Thinking Anglicans

Canadians decline to consecrate as bishop a former AMiA priest

The Anglican Journal reports: Worley will not serve as bishop of Caledonia, rules provincial HoB

The Rev. Jake Worley, elected bishop of the diocese of Caledonia April 22, will not be consecrated, after a ruling by the House of Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon.

“As the Provincial House has registered its objection, the Rev. Worley will not be consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada,” reads a statement released Monday, May 15 by the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada. The statement specifies that, according to the canons (church laws) of the province, the decision is final. The diocese will now proceed to hold another synod to elect another bishop, it adds.

Last month’s election was held to find a successor for Bishop William Anderson, who announced in late 2015 his plans to retire.

The house’s decision has to do with Worley’s views on his involvement with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a collection of theologically conservative churches that was originally a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda.

In 2007, Worley, who was born and raised in the U.S., planted a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a missionary for the Anglican Province of Rwanda. (At some point after Worley left, that church joined the Anglican Church in North America, another grouping of conservative Anglican churches.)

The bishops began to discuss Worley’s views after a review of his service for AMiA, which, according to the statement, he performed “under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church without permission of the Episcopal Church.”

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded that within the past five years the Rev. Worley has held—and continues to hold—views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the province, is quoted as saying.

According to the canons of the diocese, the House of Bishops can object to the election of a bishop if “he or she teaches or holds or has within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.”

“The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church,” Privett continues.

The bishops made their decision, according to the statement, after they “reviewed the Rev. Worley’s past actions, what he has written directly to the House, and what he said when meeting with the Provincial House of Bishops.”

The bishops, the statement says, met several times after Worley’s election last month, to “review the materials before them” and meet with Worley.

The statement concludes with a request by the House of Bishops for prayers, “especially for the Worley family, for the Diocese of Caledonia and all those who worship and minister there.”

Neither Privett nor Worley was immediately available for comment as of press time.

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Simon Sarmiento
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He also served for a while in the Church of Ireland:
https://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/4791/institution-of-the-revd-jake

Alan T Perry
Guest
Alan T Perry

The Journal’s reference to the objection procedure being in the “canons of the diocese” is incorrect. It is the canons of the Province. The provincial canons are here:
http://www.provbcyanglican.ca/provincial-canons/
See Canon 4

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Why was his candidature allowed to proceed so far as the election? Surely it would have been wiser to raise the issue before it got that far?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

At least the Anglican Church of Canada is actually doing something about banning homophobia in the Bench of Bishops.

Now that the chickens have come home to roost in the C. of E., what can we expect from the ‘Mother’ Church?

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

@Janet Fife: there is no mechanism for the provincial HoB or other entity to remove a nominated candidate’s name.

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

This is another situation where it would be very helpful to have a comment from someone with local knowledge, as there is clearly plenty going on between the lines, on both process and substance. Frequently on these pages, especially when a matter of controversy arises around the selection of a C of E bishop, various voices have called for the election of bishops by the diocese concerned. I certainly share the view that this is the best arrangement, but it is worth noting that it can become messy when the person elected (strictly speaking, nominated) by the diocesan synod cannot… Read more »

Terry Brown
Guest
Terry Brown

Under Anderson, the Diocese of Caledonia was in de facto schism from other dioceses of the ecclesiastical province, especially New Westminster under Bishop Michael Ingham. He made it clear that New Westminster clergy would not be licensed or welcome in the diocese. He boycotted consecrations of bishops in the province. He withdrew from participating in the Vancouver School of Theology. He became alienated from the Nishga and Haida peoples in the diocese who advised former missionaries he excommunicated to pay no attention to him and visit them anyway. Worley, his wife and one of his children were all Caledonia delegates… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Thank you, Bishop Terry Brown, for that information about the Diocese of Caledonia. It does seem that the removal of Mr. Worley from the possibility of episcopal ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada has, effectively, averted further scismatic movement in the A. C. of Canada.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Too early to tell, Ron. The Diocese is holding meetings this week. They are not happy.

