The Presiding Bishopric—I
THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS last week devoted a considerable amount of time to the discussion of the Presiding Bishop. The chairmen of three committees and commissions working on various phases of this problem presented their tentative views and asked for the guidance of their fellow bishops. The president of the National Council, Bishop Cook, spoke of the peculiarities of his position arising from the division of responsibility between the Presiding Bishop and the president of the National Council. Other bishops took part in the discussion, notably Bishop Parsons who advocated metropolitans for each of the provinces with a Primate at the head of the Church, and Bishop Sherrill who expressed the opposite extreme of opinion—that the Presiding Bishop should be merely a presiding officer among the bishops.
Because of the importance of the subject and the fact that it needs much fuller discussion than it has yet received before a decision can be made at the General Convention in 1937, THE LIVING CHURCH plans to devote a series of editorials to this subject. In so doing we shall necessarily touch upon related subjects such as the nature, the function, and the organization of the National Council, the location of the missionary headquarters of the Church, and other important matters.
In presenting this series of editorials our object is not to enforce our own views upon the Church but to arouse and stimulate thought and discussion. We are confident that if the Church seriously concentrates upon the solution of the problems that center in the Presiding Bishopric, the mind of the Church will be clarified and a satisfactory solution will be found. That solution may or may not be in accordance with the various proposals that we shall make. It is of more concern to us that a solution shall be found in 1937 and that that solution shall truly represent the mind of the Church than it is that our own views shall prevail.
The House of Bishops has already gone a long way toward finding a solution by the method of full and free discussion. If this process continues during the coming year, whenever two or three bishops are gathered together, we think it likely that the bishops may find themselves in substantial agreement as to the best solution when General Convention assembles next fall. There is a danger, however, that the clerical and lay members of the House of Deputies may approach the subject cold without having given it adequate thought, and it is the prevention of that contingency that we have particularly in mind.
During the coming weeks we shall present seven propositions that we feel to be of importance concerning the Presiding Bishopric of the Church. We may or may not require seven issues to present these propositions, but we do want to present each of them at sufficient length to form a basis for adequate discussion. At each stage we shall welcome letters for publication in our correspondence columns both on the proposition that we have set forth and on the subject in general. We shall welcome letters both of agreement and of disagreement and we hope there will be a large number of them. Because of this hope we must specify that the letters be brief and to the point. We shall enforce our rule of a 500-word limit much more rigidly than is usually our custom, and indeed we hope that most of the letters will be considerably under this length.
WITH this rather lengthy introduction we proceed to our first proposition:
The Presiding Bishop should be an Archbishop.
We realize that we have started with one of the most controversial points in this whole subject, and one that is likely to arouse the widest opposition. Very well, let readers who disagree with us write briefly and tell us why. But first let us set forth this brief for our first proposition.
We are not among those who believe or profess to believe that nomenclature is a matter of unimportance and that it makes no difference what name is given to a person or an institution. “What’s in a name?” they cry, with Shakespeare’s heroine, and go on with her to tell us that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
But there is another old proverb that is equally true: “Give a dog an ill name and hang him.”
Someone has said that if four Americans were cast away on a desert isle the first thing they would do would be to elect a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Whether it is because of the American business influence or for some other reason American Churchmen seem to have a genius for importing secular terminology into the Church. Thus in our diocesan organizations we have a “standing committee” with a “president” and other officers and in many instances the bishop is president ex officio of an extra-constitutional body known as “The Bishop and Executive Board.” In the national work of the Church we fairly bristle with “presidents,” “vice-presidents,” “secretaries,” “executive secretaries,” “treasurers,” “missionary treasurers,” and so on. Is not this nomenclature one reason why the National Council is so generally regarded as simply a business corporation rather than an ecclesiastical body charged with a spiritual and missionary responsibility?
In the case of the Presiding Bishop we have gone even farther. The National Council has its own president and therefore we make the Presiding Bishop “chairman of the board”! Could the Wall street influence in the Church go to more absurd lengths? Could anyone by the wildest stretch of the imagination possibly conceive of St. Peter or St. James presiding in the Council of the Apostles as chairman of their board of directors?
Nomenclature is important. When we give secular names to Church dignitaries we are taking a very definite step in the direction of secularizing their offices.
