Bishop Edward MacBurney, whose brief inhibition by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was a cause celebre among conservative Anglicans, has agreed to lead the breakaway diocese of Quincy on an interim basis, the Cafe has learned.
MacBurney, 80, was Bishop of Quincy from 1988-1994. He was inhibited by the presiding bishop in April 2008 for performing confirmations in the Diocese of San Diego in June 2007 on behalf of Bishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone without seeking permission from the Bishop of San Diego, the Rt. Rev. James Mathes.
Venables has claimed authority over numerous parishes in the United States and Canada in the wake of the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. He had previously claimed authority of the Diocese of Recife in the province of Brazil.
Response to the inhibition, which occurred two days after the death of the bishop's son, was heated among conservative Anglicans. The Forward in Faith chapter in the United Kingdom said the "purported inhibition" was "nothing less than contemptible, confirming our view that a ‘graceless and totalitarian’ mindset now holds sway in the upper echelons of TEC."
The Rev. Robert S. Mundy, Dean of Nashotah House Theological Seminary wrote: "What is going on right now is a cold, calculated show of force; and no amount of dressing it up with language about compassion is going to change that reality. Those who for decades spoke of tolerance, compassion, and inclusion are now running the Episcopal Church; and it is turning out just like George Orwell's Animal Farm."
MacBurney's inhibition was lifted on September 9, 2008 after he apologized. According to Episcopal Life Online:
Jefferts Schori's September 9 order admonishe[d] MacBurney to not make any other such visits and to apologize in writing to Mathes "for not respecting his authority as Bishop of that Diocese."
In November, he agreed to assume some of administrative responsibilities in the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy when the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman resigned just three days before the diocesan convention at which a majority of delegates voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join Venables' Province of the Southern Cone. Ackerman, who cited health concerns in resigning, was named an assisting bishop in the neighboring Diocese of Springfield, which is led by a fellow conservative, Bishop Peter Beckwith, a month later. However, Ackerman continues as president of Forward in Faith--North America, which is a member of the recently-founded Anglican Church of North America, which is seeking recognition as an Anglican province.