The Archbishop of Canterbury says we need an Anglican Covenant because the Anglican Communion confuses its potential ecumenical partners by tolerating innovations like gay bishops and sanctioning the sanctification of same-sex relationships. Meanwhile, the Church of England is a member through the Porvoo Agreement that formed a communion of mostly Northern European churches, including the Church of Sweden.
The Church of England is distinctive in the Porvoo Communion not only because it is Anglican, but also because it has not yet finalized provisions for women bishops in Church of England, and does not permit bishops from other provinces to wear mitres while celebrating communion if they are not endowed with the same biological equipment as Christ. Yet the presiding bishop of the Church of Norway is a woman. Did I say that the ABC’s concern is that it is The Episcopal Church that has sown the seeds of confusion with the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical partners?
(The ecumenical partner the ABC is most anxious to appease, the Catholic Church, did not give him advance notice of its creation, the Anglican Ordinariate. He’s had to appoint new flying bishops as a result of defections to the AO. (Aside: it’s appearing more and more likely that because it is what it is the AO will find little traction outside of the UK, and numbers there will be tiny.)
We bring up the Porvoo Agreement because the flying archbishop of The Episcopal Church, licensed pilot and presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is on a visit to the Church of Sweden, a member of the agreement:
The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is currently on a three-day visit to the Central Church Office in Uppsala. Jefferts Schori is both an oceanographer and a pilot, and is the only female archbishop in the Anglican Communion. On Wednesday she will be leading morning service at Uppsala Cathedral together with Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd.
The Church of Sweden and the Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion, have enjoyed fellowship spanning many years, with informal and sporadic contacts. At its General Synod in 2009 the Episcopal Church decided to seek closer fellowship with the Church of Sweden. An initial meeting took place in Paris in 2010 with Pierre Whalon, Bishop in charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, and the ecumenical coordinators of both churches.
The current meeting in Uppsala involves talks, presentations of the respective churches and their current challenges, exchange of experiences and a study trip to Sankta Maria parish in the Uppsala district of Stenhagen. The aim is to identify ways to evolve the fellowship in the future. Apart from the talks, the meeting includes a guided tour of Uppsala Cathedral, and the American guests’ visit will be concluded on Wednesday with Katharine Jefferts Schori and Anders Wejryd jointly leading morning service in the Cathedral at 8.15 am.
The Church of Sweden and The Episcopal Church have a natural affinity and are building bonds of affection.
To my knowledge the ABC has not called for a Porvoo Covenant, although he did decline the invitation to attend the consecration of the first lesbian in the historic episcopate, the Bishop of Stockholm, Eva Brunne. She is in a registered domestic partnership, so her position does not fit the ABC’s parameters for gay bishops.
Finally, the news you’ve been waiting for:
David Hamid (@eurobishop)
5/12/11 10:37 AM
US Presiding Bp Jefferts Schori at our mtg of Anglican/Old Catholic bps in Europe. On Sat will give the Quasimodo Lecture. (Serious title).