Thursday, November 30, 2006

Latest Posts: November 30th 7 p.m. Eastern

Episcopal leaders make concessions to conservatives

November 30th, 2006 posted by admin at 6:21 pm

Associated Press

NEW YORK - Episcopal leaders offered conservatives more independence from the national church Thursday, just ahead of a California diocese’s vote on whether it should split from the denomination.

A “yes” vote by the Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno, would put it on the brink of leaving The Episcopal Church in its feud over the Bible and sexuality. Church leadership supports same-gender relationships and installed an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire three years ago. However, traditionalists believe gay partnerships violate Scripture.

The church’s new proposal would create a leadership position called a “primatial vicar.”

The vicar would work with conservative dioceses, performing functions that normally fall to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, including consecrating local bishops.

A representative of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, would have a role on a panel of church leaders supervising the appointee. However, the vicar would ultimately be under the authority of Jefferts Schori. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member Anglican family.

Virginia Bishop Peter Lee, a leader in developing the proposal, said the group that worked on the idea was “conscious of the need to respond quickly to the needs of parishes and dioceses.” The Diocese of San Joaquin is scheduled to hold its balloting Saturday.

Six other conservative dioceses have also rejected Jefferts Schori’s authority, but have stopped short of a full break.

Canon Kendall Harmon, a conservative leader from the Diocese of South Carolina, said he was encouraged that Lee and others acknowledged the urgency of the situation. But he said the proposal failed to address underlying theological differences and their impact on the church.

“It’s as if at the last minute they pulled a feather out of their hat and said, ‘Here,’” Harmon said.

The plan was finalized during a meeting Monday of Jefferts Schori and a small group of bishops. Five conservative bishops who had been invited did not attend. Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, two of the conservative invitees, said in a statement Monday that relations with national leaders have deteriorated so much that they have been advised to bring attorneys to any future talks.

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Southwest Florida Episcopal bishop hopefuls to face faithful

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:39 pm

On Friday, Episcopalians across the region will have their only chance to question candidates hoping to be the next bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida.

The final slate of candidates is down to seven, including four from the diocese, said Jim DeLa, a diocese spokesman. A diocese search committee picked three candidates from outside the area. Four others nominated by petition have local roots.

A new bishop will be elected Dec. 9 at St. Peter’s Cathedral in downtown St. Petersburg.

Current Bishop John Lipscomb, who wants to eventually retire, has the option to work with his coadjutor/assistant until May 2010, DeLa said.

During a traditional “walkabout” 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, the seven will move room to room at the Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice, and answer questions from roughly 500 lay people and clergy, DeLa said.

The process to elect the fifth bishop since the diocese was incorporated in 1969 comes at a time when Episcopalians nationwide are divided over social issues, especially the choice of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003.

Although no one will know exactly where the new local bishop would stand regarding social issues until elected, it appears that the slate is tipped in favor of conservative candidates, according to both lay and clergy members of the diocese.

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Truro May Leave Episcopal Church

November 30th, 2006 posted by kendall at 5:37 pm

Truro Episcopal Church, an institution in the City of Fairfax with roots dating to colonial times may soon split off from the Episcopal Church of the United States.
The church’s vestry — the governing board of the church — voted to recommend the split last month. The congregation as a whole will vote on Dec. 10 to decide their fate. If Truro decides to make the split, it will be the first church in Virginia to do so.
The split, also being considered by The Falls Church in Falls Church, is the culmination of 40 years worth of theological differences, said Jim Pierobon. While a parishioner at the Falls Church, Pierobon is acting as spokesman for both churches.
The issue came to a head in 2003 when the church confirmed an openly gay bishop. “Among the presenting issues was Gene Robinson’s consecration in New Hampshire,” Pierobon said.
The vestries of the two churches decided that they could not accept the liberalization in the American church. They wish to adhere to what they say is a strict interpretation of the Bible which forbids …[homesexual pratice].

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