News for Week Ending 3/25/2013
Justin Welby enthroned as Archbishop of CanterburyJustin Welby was enthroned (consecrated) as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral March 21, 2013. Anglican Communion News Service reported on the service, noting that all but one of the primates of the Anglican Communion traveled to England for the ceremony. The ACNS story includes links to the archbishop’s inaugural sermon and to photographs of the service. Video highlights of the ceremony from the BBC can be found on YouTube. (The entire ceremony is available on the Web for a limited time from the BBC, but only for UK viewers.) The 44-page order of service can be found here.
David Virtue reported March 20 that a number of Global South primates intended to avoid gatherings after the enthronement in which they might encounter Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Standing Committee meetingAnglican Communion News Service has reported on the first day of the meeting of the Standing Committee. The 15 members of the Standing Committee include Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop of Connecticut Ian Douglas. The ACNS story on the first day of the meeting, March 23, can be found here. The story neither tells how long the meeting will last nor where it is being held. The meeting location presumably is in the London area, since the five primates on the committee were already there for Justin Welby’s enthronement.
Bishop charges hypocrisy in CoE regarding same-sex blessingsThe Telegraph, in a story dated March 23, 2012, reported that the liberal Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, has charged the Church of England with hypocrisy regarding the blessings of same-sex unions. Such blessings, though formally banned by the church, are proceeding regularly in a number of parishes, and bishops are turning a blind eye to it. Meanwhile, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has reiterated the church’s position against proposed marriage equity legislation. He has, however, remarked favorably on the relationships of some gay couples. Wilson is quoted on the new archbishop’s position:
Underlying the crisis there is believed to be a need for the archbishop to say to conservative elements in the Anglican Communion, “Oh no, we don’t do that sort of thing. It’s only the naughty Americans do that.”
Radner complains of harassmentThe Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner has written the the Texas Supreme court charging that he has been subjected to “intimidation and vindictive behavior” by members of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth for his signing an amicus brief in the Fort Worth property litigation. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) His letter of March 2, 2013, charges that he is being unfairly punished for his actions. (Complaints have been brought against Radner and the Rev. Dr. Philip Turner, both of whom are associated with the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI), though no action has been taken on the complaints. Charges against bishops who signed the Fort Worth brief have recently been resolved—see Pittsburgh Update story here.)
A March 9 entry on the ACI Web site articulates the views of the ACI on the controversy. That essay argues, among other things, that Canon IV.19.2 “makes it a violation to seek the secular court’s ‘interpretation of the constitution’ and polity of our church.” It suggests, further, that the Fort Worth Episcopalians should have been charged under this provision for bringing the matter to the courts. No doubt the Episcopalians would argue that they were only bringing the polity of the church to the attention of the court, not asking the court to interpret it.
The case before the court is an appeal from a decision in favor of the Episcopal diocese. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Documents relating to the case can be found here.
Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield and one of the bishops involved in the conciliation that resolved charges against them, has reflected on the experience in an essay for The Living Church. Like Radner, he is unapologetic.