As a matter of fact, the Presiding Bishop of the American Church really is an Archbishop whether we call him that or not. One has to go no farther than the nearest desk dictionary to read that an Archbishop is “the chief bishop of an ecclesiastical province.” Turning to the Century Dictionary, the best authority for ecclesiastical definitions, we find that the title was used in the Christian Church as early as the fourth century and that it was regularly given in that and the next four centuries to the bishops of the highest rank. Thus by very definition, as well as by ancient usage, the head of a national division in the Catholic Church is an Archbishop, whether he is so called or not.
But we do not have to go back into the early history of the Church or look beyond our own communion to find authority for the title of Archbishop.
In the Anglican communion there are no less than 18 Archbishops distributed throughout the world. The head of every province or national division of the Anglican communion is an Archbishop, with the exception of our own Church and those in China and Japan which are so closely influenced by us.
The Primate of the Church of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, with the Archbishop of York as Primate of the Northern province.
The head of the Church of Wales is the Archbishop of Wales.
The head of the Church of Ireland is the Archbishop of Armagh, with the Archbishop of Dublin as the Primate of the Southern province.
In Scotland the head of the Church is the Primus, who is equal in rank to an Archbishop.
The Church in Canada has four Archbishoprics, the Archbishop of Toronto being the Primate of all Canada.
In Australia there are also four Archbishoprics, the Archbishop of Perth being the Primate. In addition there is an Archbishopric of New Zealand.
Other great divisions in the Anglican communion are the West Indies and South Africa, both headed by an Archbishop.
Only in India does the head of the Church lack the designation Archbishop, but he bears the even more resounding title: “Metropolitan of India, Burma, and Ceylon.”
Certainly there is ample Anglican precedent for the title of Archbishop. That in itself ought to be sufficient to refute the charge sometimes made that the title of Archbishop savors of Romanism. (One wonders what the two Archbishops of the ultra-Protestant Church of Ireland would say to this charge!) But if further evidence were needed to refute it we have only to turn our eyes toward the Scandinavian peninsula where we find Lutheran Church dignitaries bearing the title Archbishop.
As a matter of fact, the cry of Romanism ought to be raised against those who oppose the title in our Church rather than those who favor it. Which is the more loyal member of the Episcopal Church—the one who says that our Presiding Bishop is the equal of any Archbishop or even Cardinal in the Holy Roman Church, or the one who says that the head of our Church is merely a Bishop, outranked by the dozen or more Archbishops of the Roman Catholic Church in this country?
But there is no need to labor the point. The title Archbishop has the justification of common definition, of Catholic tradition, of Anglican precedent, and of common sense. By all of these criteria it is the obvious and most fitting name for our Presiding Bishop. The only objections to it, so far as we can see, spring from timidity or prejudice. We commend the title to the Church.
Next week we shall have something to say about the Presiding Bishop’s see.
The Presiding Bishopric—II
IN OUR FIRST editorial on the Presiding Bishopric [L. C., October 24th] we stated the first of seven propositions that we feel to be of importance, namely, that the Presiding Bishop should be an Archbishop. We pointed out that nomenclature is important and that a part of the reason for the widespread secularization of the Church is our tendency to replace ecclesiastical terminology with secular terminology. We pointed out further that the Presiding Bishop actually is an Archbishop, that the other heads of national Anglican Churches have this or a similar title, that our Presiding Bishop is the equal of an Archbishop in any other communion, and that the title has the justification of Catholic tradition and common sense.
The next point that we would make in regard to the Presiding Bishop or Archbishop is:
2. He should have a permanent see. At the present time the Church really has two headquarters—an office building at 281 Fourth avenue, New York, and the see city of the Presiding Bishop, which at present happens to be Providence, R. I. We say “happens to be” advisedly because theoretically it might be the see city of any domestic bishop who was elected Presiding Bishop.
Although any domestic bishop may canonically be elected Presiding Bishop, the present situation is such that the Presiding Bishop must necessarily be the bishop of a small diocese not too far from New York. He is taken away from his diocese during a considerable part of the time in his term of six years, and either he must subordinate the interests of the diocese to those of the national Church or he must obtain episcopal assistance in his diocese. In the former case he is likely to come back to a run-down diocese after his term as Presiding Bishop and it may prove impossible for him to repair the damage caused by his neglect. In the latter case, when his term as Presiding Bishop is over, he is likely to find that he has so far lost touch with his own diocese that he can never again become a real Father in God to his clergy and people.
The Presiding Bishop, like any other bishop, ought to have a locus or see of his own. He ought to have his own Altar at which he can celebrate the Holy Communion daily and at which he can hold services of an official and Church-wide character. He ought also to have his own pulpit from which he can preach to a national audience as the responsible head of this branch of the Church.
