News for Week Ending 2/9/2009
Primates meeting cordial, undramaticAnglican primates met in Alexandria from February 1, 2009, to February 5, 2009. Although not all Anglican Provinces were represented, most were, and the meeting was not boycotted by any province. Discussions seem to have lacked the heated exchanges that seem to have become common recently. Perhaps this was in part the product of non-primate partisans being asked to stay away from the meeting. Moreover, the agenda was not monopolized by discussion of internal Anglican conflicts, as the primates discussed crises in Zimbabwe, Gaza, and Sudan, about which they released statements here, here, and here.
Nonetheless, the Windsor Report continues to cast a long shadow. The movement for an Anglican covenant seems still on track, although indications are that it may be kinder and gentler than many feared. The primates received a report from the Windsor Continuation Group that continues to advocate the prescriptions of the Windsor Report.
The final communiqué from the meeting can be read here. The phrase “gracious restraint” appears multiple times in the document, which is a challenge to all sides.
Although the Anglican Church in North America apparently was discussed at the meeting of the primates, no dramatic action was taken regarding its future.
Episcopal News Service reported extensively on the meeting, which seemed notable for its reduced security and smaller press corps coverage compared to recent meetings. The final communiqué from the meeting was covered here. Earlier ENS stories can be found here, here, here, and here. Reaction to the meeting was covered in a follow-up story here. As usual, Thinking Anglican provides the best guide to commentary on the meeting. See Thinking Anglican posts here and here.
Diocese of Fort Worth reorganizesLike the dioceses of San Joaquin and Pittsburgh before it, the Diocese of Fort Worth held a special convention February 7, 2009, to reorganize after an earlier “realignment” vote. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Fort Worth, like San Joaquin, was left without either a bishop or a standing committee after a “realignment” vote, a situation that required direct intervention by the Presiding Bishop to call a special convention for the selection of a bishop. In Pittsburgh, on the other hand, one person was left on the standing committee after the vote to leave The Episcopal Church, and the standing committee, even with a single member, had the authority to make appointments and call for a special convention. The Fort Worth situation did resemble that of Pittsburgh in that a broad-based coalition was built before a special convention was held.
As expected, Fort Worth elected the Rt. Rev. Edwin “Ted” Gulick as provisional bishop. Gulick will split his time between the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese of Kentucky, of which he remains bishop. Episcopal News Service reported on the convention here. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram carried stories on the special convention both Saturday and Sunday. The Dallas Morning News carried a story on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the former Fort Worth bishop, Jack Iker, “released” certain parishes and clergy from any obligation to the group that he leads. The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians—a group roughly equivalent to Pittsburgh’s Across the Aisle group—issued this statement, however.