Happenings in the Anglican world

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Well, the last week was sort of eventful for the Episcopal Church in the US. One of the constituent dioceses, the Diocese of San Joaquin (in California) voted to disassociate itself from the rest of the Episcopal Church, and join the with Province of the Southern Cone (South America).

The presenting reason for the move is San Joaquin’s criticism of the Episcopal Church’s perceived liberality, particularly in the area of human sexuality.

It should be noted that not all of the Episcopalians in San Joaquin are leaving the national church – some are remaining.

All of this has created much heat in the blogsphere. Not a lot of light, and not much charity. It is pretty unedifying to read most of it (on all sides).

Update (13/12/2007):

Sydney’s Standing Committee has announced its support for the Diocese of San Joaquin as it realigns itself with the Southern Cone.

At its meeting last Monday evening, Sydney Diocesan Standing Committee unanimously passed the resolution of support, which has been sent to the Bishop of San Joaquin, John David Schofield.

Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney was in the Chair, as Archbishop Peter Jensen is overseas this week.

The resolution read as follows:

“Dear Bishop Schofield

The Standing Committee of the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney sends warm greetings in the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ to yourself and the clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

The Standing Committee assures you and the people of San Joaquin diocese of our prayerful support of your historic action in disassociating from The Episcopal Church and becoming part of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America.

We offer our congratulations for your courageous stand for the authority of the Scripture and the faith once delivered to the saints.

Yours sincerely

ROBERT WICKS
Diocesan Secretary”

The Diocese voted to transfer to South America’s Southern Cone Province at its 48th annual convention on Saturday, after receiving an invitation to do so from Archbishop Gregory Venables and the bishops of the Province.

“This is the first time in American Anglican history that a diocese has realigned with a like-minded province,” says Bishop Schofield.

“The vote was a resounding affirmation by our clergy and laity to remain within the worldwide Anglican Communion with its heritage and universally accepted teaching based on the word of God.”

Bishop Schofield explains the significance of the decision for Diocese, which contains 47 parish churches.

“For 20 years and more we have watched The Episcopal Church lose its way, straying, at first from Scripture to the point of dismissing the Word of God, in some instances as mere historical documents,” he says.

“In the end, this decision is all about freedom. It is about freedom to remain who we are in Christ. It is freedom to honor the authority of Scripture.”

Update: 15/12/2007: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter to Primates on the state of the Anglican Communion.

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