News for Week Ending 1/26/2015
African Anglicans bicker over support for Episcopal ChurchThe October 2014 meeting of African primates and American bishops—see Pittsburgh Update story here—is causing a dispute among Anglican leaders in Africa. The meeting resulted in a communiqué expressing friendship and co-operation. According to Anglican Ink, that communiqué threatens to destroy the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA). GAFCON primates met in December in Nairobi and wrote to the CAPA chairman, the Archbishop of Burundi Bernard Ntahoturi, demanding that he repent of his endorsement of the communiqué or resign his position. The archbishop apparently has not responded to the GAFCON demand.
Justin Welby visits N.Y.C. for inequality conferenceArchbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was in New York City last week to participate in the Trinity Wall Street conference “Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference for Economic Equality.” His January 23, 2015, speech at the conference, “Is Inequality Sinful?” can be read here. The archbishop also preached that evening at Trinity Church. His homily is here.
Archbishop Welby was also interviewed by The New York Times. The interview was published January 23. The interview was titled “Inequality as a Religious Issue: A Conversation With the Archbishop of Canterbury,” but some questions strayed from that topic. The archbishop ducked such questions as “Do you think that the American Episcopal Church made a mistake in consenting to the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest who was elected bishop of New Hampshire?”
England consecrates first woman bishopThe Rev. Libby Lane became the first woman bishop in the Church of England January 26, 2015, more than 20 years after that church began ordaining women to the priesthood. She was made the Bishop of Stockport in a ceremony at York Minster. There were minor protests at the consecration. The British press gave this story extensive coverage. See, for example, the stories from the Daily Mail, BBC, and the Church of England itself.
Philip North consecration sparks controversyThe consecration of Libby Lane (see story above) is intimately connected to the upcoming consecration of the Rev. Philip North as Bishop of Burnley. As part of the compromise that allowed for the consecration of women bishops in the Church of England, the church also committed to consecrating as bishop a priest committed to the Conservative Evangelical view on headship, that is, someone who believes that God’s will is to not have women in authority over men. North is such a priest, and a letter from Archbishop of York John Sentamu has increased the controversy attendant his consecration. Sentamu has asked bishops who have ordained women to exercise “gracious restraint at the laying-on of hands,” i.e., not do so. This is discussed in a January 20 Christian Today article and a January 22 Church Times article.
There has been much commentary about the North consecration. Two particularly interesting essays about it consider its theological and ecclesiastical implications, one from Bosco Peters in New Zealand and one from Kelvin Holdsworth in Scotland.
CoE diocese seeks online pastorThe Church of England’s Diocese of Lichfield is seeking an “online pastor.” This is a first for the Church of England. The goal is to find either a lay or ordained person to engage young people on line. (See job description here.) A Christian Today story about the personnel search notes that that the Anglican Church of Australia had a priest with a digital ministry more than a decade ago. A story about the efforts of the Evangelical Church of Finland to create on-line communities can be found here.
Marcus Borg diesMarcus J. Borg, well known New Testament scholar whose work centered on the historical Jesus, died at age 72 on January 21, 2015. Borg was the author of 21 books and was a leader of the Jesus Seminar. His work with the Jesus Seminar made him unpopular among conservative Christians. Details of his life and death were reported by Episcopal News Service.
Virginia missionaries return from week in Cuba; Sewanee continues relationship with Cuban seminaryThirteen missionaries from St. James’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, returned to the U.S. January 17, 2015, following a week’s stay in Cuba, during which they worked with the Episcopal Church of Cuba (ECoC). Their main project was the development of a rural retreat that will provide a central meeting place for the ECoC’s scattered 44 churches. That retreat is named for Bishop Alexander Hugo Blankingship, a Virginia native who was the diocese’s bishop from 1939 until the Cuban Revolution. Details can be found here.
The School of Theology of the University of the South (Sewanee) is also involved in the Cuban church. A delegation left for Cuba on January 5 for a five-day visit to the Seminario Evángelico de Teología in Mantanzas, Cuba. Information about the trip and the ongoing relationship between the two seminaries can be read here.
VTS receives preaching grant; chapel workers win awardsVirginia Theological Seminary announced January 22, 2015, that it has received a $500,000 award from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund a program called “Deep Calls to Deep: A Program to Strengthen Episcopal Preaching.”
VTS also made news related to the rebuilding of Immanuel Chapel. The 1881 chapel was destroyed in an October 2010 fire. (See Episcopal News Service story here.) Washington Building Congress is awarding two Craftsmanship Awards related to the construction of Immanuel Chapel: one for plaster finishing and one for millwork. Details can be found in a VTS press release.