News for Week Ending 11/10/2008
Sydney action strains GAFCON unitySydney’s Archbishop Peter Jensen was a major spokesperson at GAFCON this past summer, but the recent action of the Sydney diocese to allow deacons, and even laypeople, to preside at the Eucharist—see Pittsburgh Update story here—is causing tension in the worldwide Anglican Catholic-Evangelical alliance. Peter Toon, writing on the site of The Prayer Book Society of the USA on November 3 advised: “After appropriate warning, the Council of Primates of GAFCON should expel the Bishops and Diocese of Sydney immediately.” Otherwise, he wrote, “GAFCON will become, and will be seen by thousands, as merely and only an international, Evangelical Anglican Group—with no serious claims to a serious catholic ecclesiology and historic Ministry, and no real opportunity or intention to set a godly example to the whole Anglican Communion of Churches.”
Primates to meet in EgyptThe Living Church reports that the upcoming meeting of the Anglican Primates (not to be confused with the meeting of the Primates’ Council invented by GAFCON) will take place in Egypt January 31–February 6, 2009. The primates are expected to discuss the proposed Anglican covenant and the moratoria proposed at the Lambeth Conference. Episcopal New Service has reported the starting date of the meeting as February 1, presumably, the date on which official meetings begin. ENS notes that the meeting of the Executive Council has been pushed up a day in order to accommodate the meeting in Alexandria, which the Presiding Bishop will be attending. The ENS story also include background information on the Primates Meeting and a list of the current Anglican primates.
Quincy votes to join Southern ConeThe synod of the Diocese of Quincy voted November 7, 2008, to leave The Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Episcopal News Service issued two stories on the convention, an initial story and an expanded one. As was the case in San Joaquin and Pittsburgh, the votes to leave The Episcopal Church and join the Southern Cone were lopsided. Like Pittsburgh, the diocese entered the convention without a bishop, as the Bishop of Quincy had recently resigned. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Unlike both San Joaquin and Pittsburgh, however, Quincy had little in the way of organized opposition to “realignment.” ENS quotes Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as saying, “The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs.” The diocese has 24 congregations and about 1,800 parishioners.
Pittsburgh diocese sends deputy info; invites candidatesPittsburgh’s Episcopal Church diocese has mailed registration materials to potential deputies to its December 13 special convention. According to the diocese’s Web site, “The Special Convention has been called to fill a number of diocesan leadership positions vacated by those who left the Episcopal Church following the 143rd Annual Convention in October.” The diocese is inviting participation from those in congregations that have not made a final decision to stay in The Episcopal Church. The diocese has also put out a call for candidates to run for open diocesan positions. Details are available here.
‘Realigned’ Pittsburghers elect Robert Duncan bishopAt its convention November 7, 2008, those who have left the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, elected deposed former Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan to lead their group. The story was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here and by Episcopal News Service here. Duncan was the only candidate considered by the convention. According to the press release from those who claim now to represent a diocese of the Southern Cone, “Bishop Robert Duncan is once again the diocesan bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.” The consent process to the election required by the canons of the Southern Cone, however, have not yet been carried out.
The business meeting of November 7 was followed by a day of talks and workshops. According to the Post-Gazette, Duncan told those assembled at Trinity Cathedral, “Sometimes we have to stop and heal wounds, but that is not our corporate task now. Every one of our people is called to ministry.” Duncan, who, unlike other bishops who have led or are about to lead Episcopal dioceses to vote to leave The Episcopal Church, supports the ordination of women, told the gathering that their “vocation” will entail taking in “refugee” women who have trouble receiving calls in the conservative Anglican movement.