Monday, May 31, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
News for Week Ending 5/24/2010
Observer chides CoE over gay persecutionLondon’s newspaper The Observer published an editorial on May 23, 2010, complaining that Anglican leaders in England have failed to speak out against homophobic statements made by some Anglican clergy in Africa. In particular, the editorial refers to a statement made by Nigerian bishop Isaac Orama. The editorial concludes:
The Anglican hierarchy in Britain has avoided speaking out too frankly on this matter to avoid a schism, but the church’s quiet diplomacy has done nothing to help the victims of homophobic repression. Increasingly, it looks like complicity.The Lead, on the other hand, called the editorial too mild.
ACNA shows signs of stressA major component of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has been the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) an operation under the sponsorship of the Church of the Province of Rwanda. The AMiA, a founding member of ACNA, has been a jurisdiction of ACNA, but, according to a special report on the AMiA Web site, it is about to become a Missionary Partner, a status that ties the AMiA less closely to ACNA. According to the report, the “dual citizenship” of the AMiA had become “untenable.” A May 11, 2010, news analysis piece by conservative journalist David Virtue suggests that the status change is at least in part the result of conflicts over women’s ordination. Links to additional material are available at Thinking Anglicans.
Monday, May 17, 2010
News for Week Ending 5/17/2010
Church gets first lesbian bishopMary Douglas Glasspool became The Episcopal Church’s first lesbian bishop on May 15, 2010. She was consecrated a suffragan bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, along with Diane Jardine Bruce. The ceremony took place in the Long Beach Arena before a congregation of 3,000, which included Becki Sander, Glasspool’s partner of 19 years. A minor protest interrupted the beginning of the service, which otherwise proceeded as planned. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator for the two new bishops. Details of the event can be found in stories from Episcopal News Service and the Los Angeles Times.
Reaction to Saturday’s consecrations has been surprisingly muted so far. The Times, in its story on the Los Angeles consecrations, notes that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had earlier called the impending consecration of Glasspool “regretable” and suggested there would be consequences for The Episcopal Church. Archbishop Williams has not issued a statement following Glasspool’s consecration, however, whereas he has often been quick to respond to events in The Episcopal Church in the past. Archbishop Alan Harper of the Church of Ireland had similarly expressed “deep regret” after the announcement that Glasspool had received the necessary consents to become a bishop. (See Episcopal News Service story here.)
Anglican Mainstream did issue a statement May 15 in response to the Glasspool consecration signed by Dr. Philip Giddings and Canon Dr. Chris Sugden. Giddings and Sugden assert that The Episcopal Church should be excluded from representative bodies of the Anglican Communion, that a way should be found for dissenters in The Episcopal Church to maintain their connection to the Communion, and that the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) should be recognized as a member of the Anglican Communion instead of The Episcopal Church.
Ironically, the ordination of another woman on May 15 is causing distress in the traditionalist camp. According to VirtueOnline, the Rev. Susan Freeman, scheduled to be ordained a priest on the same day Glasspool was to be made a bishop, has become a controversial figure. The ordination was to be performed by the Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit (Uganda) and a member of ACNA. In his editorial, “Ordination of Two Women Challenges Anglican/Episcopal Jurisdictions,” David Virtue briefly mentions Glasspool but writes at length of the contentiousness of women’s ordination in ACNA.
Displaced Episcopalians come together in Fort WorthAs happened in some parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Episcopalians in parishes that sought “realignment” in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in some cases dispersed to other churches following the schism in their diocese. On May 11, 2010, Episcopal News Service reported on parishioners from one realigned parish that have finally reunited as a congregation. They are now meeting Sunday evenings at Trinity Episcopal Church. The tradition-bound congregation is being allowed by the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, the provisional bishop, to use the 1928 prayer book. The story can be read here.
Monday, May 10, 2010
News for Week Ending 5/10/2010
New Zealand General Synod considers covenantThe General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia debated the proposed Anglican covenant May 10, 2010. The first three sections of the covenant have received approval in principal, but Section 4 has proven controversial. The church is being asked to study the covenant over the next two years, after which the General Synod will decide whether to adopt it. Details can be read here. Dr. Tony Fitchett, a member of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and a New Zealander, suggested accepting Sections 1–3 and rejecting Section 4, which he calls “punitive and unAnglican.”
