Church Times reports developments in Nordic churchesChurch Times reported
news from churches in Finland and Norway October 29, 2010. The newspaper noted that more than 36,000 people have left the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland after the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Päivi Räsänen, called homosexuality sinful and gay marriage unbiblical. Because church membership results in being subject to a tax, explicit resignation from the church is commonplace, but the rate of resignation after Päivi Räsänen’s remarks is unusually high.
In the same article, Church Times
disclosed that the Church of Norway, another Lutheran church, has elected its first female Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Helga Haugland Byfuglien.
British groups oppose covenant
Two liberal groups in England have declared their opposition to the proposed Anglican covenant. Inclusive Church
and Modern Church
have sponsored ads titled “Who runs the Church
?” The ads suggest that the Church of England will lose autonomy if the covenant is adopted and urge that members of the General Synod be lobbied to vote against its adoption by the Church of England. The covenant comes before the General Synod November 24, 2010.Thinking Anglicans
has links to the various documents related to the General Synod, including the agenda
, the resolution
concerning the covenant, and the briefing paper
on the covenant. Episcopal News Service covered the story
San Joaquin urges withholding of consent for consecration of Springfield bishop
Bishop Jerry Lamb and the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
have raised questions about the suitability of the Rev. Daniel Martins to become the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield
. Martins was a priest in San Joaquin and was active in diocesan affairs prior to the December 2007 vote by the diocesan convention to leave The Episcopal Church. Martins took a position in another diocese, however, before that vote. In a letter
to bishops and Standing Committees, Lamb and the San Joaquin Standing Committee argue that Martins actively facilitated the subsequent schism and believes that the action taken by the San Joaquin convention was proper. The letter urges that consent for Martins’ consecration be withheld. The story was reported on the diocesan Web site
, which has links to a page
of documents supporting the view expressed in the October 16, 2010, letter.
Drama continues in South Carolina
On October 25, 2010, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council wrote a letter
to Episcopal Forum of South Carolina
(EFSC) in response to that group’s request that the leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
be investigated. (See Pittsburgh Update story here
.) EFSC had cited a number of concerns, including the inaction of the diocese after St. Andrew’s Church
in Mount Pleasant voted to leave The Episcopal Church. (See Pittsburgh Update story here
.) The Executive Council letter explained that the investigation requested by EFSC is not authorized by Episcopal Church canons. Four days after the letter was written, Episcopal News Service reported
that Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence removed four clergy on the staff of St. Andrew’s from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church on October 21, 2010.