Week Ending 02/15/16
The Diocese of Texas Changes Canons to Allow Same-Sex MarriageThe Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the largest of the five dioceses in Texas, has changed its canons by eliminating a section that defined a marriage as between a man and a woman. This opens the way for willing congregations to offer ceremonies for same-sex couples. The vote at the diocesan convention in favor of removal of the section of canons was 499 to 144.
Two Studies Released on English and ChurchThe Barna Group has released a study of what English people believe about Jesus. The survey was conducted across the public at large, including a sample from Muslim and Hindi populations. Sixty-five percent believed that Jesus was a real historic figure. Some of the other fascinating findings include the fact that one-third of those surveyed did not know a Christian, and 44% believed in the resurrection. The full survey results are here. Meanwhile, the independent group WATCH (Women and the Church) in England released its annual report on the status of women in the Church of England. The biggest developments were, of course, the consecration of women bishops and the seating of two in the House of Lords. Around 13% of English parishes still do not accept women clergy, but women are now almost half of all full-time paid clergy.The full report is here.
Welby Unpacks the Primates' GatheringArchbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby used his address to the Church of England Synod to provide an extended unpacking of the recent primates gathering. During that talk he stressed that the communion has no biding force except bonds of mutual respect, but made it quite clear that
ACNA was not recognized as a part of the Anglican Communion. His displeasure with the early and misleading press coverage and release of parts of the Communique was evident. He stressed that the Anglican Communion is a relationship and that agreement and disagreement is approached through the idea of reception, using examples of past disagreements such as divorce to illustrate his point.
Historic Meeting Between Pope and Russian PatriarchThe meeting between Pope Francis and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in Havana, Cuba, was historic in the sense that it was the first ever meeting between leaders of these two bodies, but it also raised concerns among other leaders of Orthodox traditions that somehow this would upstage their own roles in the cluster of churches that are part of the Orthodox world. CNN and the Episcopal Cafe provide good perspectives on the meeting.
St. James Newport Beach UpdatesThe congregations locked out of its building by Los Angeles Bishop Bruno who is trying to sell the property released a status update letter this last week. In addition their parish Facebook site had numerous posts on the opening of a local fire station for their Shrove Tueday pancake supper, and other signs of support from the Newport Beach community.
Church of Ireland Unveils Study Curriculum on Sexuality
The Church of Ireland has begun a period of study on issues related to sexuality, especially same-sex relations, bisexuality and transgender. A group including a broad spectrum of people from the church, including those from the LGBT community put the study guide together. The announcement of the guide and a link to the full document are here. Comments by Changing Attitude, the British group advocating for LGBT people are here.