Committee of Review Dismisses Charges Against Spong

Episcopal News Service. January 19, 1989 [89009]

NEW YORK (DPS, Jan. 19) -- On January 10, the Presiding Bishop announced that charges brought against the Rt. Rev. John S. Spong, Bishop of Newark, by the Committee of Concerned Episcopalians, and forwarded by him to a Committee of Review, had been dismissed.

On October 20, 1988, the Presiding Bishop received charges for a Presentment prepared by the Committee of Concerned Episcopalians concerning Spong. These charges alleged that the Bishop of Newark "has broken his ordination vow to defend the Faith, has acted in a manner unbecoming a clergyman, and has committed an immoral act" by his writing of an article in The Voice, the newspaper of the Diocese of Newark.

In accordance with Canon IV.4.5, the Presiding Bishop forwarded the charges to a Committee of Review. The committee of five bishops included the Bishop of Colorado, the Bishop of Arkansas, the Bishop Coadjutor of Long Island, the Bishop of North Carolina, and the Bishop of Virginia, who served as chair.

In its report to the Presiding Bishop on December 15, 1988, the Committee of Review found that the charges were not made in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and dismissed them. The committee stated that the dismissal was "not made on the basis of a technicality but on the clear and explicit procedure called for by the canons of the Episcopal Church as adopted by the General Convention."

The Presiding Bishop has notified the petitioners of the decision of the Committee of Review. The letter from the Chair of the Committee of Review regarding utilization of Title IV, Canon 4, Section 5, has been conveyed by the Presiding Bishop to the Standing Committee on Constitution and Canons for action.