CoE moves women bishops measure forward
After a three-hour debate February 8, 2012,
the General Synod of the Church of England approved a measure that will lead to a final vote in the July meeting of the Synod on allowing CoE women priests to become bishops. Moving forward on women bishops had overwhelmingly been approved by voting in the dioceses, which also voted, in large measure, against making additional provisions for those opposed to women bishops. Although an attempt to amend the measure along the lines advocated by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, which would have made further provisions for those who cannot accept women bishops, the final language approved requests that the House of Bishops makes no “substantial” changes to the measure. The House of Bishops meets in May and will put the measure into the final form to be voted on this summer. The clearest press report on what happened is probably the story
reported by Church Times.
Episcopal groups support Obama contraception decision
There was a good deal of news coverage last week of the Obama administration’s plan to require religious-affiliated institutions to provide contraception services as part of their health plans. Particular attention has been given to the opposition of Roman Catholic bishops. Less well publicized was a statement
from more liberal religious groups that said, in part,
We respect individuals’ moral agency to make decisions about their
sexuality and reproductive health without governmental interference or
legal restrictions. We do not believe that specific religious doctrine
belongs in health care reform – as we value our nation’s commitment to
church-state separation. We believe that women and men have the right to
decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family
planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services.
Signers represented General Theological Seminary, the Episcopal Women’s Caucus, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, of which The Episcopal Church is a member.
Virginia Episcopalians preparing to return to churches
The Washington Post reported
February 11, 2012, that Virginia Episcopalians who were displaced from their churches are planning to return to them soon. Despite the possibility of an appeal to the recent court decision granting properties to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
—see Pittsburgh Update story here
—the two sides are working together to effect a smooth transfer of real and personal property. Episcopal members of the Falls Church who have been meeting in a nearby Presbyterian church, for example, are planning to hold Easter services in their historic church.
Albany churches consider DEPO
Albany’s Times Union reported
February 10, 2012, that three churches in the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Albany
are considering requesting Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight
(DEPO), a plan that would keep them in the diocese, but would allow the Bishop of Central New York, rather than Bishop of Albany William H. Love, to minister to the congregations. The church’s identified by the Times Union
are St. Andrew’s, Albany
, St. George’s, Schenectady
, and St. Luke Saranac Lake
. DEPO, a little used plan devised by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church largely for dissatisfied conservative parishes in liberal dioceses, was first used by a liberal parish in a conservative diocese in Pittsburgh. For a time during Bishop Robert Duncan’s tenure, St. Brendan’s, Franklin Park
, was overseen by the Bishop of West Virginia.
Quincy, Chicago exploring reunification
Episcopal News Service reported
February 13, 2012, that the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy
and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
are exploring possible reunification. Representatives of the two dioceses met recently at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria. Quincy is the smallest of the dioceses experiencing a departure of many of its congregations, and litigation continues over property. Details of the discussions involving the future of Quincy can be read in the ENS story.