News for Week Ending 4/27/2015
English bishop charged with border crossingAccording to a story from Anglican Ink, Assistant Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. John Ellison, has been charged by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Holtam, of exercising jurisdiction over a a non-Church of England church within the Diocese of Salisbury. The church in question is Christ Church Salisbury, which is affiliated with the Anglican Mission in England. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The GAFCON primates expressed support for Ellison in their recent communiqué (see Pittsburgh Up date story here):
We support Bishop John Ellison in resisting the unjust and uncharitable charges brought against him by the Bishop of Salisbury, and in view of the Great Commission, we note the sad irony that this former missionary bishop to South America now finds it necessary to defend himself for supporting missionary activity in his own country. We continue to encourage and support the efforts of those working to restore the Church of England’s commitment to Biblical truth. Equally, we authenticate and support the work of those Anglicans who are boldly spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and whose circumstances require operating outside the old, institutional structures.
Archbishop of Canterbury offers Earth Day messageArchbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent a two-minute video message to the Global Citizen Earth Day rally in Washington, D.C. Welby urged the will and effort to reduce injustice, inequality, and poverty, and to improve the environment. The video can be viewed here.
Gay marriage case to be argued in Supreme Court April 28In an unusually long session, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges, April 28, 2015. At issue is whether states must allow same-sex marriages and acknowledge such marriages performed in other states. The Washington Post has offered an explanation of what is at stake and what will happen if the high court rules that same-sex marriage is an issue for states to decide.
On April 23, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and a number of other conservative religious groups issued a letter asserting that marriage as a union of a man and a woman must be preserved as a matter of religious freedom.
GTS report omits mention of faculty conflictOne of the Blue Book reports prepared for this summer’s General Convention is from the Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church (GTS). (Read the report here.) The page-and-a-half report alludes only briefly and obliquely to the work stoppage by eight faculty members that resulted their firing, their rehiring on a temporary basis, and the ongoing unrest at the Episcopal Church’s oldest seminary. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Lionel Deimel pointed out the glaring omission on his blog, a post that was picked up by Episcopal Café.
On April 21, 2015, GTS announced that Dr. Deirdre Good, one of the eight GTS faculty members involved in last year’s work stoppage, will leave the seminary effective May 25, 2015. She is not the first of the GTS-8 to leave the school and will likely not be the last. Good joined the faculty in 1986.
In yet another development in the GTS drama, a group mostly of alumni of the seminary have written to the New York attorney general asking the the General Theological Seminary be investigated for financial mismanagement. Episcopal Café reported about the letter April 20, 2015. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has recently questioned the finances of Cooper Union. (See story here.)
Three parishes to allow same-sex blessings in West TexasIn what has generally been viewed as a conservative diocese, three parishes have been authorized to conduct same-sex blessings. Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas will allow a church in Corpus Christi and two churches in San Antonio to use the liturgy for blessing same-sex couples. Episcopal Café reported this development April 24, 2015.
Anglican Ink notes that Lillibridge has moved to the left recently. He had been one of the Communion Partner bishops, a conservative group advocating for strong ties to the Anglican Communion and adoption of the Anglican Covenant (see here). Lillibridge is no longer listed among the Communion Partner bishops. A page obtained from the Internet Archive has him listed as a Communion Partner bishop as recently as November 3, 2012 (see here). Anglican Ink suggests that Lillibridge has created a problem for Bishop Coadjutor David Reed, who has opposed same-sex blessings. Reed has also disappeared form the list of Communion Partner bishops, however.