News for Week Ending 3/9/2009
Ottawa to study same-sex blessingsEpiscopal News Service reported March 6, 2009, that the Diocese of Ottawa of the Anglican Church of Canada has formed a committee to decide whether the diocese should bless civil marriages of same-sex partners in that diocese on a trial basis. Bishop John Chapman has argued that the church needs experience with such blessings to discern whether the practice should be generally adopted. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Chapman will allow at most one church to experiment with same-sex blessings.
Other developments in the Canadian church are described in the ENS story. In particular, Bishop Michael Bird of the Diocese of Niagara is reported to have discussed developments related to same-sex blessings in his diocese with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams during a visit to Canterbury in January. Bird has asked his diocese for a rite for same-sex blessings and appropriate guidelines related to blessing civilly married same-sex couples. ENS also reports that Canadan primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz “has adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude” regarding the idea of professional mediation of church disputes that was raised at the recent meeting of the Anglican Primates.
Bishop Ackerman to be available to ‘realigned’ groupThe February 2009 issue of Harvest Plain, formerly the newsletter of the Diocese of Quincy (and now of of the “realigned diocese”) reports that the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, the Quincy bishop who retired just before the diocese’s vote to leave The Episcopal Church, “will continue to be available” in Quincy for a variety of purposes. Moreover, the bishop, who became an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Springfield after his retirement (see Pittsburgh Update story here), “will be functioning in the diocese at the direction of the Standing Committee as liaison with various national and international bodies, including the emerging North American Province,” according to Harvest Plain.
Ackerman will be working under interim bishop selected by the breakaway group, the Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney. MacBurney, a former Bishop of Qunicy, was inhibited last year for performing unauthorized confirmations for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in the Diocese of San Diego. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori lifted the inhibition when MacBurney apologized to the Bishop of San Diego for his actions. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)