CoE publishes draft legislation for women bishopsA drafting committee of the Church of England has reported on a proposal to provide for women bishops in the church. The proposal will be considered at the July meeting of the church’s General Synod. Even if the proposal meets with the approval of the Synod, women bishops could not become a reality in the Church of England until at least 2014. The proposed has generally be favorably received by supporters of women bishops, as it does not make women second-class bishops. Those unalterably opposed to the innovation generally see the report as inadequate. Episcopal News Service reported the story here. Links to various reactions to the committee report are available at Thinking Anglicans.
Breakaway L.A. church again appeals to California high courtThe parish property case involving the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the breakaway congregation of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Newport Beach, is beginning to seem interminable. (See earlier Pittsburgh Update stories here and here.) The church now calling itself St. James’ Anglican Church has made a third appeal to the California Supreme Court. Details were reported by Episcopal News Service on May 10, 2010.
Glasspool to be consecrated May 15As Pittsburgh Update reported here, the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool is scheduled to be consecrated a suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on Saturday, May 15, 2010. She will become only the second openly gay partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion. The consecration may occasion more criticism of The Episcopal Church for its inclusive policies.
Bennison makes final judicial appealAs we reported earlier—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., the sometime Bishop of Pennsylvania who was found to have engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy for not reporting sexual improprieties of his brother, made his last judicial appeal to a church court May 4, 2010. The proceedings before the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop were held in Wilmington, Delaware, and lasted three hours. Bennison is under sentence of deposition. If the appeal to the Court of Review is unsuccessful, Bennison could bring his case to the House of Bishops. Details are provided in a story from The Living Church.
Bishop Price featured at PEP meetingProgressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) is sponsoring a program on Monday, May 17, 2010, at Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill. Dubbed “A Conversation with Bishop Price,” the event will provide an opportunity for Pittsburgh Episcopalians to meet and talk to the provisional bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth Price, Jr. The event begins at 7:30 PM. Church of the Redeemer is located at 5700 Forbes Avenue, next to St. Edmond’s Academy.
Monday, May 3, 2010
News for Week Ending 5/3/2010
New mechanism created for listening processAnglican Communion News Service announced the initiation of the Continuing Indaba process April 30, 2010. Additional information is given in an Episcopal News Service story about the new Web site created for discussion within the Communion. The Continuing Indaba project is sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury and endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council. Indaba is the name given to the African technique of consultation used by bishops at the most recent Lambeth Conference.
According to the ENS story, “Continuing Indaba grows out of requests to listen to gay and lesbian Christians that have been made intermittently since Anglican Communion bishops at the 1978 Lambeth Conference recognized ‘the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual’ and encouraged ‘dialogue with them.’” Initial funding for the project has been provided by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Marta Weeks.
Anglo-Catholics consult with VaticanAnglo-Catholic bishops of the Church of England have conferred with representatives of the Pope concerning their possible conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. The supposedly secret meeting was reported by the Telegraph.
The Church of England faces a potential crisis as it moves toward accepting conditions under which women priests can become bishops. The Times reported that the proposal that will be put before the July meeting of the General Synod will be announced May 7, 2010. According to The Times, no statutory provision is to be made for opponents of women bishops, but a voluntary code of conduct is intended to appease Anglo-Catholics. If suggested provisions are accepted by the General Synod, some Anglo-Catholic clergy may simply convert to Roman Catholicism. Others may accept the Pope’s offer of joining the Roman Catholic Church while preserving limited Anglican traditions. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Large defections from the Church of England seem unlikely, however, and the leaking of information about the Vatican meeting may have been intended to influence the General Synod debate.
Canadian General Synod to meet next monthThe main governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada will meet next month in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 3–11. Anglican Journal ran a story summarizing the issues before the 2010 General Synod, including the blessing of same-sex unions and the adoption of the proposed Anglican covenant. The May issue of the Anglican Journal also carried an opinion piece suggesting that, given the church’s moving ahead with same-sex blessings, the Anglican Church of Canada cannot, in good conscience, sign on to the covenant.
Bishops come and goTwo bishops who have been critical of The Episcopal Church are experiencing professional changes.
The Church of England’s Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, has announced that he will step down from his current post to return to an academic position at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews. New Testament scholar Wright is a prolific author and served on the Lambeth Commission, which produced the Windsor Report. The sample Anglican covenant in that report was largely written by Wright. Episcopal News Service ran a story on the Wright career change here.
Bishop Daniel W. Herzog, the retired Bishop of Albany who left The Episcopal Church in 2007 to join the Roman Catholic Church, has returned to The Episcopal Church. Herzog, a critic of the church’s consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, was welcomed back into the church by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who, according to Episcopal News Service, issued an order for Restoration of Ordained Ministry for Bishop Herzog.