In The News

Anglican Consultative Council Meets in Lusaka: One of the Anglican Communion’s four “Instruments of Unity,” the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), met in Lusaka, Zambia, in April. The event was controversial because of Episcopal Church (TEC) representation at the conference, causing a number of conservative Primates from Provinces including Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Jerusalem and the Middle East to boycott the meeting.

The boycott followed on from the Primates Meeting in January, which sanctioned the Episcopal Church for a period of three years for promoting same-sex marriage. During that time, the Episcopal Church was not to represent the Anglican Communion ecumenically, doctrinally or in terms of polity and governance.

The Episcopal Church’s invitation to full participation at the Lusaka conference, which spoke to the doctrine and polity of the Anglican Communion, was seen by traditionalist Anglican leaders as breaking the terms of the sanctions imposed by the Primates Meeting.

The Episcopal Church pays the Anglican Consultative Council $400,000 a year, 18% of its budget.

The Episcopal Church Claims Victory: Episcopal Church delegates to the ACC meeting in Lusaka claimed victory over the Primates of the Anglican Communion, stating in an open letter that restrictions imposed by the Primates Meeting earlier this year were of no effect:

“Because this ACC meeting was held in the shadow of the January Primates Gathering and Meeting that sought to restrict our participation as members from The Episcopal Church, we want to assure you that we participated fully in this meeting and that we were warmly welcomed and included by other ACC members.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who gave a report to the event, disagreed with this assessment, saying, “The ACC received my report, which included those consequences. The consequences stand.”

Forward in Christ wonders at the transparency of these consequences; apparently TEC is unable to see them.

GAFCON Responds to ACC: Conservative Primates of the GAFCON movement have issued a response to the ACC, From Canterbury to Lusaka, which states:

“The recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia has again highlighted the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion. Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. This action has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of the Communion.”

The communique goes on to say that the future of the Communion does not lay with “manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths” and pledges GAFCON to work for the renewal of Anglicanism.

The Diocese of San Joaquin Loses Lawsuit: On April 5, the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno, California ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church, ruling that the property of the disputed church belonged to TEC plaintiffs. The Diocese of San Joaquin broke away from the Episcopal Church in December 2007 and was sued for its property by a remnant group of Episcopalians, backed by the national Church, in 2008. The traditionalist diocese, led by Bishop Eric Menees, has filed for a rehearing.

Fort Worth Litigation: The Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth heard oral arguments in April from both sides regarding the appeal of last year’s trial court ruling in favor of the Diocese and Corporation. 

The appeal was filed by Episcopal Church parties after the trial court ruled diocesan properties held by the Corporation of the Diocese of Fort Worth are held in trust for the Diocese and the Parishes and Missions in union with it, and not The Episcopal Church. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the trial court should apply neutral principles of property law to the assets in question rather than deferring to TEC. It also declared that the Dennis Canon, which states that parish property is held in trust for TEC, has no force or effect in the state.

There is no time period for the court to hand down an opinion and judgment, but the Diocese of Fort Worth believes “a ruling can be expected within a few months’ time.”

Diocesan Merger: The Reformed Episcopal Church’s Diocese of the West has merged with the Anglican Church in North America’s Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS) lead by Bishop William H. Ilgenfritz. The Diocese of the West will be renamed Convocation of the West and will be served by Bishop Winfield Mott under the title of Vicar General. “The Convocation format will enable us to continue as a community,” Mott explained, “which is important to us, as we have been a strong support for each other and have our own style and customs. The Missionary Diocese of All Saints context allows us to be a missionary presence in the western U.S. in the Anglo-Catholic tradition in which the Diocese of the West was formed.” 

North Carolina Bishops Back Trans Bathrooms: The Episcopal Church Bishops of North, West and East Carolina have blasted a North Carolina law, HB2, that forces transsexuals to use bathrooms assigned to their biological gender. In an open letter, the Bishops state that this “discimination... prohibits, us from respecting the dignity of another human being. It inhibits our very capacity to care for one another and to work for the common good.”

The Carolinian Bishops are not alone in their protest. World-renowned pop star, Bruce Springsteen, cancelled a performance in the Tar Heel State.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.