News for Week Ending 4/30/2012
Final 2 CoE diocese vote on CovenantOn April 28, 2012, the final two Church of England dioceses voted on whether the Anglican Covenant should be referred to General Synod for a final vote. The outcome, of course, was already determined—a majority of the dioceses had already voted against the referral. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) According to Thinking Anglicans, The Diocese of Newcastle rejected the Covenant, and the Diocese of York voted for it. The final tally of dioceses is 26 against the Covenant, and 18 for it. Details of all the voting can be found here.
African primates call for elected leader of Primates’ MeetingAccording to Church Times, the primates of Nigeria and Kenya called for the Anglican primates to elect the chair of the Primates’ Meeting. Currently, the Archbishop of Canterbury calls meetings of the primates and chairs them. The suggestion for a new procedure was made at a April 23, 2012, press conference by the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr. Eliud Wabukala. The archbishops were in London to attend the leadership conference of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglican. (See next story.) Commenting on this story, Anglicans Online observed, “No amount of spin doctoring conceals the core notion that this is another step towards wresting control of the Anglican Communion from Anglia.”
Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans meets in LondonLeaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FoCA) met in London April 23–27, 2012. FoCA is the product of GAFCON (Global Anglican Futures Conference). Stories, video, etc., from the conference can be sampled at the GAFCON site. FoCA looks like the beginning of an alternative “orthodox” Anglican Communion, though its leaders have not declared their intention to split from the Communion. Thinking Anglicans posted a good deal of news, commentary, and documents related to the conference beginning here. A good summary is available from Paul Bagshaw in a blog post from April 28.
Texas bishop prepares for blessing authorizationEpiscopal News Service reported April 25, 2012, that Bishop of Texas C. Andrew Doyle explained to a meeting of Texas clergy his plan for dealing with same-sex blessings, which are expected to be approved by the 2012 General Convention in July. The plan is intended to maintain unity in the diocese despite the fact that the anticipated decision will be unwelcome to many clergy and laypeople in the diocese. The plan will allow same-sex couples to have their relationships blessed in a limited number of churches. No parish will be required to bless same-sex couples, however. Texas law recognizes no version of same-sex commitments. Details and a link to a description of the plan can be found in the ENS story.
ACI, Episcopal Bishops submit brief in Fort Worth caseAccording to an April 23, 2012, story from The Living Church, members of the Anglican Communion Institute (which has no official standing in the Anglican Communion) and seven Episcopal Church bishops (four diocesans, one suffragan, and two retired) have submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Texas Supreme Court in opposition to the lower-court decision that found that the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Fort Worth, not the breakaway group now in the Anglican Church in North America, is the proper custodian of diocesan property. The brief argues, improbably, that there is no higher authority in The Episcopal Church than the diocese, a minority view championed in recent years by the Anglican Communion Institute.
Falls Church request for stay deniedEpiscopal News Service reported April 30, 2012, that Judge Randy Bellows of the Fairfax County Circuit Court denied the request by the congregation of the breakaway Falls Church for a stay of his order of March 1 requiring the Falls Church congregation to turn over real and personal property to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia by April 30. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The diocese has voluntarily extended the deadline to May 15.
In other news related to the return of property in Virginia, the Diocese of Virginia announced that an Episcopal congregation will return to Epiphany, Herndon, on May 6.