Monday, April 21, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
News for Week Ending 4/14/2008
Violence against gays decriedChanging Attitude, the British-based organization working for GBLT “affirmation” within the Anglican Communion, wrote a letter April 8 to “conservative Anglican church leaders” asking them to tone down anti-gay rhetoric. Gay leaders of Changing Attitude Nigeria have been assaulted, and the life of the director of the parent organization has been threatened. The next day, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement calling the threats against gay leaders “disgraceful.”
Brazilian bishops protest Venables visit to RecifeIn a statement made public April 9, bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil expressed “strong repudiation” of a recent visit by Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables to Recife. They said Bishop Venables “took part in and celebrated at official occasions outside his Province without the knowledge and consent of the Archbishop of the Province of Brazil and this House of Bishops.” Details are available here.
First woman Anglican bishop named in AustraliaArchdeacon Kay Goldsworthy, will become Australia’s first woman bishop. On May 22, she will be consecrated an assistant bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Perth. The Anglican Church of Australia will become the fourth province in the Anglican Communion to appoint or elect a woman to serve in the episcopate, although 14 of 38 provinces have approved the consecration of women bishops. Stories from The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion can be found here and here.
More developments reported regarding disciplinary proceedings against bishopsThe Living Church reported April 9 that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has sent e-mail to all bishops entitled to vote on the deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan. The story suggests that, although a House of Bishops meeting has been scheduled for September 17–19, a special meeting might be held to vote on deposition before the Lambeth Conference this summer.
The Presiding Bishop inhibited retired Bishop of Quincy Edward H. MacBurney on April 2. The bishop’s adopted son died two days later, and Bishop Jefferts Schori has now temporarily lifted the inhibition “to offer the bishop the opportunity to function liturgically in any services for his son if he desires to do so.” The Living Church reports the story here.
Amicable parting of parish in Rio Grande dioceseThe Diocese of the Rio Grande announced this week that clergy and congregants of the mission Church of Ascension, Cloudcroft, New Mexico, have been received into the Anglican Province of Uganda. The mission vicar and president of the standing committee concelebrated a service of Holy Eucharist on Sunday, April 6. According to the diocese, the departing group will move to an “alternative location” during the coming week. The diocese also announced that Episcopal worship will continue at the mission location beginning April 13. “Conversations were respectful, cordial and acknowledged respective positions,” the diocesan announcement said. A newspaper report can be read here.
Duncan to preach at Iker celebrationPittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan will preach Sunday, April 27, at a service of Evensong marking the 15th anniversary of the consecration of Bishop of Fort Worth Jack L. Iker. (Fort Worth, like Pittsburgh, has voted once on constitutional changes intended to facilitate the diocese’s leaving The Episcopal Church.) The event will be held at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Details can be found on the cathedral’s Web site.
Monday, April 7, 2008
News for Week Ending 4/7/2008
Virginia trial court rules for CANA on one issueEleven congregations that have broken away from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia have won an initial round in court. A Fairfax County (Va.) trial judge ruled late Thursday that a Civil War-era Virginia law regarding “division” within a religious body applies to the present situation in which majorities in 11 parishes have voted to leave the Episcopal Church and affiliate with the newly created Anglican District of Virginia. (The Anglican District of Virginia is part of the Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in America, or CANA.) The court rejected arguments by the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church that the “division” statute does not apply in this instance.
The court reserved judgment on the question of whether the Virginia statute is constitutional, setting oral arguments on those issues for May 28. A separate trial on church property issues is scheduled this fall. The court further said that legal proceedings on the validity of the voting process employed by the congregations will be scheduled at a later date.
The Lead has provided the best coverage of both the decision itself and the reaction to it here. Its coverage includes links to the court opinion itself, to the Virginia statute that is central to it, and to press coverage. Conservative journalist David Virtue has written his own story on the decision.
Litigation involving parish property of congregations that have left The Episcopal Church has generally favored the church, though state law and parish history can be important factors in determining the outcome of such litigation. The Virginia statute is apparently unique, and its ultimate effect on the Virginia cases cannot be predicted.
Bishop and congregation clash in B.C.Just as congregations have voted to leave The Episcopal Church, congregations in Canada have voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada for much the same reasons. This past weekend saw a flare-up in British Columbia involving a parish on Vancouver Island.
The congregation of St. Mary of the Incarnation, Metchosin, voted in February to align with the Anglican Network in Canada. On Friday, April 4, the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia changed the locks on the church, installed a security system in the building, and issued this press release. A court issued an injunction, however, requiring the diocese to allow the breakaway congregation to worship in the church on Sunday. The diocese relented, allowing services to be held, but Bishop of British Columbia James Cowan asserted Sunday that the facts of the case were misrepresented to the court and, apparently, the legal action will continue. News stories can be read here and here.
The Anglican Network in Canada is an arm of Anglican Essentials Canada. It is led by Bishop Donald Harvey, who came out of retirement to head the group now associated with the Southern Cone, as described in an Anglican Communion Network press release. The other arm of Anglican Essentials Canada is Anglican Essentials Federation, which seeks to change the Anglican Church of Canada from within.
Network bishops to meet April 24Bishops of Anglican Communion Network-affiliated dioceses will meet April 24 in Chicago. Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator, has said that he called the meeting because “we need to talk frankly and openly about the future.” The meeting is reported on the Network’s Web site. The bishops will likely be discussing, among other matters, the relationships among the Network, the Common Cause Partnership, and such entities as the newly declared Diocese of San Joaquin of the Province of the Southern Cone.
Diocesan Council: Southern Cone ‘wisest forward course’The Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Pittsburgh adopted a “sense of the council” resolution on April 1 asserting “that alignment with the Province of the Southern Cone is the wisest forward course for the Diocese should the second reading of the constitution changes adopted on November 2, 2007, be passed at second reading.” The vote was 20-1 with 3 abstentions. The motion, which is not binding, asks that a resolution providing for such realignment be drawn up and submitted to the Council for final consideration no later than June. It will then be scheduled for a vote at the diocese’s November 2008 convention. The action of the Council is reported on the diocesan Web site here.
Diocese drops church insuranceAs of April 1, the diocese dropped insurance coverage offered by the Church Insurance Corporation and the Church Insurance Corporation of Vermont. These companies are part of Church Pension Group, a company specifically set up to serve Episcopal churches.
In a post on the diocesan Web site, the diocese explained that it was switching coverage to other providers based on cost, the desire for local representation, and because it “provides stability of coverage as the diocese considers realigning to another province of the Anglican Communion.” The change covers worker’s compensation; directors & officers insurance; and property, casualty, and liability policies.