News for Week Ending 10/6/2014
Church of Kenya delays decision on women bishopsBill Atwood, a bishop of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), reported September 29, 2014, on the recent meeting of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Kenya. His title, “Kenyan House of Bishops Embrace GAFCON, Reject Indaba” seems to apply to the consensus of the gathering, rather than to formal decisions taken. According to Atwood, however, the bishops did adopt a five-year moratorium on consecrating women bishops pending “a prayerful theological study and conversation with GAFCON partners to seek a theologically sound consensus.” Atwood’s report can be read here.
Archbishop of Canterbury gives interview to Church of Ireland GazetteThe Church of Ireland Gazette interviewed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby October 3, 2014. Audio of the interview can be found here, on a page that also indexes the topics covered in the 21-minute interview. Anglican Ink ran a story on the interview, though its headline is over-dramatic. Welby made it clear that the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is an ecumenical partner, not a member of the Anglican Communion. He explained that he was able to appoint ACNA priest Tory Baucum to be one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral by virtue of his having been ordained originally by The Episcopal Church. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) He remarked that, in his travels around the Communion, he learned that it is commonly believed that Communion membership is determined by communion with Canterbury. Welby was also asked about the Lambeth Conference, which would normally happen in 2018. (Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori suggested that the conference would almost assuredly be postponed—see Pittsburgh Update story here.) He answered that a decision about the conference would be made by the Anglican primates.
The Rev. Dr. Mark Thompson from the Diocese of Sydney, a diocese perpetually at odds with the Anglican Church of Australia, has taken exception to the remarks of Justin Welby in a post on Sydney Anglicans. Thompson argues that the Anglican Communion is determined by theology and, in the process, refers to the Presiding Bishop as “Ms.” and misspells her name.
Bishop Wilson book review on Thinking AnglicansWe noted last week that the Rt. Rev. Alan Wilson’s new book, More Perfect Union? Understanding Same-sex Marriage suggests that many Church of England bishops are gay. The main purpose of the book, however, is to promote the extension of the church’s understanding of marriage. Thinking Anglicans has published a review of the book, which can be read here.
Supreme Court declines to review gay marriage cases, extends marriage equalityIn a move that surprised both friends and foes of marriage equality, the U.S. Supreme Court, on October 6, 2014, declined to review the seven cases before it that have overturned gay marriage bans. The effect is to allow stays to be lifted by several circuit courts. Rulings against bans will then be extended to other states in those circuits. The Chicago Tribune covered the story, and USA Today offers reactions to the court’s actions, as well as a helpful map. On the other hand, the failure of the high court to take up the marriage equality question leaves bans in place in much of the country and has failed to establish a constitutional right to marry.
For those desiring a more technical analysis, SCOTUSblog offers posts here, here, and here.
Bloy House, CDSP announce new partnershipBloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont, and Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), have announced a program that will allow Bloy House students to earn an M.Div. from CDSP, while taking most of their courses at Bloy House. According to its Web site, Bloy House conducts classes every other weekend on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Details of the new partnership are described here.
Volunteers being solicited for 2015 General ConventionThe Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs issued a press release September 30, 2014, soliciting volunteers to work for the 2015 General Convention that takes place June 25–July 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Volunteers can sign up here. Note that one has to create an account at this site before learning what volunteer opportunities are available.
Nominations closed for next Presiding BishopThe Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has announced that nominations for the 27th Presiding Bishop, who will be elected at the 2015 General Convention, are now closed. Potential candidates must submit materials to the nominating committee during the month of October. Details are contained in this press release.
TREC meeting available on-lineVideo of the churchwide meeting sponsored by the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) held at Washington National Cathedral October 2, 2014, can be viewed on-line here. The video is just under 2½ hours long. (See Pittsburgh Update story on the meeting here.) Surprisingly, there has been relatively little commentary on the meeting, but interested readers find reactions on The Lead and Daily Episcopalian. A reflection by a deputy who attended the meeting in D.C. can be found here. On October 6, TREC issued a press release tanking people for participating in the meeting and asking them to pray for the continued work of the task force.
GTS crisis still unresolvedThe crisis at General Theological Seminary continues. As reported here last week, a work stoppage by a majority of the faculty to protest the behavior of the president and dean led to the firing of the disaffected faculty on September 30, 2014. The Lead has published a number of posts about the situation at GTS, but the best source of information is probably the Facebook page GTS8 Safe Space. Unfortunately, one has to apply to join the conversation there, and it is difficult to follow the story. The Lead has published posts here, here, here, here, here, and here. It appears that some of the Board of Trustees will meet with the so-called GTS8 once an investigation into the behavior of the president and dean is completed and before the full board meets. Meanwhile, alumni have called for reconciliation and are raising money to support the fired faculty members.
The most recent update from the GTS8 suggests that the meeting scheduled for October 16 may simply be window dressing.