May 3, 2012
A Petition to the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston,
And the Hearing Panel,
To Reinstate the Rev. Dr. Laurence K. Packard
As Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd.
We, the undersigned members of The Church of the Good Shepherd (Burke) petition for the immediate reinstatement of the Rev. Dr. Laurence K. Packard. The Bishop's written reasons for Administrative Leave on November 14, 2011 are not "warranted" because there has been a "substantial change of circumstances from the time of the first request" for a Review on December 1, 2011 (IV.7.10).
The Rector does not threaten "the good order, welfare or safety of the Church or any person..." (IV.7.3). The charges are now published and are not "notorious sins" whereby members have been "separated from the body of the faithful" (BCP, 265).
The names of employees alleging complaints, previously cited by the Bishop, were removed from the Statement of Offenses (March 5, 2012). In the modified Statement of Offenses, all allegations related to these employees have been removed.
Furthermore, we believe that the protracted period of Leave is unwarranted because it nearly doubles the 2006 Title IV limitation of 90 days. Despite the original claim that this Leave was not "punitive," the forced separation lays a harmful burden on the Rector and the Congregation while imperiling their pastoral relationship.
1) The new Title IV objective for the Church "to support their members in their life in Christ" (IV.1) Reinstatement of our duly called Rector will further this objective.
2) The Rector's "presumption of innocence" (IV.19.16) to resume his duties,
3) The Gospel's inclusion of all people, especially our Rector during this process into the ministry of reconciliation led by our vestry. (IV.1)
4) The opportunity for our Rector to return because our Priest-in-Charge is on a short-term contract.