garrison and the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, trying to put the best possible spin on the news that the rector and a large part of the congregation of St. Bartholomew's Church are leaving (but, hey, the diocese keeps the property, so "All is Well" although it seems as though Bishop Garrison is seeking an amicable parting, much to his credit) [boldface mine]:
On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, the Rt. Rev. J. Michael Garrison, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, met with the Rev. Arthur Ward, rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. During that meeting, Ward informed Bishop Garrison of his desire to disaffiliate himself from the Diocese of Western New York, and to transfer from the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church to a different Anglican entity.
He also declared that other clergy affiliated with St. Bartholomew’s and some portion of the congregation also intend to leave the Episcopal Church. Ward and others who share his convictions plan to vacate the property at Brighton and Fries Roads before the end of this year.
“People may come and go, but St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Tonawanda will continue,” state Bishop Garrison. “We are ready and able to carry on with worship, pastoral care and administration. We stand ready to support and work with continuing Episcopalians who have been a part of St. Bartholomew’s, as well as those who have felt disenfranchised by the position of its leadership.
“It is my intention that Fr. Ward’s departure be handled as sensibly and amicably as possible. He has indicated to me that the time has come for him to seek to continue his priesthood in a different branch of Anglicanism. I respect his right to follow his personal conscience in this matter.”
Episcopalians from the congregation of St. Bartholomew’s who have any pastoral needs and those who wish to learn about the continuing worship schedule at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church are encouraged to contact the diocesan office. . .
H/t to the Lead.