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Perhaps, for the moment, Father Ron, but what happens when they choose another conservative and the liberal dioceses tell him to take a hike too? The few remaining conservative dioceses in the US are also having this conversation, “Will the liberal majority allow any conservative to be chosen bishop again?” And when the “inclusive” church says, “No”. Will the conservatives split, or just stop showing up, leaving empty churches behind? I get the feeling here and on other progressive sites, that many would rather people became atheists than conservative Christians.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Relevant to Chris H’s question: this brings to my mind the case of South Carolina in the Episcopal Church. A bishop was declined on procedural grounds, and with concerns that he might want to lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. Since the declination was procedural, when he was elected again and procedural issues were better handled, there were still questions about his positions on issues in the Episcopal Church. He stated he would not take the Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church. Then, after some significant period, he stated, ‘Actually, we can’t work with the… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Chris H., the Canadian situation (a reason for opposition was that he’d led a parish out of TEC) plus the situation in South Carolina (where Mark Lawrence led some of the diocese out of TEC, though promising not to) is certain to give us “includers” pause about risking getting burned again. That’s not hypocrisy, that’s “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Further, it’s one thing to be conservative, but it’s another thing altogether to impose it on LGBTQI or women inclusive parishes. That’s the problem at the leadership level. Calling a conservative rector and… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I suspect that we can’t have a true conversation on this issue on TA, as conservative members of the Diocese of Caledonia are unlikely to visit and comment on this website.

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

Many thanks to those much closer to the scene for the background info. I certainly feel much better informed.
I there are any members of the Caledonia electoral synod reading this, might I humbly suggest the name of Tim Chesterton for Bishop?

Tim Chesterton
Guest

You’re very kind, Edward, but to be honest, I sincerely believe that the best job the church has to offer is ‘parish priest’.

And anyway, Prince Rupert is 1,000 miles by road from my grandsons here in Edmonton, and that’s just not going to happen!

crs
Guest
crs

Dear Cynthia, The Diocese of South Carolina left as a Diocese. What is left is not a Diocese but a holding action called “TEC in SC.” The Diocese argued that as a Diocese they had the right to leave and so far the courts in SC have not ruled otherwise. The same situation obtains in the states of Illinois and Texas. You may not like or agree with the polity argument they made, but it was one they argued effectively. The polity situation in Canada is not the same. There is a sizeable conservative contingent in the Diocese of Toronto.… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Dr. Seitz, the legalisms hardly matter, the semantics aren’t worth it; in SC some left and some didn’t. What is relevant is that Mark Lawrence promised not to take the diocese out of TEC and yet he did. The situation with Worley was that he had in the recent past promoted and participated in schism and border crossing. The Canadians found that unacceptable. Chris H. complained that this likely means that no conservative bishops will ever be consecrated. I suggest that a conservative who can live with diversity within their diocese is electable, but both TEC and the Canadians are… Read more »

Whit J.
Guest

+Sumner received the necessary consents to become Bishop of Dallas without any real trouble. He credibly promised to remain in TEC, but had no intention of changing diocesan policy on same sex marriage. That was sufficient.

crs
Guest
crs

Dear Cynthia, If you wish to discuss this I suggest you avoid bromides likes “legalisms” and “semantics”. It telegraphs that you really aren’t interested. “I suggest that a conservative who can live with diversity within their diocese is electable” — which is the case in every diocese referred to in the prior note, including the Diocese of SC. Everyone of these dioceses has what on your terms are “wildly liberal parishes” (you can clarify the adverb). At issue is whether these dioceses can maintain their own discernment and canons reflecting that. If so, there will be diversity along the lines… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I think we are having a difficult time understanding one another. I don’t think that any bishop should have the power to rule against the inclusive views of the larger church in our province. Thus enacting their local canons, if they exclude women from leadership and LGBTI people from acceptance is not OK. Diocesans are not little popes. And so we agree that it’s not likely to happen (bishops maintaining their own discernment and canons). Local parishes can be conservative. And I think that there is still room for bishops holding conservative views, as long as they can hold them… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“had no intention of changing diocesan policy on same sex marriage. That was sufficient.” Whit J. You have given a fair summary. I think the same pertains, as grandfathered in, in CFL, TN, Albany, Quincy, and formerly in SC. You will see from the remarks to which I was referring a different perspective. It will not be “sufficient” because for this commentator, in her august rendition, “I don’t think that any bishop should have the power to rule against the inclusive views of the larger church in our province.” I wonder then what your take is? Mine is that her… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Edward,
I think that if Caledonia elects a different conservative, one who is willing to work collegially with the HoB and structures of the ACofC, there would be no problem with assents. When David Edwards was elected in Fredericton, about 2 years ago, there was no objection raised. He was the only bishop in the Province of Canada (the 7 eastern dioceses) to vote against the change in the marriage canon.

