Week Ending 8/22/16
Copenhagen Lutherans and Anglicans Cooperate in Same Sex WeddingThe Church of England does not allow its clergy to preside at same sex marriages nor to bless same sex couples married in civil ceremonies. However, the Lutheran Church of Denmark does, and that church is in full communion with the Church of England. Thus when Nigel Rowley and his partner Mikel wanted to marry, Nigel (a long-time active member of the Church of England's Diocese of Europe Parish, St. Alban's in Copenhagen) arranged a unique cooperation between the Lutheran cathedral and St. Alban's. The two were married at the Lutheran Cathedral with the Lutheran archbishop presiding. St. Alban's choir joined with the Cathedral singers at the service. The Diocese of Europe has posted a press release on the service that was picked up by Anglican.Ink.
Diocese of Los Angeles Committee Issues Critical Report on Property IssuesBoth Anglican.Ink and Episcopal Cafe carried stories this week on the report of a committee set up to explore issues of the way Los Angeles Bishops hold title to property as Corporate Sole. Anglican.Ink has more background, and Episcopal Cafe a better link to the actual report. The issue is intimately tied to issues surrounding the decision a year ago by Bishop Jon Bruno to sell the property of St. James the Less in Newport Beach. (Update has followed the St. James story in detail. The most recent post is here.) The corporate sole holdings by a sitting bishop was developed at a time when state law did not allow a religious organization to own property. That law changed and dioceses created diocesan corporations. The committee criticized the lack of transparency, inadequate auditing and records of the corporate sole and has recommended that the corporate sole turn over all property that it can without tax liabilities to the diocesan corporation. It also recommends subordinating the corporate sole to the diocese and requiring reports. The canons of the Episcopal Church in general are set up assuming a diocesan corporation holds property.
Episcopal Church Encouraging Participation in Upcoming ElectionPresiding Bishop Michael Curry has issued a video appeal to Episcopalians to participate in the coming elections and to do so in light of the gospel. The interest of the presiding bishop in living the gospel is evident in the new look of the Episcopal Church web pages which right now feature links to the Episcopal Policy Network and a whole variety of election resources including information on elections in every state. Without endorsing a particular candidate or party, the Episcopal Policy Network provides information on positions taken by the Episcopal Church on major issues including foreign policy, global warming, racial reconciliation, and economic justice.
Two Long-Serving Anglican Archbishops to Retire in 2017This last week two of the longest serving archbishops in the Anglican Communion announced their retirements. Archbishop Barry Morgan of Wales will retire in January 2017. Morgan has been a voice for inclusion and support of women as bishops during his 14 years as archbishop. He was part of the commission that drafted the Windsor Report in 2004. Just two months after Morgan retires, Archbishop Brown Turei will retire. He was consecrated as a bishop in the Maori section of the New Zealand Church in 1992 and became its Archbishop in 2005. The New Zealand Province of the communion has a unique governing arrangement with three co-equal ethnic strains, each with its own archbishop.
South African Church to Vote on Blessing Same Sex UnionsThe Anglican Church in Southern Africa Synod meeting next month will deal with a proposal that would allow blessing of civil same sex unions while explicitly saying that no clergy would be required to do so. The proposal also endorses the ordination of those clergy in civil unions. The measures will be controversial. Besides South Africa the province includes Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola, and two small British territories. South Africa is alone among African nations in having legally recognized unions for same sex couples, although a few French, Spanish, and British-ruled territories or cities also have recognition.
The Church in Brazil has joined a coalition of churches working to prevent the takeover of indigenous people's land by large agri-business corporations intent on exploiting the resources of the Amazon. At least 390 natives have been murdered and another 500 committed suicide in the last 12 years as a result of land takeovers. The coalition has met with top governmental officials and is supporting efforts to train community organizers to help indigenous people resist the open violence driving people from their lands.