News for Week Ending 2/24/2014
Global South Primates Steering Committee statement publishedThe Global South Primates Steering Committee met in Cairo, Egypt, February 14–15, 2014, and made public a statement from the meeting February 20. The statement was approved by seven primates or their representatives. The Nigerian primate, Nkechi Nwosu, abstained from approving for reasons that were not given. As usual, the statement complains about The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as the Anglican Communion’s “dysfunctional” Instruments of Unity. Perhaps most significantly, it calls for a meeting of the Anglican primates in 2015 with an agenda agreed on by the primates in advance. A helpful FAQ appendix is provided. The document can be read here.
Uganda anti-gay bill signed into lawAs we suggested earlier—see Pittsburgh Update story here—Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has signed into law the anti-gay law first proposed in 2009 and denounced in the West despite widespread approval by ordinary Ugandans and Anglican bishops in Africa. Although the final bill authorizes no capital punishment, as did earlier versions, some infractions defined in the law allow for sentences of life imprisonment. The story was reported by Reuters February 24, 2014. Also on February 24, Museveni’s action was condemned by the White House.
Comment continues on CoE same-sex marriage guidanceThe pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage promulgated by the House of Bishops of the Church of England—see Pittsburgh Update story here—continues to collect commentary. (Couples of the same sex will be able to be married in England next month, but the established church does not approve of such unions.) Thinking Anglicans has been collecting links to commentary. In addition to links provided in the story referenced above, see Thinking Anglicans posts here, here, here, here, here, and here. Lionel Deimel has offered a commentary that does not analyze the pastoral guidance as a whole but reflects concerns of Pittsburgh Episcopalians.
Englishwoman becomes Anglican bishopThe Rev. Dr. Helen-Ann Hartley became the first Englishwoman to be made an Anglican bishop on February 22, 2014. According to TVNZ, Hartley was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia. She thus becomes the third female bishop in the New Zealand church. Authorization for women bishops in the Church of England remains pending. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)
PB invitation to seminary sparks board resignationAn invitation to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach at the chapel of Nashotah House Theological Seminary has led to the resignation of a member of the nominally Episcopal seminary’s Board of Directors and the threatened reduction in engagement by another board member. On February 20, 2014, Stand Firm published the contents of a memo sent to clergy in the (presumably ACNA) Diocese of Fort Worth. It indicated that Bishop Jack Leo Iker resigned from the board, and Bishop William Wantland declared that he would neither support the seminary nor participate in its events. Both bishops are former Episcopalians now in the Anglican Church in North America. In fact, the board of Nashotah House looks less like that of an Episcopal seminary and more like a seminary for Episcopal Church dissenters. (The Nashotah House Web site does not list board members, but Stand Firm has provided a list largely thought to be correct. It includes such notorious actors as Robert Duncan, Keith Ackerman, and Mark Lawrence.) The memo includes the following: “Citing the lawsuits initiated by her [Katharine Jefferts Schori] against this Diocese [the schismatic Fort Work diocese], Bishop Iker notified the Board that he ‘could not be associated with an institution that honors her.’”
Nashotah House dean and president, Bishop Edward Salmon, has justified the invitation to the primate of The Episcopal Church in a written and video explanation available here. Robert S. Munday, the former dean and president, has offered a commentary on seminary developments in which he calls the invitation to the presiding bishop a scandal. Matt Kennedy also remarked on the situation on the Stand Firm site, calling the presiding bishop “a servant of darkness.” Neither Munday nor Kennedy are Episcopal Church clergy. Sarah Hey, also on Stand Firm, referred to Katharine Jefferts Schori as a “noted heretic, false teacher, deposer of clergy and bishops, and malicious lawsuit-lover.”