Clergy Face Consequences in Sex Abuse Cases in U.S. and Australian Churches
The Rev. Howard White, one of the central figures in the sexual abuse cases at St. George's School has been deposed
by Bishop Scanlon of Central Pennsylvania on October 10. White, had been named by a number of former students at the St. George's School, as a staff member who had abused them during his tenure there in the 1970s and 1980s, had retired and was serving as supply in the diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Bishop Scanlon had placed him on leave in January and began the process leading to his deposition. White also had complaints filed against him for abuse from Western North Carolina.. (See an earlier Update report here
.) Meanwhile, in Australia, the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, has stepped aside from all duties following his appearance before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He admitted that he had not done enough to respond to reports of sexual abuse by clergy in his diocese while serving as Bishop of Newcastle. Herft made his announcement this week in a public letter, explaining he would spend his time focused on the matters before the Royal Commission.
San Joaquin Chancellor Receives House of Deputies Medal
Michael Glass, who stepped in as Chancellor for the Diocese of San Joaquin as the diocese began reorganizing, was honored recently by House of Deputies President, Gay Jennings. She awarded him the House of Deputies Medal at the September Episcopal Chancellors' Meeting. Glass led the legal efforts that resulted in the diocesan property of San Joaquin being awarded to those who remained in the Episcopal Church. The litigation took more than 8 years. Three individual parish cases remain to be argued, but the title to 28 properties in the diocese, including the diocesan offices and camp are no longer at issue.
Historic Meeting Between Rome and Anglicans Results in Joint Statement and a New Phase of Cooperation
The gathering of 36 bishops from the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion that met first in Canterbury and then Rome to commemorate the 50th anniversary of an accord between the churches has resulted in an joint statement signed by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury. It also resulted in the commissioning of 19 pairs of bishops (one from each tradition) to explore new ways for the churches to work together on mission. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was among the Church those that were part of the official delegation, and others from the Episcopal Church came as part of his entourage. The press releases
from the Anglican Communion focused the symbolic gestures, services and the statement. The Episcopal Digital Network release
included a wider range of reaction, including comments by Bishop Catherine Waynick, who serves on the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, was present at the meeting, but not part of the official deputation, stated that she hoped future meetings would be more inclusive of women. No women bishops were among the official deputation appointed by Archbishop Welby, nor were any included in the 19 pairs commissioned at the meeting.
Same-Sex Marriage Continues to Rile Anglican Communion
The Global South Meeting of mostly African bishops and the GAFCON primates issued a joint statement on same-sex issues at the conclusion of their meeting in Egypt last week. The statement began with statements about the need to welcome and recognize LGBT people as part of the body of Christ, but then went on to list a group of sins that humans commit: "
slander, greed, malice, hatred, jealousy, dishonesty, selfishness, envy and murder, as well as fornication, adultery and same-sex unions." The statement then went on through another four bullets to insist that such unions were contrary to Christian belief and that any church response and support needed to begin with people in such unions repenting and refraining from further sin. Meanwhile in Canada, three conservatives appealed
to the Archbishop of Canterbury to intervene after the Diocese of Toronto elected a bishop who is in a same-sex partnership, and Canadian Archbishop Hiltz published a formal response
to the seven Canadian bishops who had protested the narrow passage this summer by the Anglican Church's General Synod of the first step in changing their marriage canons to include same-sex relationships (see Update story here