Standing Rock Is the "New Selma"
As announced last week
, the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry spent the weekend at the Standing Rock Reservation meeting with many of those gathered to protect the reservation's water supply and sacred sites nearby from construction crews working on a pipeline. He stressed the sacredness of water in his sermon
at the Sunday service at the reservation's Episcopal parish, St. James, and characterized the protectors struggle as the "new Selma
," a reference to the site of a major Civil Rights struggle.
Dissident Anglicans Launch Effort to Form New Congregations Outside of Church of England
Several weeks ago, Church of England evangelicals announced the first steps towards creating a "church within a church" because of their unease with the theological directions of the established church, especially its accommodations towards same sex couples and clergy in such relationships. (See Update story here
.) Although the Church of England positions fall far short of an open welcome, most commentators saw this as first steps down the same road taken by dissidents in the U.S. that ended in schism. Now the Anglican Mission in England has announced
an effort to found hundreds of new congregations, some within and some outside of the Church of England. This again parallels actions taken in the U.S. that prepared the way for schism.
New Zealand Bishops Weigh in on Proposed Euthanasia Legislation
In response to a petition early in 2016, the Health Select Committee of New Zealand's parliament is investigating the possibility of an assisted suicide and euthanasia bill. The InterChurch BioEthics Council quickly filed a statement against a measure allowing euthanasia and last week three members offered an oral submission
at hearings. The commission referenced the experience in the Netherlands of a
broadening over time of the situations covered by that country's laws
allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia. Backing up that submission, two retired bishops and seven active bishops from New Zealand have issued their own statement opposing legislation. All but one of the bishops are from the North Island, home to five of the six largest cities in New Zealand, including the capitol, Wellington. The one South Island bishop serves the northern part of that island, closest to Wellington. One of the North Island bishops is part of the indigenous branch of the New Zealand Church. The nuanced bishop's statement
argues for palliative care and acknowledges the many pastoral concerns involved in end-of-life decisions.
Three Indigenous Bishops Protest Decision in Canada to Change the Canon on Marriage
The Anglican Church in Canada has been working to give indigenous peoples more say and independence within the larger church. Three bishops of indigenous background and serving in dioceses of indigenous people have objected
to both the process by which the marriage canon was changed and the actual change at the meeting of the Synod in August. (For what happened at the Synod see the Update story here
.) The whole process, they claim lacked consultation with the indigenous community and the application of standard western rules at the synod "silenced" an elder. The bishops, however also object to the change made which will allow dioceses to opt in or out of allowing same-sex marriages. The experience with this change has led them to focus even more on bringing greater independence to the indigenous dioceses.