Few Title IV actions seem to stir up a diocese as does the knowledge a cleric has left The Episcopal Church. There may be discussion about who might be next or how the bishop will handle the matter. It is delicate, especially since members and even entire congregations wait to see how abandonment cases unfold. Bishops and other experts who have been through processes addressing abandonment have determined several best practices to employ in this unique Title IV proceeding. The Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs of the Diocese of Michigan says the bishop can defuse the effects of abandonment on a diocese. He recounts how he “lowered the temperature” with his sincere prayers of Godspeed to those who saw the Lord calling them elsewhere.
In supplemental educational videos, The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori says the Title IV Canons concerning abandonment are not meant to be punishment, but rather to provide clarity. She agrees with Bishop Wallis Ohl that it is our task to bless the journey a cleric is taking.
Bishop Ohl further says it is vital that a bishop do everything in his or her power to keep the community together.