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

Thank-you Jim, and yes, that would be my assumption too, albeit from a distance many times further from Prince Rupert than Edmonton is. This was the serious point behind my light-hearted suggestion of Tim Chesterton for the position. I would have thought that someone who has consistently defended an Evangelical position in a predominantly “liberal” context, thus demonstrating at least a willingness to engage with those of different views, might be the sort of person who could help the Diocese of Caledonia find their way forward from the painful place where they find themselves. But do not worry, Tim. You… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“lazy thinking” !!! Dr. Seitz, the issues of social justice and power, as well as theology and power are well documented by thinkers such as Cornell West (here in Princeton). It’s one thing to hold conservative views. Fine. It’s quite another to exercise power in a way that is unjust and counter to the discernment of a church that genuinely finds that the Way of Jesus is the way of inclusion. An ecclesiology that calls for bishops who can ignore the mind of the larger church is truly the unconvincing position. Calling my position “excitable” is code for shallow, unreasoned,… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“The Biblical Canon and early church were developed by fallible men, none of whom knew Jesus and some of whom had an interest in aligning the church with empire.” From Character of Christian Scripture (2011). “Even Adolph Harnack understood this reality about the scriptural inheritance of the Elder Testament and its influence on the correlate New Testament. In commenting on Lessing he writes: ‘[Lessing] perceived that the New Testament as a book and as the recognized fundamental document of the Christian religion originated in the Church. But Lessing did not recognize that the Book from the moment of its origin… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“The Biblical Canon and early church were developed by fallible men” — not sure what it means to say fallible men “developed the church,” but in respect of the NT writings, you make it sound like later generations sat down and de novo wrote books (and for political reasons in addition). If you want to challenge form and tradition criticism exercised by generations of liberal scholars, feel free. These criticisms acknowledge and excavate the living traditions that were cherished in various social settings, only gradually and in various ways assembled into the peculiar form of literary documentation that we now… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Your view of scripture is seamless with that of valentinianism…” Well, I do like the books by Elaine Pagels about the revelations from Nag Hammadi. But I think my view is more colored by the Orthodox (who never accepted original sin), the Celtics (who were more respectful of women and Creation and less enamoured with empire), and my Jewish friends who’s reading of Torah diverges far from that of many Christian scholars. For one thing, the Mishnah gives the impression of an ever developing relationship with God, not a frozen one… And I can’t help but be influenced by Desmond… Read more »

Wm (Bill) Paul III
Guest
Wm (Bill) Paul III

This comment about Mark Lawrence is actually not true: “Then, after some significant period, he stated, ‘Actually, we can’t work with the Episcopal Church.” ” He promised to “work as hard to keep the Diocese in TEC as he would to keep TEC in the Anglican communion” which promise was made when our status in the communion was under discussion. He also came to a diocese the majority of the congregations of which wanted to leave. He worked to keep many in TEC. Please review the actual record. And, most importantly, only when TEC sought to act against him, secretly… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Those perceptions of Lawrence in SC don’t match my recollection and the sense of betrayal people had. No one thought he had made the promise to stay in TEC with his fingers crossed, or that it was conditional.

As an LGBTQI person, married in my parish, I’m appalled that he used our joy and happiness as a cause to break that promise. Homophobia these days is about on a par with racism and misogyny.

The Canadians were wise to steer clear.

Whit J.
Guest
Whit J.

