News for Week Ending 7/14/2008
Press taking diverse views on Lambeth ConferenceThe Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world, is scheduled to open officially at the University of Kent on Wednesday, June 16, but most of the 660 bishops attending have been in England for a while, participating in pre-conference activities.
Nearly all the bishops from four countries (Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda) are staying away as a form of protest against actions by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Press coverage is quite varied. The Daily Telegraph has been printing stories predicting the break-up the Anglican Communion. Other coverage has highlighted those bishops attending the conference despite the boycott. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ leadership has been assessed in a variety of ways, even in the same paper. The Guardian took a positive approach. The Telegraph carried both a sympathetic and a more critical piece.
The uninvited Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire has been getting a lot of press attention, especially after a heckler interrupted his sermon at St Mary’s Church in Putney. Stories can be read in the Guardian, Times, and Telegraph. Stories about the heckler have been provided by the Guardian, Daily Mail, and the BBC.
Presiding Bishop preaches at three services in SalisburyPresiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had a full schedule in Salisbury on Sunday, July 13. Her reflections at the 8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer (Real format) service and her sermon at a 4:00 p.m. choral Evensong were both broadcast by the BBC and are available on-line. She also preached at the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist at the Cathedral Church of St. Mary in Salisbury. The text of that sermon (Microsoft Word format) and of the sermon (Microsoft Word format) preached at 4:00 p.m. are also available on line. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and the bishops of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan were guests of the Cathedral in Salisbury as a part of the pre-Lambeth Conference Hospitality Initiative.
Salisbury Cathedral is one of two cathedrals in England whose dean is a woman. According to information on the Salisbury Cathedral Web site, the Presiding Bishop came to Salisbury from Oxford, where she attended a pre-Lambeth conference, Oxford entitled “Transfiguring Episcopé: Women, Leadership and the Anglican Communion.” She gave the keynote address to this official gathering of Anglican women leaders from around the world. The Sudanese bishops were celebrating their church’s 35 year partnership with the Diocese of Salisbury. On Monday, The Presiding Bishop, Dean June Osborne, and the Sudanese bishops will consult with each other and participate in a question-and-answer session with the press. Episcopal News Service covered the visit here.
Welsh primate would ordain gay bishopThe primate of the Church in Wales, Archbishop Barry Morgan, has indicated his willingness to ordain a gay person to the episcopate if his fellow bishops choose such a candidate, according to WalesOnline. Morgan said that he agreed with the decision of The Episcopal Church to consecrate Gene Robinson. “There should be a backlash against this fundamentalism that has been thrust upon us,” Morgan is quoted as saying. “It is contrary to the ministry of Jesus and damaging the Church.” The story was published a few days after the Welsh bishops issued a press release urging the upcoming Lambeth Conference to concentrate on environmental issues, rather than on sexuality. According to the bishops, “Jesus’ ministry was full of concern for God’s world for he proclaimed and embodied God’s love for it. The real challenges, therefore, are not about sexuality but about eradicating poverty, injustice, violence and tackling climate change.”
Presbyterians okay further dialogue on closer relationships with EpiscopaliansThe recently concluded General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) agreed to continue dialogue with The Episcopal Church on a plan aimed at encouraging closer relationships between congregations of the two churches. The General Assembly’s vote is subject to approval by a majority of the 173 regional presbyteries. If such approval is achieved, the matter will be an item of business at The Episcopal Church’s General Convention next year.
The proposed agreement would allow Presbyterian and Episcopal clergy to perform ministerial functions in each other’s congregations “when requested and approved by the diocesan bishop and local presbytery.” It stops short of being a full-communion agreement. The Presbyterian Committee on Ecumenical Relations is due to oversee continuing talks and to report on them at the next General Assembly in 2012.
Episcopal News Service reported on the Presbyterian vote here.
Tenth Episcopal Youth Event held in San AntonioThe tenth Episcopal Youth Event (EYE), a triennial gathering of Episcopal high school students, was held July 9 through July 13 on the campus of Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas. More that 850 young people, joined by more than 300 adult sponsors and resource persons attended the church-wide event. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke to participants at a July 8 evening event before the official start of the EYE. Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church, spoke to the gathered young people on July 9. Further details are included in an Episcopal News Service story here.
Church’s Midwest regional office now open in OmahaAs part of its ongoing reorganization and decentralization, The Episcopal Church has opened a regional office in Omaha, Nebraska, in the office building of the Diocese of Nebraska, adjacent to Trinity Cathedral. The office space has been provided to The Episcopal Church rent-free under a five-year agreement.
Much of the work of the church’s Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations and Evangelism and Congregational Life Center will now be conducted in the new Midwest office. Episcopal News Service reported the opening of the office here.
Bishop Duncan visits DallasBishop Duncan was in Dallas this weekend attending the consecration on Saturday, July 12, of Canon Paul E. Lambert as suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, according to a source who was present. Press coverage was minimal, but the Dallas Daily News carried this story on the consecration.
The Bishop of Pittsburgh has been on the road much of July. He attended the opening of the GAFCON Conference before going to Italy, where he celebrated his birthday with family. He is heading back across the Atlantic soon to be at the Lambeth Conference, which opens on July 16.
Calvary Church requests “monitor” to watch diocesan assetsWith the leadership of the Diocese of Pittsburgh pressing for a vote in October to realign the diocese, i.e., to remove it from The Episcopal Church and attach it to the province of the Southern Cone, Calvary Episcopal Church returned to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas last week to request that the court appoint a “monitor” who would “inventory and oversee property held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.” The move is intended to help enforce the stipulation agreed to by all parties in 2005. Calvary has also asked the court to allow any parish wishing to do so to pay its assessment into an escrow account pending resolution of property issues. Episcopal News Service reported the story here. As this is being written, the link in that story to Calvary’s petition is not correct. A searchable version of the court filing can be found here.
Central Florida bishop breaks with NetworkAccording to The Living Church, the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. John Howe, has resigned from the Anglican Communion Network (ACN), led by Bishop Robert Duncan, and is supporting the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI). The story is based on information in the July 2008 Central Florida Episcopalian, which has not yet been posted to the diocesan Web site. According to Howe, the ACI seeks “to promote orthodoxy within The Episcopal Church.” The ACN, on the other hand, “is now made up of far more people who have left The Episcopal Church than those who remain inside it,” and Howe has not been pleased with “the secessionist direction of the Network.” Peter Frank is quoted in the Living Church story as confirming Bishop Howe’s action. Frank noted that it was not clear if the diocese or the member parishes had withdrawn. The Network has written each parish directly to ascertain their intent regarding membership.
NOTE: After the above story was written, the Diocese of Central Florida posted the July 2009 Central Florida Episcopalian on its Web site. You may view it here. Bishop Howe’s letter appears on page 2 and is continued on page 4.