At present the Presiding Bishop has his own Altar and his own pulpit only in his own diocese, where he officiates simply as a diocesan bishop. In New York, where the headquarters of the Church are located at present, there is not a single Altar at which he can celebrate the Holy Communion by his own right as Presiding Bishop or a pulpit from which he has the privilege of preaching as Presiding Bishop. Even in the chapel of the Church Missions House he can officiate only through the courtesy of the Bishop of New York in whose diocese it is located and who alone has jurisdiction.
The Presiding Bishop ought to have his own cathedral as Presiding Bishop—one which would be devoted to the whole Church—a mother Church of the Anglican communion in America. Here would be the appropriate place for great national services of prayer or thanksgiving, for corporate Communions of Church-wide organizations, and for other great services and meetings in which the whole Church participates.
Beyond that, the Presiding Bishop ought to have a dignified residence and a dignified office. At present he is compelled to shuttle between his home and New York City, where he must live in a hotel and transact business in a dingy downtown office. Most parishes would not permit their rector to work under such conditions and would rightly feel that such surroundings would not be conducive to making him an effective pastor but at best merely a more or less efficient business man. Why then should we expect the highest ecclesiastic of our Church to function under such circumstances?
The Presiding Bishop should, therefore, have his own permanent see as Presiding Bishop with his own cathedral containing his own Altar and pulpit which he would use to the greater glory of God and in the service of the whole Church. He should, moreover, have a permanent and dignified residence and office close by the cathedral, though the cathedral and not the office should be the dynamic center of the Church’s life. But where should that see be?
3. His see should be Washington.
We are a national Church. If the Church is to have a national center with a national cathedral and a headquarters for the Presiding Bishop and the National Council, Washington would seem to be the ideal location. Here, as Bishop Stewart and others have pointed out, we would be in a strong position to make our influence felt at the center of the nation’s life.
Transferring the Church’s headquarters away from New York would in itself, it seems to us, be a distinct advantage. The present Church Missions House is dismal and superannuated. We have never been within its gloomy walls that we have not felt that the very atmosphere encouraged pessimism and discouragement instead of the radiant courage and joy that ought to be at the center of the Church’s life. The only effective argument that we have seen for maintaining the Church’s headquarters at New York is that it is the investment center of the country. But wire and train service between New York and Washington are excellent, so that this argument has little force. And anyway, is identification with big business to be considered the principal criterion in settling the affairs of the Church?
Washington is in every way well fitted to be the headquarters of the Church. George Washington himself, in planning the capital city, made provision for a national religious center there. The Church has a magnificent location on Mount St. Alban, where one of its great cathedrals is in process of construction. The College of Preachers, one of the finest of its national institutions, is already functioning there in dignified ecclesiastical buildings that bear no resemblance to the Church Missions House. It would be possible to build there in the shadow of the cathedral similar suitable headquarters for the missionary work of the Church and the Departments of Religious Education, Social Service, and so on.
Moreover, the Church people of Washington are willing and eager to coöperate with the national Church in establishing the Church’s headquarters there. Bishop Freeman has time and again expressed his desire and the desire of his diocese to place its facilities at the disposal of the whole Church for this purpose.
Washington is, moreover, a small diocese that could be administered by the Presiding Bishop with the aid of an Assistant Bishop, just as the District of Columbia is administered under the direction of the President by a Federal commission. Churchmen of the diocese of Washington need not even lose the privileges of their elective rights in the Church as they have in the State, for they might well reserve the right to choose the bishop who as the suffragan of the Presiding Bishop would directly administer the affairs of the diocese.
Our second and third propositions in regard to the Presiding Bishopric therefore are that the Presiding Bishop should have a permanent see and that that see should be the city and diocese of Washington. We invite the discussion of these propositions and of the whole subject of the Presiding Bishopric in our correspondence columns and in the various meetings and councils of the Church with a view to ascertaining the mind of the Church and enacting it into suitable legislation at the General Convention in October of 1937.
