Moravians Add Full Communion with Presbyterians
The Moravian Church, which is already in full communion with the Lutherans and Episcopalians, has now added
full communion with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the largest of the various Presbyterian bodies in the U.S. The two denominations will celebrate their "covenant relationship" at a service in Wisconsin, June 10, 2016. Full communion between the Moravians and Presbyterians means that clergy in each denomination are recognized and fully authorized to serve in the other. The Episcopal Church has been in conversation with the Presbyterian Church for a decade and a half, and has a limited agreement approved in 2008 (See Update story here
), but a formula for TEC and the Presbyterians that allows each to fully recognize the other's clergy has not been found.
Virginia Bishops Are Working on Transgender Policy for Church Schools
The three bishops of the Diocese of Virginia, Diocesan bishop Shannon Johnston, Suffragan Bishop Susan Goff, and Assisting Bishop Ted Gulick have issued a statement
that they are carefully working on a policy for the Church Schools of the diocese, (and for other diocesan related organizations and camps) that will address controversies that have arisen in fully including transgender students. The principles that will infuse the policy are sensitive to the needs of transgender students and parents, educators, psychologists, and others involved with the schools. There are six official Church Schools
, some of which are day schools and some that take boarders. The diocese elects a single board of trustees that oversees all six schools while granting much autonomy to individual boards at each school. The six are Christchurch (Middlesex County) St. Catherine's (Richmond), St. Christopher's (Richmond), St. Margaret's (Tappahannock) Stuart Hall (Staunton), and St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (Alexandria). Three of the schools are single sex schools. One Additional Richmond school, the Anna Julia Cooper School is considered an "related institution" for the diocese. The Cooper School is a middle school with ties
to the Church Schools in Richmond. In addition the policy would affect the diocesan summer camps run at Shrine Mont. The Episcopal High School in Alexandria is independent
and it is not clear if any policy developed by the diocese will apply to it.
New Zealand Anglicans Delay Decision on Blessing Same-Sex Couples
The Synod of the Anglican Church in New Zealand has deferred
any decision about same-sex union blessing to their 2018 meeting. The Synod had authorized a committee in 2014 to study and draft a proposal. (See Update here
.) While two of the three ethnic strands appeared ready to support a blessing of civil marriages, the strand representing those of European descent came to the meeting divided. (See Pittsburgh Update here
.) As a result, the synod received and then tabled the report from the committee while they use the next two years to find a structure that will allow both those supporting and opposing blessings to stay within the church.
Strong Response to the Need for Aid to Distressed Communities in Ecuador and Canada
Episcopal Relief and Development has provided substantial aid to the areas hit by the earthquake last month in Ecuador. ERD is working through the Episcopal Churches in the area to provide basic needs for the thousands displaced, and to assess rebuilding strategies. A fuller report is here.
Meanwhile the monster wildfire in Canada that displaced 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray has also elicited contributions
from across Canada and beyond. The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (i.e. a discretionary fund of Canadian archbishop Fred Hiltz) has sent an initial grant of $15,000. Individuals and dioceses have also been sending money to help feed and house those who have been displaced and begin rebuilding.