|Team Wendland will make this happen in WELS, with John Brug's help.|
Maryland Bishop's plight ignored while Executive Council deliberates other issues
By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
|Bishop Cook's record was hidden from clergy and laity,|
not unlike the tactics of WELS and the LCMS,
not to mention the Little Sect on the Prairie
January 13, 2014
The Episcopal Church has developed a habit of ignoring obvious. This time, while meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, the Executive Council ignored the elephant -- in this case purple elephant in the room -- Bishop Heather Cook (Maryland suffragan) who was charged with several felonies including distracted drunken driving while texting which resulted in the death of Thomas Palermo. On Friday (Jan. 9) she landed in the Baltimore women's jail on a $2.5 million bail. If convicted of the all the felonies and accompanying traffic violations the besieged Maryland bishop could be facing more than 20 years in prison.
All of this on-going criminal and legal intrigue was swirling around even as the Episcopal Executive Council gathered to meet at the Maritime Institute Conference Center over the weekend from Jan. 9-11 almost two weeks after Bishop Cook was involved in a deadly car-bicycle accident that captivated the local Baltimore media generating daily front page headlines and nightly television news coverage.
The Baltimore Sun reported that "... the council didn't discuss a high-ranking Maryland bishop who was recently charged with manslaughter in the death of a bicyclist last month."
"Heather Cook has not been a topic of this meeting because this is a business meeting," replied Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori as reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Another journalist interpreted the Presiding Bishop's comment to mean: "We have so many more important things to do that are of much more urgency," even though Title IV charges have been filed which could strip Bishop Cook of her all her orders and leave her defrocked.
|Bishop Cook, like the Roman Catholic bishop in Arizona,|
drove away from a fatal DUI accident.
She was forced to return after 45 minutes, hiding in her gated development.
The Executive Council meets quarterly, frequently at Linthicum Heights. This was the first meeting in 2015 and Bishop Cook's legal entanglements were furthest from their collective minds. Instead the Executive Council focused on Cuba, racism, the 2016-1018 draft budget and the Blue Book report for the upcoming General Convention.
House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings who described Bishop Cook as a mere "acquaintance" said she was familiar with the Maryland suffragan when Heather Cook was the Diocese of Easton's Canon to the Ordinary. At one time Clark was Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Ohio. The HOD President also said that Palermo and his family were remembered in the prayers of the church.
The Executive Council has met in Linthicum Heights several times because of the ease of making transportation connections with the airlines and Amtrak.
"It is not uncommon to have meetings in this location," noted Executive Officer of the General Convention Canon Michael Barlowe. "The food is great. And BWI (Baltimore-Washington International) airport has lots of flights coming in."
Usually when an Executive Council or the House of Bishops gather the meetings do not end on a Sunday as it did this time.
The media who cover the Executive Council and HOB are used to a concluding Internet news conference call. The telenews conference is prefaced by opening remarks usually by the Presiding Bishop and other HOB officers or HOD officers such as HOD President Clark and Canon Barlowe, after which the media who are present are allowed to ask one question of the participants.
Scheduled for Sunday were the usual line up of the Presiding Bishop, House of Deputies President and General Convention Executive Officer. However the media conference was inconveniently scheduled.
"The media conference from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church is planned for Sunday, January 11, at approximately noon Eastern," Public Affairs Officer Neva Rae Fox advised the interested media late Saturday morning.
This timing conflicted with both regularly scheduled Sunday morning church activity as well as the pregame show and kick off to the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys NFL divisional playoff game.
When asked why there was a noon news conference rather than later in the day, after normal morning church events let out, Fox replied: "So sorry but there are a number of schedules that are being juggled to accommodate the conference."
"Many of you have recused yourself from tomorrow's media conference for scheduling reasons. Therefore, it is cancelled," Fox e-mailed about two hours later. "However, in lieu of gathering, I offer an alternative. I invite you to e-mail a question or two to me and specify who you would like to answer it. I will facilitate your request. Deadline for accepting questions will be noon tomorrow (Sunday)."
This writer was interested in the spiritual welfare of Bishop Cook and how she was weathering the situation she found herself in so I sent in an e-mail question directed to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
"As the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and the pastor of pastors and the bishop to bishops, and being in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, (outside of Baltimore) have you seen Bishop Heather Cook in her time of need, and have you been able to bring her pastoral and sacramental care?"
Sunday evening Fox e-mailed this reply: "Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: 'Our work of prayer and pastoral care continues -- for Heather Cook, for the Diocese of Maryland, and for the Palermo family'."
The Presiding Bishop did not directly answer "yes" or "no" to the first part of the question posed to her: "... have you seen Bishop Heather Cook in her time of need?"
In fact the answer she gave for the second part of the question was basically the same answer she gave theBaltimore Sun last week: "Currently, we are following the disciplinary processes of the church, and we are providing pastoral care. We hold Bishop Cook, the Diocese of Maryland and the Palermo family in our prayers." The quote was also picked up by the Episcopal New Service when it finally tackled the breaking story 12 days after the accident happened and Bishop Cook was placed on paid administrative leave by Bishop Eugene Sutton (XIV Maryland).
The Christian Post, one of the publications which has taken an active interest in the Bishop Cook hit and run story Monday (Jan. 12) quoted Fox to say: "Prayers were sent up for Heather Cook, the Palermo family and the Diocese of Maryland."
It is reported that Bishop Cook spent the weekend in protective custody in the Women's Detention Center and was "on lock down" but that she "has been talking on the telephone." She appeared, via video link, at her bond hearing Monday afternoon.
Posted visiting hours for the Baltimore City Detention Center are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. and again from 3 until 4:45 in the afternoon. However no visitors are allowed on Sundays and Mondays.
The Presiding Bishop has already turned her attention to Jerusalem, Cyprus and The Gulf writing to Episcopal congregations and explaining that their Good Friday offering will be channeled to the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. She also wrote that she has joined 100 of her fellow brother and sister bishops (sans Heather Cook) in supporting President Barrack Obama's Immigration Executive Action.
"All persons equally deserve the ability to pursue their dreams and contribute to their communities and families with liberty, dignity, and freedom," she penned.
Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline
GJ - The WELS and LCMS answer is to deny anything happened by saying nothing. WELS still claims Al Just was innocent of murdering his wife, even though Just was convicted of his heinous crime, serving about five years.
WELS out and out lied about Floyd Stolzenburg. VP Kuske laughed about it. Jay Webber was happy to associate with Stolzenburg in exchange for money for Ukraine. Kelly Reagan, trained LCMS, is happy to pose as part of the staff of the Masonic congregation.
|Born forgiven should be the name of the Emmaus Conference,|
where Jay Webber will share how little he knows about Lutheran doctrine.