The Presiding Bishopric—III
IN OUR TWO previous editorials on the subject of the Presiding Bishop [L. C., October 24th and November 7th] we set forth the first three of seven propositions as follows:
1. The Presiding Bishop should be an Archbishop.
2. He should have a permanent see.
3. His see should be Washington.
It may be thought by some that we have been putting the cart before the horse in dealing first with these matters of nomenclature and locale before dealing with the more important questions as to what the Presiding Bishop or Archbishop should be and do. It is true that his work is more important than his technical status, but we have observed that nomenclature is important and that it also makes a difference whether the Primate’s see is temporary or permanent and where it is located. We pass on now, however, to the more important questions of what we expect our Church’s ecclesiastical head to be and to do. But first we should observe that:
4. His tenure should be permanent.
The task of the Presiding Bishop (by whatever name he may be called) is a specialized one. It is a task requiring special abilities, special training, and a special method of approach. It ought rightly to be a lifetime position, not merely a temporary one into which a diocesan bishop is thrust and from which he will retire just when he is getting to the point where he can perform it to the best of his ability.
We have said that secular terminology should not be employed in the Church, but it may not be amiss to draw an analogy from the State and say that the Presiding Bishop is to the Church what the President and the Secretary of State together are to the nation. That is to say, the Presiding Bishop is the head of the Church, humanly speaking, and he is also its principal representative in the Church’s “foreign relations”—that is, its contacts with other religious bodies in this country and abroad and with other branches of the Anglican communion throughout the world.
This is a matter of some importance. The members of the Church have a right to expect that their Primate will be present on important occasions in the Church’s life, not only in the East but throughout the country. It is true that any bishop can act as the principal consecrator in the advancement of a priest to the episcopate, but it is a valuable symbol of the unity of the Church if the Primate can ordinarily act as the principal consecrator. When there is a great anniversary celebration of Churchwide character or some other unusual festival the Church expects the Presiding Bishop to grace the occasion.
In regard to the matter of “foreign relations” it is particularly important to have our Church represented by an official who comparable in rank to any dignitary with whom he may come in contact, be he Presiding Elder, Moderator, Archbishop, or Patriarch. We may not place much importance ourselves on this matter of ecclesiastical rank, but our Eastern Orthodox and Old Catholic brethren and others have a right to expect to negotiate with an Archbishop who is the head of a national Church, rather than with a diocesan bishop or a counsellor in ecclesiastical relations who is merely a priest giving part time service in that position.
Far more important than rank, however, is the stability of policy that can come only from long tenure of office. The Presiding Bishopric is not a political job that requires the check of a minority party and frequent elections. It is a dignified permanent position that is worthy of the devotion of a man’s lifetime. We do not depose or reelect diocesan bishops every six years; why then should we do so with our chief bishop?
There ought, however, to be a retiring age for the Primate, as there ought to be for other bishops. Our suggestion would be that the Primate be permitted to retire at any General Convention after he is 65 and compelled to do so by the time of the last General Convention before he is 75.
5. His jurisdiction should be the whole Church.
WE DO NOT want our Primate to be a monarch or a dictator but we do want him to be a pastor pastorum to the entire Church.
The ideal of the Presiding Bishopric ought to be that of St. James, who presided in the council of the Apostles not as a super-Apostle, far less as the infallible vicar of Christ, but as one recognized by his equals as their leader. The Primate should be one capable of giving kindly and wise guidance to his fellow bishops and to the whole Church. His should be the power not of compulsion but of leadership in Christian charity. Yet he should be one who would not hesitate on occasion to speak out in the name of the Church using even such words as those of St. James, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us . . .”
But the Primate cannot act in the name of the whole Church if he is confined by diocesan cares or by business details. His connection with his former diocese, if he has had one, should be wholly severed when he becomes Archbishop of Washington. Nor should he be the Chief Business Man of the Church. We have consecrated laymen who can and should handle the financial and other purely business affairs of the Church, and the full responsibility for the conduct of those affairs should be placed squarely upon their shoulders.
The Primate will, of course, by virtue of his office, be the head of the House of Bishops. He will preside at all of its sessions and act as its constitutional head in carrying out its mandates, even as the Presiding Bishop now does.
This brings us to the next point which is that:
6. He should be the chief missionary of the Church.
WE HAVE SAID that the Primate should be the head of the House of Bishops. He should also be the head of the National Council.
Bishop Cook in his truly moving plea to the House of Bishops last October pointed out that the missionary work of the Church must suffer from the double leadership with which it is now burdened. Authority and responsibility are alike divided under the present system, to the detriment of the missionary work of the Church. The president of the National Council is expected to be responsible for the Council’s policies, its methods of procedure, and its results. Yet when the National, Council meets, not the president of the National Council but the Presiding Bishop is in the chair and directs its deliberations. It is only because of the mutual consideration and manifestation of Christian charity of Bishops Perry and Cook that such an anomalous system succeeds in working at all.