The late and very much lamented +Thompson never censored the preaching of any parish in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, or the public statements of any priest on any issue that did not strike at the core of Christian doctrine. And he did not try to prevent LGBT people from taking communion or having their children baptized. But +Thompson did not and in conscience could not permit any parish or priest in the Diocese of Southern Ohio to bless any sort of same sex union. Furthermore, +Thompson apparently considered “same sex attraction” an absolute bar to the excercise of priestly… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

O, our relaionship with Christ is never to be frozen and is always to develop. No one has said otherwise. This happens through prayer, suffering, fasting, scripture immersion, charity, almsgiving, care of the sick, praise and surrender to God in manifold ways. It is scripture which sets out the paths and the Holy Spirit who guides unto them. The Orthodox view of scripture is readily available in the volumes of John Behr. He reminds with urgency that there is no “God” to whom scripture bears some kind of erratic witness, fallible and happenstance. This idea is seen in German idealism… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Thank you Whit for the facts of the situation. My father, grandfather and uncle were all ordained in S Ohio and I have a clear memory of +Thompson and his views and discipline. My grandfather taught liturgics for 40 years at Bexley Hall and served a parish in Granville Ohio during that time. The Dean of St Vladimir’s seminary perceptively notes: After centuries of monotheism understood from a philosophical rather than scriptural perspective, it is today more likely to be assumed that if there is a God, there is only one God, and that while Scripture speaks about him, it… Read more »

William (Bill) Paul
Guest
William (Bill) Paul

Lawrence did not make the promise with fingers crossed. Things kept moving in TEC remember and most of the parishes felt he was too slow and too accommodating of TEC. He inherited a diocese ready to leave. And, once again, look at the facts: only the move by TEC against him triggered the departure.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“But +Thompson did not and in conscience could not permit any parish or priest in the Diocese of Southern Ohio to bless any sort of same sex union.”

We were blessed in our parish in the Diocese of Southern Ohio while +Herb was bishop. I know other LGBTQI people had SSB’s as well. I don’t know what +Herb would have done in the next decade, but his love was not in question. It is with some of these others, like Mark Lawrence.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“O, our relaionship with Christ is never to be frozen and is always to develop. No one has said otherwise. This happens through prayer, suffering, fasting, scripture immersion, charity, almsgiving, care of the sick, praise and surrender to God in manifold ways.” We agree heartily on that. Never has the spirit of God been more palpable than in Haiti after the earthquake, or at my parents’ deathbeds, or when I had had enough of homophobia and found myself deep in the pit of depression. The fact that plenty of LGBTQI people and our supporters, agree with you on this, and… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“…his love was not in question. It is with some of these others, like Mark Lawrence.”

Again, just ignorance and prejudice.

The Bishop of S Ohio and Mark Lawrence were friends and acted both out of compassion. Their hearts were on the very same channel.

Please cease if you simply revert to inaccuracies and mirror-to-self talking. You have been shown wrong about +Thompson and courageous people admit that kind of error. Life goes on then.

Whit J.
Guest
Whit J.

Cynthia, I believe you, but I’m also pretty sure that your blessing ceremony and others were conducted under the assumption that what Bishop Thompson didn’t know would not hurt him. In 2006 or 2007 I was a Methodist seminarian (I joined TEC in 2012) and was talking with an Episcopal counterpart. I was told that same sex unions were not permitted in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, though the new bishop would probably change that.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

It is a mistake to read the conflicts in one province of the Anglican Communion through the lens of another province, even when those two provinces border each other. Canada and the US are very different. Furthermore, no one from the Diocese of Caledonia has commented on this thread, and comments from outside can really only be a few steps removed from speculation. I understand that the Diocese of Caledonia is in the process of holding meetings to consider their next steps. Geographically (and perhaps theologically) I live closer to them than almost any other commenter here, but I would… Read more »

Terry Brown
Guest
Terry Brown

The proposed new Canadian marriage canon has all sorts of provision for those who do not agree. The entire diocese of Caledonia could opt out of blessing or conducting same-sex marriages if they wished. I am sure the diocese of the Arctic will. Over the past years, the outgoing bishop of Caledonia, Anderson, wrote any other Canadian Anglican bishop who authorized church blessings of same-sex couples already civilly married (or married in another church such as the United Church of Canada) announcing that there was now “impaired communion” between Caledonia and them, which meant out of communion and the bishop… Read more »

