News for Week Ending 11/5/2012
Work of ACC-15 continuesThe fifteenth meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) continues in Auckland, New Zealand, through November 7, 12012. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Various issues of mission have been taken up by the ACC, including the Bible in the life of the church, climate change, and violence against Christians.
Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews, a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO), introduced a session October 30, 2012, on the history and reception of the Anglican Covenant. She expressed a common belief among Covenant supporters—a belief strongly rejected by Covenant detractors—that the Covenant document is very different from many people’s understanding of it. Anglican Communion News Service described her as saying, “I believe that in the original idea of the Anglican Covenant, there was a desire to allow the Anglican Communion to be a safe place for conversation and the sharing of new ideas.” ACC participants will return to the Covenant, possibly passing one or more resolutions about it, on November 6.
In a November 5 address, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed, in passing, hope for the Covenant project. On November 2 and 3, ACC-15 considered the history and role of the so-called Instruments of Communion, which the Covenant would institutionalize.
Anglican Communion News Service continues to cover ACC-15 in depth here. Episcopal News Service accounts of ACC-15 activities are available here and in following posts.
Support grows for CoE women bishops legislationDespite concern that legislation to allow women bishops in the Church of England concedes too much to opponents of women’s ordination, support seems to be growing for it. A vote will be taken in the General Synod on November 20, 2012. Women in the Church (WATCH), which had declined to take a position on the legislation—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has now issued a statement indicating that “a significant majority” of members have expressed support for the measure. (Thinking Anglicans has published the November 5 WATCH press release.) A new independent Web site, YES to women bishops, has also appeared.
Falls Church appeal accepted by Va. Supreme CourtOn October 26, 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia granted The Falls Church the right to appeal the lower court ruling that granted the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia the real and personal property held by the breakaway congregation. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The court also refused to hear a cross-appeal from the diocese and The Episcopal Church seeking to establish the validity of the Dennis Canon in Virginia. A decision in the case is expected in the first half of next year.
Episcopal News Service has reprinted a statement from the diocese and and provided links to other material, including the court opinion, here. The Diocese of Virginia maintains a page of links to documents relating to the property litigation in the diocese here.
Crisis continues in South CarolinaNo significant developments were apparent this past week in the attempted succession of the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Church. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) In particular, no lawsuits have yet been filed. Instead, a war of words is ongoing.
Attorney and Senior Fellow of the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) Mark McCall published an essay October 31, 2012, in The Living Church questioning both the wisdom and propriety of charging Bishop Mark Lawrence with abandonment. (The ACI is a conservative group with no official position in the Anglican Communion.) Stories in the Florence, South Carolina, Morning News and The Washington Post set forth the position of the diocese in the current dispute. On November 3, All Saints, Hilton Head, and St. Mark’s, Beaufort, ran a half-page color ad in two newspapers declaring that “The Episcopal Church is Alive and Well in South Carolina.” (See eNewsletter of The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina.) South Carolina Episcopalians reports that Bishop Lawrence has not officially left The Episcopal Church, though he has encouraged others to do so, and that he has had at least one conversation with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori since the diocese declared its departure from the church. South Carolina Episcopalians has also reported that Lawrence disregarded his inhibition by performing confirmations at two different churches.