But that does not mean that the Primate should be burdened with the detailed direction of the staff of the Church’s headquarters in its daily activities. There might well be a director of the staff—a bishop, priest, or layman who would not be responsible for the adoption of National Council policies but would be the active head of the headquarters staff.
In this way the division of authority would be avoided and at the same time the Primate would be relieved of the details of administering the headquarters staff. This would leave him free for his other duties and free to spend a considerable amount of time in travel.
And we believe that the Primate ought to travel, particularly in the mission field. It would be a healthy thing for the missions of the Church if the Presiding Bishop were to visit each missionary district, domestic and foreign, at least once in every 10 or 15 years. Such a visit would encourage the missionaries, renew the zeal of the Church people in the districts visited, add to the strength and prestige of the Church in those communities, and at the same time give the Church’s chief missionary first-hand information of the work in the field.
We cannot stress too much this aspect of the Presiding Bishopric—that he should be the chief missionary of the Church. Missionary vigor is the truest index as to whether or not any Christian communion is carrying on the Divine Commission entrusted to it by our Lord Himself. Every member of the Church, clergyman or layman, is called upon to be a missionary to the degree and within the scope of whatever his calling in life may be. Especially is this true of the Presiding Bishop, who should be nothing less than Public Missionary Number One.
In a final editorial in this series we shall set forth and discuss the seventh of our propositions and consider practical ways in which they can be put into effect.
The Presiding Bishopric—IV
PREVIOUS EDITORIALS in this series [L. C., October 24th, November 7th, and November 21st] have presented and given reasons for the following propositions in regard to the Presiding Bishopric of the Church:
1. The Presiding Bishop should be an Archbishop.
2. He should have a permanent see.
3. His see should be Washington.
4. His tenure should be permanent, with a retirement age.
5. His jurisdiction should be the whole Church.
6. He should be the chief missionary of the Church.
To these propositions we would add one final one which follows naturally from the others, namely:
7. He should be elected by the whole Church.
Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution of the Church provides that: “The House of Bishops shall choose one of the Bishops of this Church to be the Presiding Bishop of the Church by a vote of a majority of all the Bishops entitled to vote in the House of Bishops, except that whenever two-thirds of the House of Bishops are present a majority vote shall suffice, such choice to be subject to confirmation by the House of Deputies.” This is further qualified by Canon 17, section I, which provides that “a Joint Nominating Committee consisting of eight Bishops (one from each Province) together with four clerical and four lay members of the House of Deputies (one member from each Province) shall present to the House of Bishops the names of three members thereof for its consideration in the choice of a Presiding Bishop.”
If the Presiding Bishop (whatever his title may be) is to be truly the head of the whole Church, we believe that his selection ought to be by a more democratic method. At present the House of Deputies, which is the elected chamber of General Convention, has really very little to say about the choice of the Presiding Bishop. It is true that eight of its members are canonically entitled to serve on the nominating committee. However, this nominating committee proposes three names to the House of Bishops only and that House selects one of the three. The only nominee whose name comes before the House of Deputies as a whole is the bishop already chosen by the House of Bishops and referred to the House of Deputies simply for confirmation of the election.
Within a diocese the election of a bishop is much more democratic. Nominations are made in a full session of the diocesan convention, generally at a celebration of the Holy Communion. Clerical and lay delegates then proceed to vote separately by secret ballot, and a candidate must receive a majority in each order before he is declared elected. His election is then subject to ratification by a majority of the bishops and standing committees throughout the Church.
We propose a somewhat similar procedure for the choice of the Presiding Bishop.
In the first place we would not limit the choice as at present to the members of the episcopate. Inasmuch as the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop would no longer derive from a diocesan see previously held, there is no reason why any bishop or priest of the Church in good standing should not be eligible for election. Generally speaking, a diocesan bishop would probably be elected and would thereupon be automatically translated from his former see to the primatial see of Washington. However, it might conceivably seem wiser to some General Convention to elect a bishop who had resigned his jurisdiction, a suffragan or coadjutor bishop, or even a priest who would then be directly consecrated as Archbishop of Washington. At any rate, the General Convention ought to be free to choose the best man wherever he might be found in the ministry of the Church.
Secondly, we feel that nominations should be made in a joint session of the entire General Convention following a special celebration of the Holy Communion with the intention of asking God’s guidance in the choice to be made. The procedure might be facilitated by having a nominating committee as now provided for canonically, but if so opportunity should also be given for additional nominations from the floor by any bishop or clerical or lay deputy.
