Week Ending 4/18/16
Long Island Bishop Asks Diocese to Join Protest Against Trump RallyBishop Provenzano of Long Island has sent a pastoral letter to his diocese asking them to join him and others in a demonstration of anti-racism during a Trump rally. The presidential candidate is holding a fundraiser next to a site where a man was killed in 2008 because he was Hispanic immigrant. The bishop explained that his call was for people to witness to their Christian commitments and not as political activism. The full letter is here, and the Episcopal Cafe story is here.
Possible Light Shed on Church Center DismissalsEver since the Presiding Bishop announced the suspension of three senior Church Center staff members, and then the firing of two and discontinuance of the position of the third, there have been questions about what kind of wrong doing was involved. The dismissal referred to violations of "established workplace policies," failing to"live up to the Church’s standards of personal conduct in their relationships with employees," and creating "a workplace environment often inconsistent with the values and expectations of The Episcopal Church." (See update story here.) Religion News has published an interview with a former staffer that suggests that gender bias may have been a part of the toxic working environment that Presiding Bishop Curry is now addressing. Bob Honeychurch says that during his time working for the center, female employees voiced to him concerns about being left out of decision-making and their advice and skills being ignored. The whole interview is here.
The Anglican Consultative Council Winds Up Business with Focus on Social Justice IssuesThe ACC has finished its meeting by passing more than 40 resolutions without further discussion. Most dealt with issues related to ecumenism, the environment, wealth disparity and income inequality, violence (especially against women), relief efforts, youth and evangelism. They declined to further the "consequences" affected the Episcopal Church which were outlined in the January Communique from the primate's meeting. Other than voting that they wished to continue walking together, the one resolution covering the communique simply "received" the message. Another resolution saying they "welcomed" it was withdrawn. The ACC also chose its leaders for the next three years, choosing the Archbishop of Hong Kong as their chair and Church of England laywoman, Margaret Swinson, as vice-chair. While the new chair, Archbishop Kwong thought that being a primate could be helpful to the ACC, others were concerned that bishops now headed all four of the instruments of communion. The other candidate for ACC chair had been a lay person. Five new members were elected to the Standing Committee - one each from Scotland, Canada, Central America, North India, and Kenya. Two are bishops (one of those a woman), two are lay and one a clergy person. In the end, all but Uganda, Rwanda, and Nigeria of the 38 provinces had members present.
Archbishop Welby Continues His WitnessWhile in Africa, the Archbishop of Canterbury took time to visit with the heads of two African countries. The most important was his meeting with President Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Welby used the conversation to explain that the Anglican Communion had diverse opinions on same-sex marriage, but that the majority still saw marriage as an institution for one man and one woman. But then Welby went on to speak against legislation criminalizing LGBT people or their supporters. The Archbishop appears to be trying to live up to the numerous Anglican Communion documents including the recent primates Communique which condemn civil penalties placed on LGBT people.
On a different front, Welby continued his support for economic justice, launching a new series of four videos, each 10 minutes long and looking at theological perspectives on money and debt. The first of the videos has just been released.