Janette O’Neill, the new General Secretary of USPG: Anglicans in World Mission, was commissioned last week at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace. Before her appointment, O’Neill, worked for 10 years for Episcopal Relief and Development, primarily in Africa.
We wish her well. She seems an excellent choice. But we can’t help noticing that her appointment is another example of the curious double standard that the Archbishop of Canterbury applies to Episcopalians and those affiliated with the agencies of our church. We are to be treated with great skepticism as long as we persist in living in the United States, but embraced unreservedly once we take up residence in the United Kingdom.
Ms. O’Neill is Welsh, and it is possible that she did not compromise herself by actually worshipping in an Episcopal Church, so her case may not be as egregious as that of the Rev. Mark McIntosh, a priest of the Diocese of Chicago–not a former priest of the Diocese of Chicago, a priest right this instant of the Diocese of Chicago.
McIntosh, did I mention that he is a priest in the Diocese of Chicago, is being allowed to serve on one of the Communion’s ecumenical panels, because he is currently a canon residentiary at Durham Cathedral. Episcopalians not in residence at English cathedrals have been removed from these panels.
We are left to conclude that some sort of cleansing occurs when Episcopalians, and those formerly employed by our church, pass through British customs.
I think most Episcopalians understand the necessity of this appearance-preserving charade. But it is a charade, and it is worth pointing that out every now and then.