News for Week Ending 11/24/2008
Diocese of Eau Claire considers futureThe Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire, which is currently without a bishop, is considering possible future directions for the diocese. Eau Claire, one of the smaller dioceses of The Episcopal Church, sees fewer than 1,000 worshipers in its churches on an average Sunday and is in financial difficulty. Among the options being weighed are juncture (merging) with neighboring Fond du Lac and dissolution, which would return those parts of the diocese from which it was created in 1927 to their original dioceses of Fond du Lac and Milwaukee. Both the dioceses of Fond du Lac and Eau Claire have passed resolutions requesting permission from the 2009 General Convention for juncture—consent from the General Convention is required for all changes to the territorial status of a diocese—but the question of whether juncture is the best option has not been decided. Episcopal News Service has a story on how Eau Claire is dealing with its problems here.
Meeting of UK Evangelicals faces GAFCON controversyChurch Times reported November 21, 2008, on the recent meeting of the National Evangelical Anglican Consultation (NEAC5) that erupted in controversy over a proposal to endorse the “Jerusalem Declaration” promulgated last summer by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The proposal was introduced without its having been put on the agenda by the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) leadership. A motion to move to the next order of business allowed the majority at the meeting to bypass the rsolution. A stipulation that there be no amendments made the measure even more controversial. According to Church Times, “The meeting has reinforced concerns about who speaks for Evangelicals.”
Iker inhibited; status of other ‘realigning’ bishops unchangedPresiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the three senior bishops of the church inhibited Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth on November 21, 2008, following certification by the Title IV Review Committee that Bishop Schofield had abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. The action comes after the Diocese of Fort Worth voted to leave The Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. (Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, representing Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth staying in The Episcopal Church, commented on the inhibition here.)
Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin was inhibited and later deposed following a similar vote at the 2007 San Joaquin convention. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh was deposed by a vote of the House of Bishops in September 2008 for his actions in encouraging parishes and dioceses to leave The Episcopal Church.
The church has taken no action against Bishop Keith Ackerman, who resigned shortly before the a majority of Quincy deputies voted for ‘realignment’ at the diocesan synod held November 8. Likewise, no action has been announced against assisting bishops in Pittsburgh and Fort Worth, both of whom supported votes to leave The Episcopal Church. Pittsburgh’s Henry Scriven had already announced that he would be leaving the diocese in January to take a position with the South American Missionary Society in England. Bishop Wantland, of Fort Worth, on the other hand, declared himself innocent of abandonment and asked the Presiding Bishop to make him an honorary member of the House of Bishops. (See commentary here. Wantland’s entire letter has not been made public.)