Advent is a parish in The Episcopal Church in the United States, part of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
In February 2006, after more than two years of praying, discernment, conversation and waiting by Advent’s congregation, its Vestry asked The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop of Ohio, for the pastoral oversight of a bishop who is more theologically aligned with a majority of Advent’s communicants, specifically on issues relating to scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. Bp Hollingsworth agreed and engaged The Rt. Rev. Edward Little to provide Advent with Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO). Advent voted to stay within the Diocese of Ohio and The Episcopal Church and pursue DEPO so that Advent could continue to be a witness and a light within the Diocese and the wider Church. The vote was not unanimous, however, it proved to be a decision that strengthened the congregation as a whole and unified our community. The decision to go with DEPO has worked well for the congregation as Advent has two Bishops who work collaboratively to meet our needs. Bp Hollingsworth and Advent’s vestry reaffirmed this decision in 2017 upon the retirement of Bp Little with Bp Hollingsworth’s offer of The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Diocese of Albany, as Advent’s new DEPO bishop. Bp Hollingsworth oversees the administrative tasks and Bp Love handles our pastoral needs and visits.
The people of Advent give thanks to Bp. Love for his service to our congregation and for his willingness to provide pastoral oversight to us outside his Diocese of Albany. And, equally, we give thanks to Bp. Hollingsworth for his unifying spirit and grace to honor Advent’s request to continue this delegated episcopal pastoral oversight partnership. This relationship is a model of how the church can face controversial issues with grace, mutual respect and Christian charity.