News for Week Ending 6/14/2010
Canadian Synod defers decisive actionThe Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod finished its triennial meeting June 11, 2010. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Synod failed to take definitive action either on the draft Anglican covenant or on same-sex blessings.
According to Episcopal News Service, the Synod adopted a resolution asking the Council of General Synod (roughly, the analogue of The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council) to recommend to the 2013 General Synod what action should be taken on the covenant.
Episcopal News Service also reported that the Synod adopted a report on same-sex blessings that admits that there are differences on the issue and that some dioceses are allowing blessings. The General Synod neither provided for local option on the matter nor approved or disapproved same-sex blessings. The actual resolution and report can be read here.
A summary of the Canadian General Synod can be found here.
Presiding Bishop travels abroadPresiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has been doing a good deal of traveling. She addressed the Canadian General Synod June 8, 2010, saying that our church is “deeply grateful for our friends north of the border.” The next day, Jefferts Schori delivered one of two keynote addresses at an English missionary conference in Swanwick, England. (See Episcopal News Service story here, which includes a link to video of the Presiding Bishop’s talk.) On June 11, she addressed the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Her talk, available as an audio recording here, includes a history lesson on the early years of The Episcopal Church and a summary of what the church is doing now. On June 13, the Presiding Bishop preached at London’s Southwark Cathedral.
Canterbury letter draws responsesThe Pentecost letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the subsequent actions to remove Episcopalians from various Anglican bodies—see Pittsburgh Update story here—have drawn a number of responses. On June 8, 2010, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called the actions “unfortunate” and said that they misrepresent the Anglican Communion. Her remarks, made at a press conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, were reported by Episcopal News Service. Church Times also ran a story about the unhappiness of the primates of both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over the Anglican Communion move.
Inclusive Church wrote letters both to the Presiding Bishop and to the Archbishop of Canterbury deploring the actions against The Episcopal Church. Support for the American and Canadian churches was also expressed by the General Secretary of Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. Thinking Anglicans also has links to additional commentary and reports here and here.
Australia seeing greater opposition to women clergyMelbourne’s The Age reported June 10, 2010, that there is increasing pressure from Evangelicals to discourage leadership of women in the church. This is a surprising development in the Diocese of Melbourne, which was in the forefront of the drive for women’s ordination in the Anglican Church of Australia.
Controversy over the place of women in the church has been much in the news of late. In its General Synod next month, the Church of England will try to move forward with allowing women bishops, despite strong minority opposition. (See Pittsburgh Update story here. Late developments can be read on Thinking Anglicans here and here.) Also, the Anglican Church in North America continues to deal with the issue of women’s ordination, having seen its first defections over that issue. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)
Gay marriage continues to make progress in EuropeReuters reported June 11, 2010, that the Iceland Parliament unanimously passed a law allowing for same-sex marriage in the country. Iceland, which has a reputation for tolerance, also has an openly gay prime minister.
Virginia Supreme Court rules for Va. dioceseThe long-running property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and nine breakaway congregations that are now part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), took an interesting turn June 10, 2010, when the Supreme Court of Virginia overturned the decision of the lower court that had granted parish property to the CANA parishes. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The court ruled that the unique Virginia statute on which earlier rulings depended was not applicable to the case. The Court did not, however, agree with all the arguments made by the Episcopalians. Ownership of parish property remains in dispute, as the case is sent back to the lower court. The CANA parishes have been deprived of one of their strongest theories in the case, however, and future litigation will invoke arguments made in similar cases in other states.
Episcopal News Service reported on the legal development in a story containing a link to the Supreme Court opinion. A statement from the diocese is here (other materials related to the litigation are here). A statement from CANA can be found here. The Washington Post also has a story on the Virginia development.