Having received nominations in joint session, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies should separate for balloting, and election should be by a majority vote in each House. This would give the Church’s elected representatives a fair opportunity to express their choice freely without being faced with the embarrassing alternative of accepting or rejecting a choice already made for them by the House of Bishops. At the same time the right of the bishops to a special share in the selection of their own primus inter pares would be protected.
Further provision should, of course, be made for procedure in the case of a vacancy through the death or disability of a’, Primate between sessions of the General Convention. This contingency might be met by providing that the vice-president of the. House of Bishops be acting Primate until the next session of the General Convention. We believe that this would be more satisfactory than the present arrangement whereby the senior diocesan bishop in point of consecration becomes the acting Presiding Bishop.
HOW CAN these far-reaching changes in the Presiding Bishopric be put into effect? Several things are necessary to accomplish this object.
In the first place an informed public opinion in the Church should be stimulated by frequent discussion of the subject during the coming year whenever or wherever groups of Churchmen come together for conference, formally or informally. Particularly is this true of diocesan conventions, which might well adopt advisory memorials to General Convention. This is important if the solution reached is to reflect the mind of the Church. It is far more important that the solution should truly reflect the mind of the Church than that it should be the pet project of the Joint Committee on the Status and Work of the Presiding Bishop or of the editor of THE LIVING CHURCH or of any other individual or group.
Plans should be made now leading to the necessary changes in the Constitution and Canons of the Church at the 1937 General Convention. Specifically, a change will have to be made in Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution which provides for the election of the Presiding Bishop and succession in case of his death or disability. Curiously, the Constitution says little or nothing about what. the Presiding Bishop is expected to be or to do, and we think that a statement as to the function of his office should be incorporated in the Constitution. It will also be necessary to repeal Canon 17, “Of the Presiding Bishop,” and substitute for it a new canon on this subject. These constitutional and canonical changes ought to be drafted by the Joint Committee on the Status and Work of the Presiding Bishop, of which Bishop McElwain of Minnesota is the chairman, and presented to General Convention for its approval, modification, or rejection.
If it is not inconsistent with the present Constitution, the new canon adopted by General Convention in 1937 could go into effect immediately and a Primate could be elected to act in accordance with its provisions. However, the constitutional change would require submission to the conventions of the various dioceses, followed by ratification at the next General Convention in 1940.
If the Presiding Bishop is to be the Archbishop of Washington this three year interval while ratification of the constitutional change is pending would be invaluable. During that time it would be possible for the diocese of Washington to change its own constitution and canons to conform to the pending change in the Constitution of the general Church. By the General Convention of 1940, these, changes would presumably be complete and the convention could proceed to ratify the constitutional change that it voted three years previously. On the other hand if some snag were struck in the Washington arrangements it would not be too late to kill the constitutional amendment and adopt a different one for subsequent ratification. Meanwhile, the Presiding Bishop could carry on under the present Constitution (which provides for a six year term), though functioning under the 1937 canons.
One further suggestion is perhaps in order. It is not ordinarily the policy of THE LIVING CHURCH to suggest or discuss candidates for the Presiding Bishopric or for any other office in the Church. In this case, however, it seems to us that the proper man to effect the transition between the old and the new office is so obvious as to merit a departure from our customary rule.
We hereby recommend the election of the present Bishop of Washington, Dr. James E. Freeman, as the next Presiding Bishop of the Church. This we do in the full confidence that he is in any event well qualified to hold that position and that moreover his position as Bishop of Washington makes it possible for him to combine in his own person the headship of that diocese and of the general Church during the transition period. He would begin his six-year term as Presiding Bishop, retaining his title as Bishop of Washington. Three years later if the necessary changes were made in the Washington constitution and canons and the change in the Constitution of the general Church ratified he would automatically become the first Archbishop of Washington. Upon his retirement at the age set by General Convention the way would be open for the election of a new Archbishop of Washington to be the national head of the Church under the terms of the constitutional amendment.
We have set forth our proposals concerning the Presiding Bishopric in detail and at some length. As we said at the beginning, our object in so doing is not to enforce our own views upon the Church but to arouse and stimulate thought and discussion in the hope that the mind of the Church will be clarified and a satisfactory solution to the problem of the Presiding Bishopric found in 1937.
These are our views. What are the views of others in the Church?
From The Living Church, October 24, 1936, pp. 453-454; November 7, 1936, pp. 519-520; November 21, 1936, pp. 581-582; November 28, 1936, pp. 613-614.