[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. William Love, the former bishop of the Diocese of Albany who resigned last month, announced on March 30 that he is leaving The Episcopal Church to join the Anglican Church in North America. Last October, Love agreed to resign while facing disciplinary action over his ban on same-sex marriage in his diocese.
In an announcement the same day, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said he had approved a request from Love to be released and removed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church, with the advice and consent of Curry’s Council of Advice.
The work of ministry “is not easy,” Curry wrote on March 30. “The road can be rough. This path is not painless. The work of love is hard, but it is both the hard work of healing and the harbinger of hope.
“Deep in my heart I believe that as a church we are called, as Jesus once said, to be ‘a house of prayer for all people,’ where, as my slave ancestors used to sing, ‘there is plenty good room for all of God’s children,’” the presiding bishop added.
Love, who disagreed with The Episcopal Church’s stance on LGBTQ issues, resigned as bishop effective Feb. 1 after a disciplinary panel ruled on Oct. 2, 2020, that he violated church law by prohibiting clergy from using the same-sex marriage rite approved for churchwide use by General Convention in 2018.
In an email to the upstate New York diocese, Love said his removal from ministry within The Episcopal Church will be effective April 2. After that, Love said, it is his “hope and plan to be received into the Anglican Church [in] North America (ACNA) in the very near future.” ACNA, which is not a province of the Anglican Communion, was created in 2009 by former members of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada who primarily disagreed with the churches’ positions on the ordination of LGBTQ people and women.
“As a cradle Episcopalian (with nearly 30 years of ordained ministry as a deacon, priest and bishop), that was not an easy decision, but given all that has transpired these past couple of years and the constraints placed upon me as a theologically conservative and orthodox bishop within [The Episcopal Church], I believe it is the right decision. I know not all of you will agree with this decision and some may be angered or hurt by it, and for that I am very sorry,” he said in the email.
Love said he celebrated his final service in the diocese on Feb. 27 and thanked the clergy and members of the diocese for their prayers and support. He added that he plans to stay in the area but does not consider it appropriate to serve in an ACNA parish within the geographic boundaries of the Diocese of Albany and will elaborate on his role in ACNA soon.
Since Feb. 1, the diocese has had no active bishops. Under church canon law, the diocese’s standing committee assumes ecclesiastical authority when there is no bishop. The standing committee will oversee the election of the next bishop, although the diocese has not announced when that might happen.
On March 15, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Love’s predecessor, also announced that he is relinquishing his Episcopal ministry, over unspecified disagreements with the church, effective next week.
– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at email@example.com.