Crs
Guest
Crs

There is technically no TEC diocese. There is a holding action called TEC in SC. If a new diocese is to be created it would have to request GC to be such. It would need a new name. One supposes this will be slow to happen as it would mean that the diocese of SC won. There are still pending trials re trademarking and property.

crs
Guest
crs

Terry Brown, your comment about the Canadian situation is extremely important. The Anglican Church of Canada remains an *Episcopal* church in that the Bishops and ACC realize the office is integral to the polity. The American “episcopal church” is now for all intents and purpose a “General Convention Church.” The historically important diocesan canons and diocesan integrity are now timing out. A bishop and diocese can no longer solemnly commit to “guard the faith” in a rational sense of the phrase. A bishop and diocese will now be required to defer to what the GC says. The only exception to… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Ah, Canada. Ever (well, almost ever!) sensible.

—Jealous Yank.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“The historically important diocesan canons and diocesan integrity are now timing out.” Could someone name for me provinces where it is OK for a diocesan to go against the determinations of the national church leadership? Clearly CoE expects unity, thus the Jesmond situation is so aberrant. The Canadians have determined that they don’t want a bishop who would go their own way, against the higher leadership. Can diocesans in Nigeria and New Zealand follow their own integrity while ignoring their national leadership? For example, can a diocesan in Nigeria, New Zealand, Australia, etc., marry gay couples or ordain gay clergy… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“The Canadians have determined that they don’t want a bishop who would go their own way, against the higher leadership.” Kindly read the comment of the Canadian commentator above. There are dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada which will not allow same sex blessings and they will be free to have this position. Your language “against the higher leadership” is a suitably vague place holder. Historically TEC has been a diocesan church. That is why there are diocesan canons; why churches formed themselves into dioceses before requesting to affiliate; why diocesen assessments have never been mandatory; why no single… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I’m still not hearing about a province that allows diocesans to make policies that are opposite the mind of the larger church. If a national church decides that dioceses can choose, then that is still a national decision to allow choice, which is different. I’m not understanding why TEC should be different in terms of having rogue bishops. For all the complaints about lack of understanding, the real problem is who has the power to oppress. The generous Canadians may decide that certain bishops can continue to oppress their LGBTQI people. But at least they are drawing the line on… Read more »

Cseitz
Guest
Cseitz

Dear Cynthia

The Anglican Church of Canada will permit bishops and the dioceses they serve to continue traditional practice.

In the Church of England the House of Bishops are not dictated to by Synod.

This polity is further representative of most provinces. And has obtained in different form historically in TEC due to colonial realities in which dioceses followed state lines.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

You aren’t understanding the question. Can the CoE Bishop of Bristol decide that gay marriage is OK in “his” or “her” diocese? Your reading of TEC has not been upheld in most courts. The point about how the “Anglican Church of Canada will permit bishops and the dioceses they serve to continue traditional practice” is that this possibility will not seem “generous” to LGBTQI people and people of conscience. Older gay people will die before their faithfulness is celebrated and honored. One of the reasons that I’m livid with +Rowan and +Justin is that their interference delayed inclusive marriage. In… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Dear Cynthia, I am afraid you do not understand the matter because you see things through lenses with terms like ‘rogue bishops’ and ‘known schismatics.’ To use a musical analogy, a harp with all the strings removed save one is easier to play but makes terrible music. I do believe at last you have understood the situation in the ACC. You do not like it; of course. But you do seem to get it. As for the situation in the CofE, it has of course not yet done what TEC has done. It does not have a General Convention. Its… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Just discovering this thread this morning, after several weeks away. I’ll blame it on seven hour jet lag. I didn’t scroll down far enough yesterday when surveying TA’s offerings while I was overseas. The comment by Terry Brown (above Terry Brown on Saturday, 20 May 2017 at 12:22am BST) provides the most useful background. Caledonia is on the other side of our vast country from me ( over four thousand kilometers away); but my colleagues here who are directly familiar with Caledonia would concur with the general thrust of Brown’s comment. Otherwise, to understand how and why the election has… Read more »